Vol. 4 Num 236 Thu. January 22, 2004  

'Greater Israel' through expulsion of Palestinians?

The so-called targeted assassinations of Palestinian militants and leaders and the daily repression that has claimed some 3,000 Palestinian lives in three years, are not blueprint primarily for security, but are rather aimed at the systematic expropriation of the Palestinian people. Sharon and his right-wing Zionist allies are determined to sabotage any possibility of creating an independent Palestinian state and remain committed to achieving a "greater Israel" through the expulsion of Palestinians from their land.

The military attacks of neither the Israeli regime nor the pathetic promises of the powerless Palestinian authority to rein in its militants will adjudicate the subjacent political onerousness and social deprivation that have given rise to the trepidation of suicide bombings. These attacks are themselves the product of the intense anger and desperation of a population of 3.5 million Palestinians who have been reduced to the status of mortified prisoners in their own land.

Hanadi Jaradat, was identified as the Haifa suicide bomber. A 29-year-old woman from the West Bank town of Jenin who was studying to be a lawyer saw her own brother and cousin killed by Israeli troops outside their home in June last year, the Israeli military occupied the town, subjecting civilian homes to tank fire and killing or wounding civilians. In the backwash of the Haifa bombing, Israeli tanks moved back into Jenin, imposing a curfew on the population and razing the home of Jaradat's family.

These perpetual repressive measures by the Israeli occupation forces have turned the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip living in torture and agony.

The arrant economic and social impact of the occupation was covered in a 25-page draft report prepared by UN special envoy Jean Ziegler that was recently revealed to the press. It inculpates that Israel's policy of "collective punishment" has disrupted food production and distribution to the extent that 22 percent of Palestinian children under five suffer severe malnutrition and most families have only one meal a day. It chronicles such conditions as "absurd" given the proven ability of the land to produce an adequate food supply.

"There can be no justification for harsh internal closures that prevent people from having access to food and water, otherwise the imposition of such military measures are amounting to what has been called a 'policy of starvation,'" the report added.

Since the October 04 blast that killed 19 people the Sharon regime has accelerated its attack on the Palestinians, exposing a series of drives that threaten a gargantuan extension of Israel's snatching of land in the occupied territories.

Prior to Haifa blast, Israel continued to implant 400,000 settlers with strong-willed auxiliary backup into the West Bank, East Jerusalem. The 4th Geneva Convention unequivocally expounds that it is illegal for the occupying power (Israel) to relocate any of its citizens into these occupied lands. This has brought a scenario in which foundation perhaps of an achievable Palestinian state looks bleak.

Further, the Israeli cabinet revealed plans to construct another 600 residences in three illegal settlements inside the West Bank. While the so-called "roadmap" nourished by Washington as the path to a chaffered, two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict demands a pause to new settlement activity, the Bush administration described the expansion merely as "unhelpful." The road map's objective was the establishment of a Palestinian state of undefined powers and uncertain borders alongside the Jordan River and the Mediterriann, but Haifa killing by the Palestinian and retaliation by Israeli bombing in Syria indicate the envisaged roadmap is grounded. And all that is now history.

Sharon's cabinet also disclosed its raison d'Ítre to move ahead with a "security wall" that cuts deeply into the occupied West Bank, effectively grabbing control of large swathes of Palestinian land. According to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, the wall will leave more than 80,000 Palestinians stratagemed either behind the wall or surrounded by security fences on all sides. The effect will be to criminate these people to a crabbed economic and social limbo, cut off from the rest of the Palestinian population, their work, schools, jobs and family members, while prohibited from entering Israel itself. Fully a quarter of a million Palestinians living in east Jerusalem will also be cut off from the rest of the West Bank.

A further spunk to bolster as a security measure is to extend protective fences around every one of the 170 illegal Israeli settlements scattered across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Each fence is to encompass a 400-meter radius around the settlement, trenchantly seizing control of large areas of land and further disrupting the lives of Palestinians under occupation.

US aggression (Iraq) has fortified Israel to reinforce its brutal crackdown on the Palestinians, and now launch military attacks on neighbouring Arab countries. Defending its action at the UN, Israel accused those condemning its attack on Syria of engaging in a "double standard." The body cannot allow some nations to "protect its citizens against terrorism," while gainsaying the right to others, the Israeli ambassador declared. The statement amounted to using the US war of aggression against Iraq as a paradigm to justify whatever military attacks Israel sees fit -- a ratiocination that the Bush administration embraces.

Washington should bear in mind that out-and-out support for Israel, no matter what crimes it commits against the Palestinian people or neighbouring countries, poses the direct threat that US soldiers will be pushed into another unprovoked war to kill and be killed.

Billy I Ahmed is a researcher.