Just like it used Election Day in the U.S. as a chance to break the ceasefire, Israel used the Gaza invasion as a chance to confiscate even more West Bank land. Land confiscations in the West Bank are continuing, said Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Jamal Bawatneh, and soon “there will be no land to hold a Palestinian state.” In a Tuesday letter the minister expressed his concern over the continued confiscations while “whole world was preoccupied with Gaza,” and accused Israel of using the attacks as a free-ticket to act in the West Bank. Hundreds of dunnums of lands in Yatta village [south of] Hebron were confiscated” during the Gaza invasion, said Bawatneh. He called on Arab and Islamic leaders to pay attention to the land grabs, and speak out against them.
There’s excellent historical coverage of Israeli military and terrortorial domination of Palestine in an article by Avi Shlaim at the The American Conservative Magazine “Captive Nation – How Gaza Became a Palestinian Prison”.
In August 2005, a Likud government headed by Ariel Sharon staged a unilateral Israeli pullout, withdrawing settlers and destroying the houses they left behind. Sharon presented the withdrawal as a contribution to peace based on a two-state solution. But the year after, another 12,000 Israelis settled on the West Bank, further reducing the scope for an independent Palestinian state. Land-grabbing and peace-making are simply incompatible.
The real purpose behind the move was to redraw the borders of Greater Israel by incorporating the main settlement blocs on the West Bank to the state of Israel. Withdrawal from Gaza was thus not a prelude to peace but to further Zionist expansion on the West Bank. It was a unilateral move undertaken in what was seen as the Israeli national interest.
Israel’s settlers were withdrawn, but Israeli soldiers continued to control all access to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli air force enjoyed unrestricted freedom to drop bombs, make sonic booms by flying low and breaking the sound barrier, and terrorize the hapless inhabitants.
Israel portrays itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognize the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely a terrorist organization.
America and the EU joined Israel in demonizing the Hamas government and trying to bring it down. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied.
Israel’s propaganda machine purveys the notion that the Palestinians are terrorists, that they reject coexistence with the Jewish state, that their nationalism is little more than antiSemitism, that Hamas is just a bunch of religious fanatics. But the truth is that the Palestinians are a normal people with normal aspirations. They want a piece of land on which to live in freedom and dignity.
Oppression by Israel on the West Bank continues – IOF Arrests 31 Palestinians in West Bank –
Palestinian security sources reported that IOF arrested, Tuesday, twenty four Palestinians, ten of whom in Hebron, one in Rafat village near Ramallah, two in Bethlehem, and four from Nablus villages.
One the same day, seven children were arrested from Toura Al-Gharbeyya village, near Jenin. The seven children were between 13 and 17 years of age.
On Wednesday, IOF attacked several villages in the West Bank, and arrested eight Palestinians; seven of whom from Qaryout village near Nablus, and one from Qabatya town south of Jenin.
In West Bank : Welcome to the Occupation, Scott Harris has a look at life in Israel’s ‘other’ concentration camp, or rather series of concentration camps in the West Bank.
Opposition to the wall has meant years of legal challenges and protests by the residents of Jayyous, often resulting in clashes with the IDF. In recent weeks, the IDF has fired live ammunition during marches to the southern gate, where many of the protests take place, or during army incursions into the village. On January 9, Khalil Ryash, a photojournalist from the Ma’an News Agency, was shot in the leg with live ammunition while covering a demonstration, as were two residents of the village the following week after IDF soldiers entered the village.