- Created: Friday, 12 October 2018 15:15
- Written by Wesam Khaled
‘In addition to being founded on a racist settler-colonial mentality that gave no regard to the rights of the Palestinians, the actual realisation of Zionism’s aims necessitated the destruction of the Palestinian nation. Israel’s very existence as ‘Israel’, as a Zionist state, is premised on the denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinians.’ From Wesam Khaled’s speech, 21 September 2018
In the occupied Palestinian West Bank, the village of Khan Al Ahmar is facing an imminent threat of demolition at the hands of the Israeli state. The village lies in a critical location, dividing the illegal Israeli settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Kfar Adumim near Jerusalem. By demolishing Khan Al Ahmar, Israel hopes to complete plans to link the entirety of the ‘E-1’ area, a zone comprising West Jerusalem, officially part of the Israeli state, along with occupied East Jerusalem and key settlements in the occupied West Bank. This would establish an unhindered tract of Israeli-occupied land in this area, connecting major settlements with each other and with Jerusalem, and which would be in all but name part of the Israeli state. It would also cut off Jerusalem from any possible independent Palestinian territory in the West Bank by enclosing it within an unbroken chain of Israeli settlements and roads. Palestinians will then be expected to surrender any realistic claim to Jerusalem due to the extent of its integration into the Israeli state. Wesam Khaled reports.
The 180 people living in Khan Al Ahmar are members of the Bedouin Jahalin tribe, which used to inhabit the Negev Desert in the south of Israel before being expelled by the Israeli military in the 1950s. The tribe was relocated and displaced by Israel twice more before settling in Khan Al Ahmar. Now they are facing the prospect of another violent displacement at the hands of the Israeli state. On 5 September the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition from residents of the village to prevent the demolition. The basis of the High Court’s decision was the fact that the village was built illegally according to Israeli law. This is unsurprising given that Israel regularly rejects almost all Palestinian requests for building permits in the West Bank while allowing Israeli settlements there to flourish; UN figures show that Israel granted just 1.5% of all permit requests by Palestinians between 2010 and 2014. On 23 September the Israeli government told residents of the village that they had until 1 October to leave the village before it would be demolished. They will not go down without a fight; already resistance has been mounting by residents and solidarity activists.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, the Great March of Return, which began in March and saw tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza march to the Israeli border demanding their right to return to the lands they were expelled from in the Israeli state, has entered its seventh month. Israel continues to respond with brutal measures. Over 170 Palestinians have now been killed and over 18,000 wounded by Israeli soldiers since the protests began. As punishment for the protests, Israel has also reduced the permitted fishing zone in Gaza’s coastal waters – already severely curtailed by the Israeli siege – to six nautical miles and has threatened to reduce it even further if the demonstrations do not stop. In response, on 24 September Gazan fishermen disobeyed the Israeli command and sailed beyond the new limit; they were met with live ammunition and teargas by Israeli forces, which killed one Palestinian and injured 90 others.
A report by the World Bank published in September warned that Gaza’s economy is in ‘free fall’. This is due to the impact of Israel’s crushing siege, budget cuts from the corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA) to its employees in Gaza, and the reductions in international funding for relief efforts in Gaza, particularly from the United States, which massively slashed its aid budget to the Palestinians earlier this year. All of these measures are aimed at punishing Palestinians in Gaza for the resistance they have shown to Israeli oppression. Unemployment in Gaza is now over 50%; for youth the figure is over 70%.
As we go to press, Israeli forces have killed seven Palestinians, two of them children, and shot more than 90 others, in one of the bloodiest days of the six month protests along the Gaza border.
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 266 October/November 2018