opinion / op-eds

Israel has no plans for peace

Demolition of Palestinian homes seen as land grab designed to annex parts of the West Bank

A Palestinian building is blown up by Israeli forces in the village of Sur Baher which sits on either side of the Israeli barrier in East Jerusalem and the Israeli-occupied West Bank on July 22, 2019.
Image Credit: Reuters

Whatever plans their cheerleaders in the US are touting, the Israelis have no interest in forging a just and lasting peace with the Palestinians. This was amply demonstrated last week when they blew up residential buildings belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem. The demolitions have rendered hundreds of Palestinians homeless and on the way to becoming refugees. The apartment buildings were built in the Wadi Al Hummus neighbourhood of Sur Baher, an Arab enclave located almost entirely in East Jerusalem. Palestinians have termed the latest assault as ‘a land grab designed to annex parts of the West Bank, including building Israeli colonies.’

The Israelis tried to fabricate excuses claiming that these buildings were too close to a 30-foot high-security wall that Israel has been steadily building on Palestinian lands in violation of all international laws. Patterned after the fall of the Nazis, this wall is more diabolical than the Berlin Wall as it cuts right through Palestinian land and fields and crowds the Palestinians into tight enclaves that are surrounded by armed Israeli troops.

Like the Gaza Strip which has become the world’s biggest concentration camp with countless tales of murder and abuse by the Israelis, this latest excursion by the Netanyahu government is yet another sign that it is not peace that Israel is interested in but more land for its overseas attracted colonists brought in to displace the rightful owners of the land.

The destruction of Palestinian homes can only be classified as ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity that cannot be tolerated.

- Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian president

Netanyahu, it must be reminded, was mentored by no other than Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel who was credited with sanctioning the massacres of civilians in Sabra and Shatila back in 1982 when more than 3,500 defenceless people were butchered by the phalanges.

Sharon’s vicious words

In a recorded interview many years back, Sharon noted: “I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child [that] will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is more dangerous than the man because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger. I vow that if I was just an Israeli civilian and I met a Palestinian I would burn him and I would make him suffer before killing him. With one hit I’ve killed 750 Palestinians in Rafah in 1956.”

This is the principle that the current Israeli government is following. It is not a portent of peace but one of raining humiliation on the Palestinians. And it has been going on for several decades now.

Following this latest transgression, Saudi Arabia in no uncertain terms criticised Israel’s demolition of Palestinian Arab homes in eastern Jerusalem, and urged world powers to stop this criminal aggression.

In an official statement, the government “strongly condemned and denounced authorities of the Israeli occupation for the demolition of dozens of houses in East Jerusalem. It has also called on the international community to intervene to stop this aggression and dangerous escalation that targets Palestinians.”

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The Palestinian National Authority condemned the demolition as well and accused Israel of carrying out a massacre. It called on the international community “to intervene immediately and bring an end to Israeli aggression.”

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said that “the destruction of Palestinian homes can only be classified as ethnic cleansing and a crime against humanity that cannot be tolerated.”

Kuwait, Indonesia, and South Africa quickly penned a draft to the 15-member Security Council on Tuesday that “expressed grave concern and warned that the demolition undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for just and lasting peace”. Unfortunately, the US blocked the attempt by Kuwait and the others to get the United Nations Security Council to censure Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Jerusalem, according to insiders.

For a country that has reportedly been working on a peace plan, the US has indeed failed to surprise again by shielding Israel from any form of rebuke for repeated violations and crimes against humanity. It is why Trump’s peace plan is not expected to move forward since it is biased heavily in Israel’s favour and does not recognise the right of Palestinians to their homelands.

Israel is on course to becoming a full apartheid state, and the presence of Palestinians within does not go along with this doctrine. Thus, the bombings and demolition are expected to continue. Unless the world acts now, the poor Palestinians are going to suffer more.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Twitter: @talmaeena