Thoughts on Ethnic Displacement and Other Things

Interesting developments with Syria. Now Israeli media is bombarding its public with a new scare. “Chemical weaponry is falling to untrustworthy hands”, and as a friend deduced, we seem to be on the verge of war with Syria, not with Iran. Iran is a spin, but there still must be war before the elections. Nuclear Iran or Chemical Syria, we see the same old technique of “war is peace” that Orwell talked about. This upcoming November the interim order regarding the eight villages in the 918 Firing Zone will expire and Israel might need a diversion for the expulsion of 1500 people. War with Chemical Syria, with Assad the baby killer or perhaps with his successors, will be easily justified. At 1999 there was an expulsion of 700 residents from the military training area in the wild south. Every cave was sealed, some were demolished by drilling straight into the fucking hills. All tents, toilets and living structures were destroyed to the ground. Wells with precious water were clogged up. On aerial photographs taken on the year 2000, the 918 Firing Zone looks like an empty patch of desert. High Court allowed the residents to go back to their lands. Now the colonialists take the photos from destroyed 2000 and the photos from half-rebuilt 2012 and say that the residents are invaders. In lieu of a scorched land. We still have aerial photographs from 1945 and 1967, proving that the villages existed long before the State of Israel, so doublethink will not prevail as of now.

Aerial photo of Jenbah from 1945. The villages existed long before the State of Israel and its Firing Zones.

We in the Left have thrown numbers at people for centuries. “You must understand! 60% of this and that for only 15% of so and so, doesn’t it ring a bell?!” And yet, there are some numbers that must penetrate, right? So here are some numbers that pierced my mind tonight. 60% of the West Bank was declared Area C that is managed exclusively by civil and security control of the State of Israel. 30% of Area C is designated as a Firing Zone. A fifth of the West Bank is designated as a Firing Zone so that kids with oversized guns and sci-fi equipment can play war. The Jordan Valley is a Firing Zone with safe islands for Jews in shape of outposts and settlements and army bases. Since 1967, roughly 320,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the Jordan Valley. The IDF Firing Zones are probably the most effective strategy for Palestinian displacement in the West Bank. “It’s for security”, they say. “We need to prepare for the next war so we don’t repeat the mistakes from Lebanon”. Here’s a funny number: demolishing over 80% of a village is a war crime. In the little South-East corner of the West Bank, in the beaten South Hebron Hills, we have a chance of stopping this tendency of ethnic displacement.

You see, I just received an email from one fascist bloke called Bennett. Somehow his extreme rightist propaganda has reached my inbox as well. He has a plan of officially annexing all Area C. He says he’s willing to give citizenship to 50,000 Palestinians in the area. The other 100,000 Palestinians in Area C will have to be forced into the ghettoes slash bantustans of Area A. I don’t know if there are any two-staters slash European diplomats that read my blob, but Bennett’s plan would make the situation irreversible in terms of two-state partitions so please rise up. Damn, it would make the situation irreversible in terms of one-state that is not apartheid, so one-staters rise up as well. “One state, two state, green state, blue state” let’s get disillusioned with the statist non-solutions and work to enable people to live in peace and dignity from the grassroots. With the 1500 residents of the 8 villages in the 918 Fire Zone we might be able to stick a thumb into the hole of the dam. It doesn’t stop here. 300 residents of four other villages in the Northern sliver of the 918 Firing Zone face impossible living conditions. I wrote about one of them, Maghayer al-Abid. All motor vehicles (some actually ride beaten bicycles on the rocky hills) driven by non-settlers in the Firing Zone are confiscated so people must go on donkeys to get basic goods from Yatta. On the way they must get stoned by guerrilla settlers and show IDs to ego-tripping soldiers.

The connection must be made between the ethnic displacement in the West Bank and the aggressions against Middle Eastern neighbours. As we fight for Jenbah and its sisters, we must remember that any day now the military might execute its authority, given to it by the High Court of Justice, to demolish Dkeika or Susya. Arab boys are lynched every Thursday and Saturday evening by fanatic blood-thirsty Beitar fans, last week one boy was hospitalized in a severe case. Settlers from the Bat Ayin terrorist cell, well acquainted to Israeli authorities after trying to blow up a girls school, threw a Molotov cocktail last week on a Palestinian family with two children. No arrest was made, everyone’s talking about the lynch in Jerusalem’s Center. Now rightists distribute flyers in both Hebrew and Arabic telling Arabs to stay away from Jewish neighborhoods for their own safety. I remember what Ezra said before I went to file the complaint after I was beaten up at Avigail, “only one thing will come of this complaint – a big waste of paper”. By the by, Jewish cars pass through the Firing Zone to Avigail outpost but never suffer confiscations.

And yet, we keep our spirits up for the pearls of experience and the belief that something can be done and the knowledge that since Taayush started at South Hebron Hills no village was evicted from the area that is called a Firing Zone. On our anti-oppression journeys we meet amazing persevering gentle people right and left. Mahmoud from Mufaqara, another one of the four villages of the northern sliver of 918, that tried, quite militantly, to make me dance debkah. I was promised a proper lesson. Like Fadel from Umm al-‘Amad that gave me a terrific botany class teaching me the names of all kinds of different plants in this beautiful landscape. Ear tickling names such as Zuheif that looks like Za’atar or Dardala that stings. People survived the Ramadan and on the end of last Saturday, right before the last Iftar, barely had energy to reply “alekum salaam” to our greetings. The communist shabab of Beit Kahil laughed in solidarity with their hungry mumbles. “Haram”, the practicing Muslims say worriedly for the souls of the non-believers. Beit Kahil is a highly politicized village North of Hebron covered with graffiti of Handala and Che. A kid comes up to my friend Olivia (who just set up a blog about her adventures in Ramallah) and says, “I’m for PPP [Palestinian communist party], what about you?” The boys point on a small Ghandi looking guy that walks with a smile on his face and a bucket. They greet him with the utmost respect and tell us that he’s the one that brought communism to the village. They say he suffered Israeli imprisonment and torture and a hit that was a little too hard on the head. Folk says he’s been walking 24 kilometers every day to Hebron and back without talking to anyone for the past 20 years. The PPP is not defined as a nationalist party (they do support Palestinian national liberation) and is the only Palestinian party that never had armed forces. During Iftar we talk to our hosts about Marx and international solidarity between all freedom fighters and how the hierarchy in both Israeli and Palestinian society comes from the same source and how communists and anarchists must be comrades. At dusk at Ramadan’s closure the sun goes down and one looks West on a beautiful view with mysterious trees that who knows who planted at British Mandate times and on the horizon one’s mental eye forgets that the apartheid wall is still there.

[הקליקו כאן כדי לקרוא מאמר חשוב וענייני בעברית על שטח האש וכרוניקת הגירוש]

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