Israel and its occupation exact high price from Palestinians

07-09-2023 01:01 PM
Michael Jansen

Last week, the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People called for Israel's "immediate and unconditional" pull out from East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Its annual report cited Israel's breaches of key tenets of international law as proof that Israel's forever occupation is illegal. These include annexation of portions of the occupied territories, mistreatment of Palestinian inhabitants, and imposing apartheid. This study, one of scores, "concludes that Israel is in gross violation of these laws and that the administration of the occupation has become illegal", stated Michael Lynk, the UN's former special rapporteur on Palestine.

He contended, "Because the occupation is illegal, the consequences should be the immediate, unconditional complete withdrawal of Israel's military forces, the withdrawal of colonial settlers, the repeal of all discriminatory laws and dismantling of the military administrative regime." The occupation could have ended, colonisation and the military regime pre-empted, and apartheid avoided if Israel had been compelled to abide by the French version of UN Security Council resolution of November 1967 which, after reaffirming the rejection of the acquisition of territory by force, called for the application of: "Retrait des forces armees Israeliennes des territoires occupes lors du recent conflit."

The French version is significant as it speaks of "des territoires" — "the territories" — while the watered down English text calls for "Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in recent conflict." By leaving out "the", Washington and its pals did not specify all the territories and weakened the resolution. Which Israel ignored in any case without facing sanctions.

Words, words, words. No action from the international community. The new study will join others on dusty shelves in the UN archives while Israel continues colonising Palestinian territory, driving Palestinians from villages, hamlets and land, and tightens its grip on those living under Its everlasting occupation. Israel seeks to annex the entire West Bank by driving out 3 million native Palestinians.

Israel is following a long-term strategy of disputing the very existence of the Palestinian people. According to the Zionists who built and established Israel, Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land”. Palestinians have been denied the right to national self-determination and destined to live forever in their country under Israeli occupation.

Since occupying East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza n 1967, Israel has adopted the traditional colonial policy of divide-and-rule. Israel exerts remote control over besieged and blockaded Gaza by air, sea and land and treats it as an open prison for 2 million Palestinians, the majority of whom are trapped for life in the narrow coastal strip.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem and adjacent territory and denied Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza unfettered entry, cutting them off from their historical cultural centre and its religious sites. Jerusalemites and West Bankers cannot go to Gaza without rare Israeli permits. The West Bank has been sub-divided into northern, central, southern regions and the Jordan Valley.

Israel controls all Palestian movement in the West Bank. The UN reports 650 obstacles. These include permanent checkpoints, checkpoints staffed intermittently, roadblocks, earth mounds and gates, walls, barriers and trenches. Palestinians have to navigate these obstacles whenever they travel from one place to another.

Israel controls all imports into and exports from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians depend totally on Israel which uses this control a leverage to put pressure on the Palestinian Authority, Hamas in Gaza, and the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem.

In East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israel expropriates land and homes with the objective of encouraging Palestinians to emigrate. West Bank villagers are being forced to relocate to towns and cities where they have no property or housing, putting a strain on urban areas and the slender resources of the Palestinian Authority. This amounts to ethnic cleansing.

Israeli analyst Oren Ziv reported on August 31 on the +972 Israeli website: "There are almost no Palestinians remaining in a vast area [150 square kilometres] stretching from Ramallah to the outskirts of Jericho." Most Palestinians, many of them herders with sheep and goats, "have fled for their lives in recent months as a result of intensifying Israeli settler violence and land seizures, backed by the Israeli army and state institutions".

Israel imposes the internationally outlawed system of apartheid in the West Bank. While Israeli colonists live under laws governing Israel "proper", Palestinians are administered by the Palestinian Authority while the area is ruled by Israel's civil authority which is run by the military. Israel builds infrastructure for Israel's illegal colonies, subsidises colonists and provides them with the means to live well. Many Palestinian communities are deprived of electricity, water, clinics, schools, roads, and infrastructure. Around 36 per cent of West Bank Palestinians live in poverty. The figure for Gaza is more than 50 per cent.

Palestinian West Bankers and East Jerusalemites are the most physically and electronically surveilled people on the planet. Palestinians have no personal, familial or communal privacy or freedom. Israel justifies this system by claiming it saves Israeli lives.

Israeli troops conduct daily raids into Palestinian cities, towns, villages and refugee camps, terrorising families, arresting and shooting youths identified through monitoring devices as suspected members of the Palestinian resistance. At least three East Jerusalemites, 233 West Bankers, 37 Gazans, and 35 Israelis have been killed so far this year.

Israel and its occupation exact a high price from the Palestinians.

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