Wednesday, February 10, 1999
Thoroughly Conceived OppressionBy Amira Hass, Ha'aretz
Here is a brief rundown of just some of the actions that have been carried out by our strong nation and its representatives on the West Bank and which came to the attention of Israeli journalists last week:.* On February 4, the Civil Administration, backed by a large contingent of soldiers, demolished Fayez Jaber's home in Hebron and Layla A-Sabarna's in the village of Bet Omar because they were built without permits. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers encounter no problems as they continue to set up beach-heads throughout the West Bank, using prefabricated structures. * In the early morning hours of February 3, 25 Israeli police forcibly entered an apartment building in Hebron where nine families were residing. The children awoke, panic-stricken. Furniture was overturned and some of it was damaged, while cupboards were emptied. Weapons - the cause of the search ("in light of intelligence reports") - were not found. No arrests were made. Meanwhile, in the village of Jaloud, southeast of Nablus, Jewish settlers prevented local residents from entering their fields. Such incidents have occurred on countless occasions. Palestinian residents have learned that, if they lodge a complaint with the police, the file will be closed "for lack of evidence."
* According to a report in Kol Ha'ir, on February 6 Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert ordered that the demolition of "illegally built" structures in East Jerusalem be stepped up. Eight municipal inspectors have been transferred from West Jerusalem to Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city. At the same time, Kol Ha'ir reports, a fourth Jewish family has taken up residence in Ras al-Amud. The arrival of the families "has turned this Jewish bastion into a full-fledged community," one of the Jewish residents is quoted as saying.
* The Jerusalem newspaper also carries the story of Hamed Abu Khalaf, a handicapped cancer patient from East Jerusalem, whose disability allowance was terminated by the National Insurance Institute in compliance with an administrative directive that had previously been canceled.
* Fayez Zeitawi, the Palestinian Jerusalemite stabbed last month, apparently by a Jewish serial knifer, has learned that the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization will not cover his hospitalization expenses, because his right to reside in Jerusalem was withdrawn in 1998, together with the right to medical insurance through an Israeli HMO. He must therefore pay the NIS 72,000 out of his own pocket - for medical care he received after being attacked by a "Jewish terrorist." As a Palestinian, he cannot be recognized as the victim of terrorist activity.
* A committee with representatives from the Foreign, Public Security, and Religious Affairs ministries is working on recommendations designed to prevent the Palestinians from "seizing" land in East Jerusalem, primarily land owned by churches or other Christian institutions.
* The city of Jerusalem has issued a demolition order for a mosque in the village of Walajeh, which borders on the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which is expanding in the direction of homes in the village.
* In the village of Al Khader, south of Bethlehem, the CA has ordered the demolition of a wing of the Flowers of Hope school. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers residing in Efrat, a city that has been built in part on lands belonging to Al Khader, are making rapid progress in paving a road that will connect Efrat with Herodion to the east. The road will use the sole land reserves of several Arab villages, as well as Bethlehem's land reserves; however, the villages are forbidden to construct a hothouse or sheep-shed or even to plant a tree beyond the boundaries of the Area B land allotted to them.
There were no doubt other actions last week involving the exercise of superior might. Palestinian workers lacking papers were arrested and a military judge sentenced a Palestinian job-seeker to six months in prison for "illegal entry." The request of a Gazan woman and her children for a permit to visit relatives on the West Bank was denied. An Interior Ministry official enters another Jerusalemite, the son, grandson and great-grandson of Jerusalemites, as a "non-Jerusalemite" - since the municipality did not allow Palestinians to construct homes in East Jerusalem, he was forced to move his large family to a neighborhood, which, to his misfortune, was designated as being part of the West Bank, not East Jerusalem.
The Israeli authorities argue that Israeli law sanctions such actions as the demolition of Palestinian homes; the granting of permission to Jewish settlers to continue building on the West Bank; the termination of allowances to native residents who are disabled or ill, simply because they are Palestinians; prohibition of construction; police entering homes without search warrants.
Not all that is brought to the attention of
journalists makes headlines. When the information
is published as scattered news items, it does not
convey the depressing significance of life under a
regime that arrogantly, deliberately and
consistently discriminates. Here in Israel, the
public debate almost totally ignores the detailed
precision with which ostensibly bureaucratic
procedures, anchored in ostensibly fair and
rational legislation, provide a cover for
systematic, thoroughly conceived oppression,
imposed to further nationalist goals
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