Yossi Schwartz, ISL the section of the RCIT in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 19.01.2022
The Zionist state assumes contrary to the position of virtually the entire world except the US, that East Jerusalem occupied in 1967 belongs to Israel. Any criticism of the destruction of Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem is perceived by Israel as an attack on the Zionist state.
This week the Zionist police demolished the nursery and two storage units belonging to the Salhia family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Members of the Salhia family threatened to set themselves on fire to prevent police from forcibly evicting them from their East Jerusalem home. A daylong standoff with security forces ended without the razing of the building.
The family is in the midst of a protracted legal battle with the Jerusalem Municipality over the fate of two homes on property the city has claimed have appropriated for the construction of a school in the Sheik Jarrah neighborhood.
“However, Israeli human rights group Ir Amim – which follows developments in Jerusalem – said that in recent years the city gave up a different plot of land in Sheikh Jarrah originally designated for a Palestinian school and instead authorized construction of an ultra-Orthodox men’s seminary” [i]
A delegation of European officials, led by European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, visited the place and issued a statement:
“It is “imperative to deescalate the situation and seek a peaceful resolution. Evictions/demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace as well as fuel tensions on the ground,” the European Union Representative Office tweeted” The Dutch Ambassador to Israel Hans Docter tweeted, “Ongoing attempt to evict a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home is contrary to international law and risks further escalation.” He called on “the Israeli authorities to stop the eviction immediately.”
The Irish Embassy to the Palestinians said that “such evictions and demolitions are illegal under international humanitarian law and threaten to escalate tensions and conflict in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The British Consulate in Jerusalem, which is near the disputed site, tweeted that “evictions in Occupied Territory are against international humanitarian law in all but the most exceptional circumstances. The UK urges the Government of Israel to cease such practices which only serve to increase tensions on the ground.” [ii]
In response to the statement of the delegation of the European officials, the office of the Zionist Foreign Minister Lapid said: “The ambassadors that attacked Israel today were confused – instead of protecting the residents, they’re protecting criminals. The Jerusalem Municipality stated: “Contrary to the family’s claims, the buildings have not been on this territory for decades. Rather, they were built illegally in recent years. The family’s illegal takeover of public property prevents hundreds of children with special needs in the area to get basic educational services that the municipality seeks to provide.” [iii]
The statement of the European states will not lead to any action against Israel’s ruthless repression of the Palestinians but it will give more ammunition to the BDS. Gone are the days Israel could attack any criticism of its crimes as the expression of Anti-Semitism. The turning point was the last war of Israel on Gaza in May last year.
In any case, during the night like thieves, the police arrived and demolished the family home. The PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) calls for escalating “all forms of resistance” against Israel in the aftermath of two home demolitions in the Sheik Jarrah.
Even the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it “condemns in the strongest terms the heinous crime committed by the occupation forces and police at dawn today in the demolition of two homes for the Salhia family Sheikh Jarrah, amid brutal measures and collective punishment imposed on the area, where they used extreme violence and sound bombs, and arrested all the solidarity activists present in the place” [iv]
At the same time in the USA, a rally calling for the release of Popular Front for Palestine (PFLP) secretary-general Ahmad Sa’adat from an Israeli prison is set to be held in New York City on January 22 and is being organized by Jewish anti-Zionists Voice for Peace (JVP) and Samidoun, a Palestinian NGO designated by Israel as a PFLP affiliate.
Sa’adat was sentenced in 2006 to 30 years in prison for leading the PFLP and for the elimination of the gangster and the far-right minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.
Who was this Rehavam Ze’evi?
Controversial former general and cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi was portrayed as a sexual predator, an associate of organized crime, a violent antagonist of journalists – and even as a cold-blooded killer – in an exposé aired on Israeli TV on Thursday night. [v]
Samidoun in their call for the rally says: “Take action to escalate the boycott of Israel, end aid and support to Israel, organize for justice in Palestine and resist imperialism and colonialism, Sa’adat is a leader in the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and the Palestinian national liberation movement and a Palestinian, Arab and international symbol of resistance to Zionism, capitalism, racism, apartheid, and colonization Samidoun wrote on a Facebook event page” [vi]
It is of interest that the PFLP is in the news again as it opposes the PA collaboration with the Zionist state and for the one-state solution. “In its founding manifesto, the PFLP argued that the defeat of the Arab armies in June 1967 represented “the beginning of a new stage of revolutionary work in which the masses would assume responsibility for leading the fight against imperialism and Zionism through revolutionary violence.” The Front was moving slowly toward the left and ascribing a social character to the struggle for national liberation. This leftward turn was confirmed at the convening of its first conference in August 1968, when its alignment with “proletarian ideology” was declared. In its second conference, held in February 1969, the front adopted “a form” of “Asian Marxism” based on the writings of Mao Test-Tung and Vietnamese general Vo Nguyen Gap, which focused on the primacy of armed struggle over political activism. It identified the enemies of the Palestinian revolution as “Israel, the world Zionist movement, global imperialism, and Arab reactionaries.” It stressed that the struggle for Palestine was intertwined with the broader struggle for Arab liberation and called for the Palestinian revolution to ally with the national liberation movement in Vietnam, the revolutionary “situation” in Cuba and North Korea, and all other anti-imperialist national liberation movements. It considered itself to be “an advanced vanguard faction of the Palestinian working class and wage laborers in general, fighting alongside other leftist and democratic Palestinian factions to build the party of the working class that shall perform its historic role in liberating the Palestinian masses from national and class subjugation.” At the same time, it specified the strategic goal of the Palestinian struggle to be “the liberation of Palestine from the colonialist Zionist occupation, and the establishment of a democratic Palestinian state on the entire land of historic Palestine, with Jerusalem as its capital.” [vii]
The return of the PFLP to the news could be a reflection of the growing mood for a new Intifada in Palestine at a time that there are signs in Sudan and in Tunisia that the Arab revolution may be returning.
Down with the Zionist Apartheid state!
For a Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!
Release all Palestinian political prisoners!