The Israeli Holocaust Against thePalestinians

Researched and Curated by Michael Hoffman

What Fuels Palestinian Rage?

An Israeli Confesses

"The Palestinian intifada is a war of national liberation. We Israelis enthusiastically chose to become a colonialist society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities ... we established an apartheid regime." Michael Ben-Yair, Israeli attorney general in the1990s, quoted in The Guardian (U.K.), April 11, 2002

Demolition of Palestinian Factory

Yasir Safadi, 31, stood in the Gaza ghetto surveying a distant, muddy field that used to be his $3 million concrete factory. The plant was near a road used by Jewish settlers who had invaded Palestinian land in Nissanit, and in January 2001 Israeli bulldozers flattened his entire factory to clear a buffer zone around the settlers' road. The bulldozers took five days to destroy his plant. Fifty five employees were laid off, depriving 385 Gazans of a source of income. Safadi himself was left with more than $1 million in uncompensated debt. "Even if they leave," he asked, "how can I afford to rebuild? And if I do, how can I be sure they'll not destroy it again?"

Demolition of 58 Palestinian Homes

" mid-January (2002), the Israelis demolished fifty-eight Palestinian homes near Rafah in Gaza, Schiff denounced the action as 'nothing more than superfluous violence against civilians, among them children and the elderly, which will only serve to encourage revenge attacks by desperate people." - The Nation, March 11, 2002

34 New Settlements on Palestinian Land

"...Ariel Sharon has never wanted peace with the Palestinians and never will - he only wants their surrender and expulsion."

by Ian Gilmour / The Observer (U.K.), March 31, 2002

"(There have been)...34 new (Israeli) settlements (on Palestinian land) started since Sharon became Prime Minister. When I was driving round the West Bank last week and seeing both these new settlements and the growth of the old ones, that (figure) seemed, if anything, an underestimate.

"Yet while Bush has constantly told Arafat to stop the Palestinian violence, which Sharon's purposeful destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure and police stations has rendered him incapable of doing under present conditions, he has made no effort to make Sharon cease all settlement activity and enter peace talks. Since even the American Secretary of State said last November (2001) that the occupation must end, it is presumably the pro-Israeli bias of the dominant members of the Bush administration which is responsible for that administration determinedly shutting its eyes to the basic fact of the Palestinian struggle - that Israel is fighting a colonial war to subjugate the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are fighting to end 35 years of occupation of their land.

"...journalist Nahum Barnea told his readers: 'The terrorism of suicide bombings was borne of despair and there is no military solution to despair.' That despair has been induced by the Israeli army killing more than 1,400 Palestinians in 18 months, Israel's continued building of illegal settlements on Palestinian land, military occupation, daily humiliation and economic suffering. When, as the Israelis have done, you make life not worth living for thousands of Palestinians, there will be no shortage of suicide bombers.

"The Bush administration has long known...that Ariel Sharon has never wanted peace with the Palestinians and never will - he only wants their surrender and expulsion. As the speaker of the Knesset said a few weeks ago, Israel now has 'a violent government out to destroy the Palestinian authority to avoid giving up the settlements'. Yet because the US believed that the Israelis would eventually win the conflict, they gave Sharon a green light to be as brutal as he liked,...And despite Sharon's record, Bush happily hobnobbed with him, while refusing to meet Arafat."

Lord Gilmour of Craigmillar is Britain's former Secretary of State for Defence

A now homeless Palestinian woman weeps over her destroyed house in Mograka village, the Gaza ghetto, March 15, 2002. Her home was demolished by Israeli bulldozers to make room for "settlers" from the Zionist outpost of "Netzarim."

A Palestinian boy looks at the wreckage of his home in the Jabalya refugee camp after Israeli soldiers destroyed it, March 12, 2002.

Ha'aretz April 12, 2001

Human Rights Watch [Editor's note: IDF = Israeli military]

"Jews destroyed our house," three-year-old Rageh Jaber cried in his young voice, after hearing his father Ata Jaber recount on the phone how Jewish settlers attacked his east Hebron home on December 8, as part of a series of reprisals for the killing of two settlers (Rina Didovski and Eliyahu Ben-Ami) from Palestinian gunfire. In addition to causing serious damage to Jaber's home and neighboring residences that day, enraged settlers shot and badly wounded 13-year-old Mansour Jaber.The story of the attacks against the Jaber residence and nearby homes is included in an 82-page report, "Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in the Hebron District," released this week by the American organization Human Rights Watch. The report is based on investigations carried out by the organization's human rights workers for five weeks, between November 2000 and February 2001. Human Rights Watch workers interviewed dozens of victims of alleged abuses, along with witnesses, international observers stationed in the Hebron area, Israeli and Palestinian Authority officials, and settlers.

"Hebron is a microcosm of the devastating impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on civilians," says Hanny Megally, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division. Megally adds: "These widespread human rights abuses simply cannot be deferred to future negotiations."

The report calls on the international community to "urge the United Nations Security Council to establish immediately a permanent international presence in the West Bank and Gaza to monitor and report publicly and regularly on the compliance by all parties with international human rights and humanitarian law standards." The report notes that Hebron, the largest Palestinian city on the West Bank which has remained in large measure under direct Israel Defense Forces control, is home to 120,000 Palestinians, along with a large concentration of settlers (500 Jews live in the center of the city, and another 7,000 dwell in outlying areas).

Since the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Hebron has been a flash-point of conflicts which pit Palestinians against settlers and Israeli security forces. Like other parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Hebron plays host to human rights violations, and the trampling of international law.

The report contends that a leading source of human rights abuse in Hebron is the excessive use of lethal force by Israeli security forces in clashes with Palestinian demonstrators, many of whom are unarmed and pose no dire threat to the Israeli security personnel, or anybody else. Many of the Palestinians who have been killed or hurt by IDF fire in the vicinity of demonstrations were pedestrians - this fact conveys a hint that some IDF soldiers have fired indiscriminately in populated areas.

The report uses the term "unlawful killings" to describe assassinations of Palestinians suspected of involvement in acts of terror against IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians which are carried out by Israeli security men. It documents cases in which Palestinians have been shot and killed under dubious circumstances which warrant investigation, and possibly the submission of criminal indictments.

The report's authors reject the IDF's contention that it bears no obligation to investigate incidents in which such Palestinian terror suspects have been killed because it is embroiled in a "state of armed dispute."

Israel's systematic policy of imposing curfews and closures against Palestinian areas constitutes a form of "collective punishment" which is prohibited by international law and humanitarian standards, the report contends.

Some 30,000 Palestinians who live in Hebron's Israel-controlled "H2" region have been confined to their homes by a near-permanent, round-the-clock, curfew. This drastic restriction applies only to Palestinian residents; Israeli settlers in the H2 area are allowed to move freely at all times. In some cases, the closures and curfews make it easier for settlers to perpetrate attacks against Palestinians, the report claims. Hadj Fahmi Abu-Turki, a 46-year-old father of 10 who lives in Hirbet Al-Qass, complained this week that "the curfew which has been imposed on our neighborhood, close to the Beit Hagai settlement, has been in effect almost since the start of the Intifada. Soldiers sometimes shoot as though they are in training [exercises]; and all day and night, settlers curse and throw rocks at us."

By and large, the some 21,000 pupils who live in the H2 region have been unable to attend classes because their schools have been shut-down by closures and curfews. Scores of Palestinian bread-winners in this Hebron area have lost their jobs. Medical personnel are unable to do their work; health care is delayed; ambulances are stopped en route, dodging gunfire shot by Israeli security forces.

The Human Rights Watch report documents cases in which Israeli security men abused and assaulted Palestinian taxi drivers and owners of private vehicles who attempted to skirt around closures and checkpoints by using alternative roads. Soldiers have beaten-up the drivers, deflated the tires of their cars, or fired shots in their general direction.

Describing attacks carried out by settlers against Palestinians in the Hebron area, the report suggests that the IDF serves as a kind of shield for the aggressive Jewish civilians. "It is clear that the majority of physical attacks are initiated by Israeli settlers, and that the IDF has consistently failed in its obligation to protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli settlers. In effect, settlers are using the protection provided by the IDF to attack Palestinian civilians," the report claims. In most of the cases it has monitored, the Human Rights Watch organization claims that "the IDF has only intervened to protect the Israeli settlers from counterattack."

Settlers have routinely attacked the Palestinian vegetable market in Hebron's Old City, the report claims. The settlers damage produce in the market, topple vendors' stalls, and also vandalize and attack a large number of Palestinian homes in the Old City.

The report claims that (Jewish) settlers have accosted numerous humanitarian-human rights workers, Palestinian journalists, and international observers (such as members of the "Christian Peacemakers Team").

...In this section pertaining to settler issues, and other parts of the report, the authors find that IDF responses enacted ostensibly to protect Jewish civilians are often excessive. The "heavy weaponry" operated by Israel the report says, "increases the destructive potential of the IDF response, and must be used with great care to prevent disproportionate harm to civilians."

The authors add: "On many occasions, it appears that IDF soldiers have responded with widespread gunfire into civilian neighborhoods, hitting dozens of homes at a time. The apparently untargeted nature of IDF gunfire and its civilian toll raises serious concerns that the IDF is firing indiscriminately, in violation of international humanitarian law standards.

Theft of their Land

Home of Abdel Jawad Jaber near Hebron. A thirty-foot high wall is being built behind the home on land confiscated from Jaber to expand the Israeli settlement of Har Sina, winter, 2001.

Since December 2000, the Israelis have confiscated additional huge tracts of Palestinian land in the Hebron district. Israeli bulldozers have been at work razing Palestinian orchards, and plowing under lPalestinian crop land in preparation for building new Jewish settlements.

The Palestinian family of Atta Jaber have had all of their farm land confiscated, with the exception of the land on which their house was built. Israeli ettlements in the North, South, and East of the district of Palestine under Israeli occupation are expanding at an increased rate.

Israelis have already confiscated more than one-third of the Palestinian land in the Hebron district. The confiscation of land deprives Palestinian farming families of their only means of supporting themselves. International law and Human Rights accords outlaw the confiscation of land by an occupying power. Many of the Palestinian families whose land has recently been confiscated have deeds from the Ottoman Empire proving their ownership.

Can you feel their anger?

By Rick Carter from the Christian Peacekeepers Team, Hebron January 10, 2001

It was 5.00 pm Thursday afternoon when I received a frantic phone call from Jowdy Jabber. Settlers were once again in his brother Atta's home, in the Beqa'a valley, east of Hebron.

The Israeli Army (IDF) forced Atta to leave his home several weeks ago after a settler attack, and declared it a closed military zone. Soldiers are stationed there full time to keep settlers and Atta's family away. After Jowdy's call, we immediately called the Hebron police and learned the IDF had granted the settlers a one hour permit to hold a Hanukkah prayer service. Pierre Shantz and I immediately left to for the Jabber home. When we arrived, there were fires and candles burning all around the home and the settlers were dispersing.

As we watched from the porch of Atta's father's home stones the size of softballs began crashing to the ground around us. The settlers were stoning the house from a 30 foot wall behind us. Ducking into the house for cover we called the Hebron police again to tell them of the attack and request assistance. We were told to go out and talk to the police across the street who are supervising the Hanukkah service. "That's not possible, we're under attack," we replied. Once the voice on the other end of the line decided that yes, it probably wasn't wise to leave the house, he dispatched police who stopped the stoning and came to the house to talk with the family.

The police assured us they were there to protect everyone, including Palestinians, offering their quick response as evidence of their protection.

"What did you do with the settlers who were stoning?" we asked. They were told to go home. (What happens to Palestinians who throw stones? They are shot.)

"Why don't you make that 30 foot wall a closed military zone and keep settlers away?" We can't do that. They throw stones from there and attack this family every time there is violence against Israelis anywhere. This family is vocal about non-violence in the community and work closely with Israeli peace groups. "Why would the settlers even want to hold a service there if they didn't plan on claiming it? Why did you allow a prayer service at Atta's home if you don't plan to let them? You call this protection?"

What if you were asking these questions about your home? Can you feel their anger?

The following morning on my way home I passed through a group of small boys, probably from eight to twelve years old. They looked mischievous. They possessed the smirk of just having done something they shouldn't have. The look that causes adults to be wary and look around for its cause. Looking down the road I saw two soldiers, then eight more came running up. Ten heavily armed soldiers facing a group of unarmed boys. How would you feel if your local police responded to your children with lethal force? Can you feel their anger?

Later that day I was on my way to meet a friend for lunch. There was a clash between heavily armed Israeli youth (Israeli soldiers) and Palestinian youth armed with stones (Palestinian soldiers) in the street I was walking on, so I walked around it. But I got tear gassed anyway because the wind was blowing my direction. Cautiously looking down the street through my stinging and watering eyes, slinking across like some kind of fugitive walking across the town square as close to the buildings as possible thinking about getting shot, the absurdity of the whole thing struck me. What if you had to do this just to go to lunch? Can you feel their anger?

This is a military occupation at the hand of a self-proclaimed democracy, justified and supported by many other democracies around the world. These nations consistently turn a blind eye while the indigenous civilian population is brutalized, not only by the occupying military force but also by the occupiers civilian population who confiscate the land they are colonizing.

This is a place where the civilian population is collectively punished in retaliation for resistance. This is a place where the occupying army seeks out and assassinates resistance leaders; where the occupiers who have guns and bombs are called soldiers and considered legitimate around the world, while those who resist with guns and bombs are considered criminal terrorists by the international community. Can you feel their anger?

Israeli terror in Gaza

Almost unnoticed by the North American press, the terror in Gaza continues. An Internet publication known as the Ramattan Daily -- produced for the express purpose of revealing to the West the grim truth of Israel's crackdown on the occupied Gaza Strip -- makes for an alarming read.

Reports include the daily and nightly indiscriminate machine-gunning and shelling of whole villages by the powerful Israeli Defense Force (IOF) -- an army the Ramattan writers refer to as the IOF (Israeli Occupation Force).

Civilian traffic is shelled. Gunboats target civilians forced to skirt Israeli roadblocks by trudging up Gaza beaches. Troops shoot at children coming home from school, the bulldozing of

Palestinian farmland continues unabated while those who attempt to protect their property come under Israeli fire.

Expelled Palestinian farmers can only watch as the Israeli army slices access roads through their pitiful agricultural plots. There's the Israeli army's months'-long siege of refugee camps whose inhabitants lived under miserable conditions at the best of times.

Any hope for a let-up in the destruction of homes by armored bulldozer ortank cannon is a fleeting dream. Fleeing to avoid death or maiming is a daily occurrence. Palestinian workers -- when they're not barred from working in neighbouring Israel -- are routinely beaten and degraded by the IDF.

A tightening Israeli military noose around Gaza has throttled the economy, sowing destitution, despair and fury among the virtual prisoners within. Israeli border guards prevent Palestinians returning from other countries re-entry into Gaza -- forcing them to endure the elements for weeks at a time as they wait.

Surely these reports are exaggerated propaganda dredged up to discredit the Jewish state.

But the reports are all too true, says a Calgarian with close links to both the diplomatic and Palestinian communities and who's lived in Gaza the past 18 months.

"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself ... what's happening here is incredibly shocking," Marisa Kemper, 33, says from her home not far from Gaza City's waterfront. "It's a very, very dire situation here -- there's a lack of (outside) understanding of what's going on. I'm just in a state of shock as to how the IDF has decided to approach this."

International aid officials follow up on the reports only to find they're largely true as well, she adds.

To Palestinians suffering under Israeli guns, (Arab) terrorist bombings in Israel must appear as puny pinpricks.

Under the pretense of preventing terrorist attacks against targets in neighboring Israel, the IDF regularly makes travel for Palestinians within the Gaza Strip virtually impossible.

In an effort to quell the uprising against their occupation, the IDF is fuelling the hatred and determination to resist them.

Now, Israelis are threatening to "invade" Gaza and the West Bank. To the Palestinians, it's already happened.

What's more, medical aid is withheld from the closed-off areas and ambulances become targets of Israeli guns. Even diplomatic and UN vehicles have become fair game, says Kemper.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, the isolation of Gaza villages by the IDF contravenes UN articles on free passage of medicines and foodstuffs, the welfare and education of children and prohibition of collective punishment.

Palestinian fighters frequently resist the onslaught with what few weapons they have, or strike back at Israeli troops and settlements. "People are trying to throw off the forces of a belligerent occupation and this is defined by the Geneva Convention as just that," says Kemper.

Ostensibly, Israeli troops terrorizing Gaza are there to guard Jewish settlements. There are usually only a few hundred living there at any one time -- amidst 1.2 million Palestinians.

It's little wonder even some Israeli troops view their mission with disgust. It also fully explains why Canada supported a UN proclamation condemning Israel's excessive use of force.

But UN proclamations ring hollow to Palestinians when night falls and cannon and machine-gun fire strafe their neighborhoods.

Calgary Sun | March 5, 2001 | Bill Kaufman

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