Israeli government often reminds me of a dog I once owned. My dog
was forbidden to enter into the living room. Nevertheless, she would
creep into the living room, usually moving a few inches at a time
in order to see whether we reacted. If we did not react, she would
move further into the living room. Sometimes, when she was in the
mood, she would move so far into the living room that she would
feel comfortable tearing apart the furniture.
recently released United Nations report confirms what many human
rights activists have alleged: at least 60,000 Palestinians in East
Jerusalem face the prospect of eviction by Israeli authorities.
Yet this story has received relatively little mainstream attention,
and even less official condemnation.
since the Israelis captured East Jerusalem in the June 1967 war
they have made clear their intent, despite widespread international
protest and in clear violation of international law, to annex Jerusalem.
In order to expedite this annexation, the Israeli occupation authorities
have put pressure on the Palestinians to “vacate the premises.”
The pressure has included actions such as encouraging Israelis to
settle in what had been Palestinian East Jerusalem, while failing
to build new and adequate housing for the Palestinian people.
current trick of the Israeli government is to move against Palestinian
residents by claiming that the Palestinians are living in homes
that show no proof of a legal building permit. What is perverse
about this is that the Israelis are not talking about housing built
in the last several years or even housing built since the June 1967
war. They are discussing housing that has been occupied by Palestinians
in many cases for decades! In fact, according to the Washington
Post [May 2, 2009] the dispute even involves searching through
archives from the time of the Ottoman Empire (which ended when World
War I ended in 1918) in order to prove ownership.
Israeli government, of course, denies that they have any intent
to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian population. How could they,
of course, given that they are supposed to be the model of democracy
in the Middle East??!! The reality is that what the Israeli government
has been conducting in East Jerusalem is part of the larger Israeli
strategy in its Occupation of the Palestinian territories: drive
the Palestinians from the best lands and replace them with Israeli
settlers. Insofar as the world does nothing, the Israeli government
behaves much as my dog did; it moves further and further in, increasing
the intensity and scope of their destructive behavior.
should surprise no one that the Israelis are attempting to remove
the Palestinian population from Jerusalem. This has been consistent
since the June 1967 war. The extent of the projected removal - 60,000
people - should, however, outrage any democratic minded person.
Irrespective of one’s stand on the history of the development of
Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians, the fact of the matter
is that the Israeli government continues to violate international
law and precedent without having to fear any sort of international
proposed removal of 60,000 Palestinians increases the relevance
and timeliness of discussions regarding the need to develop a movement
of boycott, divestment and sanctions aimed at undermining the Israeli
occupation of the Palestinian territories. Since it seems obvious
that most governments, including but not limited to the US government,
are unwilling to take steps to insist upon justice for the Palestinians,
then pressure needs to be brought about by squeezing corporations
and governments that are complicit in the criminal activities of
the Israeli government.
in the face of ethnic cleansing is simply unacceptable. The Israeli
government and its friends must understand that there is a cost
involved when it snubs its nose at the Palestinian people, and in
fact, at the world as well.
Executive Editor, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the
Institute for Policy Studies,
the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and co-author of, Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path
toward Social Justice
(University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized
labor in the USA. He is also on the advisory board of the US Campaign
to End the Israeli Occupation (http://www.endtheoccupation.org/).
to contact Mr. Fletcher.