It is 7:30 pm and the quiet has returned in the streets of Beit Ummar. The quiet, because today was a rough day and the inhabitants who left the city this morning to go to work had to go through much trouble to be able to get back. There were some tensions in Hebron. As usual.
Since a few months, the Israeli settlers are taking over more and more territory in the city. They already banned Palestinians from what they define as "their zone".
They walk with firearms. Sometimes, it is possible to assist a fight between them and the soldiers, who are there to protect the settlement project. Some settlers find that the colonization does not go fast enough, that the soldiers should expel more people more quickly.
There are often conflicts between Israeli settlers and the Palestinian villagers. But this time, the clashes were severe, the soldiers got involved in it, shots at any corner. A Palestinian got seriously hurt. The soldiers got nervous and decided to block all roads around the checkpoints. They stopped and inspect all Palestinian cars in search of nothing, only to disturb, to make everybody feel their anger. This form of collective punishment is a standard procedure. Nobody really understands why it is necessary to have a punishment. Except them.
Collective punishments are a crime and they make life unbearable for everybody. People come back home frustrated. They make the engines of their cars roar, get impatient for nothing. They know well that it is not the fault of anybody in the village. But, what to do with all this anger?
Now,that the quiet has returned to the village, lamp posts have taken the place of the sun. The Israeli soldiers are still there to ensure that everything stays in ‘order’. The ‘order’ of the Israeli occupation is the concrete blocks of the Wall and the settlements. The thicker and the higher, the less there are ways to by-pass it or to rise up against it
The ‘order’ of the Israeli occupation is also about ‘ cleaning ‘, ethnically cleansing the land from its Palestinian inhabitants. Last week, in the Bedouin village of Massalef Yatta, Israeli tanks and bulldozers demolished everything.The village is situated in an area that has been declared a - ‘military firing zone’- since the Israeli army decided to settle a training camp there.
In another effort to forcibly displace the Palestinian communities in the West Bank, on February 10, in the locality of Abu Kbash, near Nablus, Israeli armed forces destroyed four structures belonging to Palestinians. Six days before, they came to the same place to demolish nineteen housing structures. In fact, they had already destroyed the structures the week before, but the inhabitants received donations of international organizations to rebuild their houses. Total of the balance of damage today: two residential houses, two shelters for animals, ten people who are once again homeless.The same day, the villages of Al Juftiluk's, Fasayil and Almekser were also the target of demolitions. At least six houses and nine shelters for animals, besides two kilometers of piping, serving to supply with water fifty two families.
In total, between 9 and 11 February, the Israeli authorities destroyed at least 80 homes and livelihood-related structures in seven Palestinian communities in Area C, all but one in the Jordan Valley, displacing approximately 60 people, half of them children.
The noose is tightening
These aggressions are above all the pursuit of the political plan which aims at the expulsion and segregation of a community.
A few weeks ago, the Israeli government gave the green light for the construction of 153 new colonies in West Bank. Palestinians are going to lose another large piece of territory and those communities who live there are going to be expelled from it.
If the Israeli population does not seem to be really conscious of what is happening on the other side of the Wall, the Palestinians know it well. The continuous colonisation of the Area C, where Israel controls the planning and construction, and which represents more than 60 % of the West Bank, deprives the Palestinians of the sovereignty on the economic and natural resources and thus the possibility of working and of earning their livelihoods The Israeli government has slated 39% of the surface of the zone C - the double of the surface of the zone which is theoretically under Palestinian control - for colonies and for their future expansion, 20% as closed Israeli military zones and 13% as natural reserves. The Wall, the roadblocks, the checkpoints are further infrastructure that serves to dissect the West Bank, restrict Palestinian movement and facilitate the colonization of Palestinian land. Finally, the Israeli military acts as an organ of repression and control to ensure the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian communities from their homes into segregated areas of Palestinian population can be implemented. The noose is tightening.