Although a ceasefire between armed groups in Gaza and Israel has been in place for a little over two weeks, Israel’s war on the Palestinian people has far from ceased.
Since the first day of the announced ceasefire, May 21, the Israeli government has continued to attack Palestinians in Jerusalem on a daily basis. Israeli occupation forces have repeatedly entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound and attacked worshippers, which was the main provocation to the recent armed conflict with Gaza’s ‘Joint Room of Resistance Factions’.
The process of violently forcing up to 28 families from their homes, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, is also still ongoing as Israeli forces carry out daily assault and arrest protesters. Two Palestinian journalists were arrested on May 27, Wahbi Makiya and Zeina Al-Halawani, for simply covering Israeli repression of demonstrations in the area. Israel is currently holding at least 13 Palestinian journalists in prison without justification.
The neighborhood of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, has now become another focus of local media attention, as the exact same fate seems to be destined for the Palestinians of Batn al-Hawa, as is the case in Sheikh Jarrah. Israel’s ‘Jewish Supremacist’ – as B’Tselem puts it – court system is attempting to dispossess 8 families of their homes in Batn al-Hawa, with Israeli settler organisations using Israel’s infamous ‘Absentees Property Law’ to steal their homes in order to facilitate a Jewish settler takeover.
This Tuesday alone, Israel’s army announced it had struck a military outpost in Syria’s Golan Heights area, which came without provocation, approved 350 additional settler units to expand the illegal ‘Beit El’ settlement, and its occupation forces again attacked Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Israel is also aiming to ethnically cleanse areas in heavily Palestinian populated cities inside Israel, using rich Israeli companies to sell the homes of Palestinians to rich Jewish investors.
In Jaffa, Israel’s ‘Absentees Property Law’ of 1950 – the same law being used to seize Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem – allowed for the Israeli government to “legally” seize Palestinian properties. This law, which was originally implemented for the purpose of finalizing the ethnic cleansing process in the lands Palestinians were expelled from between 1947-1949, meant that the land was handed over to Jewish owned organisations/companies.
In one specific case in the coastal City of Jaffa, riots broke out back in April, as families grew angry at the plans of Amidar (Israeli State-owned company) to evict residents on al-Ajami street, so that the properties could be sold to Rabbi Eliyahu Mali. Rabbi Mali is an extremist who heads up an Israeli Jewish expansion project called “Settling in the Hearts” and has plans of building a synagogue over Palestinian properties.
Middle East Eye interviewed a local Jaffa based journalist on the issue, Mahmoud Abed, who had the following to say: “This what I call ‘a legalised theft’. Seventy percent of Palestinian residents of Jaffa live in properties taken over by Israel in 1948 through state-owned companies, such as Amidar. These companies own a third of the property while residents own two thirds.”
Similar circumstances face Palestinian citizens of Israel, in places like Lyyd, Nazareth, Taybe, Akka, Haifa, Umm Al-Fahm and elsewhere.
Israel also seeks to construct a new settlement project on top of the displaced village of Lifta, which was previously declared as a nature reserve. Lifta was completely ethnically cleansed of all its Palestinian residents by Zionist terrorist militias in 1948 and although the village was deserted, it was never taken over by Jewish Israelis for settlement. Now, it seems that plans for Israeli Jewish settlers to take the homes and build new ones over the old ones, is coming to fruition.
The provocative attitude of the Israeli authorities, operating with such racist contempt for Palestinians, is undoubtedly leading to further rounds of intensified violence, similar to what we saw in May.
The reality is, all of Israeli controlled territory is a settlement. Every single city and village inside of what is now Israel was once full of Palestinians and as time passes, the International Community seems to just accept facts on the ground and refuses to punish past crimes.