by Stephen Lendman
Imagine daily life under these conditions. Occupation harshness enforces institutionalized terror. Fear is constant. Collective punishment is policy.
Peaceful public demonstrations are assaulted. Free expression and movement are prohibited. Population centers are isolated. Borders are closed.
Normal daily life is denied. Economic strangulation and institutionalized racism are imposed. So are curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, separation walls, electric fences, and other barriers.
Neighborhood incursions, land, sea and air attacks, bulldozed homes, land theft, ethnic cleansing, slow-motion genocide, targeted killings, mass arrests, torture, and gulag imprisonment reflect daily life for praying to the wrong God.
Fundamental civil and human rights are denied. Crimes of war and against humanity repeat without redress. Wanting to live free in sovereign Palestine is called terrorism.
Punitive taxes are imposed. Few services are provided. Vital ones are lacking or inadequate. Palestinian lawmakers are imprisoned for belonging to the wrong party.
Fishermen are attacked at sea. So are farmers working their land. Trying at the wrong time risks arrest, injury or death. Crops and orchards are destroyed. Settlers commit regular attacks. Courts provide no help.
Gaza is suffocating under siege. Scoundrel media policy enforces coverup and denial, blame the victim, and portray Israel as the region's only free democratic state. Reality reflects police state harshness. It persists without end.
Even Jews challenging injustice are targeted. Rogues tolerate no opposition. Israeli ones have few equals.
On May 24, Haaretz headlined "Amnesty International: Israel uses excessive force against Palestinians," saying:
AI's 2012 annual report "is highly critical of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians...." It charges Israel Defense Forces with "frequent" use of "excessive, sometimes lethal force against demonstrators in the West Bank and civilians in Gaza."
Dozens are lawlessly killed, including children. Blockading Gaza enforces a "humanitarian crisis." Restricting free movement was also criticized.
So was Israel's Separation Wall on stolen Palestinian land, settlement expansions, home demolitions, destroying so-called "unrecognized" villages, and failure to "bring those (who) attack Palestinians to justice."
Settlers were mentioned. They commit vandalism and kill Palestinians with impunity. Israeli security forces do nothing to stop them. More on that below.
Wrongfully imprisoning Palestinians was criticized. Thousands rot unjustly in Israel's gulag. Hundreds are there uncharged. Torture and ill-treatment were highlighted. So were other abuses.
On May 25, Al Haq headlined "Rampant settler attacks against Palestinians," saying:
Since January, Al Haq documented "98 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians across the West Bank."
Those living closest to settlements are most vulnerable. Attacks include property damage or destruction, physical assaults, and murder.
Al Haq highlighted several recent incidents:
(1) On May 19, about 150 settlers, some heavily armed, invaded 'Asira al-Qibliya village south of Nablus. Twenty nearby Israeli soldiers watched and did nothing.
Crops were burned. Youths confronted settlers. They used live fire in response. Bassam Nijem 'Asayra witnessed events. One settler "pointed his gun directly towards him," he said.
Nimer Fathi Nijem intervened to help him. Settlers opened fire. He incurred face and neck wounds. Bassam thought he would die. He was hospitalized with severe damage to his right cheek, left ear, and jaw.
Clashes continued for another two hours. Soldiers intervened. They assaulted Palestinians, not settlers, with tear gas and rubber bullets. Incidents like this repeat often.
(2) On May 20, Muhammad 'Aqel Mur's crops were set ablaze. Two settlers were responsible. Muhammad approached. They hurriedly left.
Police and Israel's Civil Administration (ICA) were informed. Security forces and ICA personnel arrived to assess damage and question Muhammad.
Two settlers were apprehended. "Muhammad is not optimistic that they will be held to account." It rarely happens. Occasionally settlers are questioned and released without further action.
(3) On May 17, Hamza Zeid 'Allan saw his father's car on fire. Three arsonists were spotted leaving the scene.
Hamza notified the Israeli Coordination office nearby. Police and military forces arrived to investigate. A complaint was filed. No further action was taken.
(4) On May 17, settlers destroyed 33 fruit trees belonging to Muhammad 'Abd-al-Hamid al-Sleibi. He and his family relied on harvested crops for income since 1959.
In April, settlers destroyed his olive groves and over 30 vine trees. They left behind "price tag" and "revenge" slogans. They reflect repeated vandalism and other violent incidents. Extremist settlers commit them with impunity.
"Mumammad and his lawyer are still waiting for an appointment with the Israeli Civil Administration regarding this incident." They expect little help. Settlers act lawlessly with impunity.
On May 26, armed settlers launched multiple attacks on Palestinian villages near Nablus. Farmers were attacked on their land. One was shot and wounded. He was struck in the abdomen and hospitalized.
Farmlands were also set ablaze. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Palestinians defending their property. One arrest followed. Palestinians don't know what's worse - marauding settlers or soldiers defending their right to commit vandalism and other crimes with impunity.
On May 25, Adalah headlined "Adalah to Government and Knesset: "Sanctioning Construction on Private Palestinian Land in the West Bank Violates Israeli and International Law," saying:
If passed, Knesset bills will "legalize building on private Palestinian land in Israeli Jewish settlements in the West Bank."
Adalah attorney Suhad Bishara said doing so amounts to large-scale lawless confiscation of Palestinian land. Resources on it will be lost. Israeli wants all valued parts of Judea and Sameria Judaized.
Israel's High Court accepts the legitimacy of private Palestinian property rights. It also recognizes international humanitarian and human rights laws. Israel systematically ignores them.
Politically confiscated land is prohibited. Knesset bills permit it. If enacted, they'll circumvent recent Supreme Court rulings. They ordered illegal settler outposts on private Palestinian land dismantled. Forged papers were used to build them.
Extremist Israeli cabinet members threatened to resign if settlers are removed. Netanyahu postponed demolitions. He appears poised to recognize them retroactively.
Israeli officials often circumvent High Court decisions. Netanyahu heads Israel's worst ever government. Racist, hardline rogues infest it. Democratic values don't matter. Laws are routinely violated.
Palestinian rights are systematically denied. State terror is policy. Adalah knows petitioning for what's right has little chance of succeeding. Nonetheless, it persists like other human rights groups. Palestinians deserve that much and more. So does everyone.
Progress comes slowly in baby steps. On May 23, Ahmed Moor's Mondoweiss article headlined "Why 'Brand Israel' is failing," saying:
"Israel is less popular among young Americans than ever before" for good reason. Doing the wrong thing long enough attracts attention. It's encouraging to see young people understand, including Americans.
They're assaulted by one-sided pro-Israeli scoundrel media. For them, the harshest Israeli policy is justified. Palestinians are vilified as terrorists for wanting to live free.
For young Americans, however, "the conversation about Zionism in America is dramatically different from what it was only a few years ago." Facts slowly displace fiction. Truths reach people wanting to know.
Learning them is eye-opening. Oslo "facilitate(d) the preservation of Jewish privilege." Occupation terrorizes Palestinians. Zionism reflects racism, violence, and rapaciousness. It's an instrument for harsh repression. It abhors love thy neighbor and do unto others.
Anti-Semitism is an outworn canard. It's become "an exercise in self-caricature." Public support for Israel is eroding. Perhaps one day political Washington will notice. How it reacts is another matter altogether, and the same goes for racist European governments.
Understanding is one thing, policy another. Change so far is nowhere in sight. Palestinians know best of all.
A Final Comment
On May 23, Haaretz columnist Amira Hass headlined "Israel is doing everything to separate Gaza, West Bank," saying:
Aside from issues of divide, conquer and control, Hass wrote about five Gazan women accepted to attend Bir Zeit University. Four hope to earn master's degrees in gender studies.
Three are in their 40s, one in her 30s, and a fifth just graduated from high school with honors.
Israel blocks their admission. It refuses passage rights through its territory to the West Bank. Security is claimed for justification. At issue is racist persecution, not fear of a terrorist attack.
"The State Attorney's Office knows it is difficult to argue persuasively that four middle-aged women who have worked for years to advance women's rights in the Strip, and one young woman (the daughter of a well-known jurist), will export terror infrastructure to the West Bank."
Instead it says the state has "broad authority to determine" who's granted entry rights. With regard to students posing no threat, the argument is spurious on its face.
Gisha attorneys say Gaza merchants enter Israel for work meetings. Why them and not students? Does modest easing on commerce matter more than education? Do men get rights denied women?
Hass notes "the elephant in the room." Israel wants Hamas rule in Gaza. It facilitates West Bank separation. Oslo stipulated one Palestine, not two. Israel systematically violated all provisions agreed on.
Palestinians suffer grievously. Abbas compounds injustice as Israel's enforcer. He long ago betrayed his people for self-serving reasons.
On May 23, Israel's High Court heard arguments for and against the five Gazan women. Though absent, their presence was felt. Attorneys argued on their behalf.
Israel denied them entry for their Supreme Court hearing.
At issue is who'll prevail - students petitioning for justice or the "indefensible" claim of a fundamentally corrupt racist state.
Also at issue is does it matter. Extremist governments like Netanyahu's ignore rulings they reject.
Expect nothing different this time. Expect another "Brand Israel" black eye.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.