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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2010 arrow April 11, 2010

April 11, 2010
April 11, 2010: Unbelievable but true  


IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank

Amira Hass
Haaretz


A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

 

 

When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

 

 

Given the security authorities' actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip - people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children - or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians.

 

 

Until now, Israeli civil courts have occasionally prevented the expulsion of these three groups from the West Bank. The new order, however, puts them under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts.

 

 

The new order defines anyone who enters the West Bank illegally as an infiltrator, as well as "a person who is present in the area and does not lawfully hold a permit." The order takes the original 1969 definition of infiltrator to the extreme, as the term originally applied only to those illegally staying in Israel after having passed through countries then classified as enemy states - Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

 

 

The order's language is both general and ambiguous, stipulating that the term infiltrator will also be applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. All this depends on the judgment of Israel Defense Forces commanders in the field.

 

The new guidelines are expected to clamp down on protests in the West Bank.

 

The Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual was the first Israeli human rights to issue warnings against the order, signed six months ago by then-commander of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria Area Gadi Shamni.

 

Two weeks ago, Hamoked director Dalia Kerstein sent GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi a request to delay the order, given "the dramatic change it causes in relation to the human rights of a tremendous number of people."

 

According to the provisions, "a person is presumed to be an infiltrator if he is present in the area without a document or permit which attest to his lawful presence in the area without reasonable justification." Such documentation, it says, must be "issued by the commander of IDF forces in the Judea and Samaria area or someone acting on his behalf."

 

The instructions, however, are unclear over whether the permits referred to are those currently in force, or also refer to new permits that military commanders might issue in the future. The provision are also unclear about the status of bearers of West Bank residency cards, and disregards the existence of the Palestinian Authority and the agreements Israel signed with it and the PLO.

 

The order stipulates that if a commander discovers that an infiltrator has recently entered a given area, he "may order his deportation before 72 hours elapse from the time he is served the written deportation order, provided the infiltrator is deported to the country or area from whence he infiltrated."

 

The order also allows for criminal proceedings against suspected infiltrators that could produce sentences of up to seven years. Individuals able to prove that they entered the West Bank legally but without permission to remain there will also be tried, on charges carrying a maximum sentence of three years. (According to current Israeli law, illegal residents typically receive one-year sentences.)

 

The new provision also allow the IDF commander in the area to require that the infiltrator pay for the cost of his own detention, custody and expulsion, up to a total of NIS 7,500.

 

Currently, Palestinians need special permits to enter areas near the separation fence, even if their homes are there, and Palestinians have long been barred from the Jordan Valley without special authorization. Until 2009, East Jerusalemites needed permission to enter Area A, territory under full PA control.

 

The fear that Palestinians with Gaza addresses will be the first to be targeted by this order is based on measures that Israel has taken in recent years to curtail their right to live, work, study or even visit the West Bank. These measures violated the Oslo Accords.

 

According to a decision by the West Bank commander that was not backed by military legislation, since 2007, Palestinians with Gaza addresses must request a permit to stay in the West Bank. Since 2000, they have been defined as illegal sojourners if they have Gaza addresses, as if they were citizens of a foreign state. Many of them have been deported to Gaza, including those born in the West Bank.

 

One group expected to be particularly harmed by the new rules are Palestinians who moved to the West Bank under family reunification provisions, which Israel stopped granting for several years.

 

In 2007, amid a number of Hamoked petitions and as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, tens of thousands of people received Palestinian residency cards. The PA distributed the cards, but Israel had exclusive control over who could receive them. Thousands of Palestinians, however, remained classified as "illegal sojourners," including many who are not citizens of any other country.

 

The new order is the latest step by the Israeli government in recent years to require permits that limit the freedom of movement and residency previously conferred by Palestinian ID cards. The new regulations are particularly sweeping, allowing for criminal measures and the mass expulsion of people from their homes.

 

The IDF Spokesman's Office said in response, "The amendments to the order on preventing infiltration, signed by GOC Central Command, were issued as part of a series of manifests, orders and appointments in Judea and Samaria, in Hebrew and Arabic as required, and will be posted in the offices of the Civil Administration and military courts' defense attorneys in Judea and Samaria. The IDF is ready to implement the order, which is not intended to apply to Israelis, but to illegal sojourners in Judea and Samaria."


http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1162075.html



Why it is Apartheid in Israel Palestine
eileen fleming

"The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state," Neve Gordon, an American-born Jew who has lived in Israel for nearly 30 years and teaches political science at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, recently wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed.


Gordon also came to the conclusion that boycotting Israel may be the only way to save the country from itself.

As an American-born Christian I am in solidarity with that opinion.


According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status...even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors." [1]


"An apartheid society is much more than just a ‘settler colony’. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges." [2]


On May 14, 1948, The Declaration of the establishment of Israel affirmed that, "The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."



However, reality intrudes, for "The truth which is known to all; through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp."- Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni quoted in the popular Israeli newspaper, Yediot Acharonot on December 20, 2006,

How could a state founded on "equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants" come to be such a state of hypocrisy?

A Little History:

On July 5, 1950, Israel enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, have a “right” to immigrate to Israel on the grounds that they are returning to their own state, even if they have never been there before. [3]

On July 14, 1952: The enactment of the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, results in Israel becoming the only state in the world to grant a particular national-religious group—the Jews—the right to settle in it and gain automatic citizenship. In 1953, South Africa’s Prime Minister Daniel Malan becomes the first foreign head of government to visit Israel and returns home with the message that Israel can be a source of inspiration for white South Africans. [IBID]

In 1962, South African Prime Minister Verwoerd declares that Jews “took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state.” [IBID]

On August 1, 1967, Israel enacted the Agricultural Settlement Law, which bans Israeli citizens of non-Jewish nationality- Palestinian Arabs- from working on Jewish National Fund lands, well over 80% of the land in Israel. Knesset member Uri Avnery stated: “This law is going to expel Arab cultivators from the land that was formerly theirs and was handed over to the Jews.” [IBID]

On April 4, 1969, General Moshe Dayan is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz telling students at Israel’s Technion Institute that “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don’t even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don’t blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either… There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.”[IBID]

On April 28, 1971: C. L. Sulzberger, writing in The New York Times, quoted South African Prime Minister John Vorster as saying that Israel is faced with an apartheid problem, namely how to handle its Arab inhabitants. Sulzberger wrote: “Both South Africa and Israel are in a sense intruder states. They were built by pioneers originating abroad and settling in partially inhabited areas." [IBID]

On September 13, 1978, in Washington, D.C. The Camp David Accords are signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. The Accords reaffirm U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which prohibit acquisition of land by force, call for Israel’s withdrawal of military and civilian forces from the West Bank and Gaza, and prescribe “full autonomy” for the inhabitants of the territories. Begin orally promises Carter to freeze all settlement activity during the subsequent peace talks. Once back in Israel, however, the Israeli prime minister continues to confiscate, settle, and fortify the occupied territories. [IBID]

On September 13, 1985, Rep. George Crockett (D-MI), after visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank, compares the living conditions there with those of South African blacks and concludes that the West Bank is an instance of apartheid that no one in the U.S. is talking about. [IBID]

In July 2000, President Bill Clinton convenes the Camp David II Peace Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Clinton—not Barak—offers Arafat the withdrawal of some 40,000 Jewish settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, all of which are interconnected by roads that cover approximately 10% of the occupied land. Effectively, this divides the West Bank into at least two non-contiguous areas and multiple fragments. Palestinians would have no control over the borders around them, the air space above them, or the water reserves under them. Barak calls it a generous offer. Arafat refuses to sign. [IBID]

August 31, 2001: Durban, South Africa. Up to 50,000 South Africans march in support of the Palestinian people. In their “Declaration by South Africans on Apartheid and the Struggle for Palestine” they proclaim: “We, South Africans who lived for decades under rulers with a colonial mentality, see Israeli occupation as a strange survival of colonialism in the 21st century. Only in Israel do we hear of ‘settlements’ and ‘settlers.’ Only in Israel do soldiers and armed civilian groups take over hilltops, demolish homes, uproot trees and destroy crops, shell schools, churches and mosques, plunder water reserves, and block access to an indigenous population’s freedom of movement and right to earn a living. These human rights violations were unacceptable in apartheid South Africa and are an affront to us in apartheid Israel." [IBID]

October 23, 2001: Ronnie Kasrils, a Jew and a minister in the South African government, co-authors a petition "Not in My Name," signed by some 200 members of South Africa's Jewish community, reads: "It becomes difficult, from a South African perspective, not to draw parallels with the oppression expressed by Palestinians under the hand of Israel and the oppression experienced in South Africa under apartheid rule." [IBID]

Three years later, Kasrils will go to the Occupied Territories and conclude: "This is much worse than apartheid. Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armored vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale." [IBID]

April 29, 2002: Boston, MA. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he is “very deeply distressed” by what he observed in his recent visit to the Holy Land, adding, “It reminded me so much of what happened in South Africa.”

The Nobel peace laureate said he saw “the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. Referring to Americans, he adds, “People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.” [IBID]


In November 2005, this reporter attended the Gainesville, Florida, Anarchist’s Against the Wall Power Point Lecture by Jonathon Pollak, an intense young Israeli and committed activist and organizer for Anarchist’s Against the Wall/AAtW; a collaborative NONVIOLENT resistance and civil disobedience group of Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals dedicated to bringing the separation/apartheid wall down and ending the occupation of Palestine, which has now entered its 42nd year.


Pollak said, “Although Israel marketed the Wall as a security barrier, logic suggests such a barrier would be as short and straight as possible. Instead, it snakes deep inside the West Bank, resulting in a route that is twice as long as the Green Line, the internationally recognized border. Israel chose the Wall’s path in order to dispossess Palestinians of the maximum land and water, to preserve as many Israeli settlements as possible, and to unilaterally determine a border.

“In order to build the Wall Israel is uprooting tens of thousands of ancient olive trees that for many Palestinians are also the last resource to provide food for their children. The Palestinian aspiration for an independent state is also threatened by the Wall, as it isolates villages from their mother cities and divides the West Bank into disconnected cantons [bantusans/ghettos]. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem conservatively estimates that 500,000 Palestinians are negatively impacted by the Wall.

“We believe that, as with Apartheid South Africa, Americans have a vital role to play in ending Israeli occupation - by divesting from companies that support Israeli occupation, boycotting Israeli products, coming to Palestine as witnesses, or standing with Palestinians in nonviolent resistance." [4]


"From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught...that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, 'vomit you out' if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]: "When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' but also 'you shall love the other.'" [5]


In June 2005, this reporter interviewed a young American who moved to Israel because of the incentives of Aliyah who told me:

"Aliyah means 'going up,' and this deal was hard to pass by. I get fifteen hundred shekels or about thirty-six hundred dollars a year in increments to help with my expenses. I can apply for unemployment benefits after seven months, as long as I look for a job.

"I just completed Ulpan, which was five hundred hours of Hebrew language immersion studies that took five months, five hours a day, for five weeks. I get subsidized rent and just moved out of the Absorption Center Projects. All the new immigrants get room, utilities, and three meals a day for the first five months in Israel. We also receive free medical care and all the doctors here are dedicated. We can go to the university with 100 percent of the tuition paid by the government. College is much cheaper here; it's about three thousand to four thousand dollars a year. Until I am thirty years old, I can receive up to three years of education for my master's degree."[7]


Apartheid can be summed up as a structured process of gross human rights violations perpetrated against a conquered ethnic majority by a state and society mainly controlled by an invading ethnic minority and its descendants, mainly immigrants, that have been deemed part of the ethnic elite.


The following nine categories make up the necessary, sufficient,  and defining characteristics of apartheid regimes:

1. Violence: Apartheid is a state of war initiated by a de facto invading ethnic minority, which at least in the short term originates from a non-neighboring locality. In all main instances of apartheid most if not all members of the invading group originate from a different continent. The invading ethnic minority and its self-defined descendants then continue to dominate the indigenous majority by means of their military superiority and by their continuous threats and uses of violence.

2. Repopulation: Apartheid is also a continuation of depopulation and population transfer. One example is seen in the obliteration of the indigenous Bedouins that Israel denies free movement to graze their herds and are silently transferring the Bedouins to new locales, such as atop of garbage dumps.

3. Citizenship: The indigenous people are often denied citizenship in their own country by the apartheid state authorities, which are ironically and irrationally, run and staffed by the recent arrivals to the country.

4. Land: Apartheid entails land confiscation, land redistribution and forced removals, almost without exception to the benefit of the invading ethnic minority. Usually, members of the ethnic majority are forced on to barren and unfertile soils, where they must also try to survive under impoverished and overcrowded conditions.

5. Work: Apartheid displays systematic exploitation of the indigenous class in the production process and different pay or taxation for the same work.

6. Access: There is ethnically differentiated access to employment, food, water, health care, emergency services, clean air, and other needs, including the need for leisure activities, in each case ensuring superior access for the favored ethnic community.

7. Education: There are also different kinds of education offered and forced upon the different ethnic groups.

8. Language: A basic apartheid characteristic is the fact that only very few of the invaders and their descendants ever learn the language(s) of the indigenous victims.

9. Thought: Finally, apartheid contains ideologies or 'necessary illusions' in order to convince the privileged minorities that they are inherently superior and the indigenous majorities that they are inherently inferior. Much of apartheid thought is shaped by typical war propaganda. The enemy is dehumanized by both sides' ideologies, words and other symbols are used to incite or provoke people to violence, but mostly so by the invaders and their descendants. [8]


During this reporters visit to Hebron, I learned 450 Israeli settlers and 3,000  IDF, eighteen- to twenty-one-year-olds patrol the streets with their weapons at the ready. The IDF refused access through one of the many checkpoints to me and my guide Jerry Levin, former secular Jew and CNN's Mid East Bureau Chief in the 1980's who was kidnapped in Lebanon and held for nearly a year by the Hezbollah. On Christmas Eve, Jerry had a mystical experience of Jesus and miraculously escaped a short time later. [ Jerry shares that story in Reflections on My First Noel, HOPE Publishing House]

In 2005, Jerry was a full time volunteer with CPT/Christian Peacemaker Teams. He told me, "Most of the soldiers don't like the CPTs. Whenever they won't let us through, we just go another way, and always, eventually, get where we want to go." [9]

The village of Hebron had once been a thriving Palestinian neighborhood, but now the narrow, winding stone streets between the colonists and the indigenous people are only connected to the other by a deeply sagging netting that the squatters hurl huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture, and all manner of debris upon with hope it will break and hit an unfortunate Palestinian upon the head.

Jerry Levin informed this reporter, "It gets cleaned out about every year or so. Come back in a few months, and this netting will be much closer to your head. The settlers just throw whatever they want onto the netting; they do what ever they want and get away with it. The CPT's run interference by nonviolent resistance; we get the children and woman to where they need to be going and back again. Sometimes, the settlers curse and stone us all; it keeps it interesting." [10]

Hundreds of now empty formerly Palestinian homes have been spray painted by the colonists with Stars of David and graffiti such as: "GAS THE ARABS."


Minister of Intelligence in South African Government, Ronnie Kasrils recently returned to Palestine's West Bank and Gaza Strip, and wrote how it was "like a surreal trip back into an apartheid state of emergency. It is chilling to pass through the myriad checkpoints -- more than 500 in the West Bank. They are controlled by heavily armed soldiers, youthful but grim, tensely watching every movement, fingers on the trigger…A journey from one West Bank town to another that could take 20 minutes by car now takes seven hours for Palestinians, with manifold indignities at the hands of teenage soldiers…The monstrous apartheid wall cuts off East Jerusalem…Bethlehem too is totally enclosed by the wall, with two gated entry points. The Israelis have added insult to injury by plastering the entrances with giant scenic posters welcoming tourists to Christ's birthplace." [11]


On the cover of my "Memoirs from OPT" Meir Vanunu provided the photo of the enormous Orwellian sign Karlis refers to, that hung upon The Wall next to the checkpoint that leads from Jerusalem to her sister city, Bethlehem: "PEACE BE WITH YOU"

However, on my last trip to occupied Bethlehem in June 2009, that sign was gone and was being replaced by banal images of the Old City.


The Wall or as Israel prefers to spin it as a 'security barrier', "is designed to crush the human spirit as much as to enclose the Palestinians in ghettos. Like a reptile, it transforms its shape and cuts across agricultural lands as a steel-and-wire barrier, with watchtowers, ditches, patrol roads and alarm systems. It will be 700km long and, at a height of 8m to 9m in places, dwarfs the Berlin Wall. The purpose of the barrier becomes clearest in open country. Its route cuts huge swathes into the West Bank to incorporate into Israel the illegal Jewish settlements -- some of which are huge towns -- and annexes more and more Palestinian territory." [IBID]


If The Wall is truly to keep out terrorists, why was it not built on Israeli land?

"It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers."- Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad. [IBID]


"The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force. Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison...roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa." [IBID]


On December 20, 2006, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his relentless work confronting and challenging South Africa's Apartheid regime spoke to The Guardian:

"I've been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land. I have seen the humiliation at the checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about…Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice…If peace could come to South Africa, surely it can come to the Holy Land."


Justice requires equal human rights, liberty and self-determination for all people.

Justice requires honoring International Law and the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
Read more...

When the state of Israel complies, peace and security will flow from the Holy Land and it truly could be a land of milk and honey for all of Father Abraham's children.

1. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444320,00.html
2. Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.
3. The Link, "About That Word Apartheid", April-May 2007, Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Inc.
4. Eileen Fleming, Memoirs of a Nice Irish-American 'Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory, pages 55-56
5. Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine, page 35, Sept./Oct. 2007
6. Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.
7. KEEP HOPE ALIVE, by Eileen Fleming, page 99.
8. Paraphrased from pages 71-73, Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present.
9. KEEP HOPE ALIVE, page 105.
10. Ibid
11. Mail & Guardian, Israel 2007: Worse than Apartheid, by Ronnie Kasrils.  http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=308966&area=/insight/insight__comment_and_analysis/





April 11, 2010

Report: Military order targets thousands for deportation

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Two signed military orders awaiting implementation give military officials broad and almost total control over the deportation of Palestinians whose residency status in the West Bank is called into question.

Specifically, the Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual alleged that the order will be used to deport residents of Gaza from the West Bank, and will likely also target foreign passport holders and non-Palestinian spouses of West Bank residents.

The center said tens of thousands of Palestinians and West Bank residents could be caught in the net of the orders, which Israeli journalist Amira Hass said in a Sunday report were "expected to clamp down on protests in the West Bank."

The new orders, by substantively changing the definition of an “infiltrator,” HaMoked said in a statement "effectively apply [the term] to anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit," noting "the orders do not define what Israel considers a valid permit," and that "the vast majority of people now living in the West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be present therein."

The amendments apply to a 1969 order issued following the start of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem. The order was first amended in 1980, when an infiltrator was defined as "a person who entered the Area knowingly and unlawfully having been present in the east bank of the Jordan, Syria, Egypt or Lebanon following the effective date."

In the latest order, an "infiltrator" is defined as: "A person who entered the Area unlawfully following the effective date, or a person who is present in the Area and does not lawfully hold a permit."

The presumption that the orders will be used to clamp-down on Palestinians participating in popular protests against land confiscation and the construction of the separation wall follows a series of failed measures by the Israeli army to stifle the increasingly broadly supported actions.

In March, Israeli forces entered the villages of Ni'lin and Bi'lin to post orders declaring the zone typically used as a protest site a "closed military zone" from that day until August. Once an area is declared a closed zone, Israeli forces say they have the power to make arrests. Protest sights are often declared closed zones as demonstrators gather.

The pending orders also recall the case of Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam, a Gaza Christian only one semester away from graduation. The business administration student was pulled from a shared taxi on the Ramallah-Bethlehem road because her ID card had her registered as a Gaza resident. Berlanty had left Gaza on a legal permit three years before and traveled to the West Bank to study.

Without appearing before a judge, Berlanty was bound, blindfolded and driven directly to the northern Erez crossing at Gaza and told to re-enter the Strip. Human rights lawyers challenged the deportation, saying Israel had no right to determine where Palestinians lived, particularly when they were moving from one Palestinian-controlled area to another.

The second amendment, the HaMoked statement said, will allow the Israeli military to "prosecute and deport any Palestinian defined as [an] infiltrator in stark contradiction to the Geneva Convention," and noted that "there is a possibility that some of the deportees will not be given an opportunity for a hearing before being removed from the West Bank."

According to the orders, the deportation may be executed within 72 hours whereas it is possible to delay bringing a person before the appeals committee for up to eight days from issuance of a deportation order.
Source: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=275474



MIFTAH’s Editorial

 

Apartheid With a Twist
By Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
April 12, 2010


Soon, the West Bank will be full of criminals - virtually thousands of them. Before anyone's imagination runs wild, this is not because the mafia has decided to set up headquarters in Ramallah or a South American drug kingpin has moved residence to Nablus and brought his entire cartel with him. No, the same old Palestinian residents of the West Bank, most of whom have been living peacefully in their homes for years, will find themselves in the most unenviable position of "infiltrator" as of tomorrow, April 13 by virtue of two Israeli military orders.



According to the two orders, which were signed in October, 2009 and go into effect six months later, anyone who does not have "legal" justification for residing in the West Bank will be liable to deportation or a prison sentence of up to seven years. The orders are a rewording of a 1969 order instated mainly to keep out Arabs and Palestinians entering from "hostile" countries. In practical terms, this will mean that thousands of Palestinians, either those who are registered in the Gaza Strip or foreign passport bearing spouses of Palestinians will be automatically categorized as criminal offenders. According to the Haaretz article that broke the story, the order, which is loosely worded, will also include the children of Gazan parents who have made their homes in the West Bank. Add to that the thousands of international activists who come to the Palestinian territories each year to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people. They will also be penalized for unlawfully entering the West Bank. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are also not immune to the order, many of whom are married to West Bank residents and who have made their homes on the other side of the fence for practical and economic purposes. While this group of Palestinians is already under Israeli scrutiny because of their own precarious status as permanent residents of Jerusalem not living within the self-proclaimed Israeli municipal borders, this new military order for "Judea and Samaria" (the Hebrew term for the West Bank) will only make matters even worse.



Mesh these sub-groups together and you have a big chunk of the already dwindling number of Palestinians allowed to live peacefully in their own homes. On the surface, the new order seems merely insane – criminalizing Palestinians for living in Palestinian territory. Scratch that surface and Israel's racist and expansionist agenda rears its ugly head. This is not about "legality" or "security" of whatever bogus pretext Israel may offer to justify its draconian measures on the Palestinians. This is about Israel's long term goals, its greed for Palestinian land and its Machiavellian attitude that the end always justifies the means.



Like almost everything Israeli, the process is slow. Barring the actual occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in 1967 which took all of six days, the last 42 years have been an accumulative Israeli effort to make Palestinian life as difficult as possible if not impossible altogether. Today, Jerusalem is completely isolated from the West Bank, Palestinians only allowed entry into the city by way of the rare Israeli-issued day permit. Gaza is even more isolated, its 1.5 million people cut off from the outside world and from their own Palestinian environment. Furthermore, travel within the West Bank is hardly a piece of cake either, with the 600 or so Israeli checkpoints interrupting the geographical continuity of this space along with the serpentine Israeli wall which, in some areas, separates Palestinians from Palestinians.



So, the plan has been in place for years, its implementation piecemeal and insidiously subtle so as not to sound off any alarm bells. According to the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993, the West Bank and Gaza are considered one "a single territorial unit". In his lifetime, late President Yasser Arafat insisted on one thing when negotiations were underway, which was never to separate the two parts of the future Palestinian state, reportedly holding out until "Jericho" was added to the "Gaza-Jericho First" agreement before giving his okay.



Unfortunately, this was not enough. Since Oslo, Israel has continuously and systematically breached the accords, settlement growth first and foremost. However, the new/old practice of the deportation of Palestinians was revived a few years ago and may now be implemented with a vengeance. Everyone has heard of the turning back of pro-Palestinian internationals at Israel's border crossings, people Israel deems as a "threat to its security." Israel does not like the young westerners and Israelis who travel to Bilin and Nilin every week to protest Israel's separation wall there, or those who stand outside the Hanoun and Ghawi homes in Sheikh Jarrah in solidarity with these Palestinian families who were kicked out of their homes by Jewish settlers and who now sleep on the street. With this newest military order, these foreigners would have committed a criminal offense by residing in the West Bank without the proper "permission slips" which we all know are not handed out at the door.



For the Palestinians, this spells disaster for God knows how many families. "Mixed marriages" between Jerusalemites and West Bankers pose enough obstacles as is, what with family reunification procedures and maintaining a "center of life" in Jerusalem in order to preserve residency status. However, what about all those families with one spouse from Gaza? Or Gazan students who study at West Bank universities? Once this order goes into effect, Israel will have the "legal standing" to send them all packing, back to the open-air prison known as the Gaza Strip. Never mind that they have families, children and jobs here in the West Bank. That means nothing when you are branded as a criminal.



Israel has already started these procedures. Berlanty Azzam made headlines a few months ago when she was handcuffed and arrested at a Bethlehem checkpoint and deported back to the Gaza Strip with only one semester left at Bethlehem University. A husband and children in the West Bank town of Qalqilya are living without their mother who was deported back to Gaza in July 2007 and who has not seen her children since. Palestinians with foreign passports have been barred from reentering the country and have been separated from their families as a result. Now, as of tomorrow, all those Gazans living in the West Bank or foreigners married to Palestinians who have made it under the radar this far will now be automatically branded as criminals, infiltrators in their own homes.



It goes without saying that the order does not apply to the hundreds of thousands of illegal Jewish settlers living on confiscated West Bank land. They can come and go as they please, without the trouble of checkpoints, separation walls or racist orders branding them as criminals for living in their own homes. On the contrary, the less Palestinians, the more space to build even more settlements. Palestinians, on the other hand, who have lived on this land for centuries are barred from their original homes in pre-1948 Palestine, from Jerusalem and now even from the West Bank. C


ruel and ironic? Apartheid-like? Without a doubt.



Joharah Baker is a Writer for the Media and Information Department at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at .

Article: http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=21987&CategoryId=3

Website: http://www.miftah.org






   
 
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