Jeff Halper of ICAHD is angry, really angry – about 5th demolition of Palestinian home in Anata

Jeff Halper, the American-Israeli director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions [ICAHD] called it a “war crime” — the 5th demolition of Beit Arabiya in Anata on Monday night.

The demolition order was issued by the Israeli military on Thursday. The bulldozers arrived on Monday night.

Jeff Halper + ICAHD have rebuilt this house four times already, after each previous demolition — and he is vowing to do so again.

He’s full of anger + adrenalin, and wrote this for +972 Magazine:

    “In the dark of night this past Monday, January 23, the IDF carried out its own Price Tag assault on ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

    At 11:30 p.m. on that cold, rainy night, I got a panicky phone call from Salim Shawamreh, a Palestinian man from the West Bank town of Anata whose home has been demolished by the Israeli authorities four times and rebuilt as an act of resistance each time by ICAHD. ‘Army bulldozers are approaching my home’, he cried. ‘Now they’re beginning to demolish it!’

    As has become routine, I alerted our activists, plus journalists and foreign diplomats, and we rushed out to Anata. We knew we could not save the homes, but we could resist; stand in solidarity with the families, soaked, with their belongings, in the rain; document what was happening and broadcast this latest war crime to the world. It was another of those thousands of attacks on Palestinians that occur daily but never reach the newspapers – probably because there are so many and they are so routine by now that they are not, in fact, ‘news’.

    By the time we reached Salim’s house – which we rebuilt in 2003 and have called Beit Arabiya ever since, the ‘house of Arabiya’, home to Salim’s wife and mother of their seven children – it was gone. Salim himself was afraid to go down the hill to see it because of the soldiers, but I ran down. Even in the dark and rain I could see the ruins of the home, and the family’s belongings that had been thrown out. But I couldn’t tarry. The bulldozers had moved up the hill and were in the process of demolishing a Jahalin Bedouin enclave there – part of the Jahalin tribe that was being removed and relocated on top of the Jerusalem garbage dump near Abu Dis…”

But, that wasn’t the end of it. Jeff continued:

    “In the end, Beit Arabiya, six Jahalin homes and most of their animal pens were demolished before the army left. The bulldozer, protected by dozens of troops, belonged to a commercial contractor who was paid well for the demolitions by the Civil Administration, Israel’s military government in the West Bank that uses the word ‘civil’ to downplay its military connections, and to make it appear that demolitions of ‘illegal’ Palestinian homes are simply part of ‘proper administration’.

    After staying with the families and promising to rebuild, we finally left to send out press releases; put out information on our website and social media; and begin mobilizing activists abroad and, through them, governments and UN bodies.

    Only when we returned early in the morning did we learn that yet another house had been demolished: that of the Abu Omar family, a family of 17 people who lived in a home that had been demolished last year, which ICAHD had rebuilt in our 2011 summer rebuilding camp. We had thought the bulldozer and soldiers had left for the Border Police base on the hill opposite Beit Arabiya and the Jahalin, but in fact they had only gone around Anata. At 3:30 a.m. they pounced on the Abu Omar family, forced them out of their home, removed their belongings and demolished it. The family was so dazed by the sudden violence, terror, confusion and need to protect the terrified children that they hadn’t even thought of phoning us…”

Information posted hours later on the ICAHD website, here, gave more details on the demolition of this second ICAHD-rebuilt house, and tells us that:

    “This morning, Israeli authorities demolished the home of the Abu Omar family, rebuilt by ICAHD in July 2011. The Abu Omar family home, built in 1990 on privately owned land, was demolished by the Israeli military in 2005. Ahmed Abu Omar (46) had applied for a building permit, but was refused on the grounds that his land was zoned as an ‘agricultural area’. This is a story we hear often, and it reflects Israel’s long-time, unlawful policy of curtailing all construction by Palestinians since 1967. They were offered neither alternative housing nor compensation for the demolition, violating international law. The construction of the Abu Omar family home, long waited since the 2005 demolition by Israel, was completed on July 24th 2011, exactly six months ago … ICAHD staff visited with the family shortly after the demolition of their home took place to find them somber, traumatized, and grief stricken. ICAHD has vowed to support the family in rebuilding their home, once more”.

That makes two previously-demolished, ICAHD-rebuilt, homes destroyed in the same military operation in Anata on the night of 23-24 January.

Anata is in Area C of the West Bank.

Area C — the largest of three zones determined by agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization — constitutes over 60 percent of West Bank land, and some 124 Israeli Jewish settlements have been built there, which impose severe restrictions on the lives of the diminishing number of Palestinians living there/

Fewer than 6% of the Palestinian population of the West Bank live in Area C, some 62% of the land.

The lack of permission and possibility for Palestinian activity in Area C has recently become a subject of renewed concern by the European Union, whose heads of mission in Jerusalem have just written, in an internal report to their Brussels headquarters, that “The Palestinian presence in the largest part of the occupied West Bank – has been ‘continuously undermined’ by Israel in ways that are ‘closing the window’ on a two-state solution”, as Donald Macintyre reported in The Independent last week, which can be read here.

Macintyre’s report in The Independent continued: “With the number of Jewish settlers now at more than double the shrinking Palestinian population in the largely rural area, the report warns bluntly that, ‘if current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders seem more remote than ever’.”

According to the EU report, Macintyre wrote, the numbers of Palestinians living in Area C has been cut by approximately half since the Israeli occupation following its conquest in the June 1967 war — from perhaps 320,000 at the time to only 150,000 nowadays. Meanwhile, the number of Israeli settlers has grown to replacement level, and stands at 310,000 people.

Macintyre added that the latest Heads of Mission end-of-year internal report “is the EU’s starkest critique yet of how a combination of house and farm building demolitions; a prohibitive planning regime; relentless settlement expansion; the military’s separation barrier; obstacles to free movement; and denial of access to vital natural resources, including land and water, is eroding Palestinian tenure of the large tract of the West Bank on which hopes of a contiguous Palestinian state depend”.

The Heads of Mission report recommended that the EU should “support Palestinian presence in, and development of the area”, according to The Independent.

Amira Hass wrote in Haaretz, here, that: “A newly approved internal report of European Heads of Mission, titled ‘Area C and Palestinian State Building’, cautioned that the chances for a two-state solution on 1967 borders will be lost if Israel does not change its policies in Area C. ‘What’s special about this report is that we are all partners in it and agree on the wording of it’, a European diplomat told Haaretz. ‘The European governments hold a variety of stances regarding the situation – with Holland representing one very pro-Israel side, and Ireland on the other side. But everyone agreed on this document’, the diplomat said, adding: ‘Israel always says it has both enemies and friends in Europe and we say: the friends think this way too about the situation in Area C’.”

Hass added that, in its final version, “the report stated that Israeli policy in Area C ‘results in forced transfer of the native population’.”

Meanwhile, in his article for +972 Magazine, Jeff wrote in anger that this was a “Price Tag” attack on Palestinians, as well as on ICAHD, on the night of 23-24 January:

    “The IDF attack on three sites that for years have been identified with ICAHD’s resistance activities was clearly an official, government-sponsored, violent Price Tag assault on Palestinians in order to ‘send a message’ to ICAHD. Out of the tens of thousands of demolition orders outstanding in the Occupied Territory, they chose these three. In fact, the ‘message’ had already been delivered. Already at the second demolition of Beit Arabiya in 1999, Micha Yakhin, the Civil Administration official responsible for overseeing the demolitions in that part of the West Bank, told me: ‘We will demolish every home you rebuild’.

    ICAHD has rebuilt 185 demolished Palestinian homes in the past 15 years, all as acts of political resistance – not humanitarian gestures – all funded by donations. We will rebuild the homes demolished Monday night as well. The coming together of Palestinian families and community members, Israeli activists and international peace-makers to rebuild homes is one of the most significant forms of resistance, solidarity and mobilization. But Israel demolished 200 homes last year alone in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, of more than 26,000 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territory since 1967. Resistance cannot keep pace with the massive Price Tag assault that is the Israeli Occupation”.

Jeff’s account is published here.

An Israeli “Civil Administration” staff member commented that “You should know that these houses were built without permits”.

While the Israeli “Civil Administration” may have civilian Israeli and Palestinian staff, it is run by the Israeli military.

ICAHD reported on its website on [Tuesday] 24 January that they had already invited the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Adequate housing to visit Beit Arabiya during her upcoming visit later this month:

    “As its name suggests, Beit Arabiya is a home belonging to Arabiya Shawamreh, her husband Salim and their seven children, a Palestinian family whose home has been demolished four times by the Israeli authorities and rebuilt each time by ICAHD’s Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists, before being demolished again last night. At around 11p.m. Monday, a bulldozer accompanied by a contingent of heavily armed Israeli soldiers appeared on the Anata hills, to promptly demolish Beit Arabiya, along with residential and agricultural structures in the nearby Arab al-Jahalin Bedouin compound. 3 family homes were demolished along with numerous animal pans, and 20 people including young children were displaced, left exposed to the harsh desert environment. While standing in solidarity with Palestinians, ICAHD staff and activists were repeatedly threatened by Israeli soldieries. ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain was beaten and sustained minor injuries.

    Beit Arabiya was issued a demolition order by Israeli authorities back in 1994, following their failure to grant a building permit … Arabiya and Salim [Shawamreh] … dedicated their home as a center for peace in the memories of Rachel Corrie and Nuha Sweidan, two women (an American and a Palestinian) who died resisting home demolitions in Gaza.

    In the past decade ICAHD has hosted numerous visitors at Beit Arabiya, and based its annual rebuilding camp at the house, rebuilding 185 demolished Palestinian homes.

    Only earlier this month, ICAHD extended an invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing to visit Beit Arabiya during her country visit to the Occupied Palestinian Territory scheduled for later in the month. ‘It is our hope, that while we cannot extend the same hospitality to the Special Raporteur, Prof. Raquel Rolnik will visit the ruins of Beit Arabiya, and report on the utter cruelty, and illegality of Israeli policies and practices, and that members of the international community will follow in her footsteps’, said ICAHD Co-Director Itay Epshtain”…

This is posted on the ICAHD website, here.

Tributes to Vittorio Arrigonio

Jeff Halper, the coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) wrote a tribute to Vittorio Arrigoni, murdered in Gaza yesterday, and with whom Jeff apparently sailed to Gaza on the first Free Gaza expedition by sea from Cyprus in August 2008.

Jeff wrote that: “Less than two weeks after losing another friend and comrade, Juliano Mer-Khamis, I have to mourn and remember my fellow Free Gaza shipmate Vittorio (Vik) Arrigoni, who was brutally murdered last night by religious extremists in Gaza (and who actually resembled Juliano, physically, in his buoyant personality and in his insistence on “being there” when the oppressed needed him).

Vik was truly a person greater than life. He was so filled with energy, a mixture of joy, camaraderie and impatience with the confines of boats and prisons like Gaza, that he would suddenly lift you into the air, or wrestle with you – he was a big, strong, handsome guy, ebullient and smiling even in the most oppressive and dangerous situations – as if to tell you: Yaala! These Israel naval ships shooting at us and the Palestinian fisherman cannot prevail over our solidarity, outrage and the justice of our cause! (Vik was wounded in one of those confrontations).

He would come up behind you and say: The Occupation will fall just like this! (and he would wrestle you to the ground, laughing and playing with you as he did).

Vik, who like me received Palestinian citizenship and a passport when we broke the siege of Gaza and sailed into Gaza port in August, 2008, was a peace-maker exemplar.

Continue reading Tributes to Vittorio Arrigonio

Can Turkish involvement help Free Gaza – Freedom Flotilla challenge Israel's naval blockade of Gaza?

A “Freedom Flotilla” is planning to sail for Gaza by the end of the month.

It will be the ninth expedition to try to reach Gaza by sea. According to the Free Gaza movement, this time it will be bigger and better than ever.

This time, there will be Turkish involvement.

This raises the stakes.

The Free Gaza movement is calling it “the biggest internationally coordinated effort to directly challenge Israeli’s ongoing occupation, aggression, and violence against the Palestinian people”.

The organizers apparently believe that, even if they don’t succeed in reaching their destination in Gaza, the publicity value alone, highlighting the blockade of Gaza, sufficiently justifies this attempt.

The last attempt to reach Gaza by sea was in June 2009 — then, Free Gaza ships were intercepted by the Israeli Navy off Gaza, and forced to proceed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, where the cargo was impounded (some of it was later transferred by land to Israeli crossings and sent into Gaza). The activists aboard were jailed before deportation.

The Government of Bahrain, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, sent a delegation to receive its arrested activists.

Now, a Turkish relief organization, IHH (Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, or Insani Yardim Vakfi), is making major preparations to participate in the coming “Freedom Flotilla”. The aim is to reach Gaza’s fishermens’ wharf by late May.

According to the organizers’ plans, the Freedom Flotilla will include as many as 9 boats, including several cargo ships, and perhaps five passenger ships with up to 600 high-profile international personalities, activists, and journalists aboard.

Some of the ships will reportedly be flying the Turkish flag.

This means that any Israeli attack on those ships would be considered tantamount to an attack upon Turkey.

Continue reading Can Turkish involvement help Free Gaza – Freedom Flotilla challenge Israel's naval blockade of Gaza?

Two Great Guys

This is what could be called a triumph of substance over style:

Pete Seegar and Jeff Halper - photo from Haaretz

In this photo, American folk singer Pete Seegar and Jeff Halper, American-Israeli head of the Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions (ICHAD) wear identical ICAHD t-shirts (photo by Elyse Crystal)

Haaretz today published the photo, along with an article by its correspondent Nir Hasson, reporting that Seeger, 90 years old, has been donating some of the royalties of his song Turn, Turn, Turn to support ICAHD’s work for the past ten years. “The banjo-playing Seeger, 90, is considered one of the pioneers of American folk music. He is known for his political activism no less than for his musical achievements. In the 1930s he was involved in the establishment of worker unions, in the 1940s he opposed the war against Germany and in the 1950s he was interrogated by Senator Joe McCarthy over suspicions of belonging to the Communist Party. In recent years Seeger has been involved in efforts to clean up the Hudson River in New York and performed at U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration celebration. The lyrics of the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” are the words of King Solomon from the book of Ecclesiastes. ‘All around the world, songs are being written that use old public domain material, and I think it’s only fair that some of the money from the songs go to the country or place of origin, even though the composer may be long dead or unknown’, Seeger said in an interview with Acoustic Guitar magazine in 2002. ‘With ‘Turn, Turn, Turn‘ I wanted to send 45 percent, because [in addition to the music] I did write six words and one more word repeated three times, so I figured I’d keep five percent of the royalties for the words. I was going to send it to London, where I am sure the committee that oversees the use of the King James version exists, and they probably could use a little cash. But then I realized, why not send it to where the words were originally written?’ ” This Haaretz article is posted
here.

Halper is the author of several important pieces of analysis concerning the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, including “The Matrix of Control” and more recently “Warehousing the Palestinians”. He was the first Israeli to sail on a Free Gaza ship with the aim of “breaking the siege” that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip, and tightened severely since an Israeli government decision in September 2007 to label Gaza an “enemy entity” or “hostile territory”, following the Hamas rout of Fatah/Palestinian Preventive Security Forces there in mid-June 2007. Halper was arrested upon his reentry from Gaza to Israel via the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing. He was jailed overnight, posted bail, but has apparently not been charged in court…

Jeff Halper: "Dismantling the 'Matrix of Control' "

Here are excerpts from the new article just published by Jeff Halper, “Dismantling the ‘Matrix of Control’ “. Halper, the head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, originally published his “Matrix of Control” in the year 2000:

    “Almost a decade ago I wrote an article describing Israel’s “matrix of control” over the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It consisted then of three interlocking systems: military administration of much of the West Bank and incessant army and air force intrusions elsewhere; a skein of “facts on the ground,” notably settlements in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, but also bypass roads connecting the settlements to Israel proper; and administrative measures like house demolitions and deportations. I argued in 2000 that unless this matrix was dismantled, the occupation would not be ended and a two-state solution could not be achieved. Since then the occupation has grown immeasurably stronger and more entrenched.

    Indeed, the matrix has reconfigured the country to such an extent that today it seems impossible to detach a truly sovereign and viable Palestinian state from an Israel that has expanded all the way to the Jordan River. Anyone familiar with Israel’s “facts on the ground,” perhaps first and foremost the settlers, would reach the conclusion that, in fact, the matrix cannot be taken apart in a piecemeal fashion, leaving a few settlements here, a road there and an Israel “greater” Jerusalem in the middle. The matrix has become far too intricate. Dismantling it piece by piece, with Israel stalling by arguing for the security function of each “fact on the ground,” would be a frustrating series of confrontations that would eventually exhaust itself. The only way to a genuine two-state solution and not a cosmetic form of apartheid is to cut the Gordian knot. The international community, led by the United States, must tell Israel that the occupation must be ended entirely. Israel must leave every inch of the Occupied Territories. Period. And now, at this critical juncture, as the two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian impasse disappears under the weight of Israeli settlements, there is a great imponderable: Is President Barack Obama genuinely serious about reaching such a solution or is he merely going through the motions familiar from previous administrations?

    Since the Cairo speech, however, fundamental doubts about US efforts have resurfaced. The only demand made by Obama upon Israel has been for a settlement “freeze,” a welcome symbolic gesture, to be sure, yet irrelevant to any peace process. Israel has enough settlement-cities in strategic “blocs” that it could in fact freeze all construction without compromising its control over the West Bank and “greater” Jerusalem, the Arab areas to the north, south and east of the city where Israel has planted its flag. Focusing on this one issue — which, months later, is still being haggled over — has provided Israel with a smokescreen behind which it can actively and freely pursue more significant and urgent construction that, when completed, will truly render the occupation irreversible. It is rushing to complete the separation barrier, which is already being presented as the new border, replacing the “Green Line,” the pre-June 1967 boundary to which Israel is supposed to withdraw, by the terms of UN Security Council resolutions, but on which even the most ardent two-staters have long since given up. Israel is demolishing homes, expelling Palestinian residents and permitting Jewish settlement throughout East Jerusalem, measurably advancing the “judaization” of the city. It is confiscating vast tracts of land in the West Bank and “greater” Jerusalem and pouring bypass road asphalt at a feverish pace so as to permanently redraw the map. It is laying track on Palestinian land for a light-rail line connecting the West Bank settlement-city of Pisgat Ze’ev to Israel. It is drying up the main agricultural areas of the West Bank, forcing thousands of people off their lands, while instituting visa restrictions that either keep visiting Palestinians and internationals out of the country altogether, or limit their movement to the truncated Palestinian enclaves of the West Bank.

    ‘Quiet’, behind-the-scenes diplomacy is surely taking place, but the few details that have emerged are far from reassuring. The State Department has mocked as “fiction” a ten-point document given to the Arab press by Fatah figure Hasan Khreisheh that promises an “international presence” in parts of the West Bank and US backing for a Palestinian state by 2011. The component of this alleged plan that seems more likely is that the US wants a partial freeze on settlement activity from Israel in exchange for a pledge from Washington to push for more stringent sanctions upon Iran for its nuclear research. On August 25, the Guardian quoted ‘an official close to the negotiations’ saying: ‘The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not’.

    Why, then, leave these massive settlements intact? The argument is that their residents would object to the point of a civil war in Israel. This is patent nonsense. True, these settlement blocs contain 85 percent of Israelis living in the Occupied Territories, but these are not the ideological settlers who claim the entire Land of Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Instead, they are “normal” Israelis who have been attracted to the settlements by high-quality, affordable housing. They would have no objection to resettling inside Israel on the condition that their living standards do not fall, while the Israeli economy, assisted by international donors, would have no problem footing the bill for this population, about 200,000 in number. Settlements in ‘greater’ Jerusalem, housing another 190,000 Israeli Jews, present no problem whatsoever. Residents are free to stay where they are in a shared and integrated Jerusalem.

    As for the “ideological” settlers of the West Bank, only about 40,000 in number (out of almost six million Jews altogether), they can easily be relocated inside Israel, just as were their counterparts in Gaza. Their relocation will be a test of international assertiveness, of course, because the settlers are able to mobilize the support of the right-wing parties in Israel. Since Israel can make no cogent argument as to the security necessity of these tiny settlements, however, internal opposition will simply have to be overruled; the international community cannot allow such frivolous ideological matters to destabilize the entire global system. If the legitimate concerns of the Israeli public over its security are addressed by the international community, which they can be, there is no compelling reason why Israel should not return to the pre-June 1967 border. In fact, if the Gaza episode indicates anything, it is that the Israeli public is willing to remove settlements if it is convinced that doing so will enhance its security. Reminding Israelis that leaving every inch of the Occupied Territories will still leave them sovereign over a full 78 percent of the country — not a bad deal for what will soon become a minority Jewish population — should seal the deal.

    The Obama platform, should it see the light of day, will probably also adopt the Israeli position that Palestinian refugees can only be repatriated to the Palestinian state itself, not to their former homes inside Israel. This plank would place a weighty economic burden on that tiny prospective state, since the refugees are, by and large, a traumatized and impoverished population with minimal education and professional skills. Add to that another significant fact: Some 60 percent of the Palestinian population is under the age of 18. A Palestinian state without the ability to employ its people and offer a future to its youth is simply a prison-state.

    Now the need for a viable Palestinian state is recognized and embodied in the ‘road map’, the peace initiative propagated by President George W. Bush in 2003, and will probably be acknowledged in a plan from Obama as well. Despite its limited size, a RAND Corporation study concluded that such a state is possible, but only if it controls its territory, borders, resources and movement of people and goods. Israel must be made to understand that while it will remain the hegemonic power in the region, its own long-term security depends upon the economic wellbeing of its Palestinian neighbors.

    Eighty percent of the Palestinians are refugees, and half of the Palestinians still live in refugee camps within and around their homeland. Any sustainable peace is dependent upon the just resolution of the refugee issue. Technically, resolving the refugee issue is not especially difficult. The Palestinian negotiators, backed up by the Arab League, have agreed to a “package,” to be mutually agreed upon by Israel and the Palestinians, involving a combination of repatriation in Israel and the Palestinian state, resettlement elsewhere and compensation.

    The “package” must contain, however, two other elements, without which the issue will not be resolved and reconciliation cannot take place. First, Israel must acknowledge the refugees’ right of return; a resolution of the issue cannot depend solely on humanitarian gestures. And Israel must acknowledge its responsibility for driving the refugees from their country. Just as Jews expected Germany to accept responsibility for what it did in the Holocaust (and Israelis criticized the Pope during his summer 2009 visit for not apologizing enough), just as China and South Korea will not close the book on World War II until Japan acknowledges its war crimes, so, too, will the refugee issue continue to fester and frustrate attempts to bring peace to the region until Israel admits its role and asks forgiveness. Genuine peacemaking cannot be confined to technical solutions alone; it must also deal with the wounds caused by the conflict.

    But the Palestinians, exhausted and suffering as they may be, possess a trump card of their own. They are the gatekeepers. Until the majority of Palestinians, and not merely political leaders, declare that the conflict is over, the conflict is not over. Until most Palestinians believe it is time to normalize relations with Israel, there will be no normalization. Israel cannot “win” — though it believes it can, which is why it presses ahead to complete the matrix and foreclose the possibility of a viable Palestinian state. The failure of yet another peace initiative will only galvanize international efforts to achieve justice for the Palestinians…”

Jeff Halper first posted this article on ZNet, here.

The Radicalization of Jeff Halper – the Warehousing of the Palestinians

Jeff Halper, renowned for his analysis and description of Israel’s Matrix of Control of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, and who recently was on board the Free Gaza expedition from Cyprus (only to face arrest upon his reentry to Israel via Erez crossing from Gaza) has put together a major new analysis of the Palestinian situation.

Halper’s analysis is as stunning as it is chilling.

In an article published yesterday on Zspace, “The Palestinians: Warehousing a ‘surplus people’ “, Halper argues that Israel’s occupation has morphed into something even worse than apartheid — a fast-developing system of excluding and isolating the Palestinians that he calls “warehousing”:

Halper wrote. “So rapid is the pace of systemic change in that indivisible entity known as Palestine/Israel that it almost defies our ability to keep up with it … The rapid expansion of the facts on the ground, however, continued to overtake language and political analysis … While the establishment of more than 200 settlements and outposts in the Occupied Territories, all tied inextricably into Israel proper by a massive network of Israeli-only highways and, ultimately, the Separation Barrier, seemed to indicate that the Occupation was no longer temporary, that it grown into one indivisible system between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, many Palestinians, Israelis and international observers and decision-makers alike, committed to a two-state solution, were loathe to admit the transformation of the Occupation into a permanent state of apartheid. The implications of so doing were simply too daunting. The transformation of the Occupation into a country-wide system of apartheid meant the end of the Zionist dream of a Jewish state – unless apartheid could somehow be packaged as a two-state solution, a sleight-of-hand to which many liberal Israeli and Jewish peace groups have succumbed. Nevertheless, slowly, painfully (as Jimmy Carter discovered), the realization that we now have a de facto regime of apartheid over all Israel-Palestine – officially sanctioned if the Annapolis Process succeeds – has begun to sink in, although resistance, even among the Israeli peace movement, is still strong. Yet no sooner have we begun to shift from occupation to apartheid than political realities, defined in large part by an accelerated Israeli campaign of expanding its facts on the ground, have rendered even that conception, radical only a few months ago, completely outmoded …

“[W]e are speaking of a system that has gone beyond occupation in its scale and permanence… Continue reading The Radicalization of Jeff Halper – the Warehousing of the Palestinians