As soon as an Israeli attack on a Palestinian town, village or gathering ends, another one starts somewhere else. All attacks are intended to displace the Palestinians from their own land and replace the indigenous people with foreign settlers who spread corruption on the land. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine, which began in earnest in 1948, continues to this day.
The occupation authorities are trying to take advantage of Arab normalisation moves and US support to continue their racist projects and empty the Arab neighbourhoods, towns and villages of their original inhabitants. The occupied city of Jerusalem and its surrounding neighbourhoods, as well as the Jordan Valley, are witnessing a continuous and systematic Israeli effort to change the demography through Judaisation and the falsification of history.
According to the Director of the Colonisation and Wall Resistance Commission's legal department, Ayed Marar, the occupation authorities and thuggish settler gangs are intensifying campaigns against Palestinians and pushing them to leave so that illegal settlements may be expanded. He explained to Felesteen that the Israeli goal is to seize more Palestinian land and property, with Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley being the most targeted areas.
Marar also noted that Israel is adopting several policies to displace Palestinians, including the creation of unbearable conditions that force the inhabitants to leave their homes and move to other areas, preferably to other countries. Hence the ongoing raids on Palestinian towns and villages, arrests under false pretences, cutting off Palestinians from the outside world and stripping them of their property rights in accordance with discriminatory laws and regulations, resulting in families being forcibly displaced and deported for "security" and "emergency" reasons. The authorities have also resorted to real estate brokers in order to siphon off Palestinian properties to illegal settlers.
Palestinians in the target areas who dare to protest at such tactics have had high fines imposed on them, and their homes have been demolished on the grounds that they had no building permits, which are issued by the occupation authorities which want to see the owners displaced. Such permits are rarely approved for Palestinians in any case. It is a vicious cycle of oppression and corruption which weakens Palestinian self-esteem. Some have been driven to surrender, said Marar.
The Israeli occupation forces, he pointed out, are encouraged to continue their crimes against targeted Palestinian villages, neighbourhoods and gatherings by the fact that they will never be held accountable, locally, regionally or internationally.
In order to distract the Palestinians from the areas where they are carrying out raids, said Marar, the Israelis carry them out in several places simultaneously; repeat raids on the same area; and prevent the residents from communicating with each other in different areas. He urged the Palestinians to see the bigger picture and protest in the strongest possible way at the crimes committed against them. Keeping quiet about crimes committed by settlers and the occupation forces increases the likelihood of further crimes and the loss of more land. He called for a resistance programme to be put in place that puts pressure on Israel to end settler attacks on Palestinian villages and towns. Given the Arab and international bias in favour of the occupation state at this time, such a programme must come from within the Palestinians themselves.
Settlement affairs expert Khaled Mansour agreed that Israel never hesitates to harass the indigenous population, and to exploit all the opportunities available to it in order to seize more Palestinian land in the service of its settlement projects in the region. It is, after all, a settler-colonial state based on the racist ideology of Zionism. Attacks on Palestinians by settlers and security forces are trying to create a new reality on the ground, he told Felesteen.
Most of this is taking place in full view, but is kept out of the complicit mainstream media. Settlement activity accelerated after the US recognised Jerusalem as the "undivided capital" of Israel. That was international complicity at its most blatant.
"The occupation state is emboldened by the lack of accountability and media coverage," said Mansour. "It is basically free to carry on with its crimes."
Settlements, of course, require access roads, he explained, and these are built to separate Palestinian towns and villages from each other as much as the settlements themselves. "They are the noose that can be tightened as the first step on the path to seizing them."
He also stressed that Israel is working hard to weaken Palestinians' self-confidence and leadership so that they will surrender and accept the status quo. It is supported by its international allies in this process, including the Arab normalisation states.
Mansour added that that the occupation forces collaborate with the illegal settlers and cover up their crimes across the occupied West Bank by diversionary daily incursions in Jerusalem, the Old City and the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa Mosque, where they harass worshippers. He too thinks that the silence of Palestinians in the face of such Israeli crimes and raids contributes to the impunity that the state and the settlers enjoy to continue their activities.
Calling for an end to the Palestinian Authority's security coordination and cooperation with the Israeli occupation forces, Mansour said that popular resistance should be escalated to end the occupation. "The steadfastness of the people of occupied Palestine must be supported in every possible way, especially those at risk of displacement," he concluded. I think he's right.
This report first appeared in Arabic in Felesteen on 20 April 2021
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.