Beneath the official rhetoric that defines the Israeli-Palestinian conflict–the “peace process,” “negotiations,” “conditions” and “settlement freezes”–lies the unspoken reality that every day for Palestinians is a catastrophe. For Palestinians, the daily grind of occupation, settlement building, home demolitions and displacement mean that the Nakba of 1948 never really ceased. There isn’t one week that goes by without the State of Israel taking steps that continue to destroy not only any Palestinian hope for an independent state but their basic human rights.
If you only read the Western corporate press on Israel/Palestine, you would never know that Israel breaks international law every single day in the occupied territories by entrenching an illegal settlement system, by razing Palestinian homes and by violently suppressing civil disobedience actions against the “separation barrier.”
The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reports today on two such examples that illustrate the reality on the ground for Palestinians that is often not talked about:
Official: 3 more homes destroyed in Negev
Israeli authorities demolished three houses in the western Negev on Monday, local officials said.
The houses in Abda village belonged to the At-Tantawi family, the Abda regional council said.
Ibrahim Al-Waqeely, head of the council, condemned the timing of the demolitions during a heatwave and a few days before the holy month of Ramadan, as families prepare to fast.
Villagers will remain on their land, Al-Waqeely said, despite “continuous provocations” by Israeli forces.
An Israeli police spokesman said he was not familiar with such an incident.
A Bedouin village which Israel considered unrecognized was destroyed in late July.
These most recent home demolitions in the Negev follow the July 28 destruction of another Bedouin village in the Negev, all in the name of “Judaizing” the Negev.
And then there’s another story from Ma’an:
Jordan Valley demolitions continue
TUBAS (Ma’an) — Israel’s Civil Administration began razing housing units Monday in the Ein Hilwa area of the northern Jordan Valley, campaign officials said.
Save the Jordan Valley campaign coordinator Fathi Ikhdeirat said Israeli authorities, accompanied by border guards, began tearing down structures and handing down stop-work orders to residents.
He described the move as an attempt “to clear the area of its indigenous people and include it into Israel and called on international human rights groups to intervene to bring the demolitions to a halt.
A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The Jordan Valley has been a target for demolitions by Israel’s Civil Administration, with several structures in villages across the area being torn down.
On Sunday, dozens of Palestinians as well as foreign activists rebuilt areas in the nearby Al-Farisiya village that were recently bulldozed by Israel’s Civil Administration.
Over the past 10 days, several shacks, homes and agricultural structures were torn down in the village by the administration, which has complete planning and building control over Area C. Last Thursday, the Civil Administration returned to the valley to demolish 23 structures rebuilt by residents and farmers.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Bardala village, locals said the Civil Administration distributed several stop-work orders to residents in late July.
The orders, known locally as “demolition orders,” demand that homeowners appear before a magistrates court to defend allegations. Because legal action at the court rarely succeeds, the stop-work orders essentially constitute a demolition order.
According to a report in the Israeli daily Haaretz in July, the Civil Administration has received government orders to increase enforcement against Palestinian construction in Area C, according to a deposition by an administration official to the High Court.
The deposition, by the head of the administration’s infrastructure authority, Colonel Zvika Cohen, came in response to a petition by Regavim – a group seeking the destruction of illegal Palestinian construction at six West Bank sites, citing a security threat, the daily reported.
A recent UN report said 86 structures in the Jordan Valley were demolished two weeks ago, and 17 others were demolished in other areas of the West Bank the week after.
“The spate of demolitions raises concerns over whether Israeli authorities could further escalate demolitions throughout Area C,” a UN report said, noting more than 3,000 demolition orders handed down by Israeli officials to locals were still outstanding.
“Currently, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits to maintain, repair or construct homes, animal shelters or necessary infrastructure in Area C,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest report on Area C.