Something extraordinary has happened this week at the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Khan al-Ahmar, on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem and adjacent to the main road going south toward Jericho and the Dead Sea. First, there is the remarkable fact that the village still exists—after months of waiting, day by day, for the bulldozers of the Israeli army to arrive to demolish it. But even more astonishing is the fact that, for several days, over a hundred activists—Palestinians, Israelis, and a few internationals—faced the heavily armed soldiers and the riot police, not known for their gentle ways, and triumphed, at least for the moment.… Seguir leyendo »
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On December 6, while President Trump was announcing his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, several Palestinian communities on the occupied West Bank and in the Jordan Valley were awaiting the army bulldozers coming to destroy their villages. There is an intimate and sinister link between these two concurrent events.
For many years, house demolitions have been routine in what is known, since the Oslo agreements, as Area C—that is, over 60 percent of the West Bank, where nearly all Israeli settlements in the territories are located. Palestinians living there have virtually no chance of getting a building permit from the committee, dominated by Israeli settlers, that reviews applications; families tend to be large and, in desperation, they end up building illegally.… Seguir leyendo »
One way to tell the story of the Middle East as a whole is to describe the endemic struggle between peripatetic nomads and settled peasant farmers—a struggle attested already in ancient Mesopotamian documents. For centuries, all the political regimes of the region have tried, with varying success, to get the Bedouin to come to rest on the land. But in Israel and in the occupied territories we see, alongside this familiar policy, persistent attempts to uproot Bedouin populations who have already settled on the land, sometimes generations ago, and who usually have clear claims to ownership of these sites.
Today, most of the Jordan Valley, undoubtedly one of the most ravishing landscapes on the planet, is situated in what is known as Area C of occupied Palestinian territory.… Seguir leyendo »