ISRAEL has ordered Palestinian landowners to evacuate their land in the town of Tuqu’ in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli authorities on Wednesday said that they must ‘evacuate’ their land, and remove all the cattle corrals there within 14 days.
According to the mayor, Palestinian livestock keepers in Tuqu have been targeted by the Israeli authorities to pave the way for the expansion of settlements. More than 600,000 Israelis now live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Israeli regime is also continuing with forcing Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. Also on Wednesday, Israeli forces demolished Palestinian-owned structures to the east of Yatta City, south of the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
According to WAFA, Israeli bulldozers destroyed a rainwater harvesting well in the area of Khallet al-Dabe’, east of Yatta, under the pretext that it is built in Area C, which accounts for more than 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank, and forms a significant part of a future Palestinian state under the so-called two-state solution. Israeli forces also demolished an agricultural facility in the area of al-Fakhit as well as three residential structures.
The new clearances are meeting massive Palestinian resistance with the Palestinian masses determined to defend their land by all means necessary.
The massive land grab by Israel comes after violent Israeli raids on worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque prompted Palestinian retaliation, with Hamas firing rockets into Israel during last May’s ‘11-Day War’.
This 11-Day War saw a brutal Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. About 264 Palestinians were killed in this 11-day Israeli offensive against Gaza. A positive feature of the struggle was that Hamas responded with missile attacks on Israel, forcing Israel into a ceasefire!
Now the new Israeli government is at it again, stoking up tensions with its mass evictions. Israel started this week construction work at the Ibrahimi mosque in order to facilitate the arrival of Jewish worshippers at the holy site revered by Muslims as one of their most important holy places in Palestine.
Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters before detaining three people, one of them a woman and a former prisoner.
As the Israeli provocations against Palestine mount and tensions reach unbearable levels, Human Rights Watch has entered the scene as a critic of Hamas.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned the firing of rockets at Israel by Palestinians in Gaza during the May conflict. HRW says that the Hamas rocket fire response into Israel constitutes a ‘war crime!’ It wants to illegalise the right of the Palestinians to hit back. In fact, the Hamas rocket fire and the heroism of the entire Palestinian nation won the 11-Day War and forced Israel into a ceasefire!
Now HRW says that the Hamas missile attacks ‘flagrantly violated’ the laws of war. More than 4,360 unguided rockets and mortars were fired, Israel says, killing 13 people there. At least 260 people were killed in Gaza by Israeli shelling during the 11 days of fighting!
In its report released on Thursday, HRW said: ‘The rockets and mortars that Palestinian armed groups fired lack guidance systems and are prone to misfire, making them extremely inaccurate and thus inherently indiscriminate when directed toward areas with civilians. Launching such rockets to attack civilian areas is a war crime.
‘Hamas authorities should stop trying to justify unlawful rocket attacks that indiscriminately kill and injure civilians by pointing to Israel’s violations,’ Eric Goldstein, HRW acting Middle East and North Africa director, said. ‘The laws of war are meant to protect all civilians from harm.’
Human Rights Watch equates the right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves against a brutal Israeli occupier as a ‘war crime’.
This is not the view of the working people of the world. In fact millions of people, in the USA, the UK and throughout Europe marched for and supported Hamas’ right to defend the Palestinian people with rocket fire against the brutal imperialist-backed Israeli oppressors.
The liberating violence of the oppressed cannot and must not be equated with the violence of the oppressor.
In fact the Arab states have a duty to make a declaration supporting Hamas’ right to defend the Palestinian people. They must also warn Israel that they will not stand idly by if the Israeli ruling class move to massacre the Palestinian people and drive them off their land. Such a declaration will have the support of the working people of the world.