Twelve years ago the International Court of Justice in its verdict on the apartheid Wall, ruled the Wall and Israel’s settlement project illegal and reminded the international of its obligation to stop Israeli crimes. Today, in Palestine we are facing a full scale attack to try to subdue Palestinian rebellion flaring up over and over again while Israel rushes to close off the ghettos in which we are supposed to be herded. The last week has shown the shocking scale of repression.
Closures and many new, often temporary checkpoints are confining people’s movement everywhere in the West Bank. The Hebron area is since over two weeks under siege: Dura, Za’ir and Yatta have been completely closed off and life in the old city of Hebron has become even more complicated. Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem has been under lockdown as well. The army repeatedly invades the villages in order to carry out arrests that are often randomly targeting entire groups of people and in order to terrorise the entire community as a form of collective punishment. On Wednesday, during one of their raids Israeli military shot dead a refugee from Shu’fat in ar Ram and seriously injured another two. The youth were driving in their car when they encountered the invading forces and were shot at point blank. Israeli military and police forces continue to invade the al Aqsa Mosque. UN OCHA reported 98 search and arrest operations and 95 arrests in only one week in the West Bank.
Unsurprisingly, popular resistance is growing from the South to the North of the West Bank in the face of the repression.
In the Hebron area, in particular in Dura, Yatta and al Fawar refugee camp, the youth engage in constant confrontations with the Israeli military to defend their communities from the invasions. On Friday, in Tel Rumeida in Hebron, Youth Against Settlements had organized an activity to clean an abandoned Palestinian factory in order to transform it into a cinema space. Almost 100 youth showed up and helped in this voluntary work day. When settlers started to verbally attack the activists and to throw stones and tomatoes at them, Israeli military intervened arresting 15 of the activists. The same day, protests in al Aida refugee camp during yet another invasion were brutally repressed with 15 injured, many of them with life ammunition. In Jerusalem the situation continues tense and in the north, in the Qalqiliya governorate, popular resistance continues in Kufr Qaddum, where Israeli military keeps the village’s main access road closed off. Since three years people are continuing protests to reopen the road.
As well in Gaza, still under brutal military siege, one person died from the wounds he sustained when he was shot on his land close to the Gaza border. Israeli forces opened fire several times fire on people and boats at the border of the Strip and in the sea. On four occasions, Israeli forces entered Gaza and carried out a land-levelling and excavation operation.
As Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Stop the Wall Campaign, comments: “We are facing a continuing escalation of repression. Israel uses the current political conjuncture – the US electoral campaign, the post-Brexit uncertainty in the EU – as well as continued global silence to pressure the Palestinian people into surrender. At the same time the occupation forces have accelerated the efforts to finish off their colonial project in the West Bank.”
The last week as therefore seen the continued displacement of Palestinians from area C, in particular targeting the Bedouin communities. 23 structures in Anata and the adjacent Bedouin community of North ‘Anata, and in Jabal al Mukabber (East Jerusalem) have been demolished. 43 people, including 25 children, have been displaced.
In the meantime, the Israeli government has approved an additional 892 new settlement housing units in the last week. 560 housing units in Maale Adumim and 200 housing units in the settlements of Ramot, Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev have been approved. In the settlement of Kiryat Arba, at the heart of Hebron, 42 housing units and in the settlement of Gilo in Jerusalem 90 settlement units have been approved.
Jamal Juma’, concludes: “It this ongoing colonization and ethnic cleansing of our lands that ensures people continue to resist even if the Palestinian National Authority continues to show an every day more unbearable mixture of silence and inertia. Even left without leadership, the West Bank, including Jerusalem have not come to a rest since last October. Especially Hebron has continues a hotspot of outbursts of resistance". In fact, even within the Israeli intelligence establishment, there are officials warning the Israeli government that there is a need to ease the pressure on the Palestinians to avoid a full scale explosion of the Palestinian society.
“This explosion will come, rather sooner than later. The Palestinian National Authorities will not be able to contain this. It is a task for all movements, organizations and political parties to be prepared for this moment.”