[News] Israel racing to destroy Palestinian property while Trump is in office

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Tue Nov 10 13:02:44 EST 2020


https://english.palinfo.com/articles/2020/11/10/Israel-racing-to-destroy-Palestinian-property-while-Trump-is-in-office 
<https://english.palinfo.com/articles/2020/11/10/Israel-racing-to-destroy-Palestinian-property-while-Trump-is-in-office> 



  Israel racing to destroy Palestinian property while Trump is in office

By Yousef Alhelou - November 10, 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last week, Israeli occupation forces carried out the largest demolition 
in years in the occupied West Bank. Some 76 Palestinian-owned 
properties, tents, sheds, structures and animal fodder were destroyed in 
the occupied Jordan Valley village of Khirbet Humsa. Almost 80 people, 
including 41 children, were displaced as winter approaches in the middle 
of the Covid-19 pandemic.

What happened to this community is de facto annexation facilitated under 
Donald Trump’s “deal of the century”. It is also a consequence of the 
normalisation deals between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, which 
have emboldened the occupation state.

The Bedouin and herding committees in the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem 
areas are the main target of such demolitions and subsequent expulsion 
from their land. Since the beginning of this year, 689 structures, 
properties and animal shelters have been bulldozed and destroyed by the 
Israelis. This year has seen the most demolition of Palestinian-owned 
property since 2016. It’s a cruel, racist and inhumane policy through 
which Israel wants to drive Palestinians off their land. The Zionist 
state is greedy for more land for illegal settlements and military 
bases, and so the ethnic cleansing which began in earnest in 1948 to 
force the indigenous population off the land continues unabated.

Condemnations of Israel’s actions, while appreciated, actually mean 
little as far as the Palestinians are concerned. They know that they do 
not deter the occupation state from doing what it wants in the absence 
of any sense of accountability. It has ignored UN Resolutions for years, 
so why should Israel’s impunity be threatened by a statement from the UN 
Secretary General’s spokesman? Such is the level of the double standards 
at play in the international community that Israel can, literally, get 
away with murder.

According to the United Nations, Israel has demolished more than 55,000 
Palestinian homes, dwellings and other structures since 1967. This 
figure does not include the destruction caused by the Zionist state’s 
military offensives against civilians in the Gaza Strip. Such 
demolitions are, the UN points out, a “grave breach” of international law.

“I remind all parties that the extensive destruction of property and the 
forcible transfer of protected people in an occupied territory are grave 
breaches of the 4th Geneva Convention,” said Yvonne Helle, the 
Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for the occupied territory at the UN 
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The 
humanitarian community stands ready to support all those who have been 
displaced or otherwise affected.”

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied 
Territories, B’Tselem, tweeted that, “While you were eagerly following 
the US elections, Israel has demolished an entire community’s 
residential compound, leaving 74 people, 41 of them minors, homeless.” 
This was echoed in a message from Palestinian Authority Prime Minister 
Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Despite Benjamin Netanyahu’s cosy words of congratulations for US 
President-elect Joe Biden, “a great friend of Israel”, it is my belief 
that the Israeli Prime Minister is racing to destroy as many Palestinian 
properties as possible while the man responsible for “bringing the 
American-Israeli alliance to unprecedented heights”, Donald Trump, is 
still in office. Yet more despicable and illegal facts on the ground are 
being established, just in case Biden decides to change US foreign 
policy in the region. Coming so soon after the normalisation deals, 
Netanyahu knows that the green light for more illegal activity may soon 
change to amber, but probably not red.

As is often the case, Israel has ready-made justifications whenever it 
displays its open contempt for international law. In the latest 
demolition case, the Israeli military body in charge of civilian affairs 
in the West Bank claimed that the “enforcement activity” was carried out 
against seven tents and eight pens that were “illegally constructed” in 
a firing range. Do such dwellings and sheds pose a threat to Israel’s 
security? And why was a firing range sited where indigenous people have 
been living and grazing their animals for centuries? It’s yet another 
excuse to drive the people off their land.

Joe Biden is apparently opposed to Israel’s planned annexation of large 
swathes of the West Bank. It remains to be seen if he will defend 
Palestinian rights when he enters the White House in January, and put an 
end to Israel’s ability to act with impunity.

/- Yousef Alhelou is a Palestinian journalist based in London. His 
article appeared in MEMO./

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