The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it
Occupation magazine - Commentary
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A crime committed nearly every week
By Amos Gvirtz
This is a crime committed nearly every week. A group of armed men escorted by destruction machines enters a village, approaches the compound of a certain family (or families), force the members of the family out of the house and demolish it: including the sheep pen, storerooms and water tanks. Pure unadulterated crime.
Such a crime committed in a Jewish settlement (illegally built in the Occupied Territories) would face organized resistance, be widely covered by the media, and the victims would receive immediate compensation.
When the victims are Palestinians, they would not dare resist and know full well that the media (except, perhaps, for Amira Hass and Gideon Levy in! Haaretz) would not cover it, and that they would not receive any compensation. The assistance that would arrive from the Red Cross or other aid organizations will also be demolished by the armed men.
For most Hebrew readers, I have just become a traitor who hates his own people and loves Arabs. For me this of course is a different matter. What have I done? Described an incident! Presumably any of those who see me as a traitor would respond to such an incident differently if he were its victim. This is pure crime. Judgment should be held according to a single principle for all, not according to the groups to which the victim and the perpetrator belong. The demolition of a person’s home and destruction of his/her property is a terrible crime, and should be treated only as such.
True, law should prevail and not everyone can put up a home wherever, regardless of the law. And after all, the Palestinian has constructed his home illegally. But the army already stripped the Palestinian local planning and construction committees of their authority in the early 1970s, and took them over. And wonder of wonders, ever since hardly any construction permits have been issued to Palestinians. Their population has doubled itself since, but permits to construct solutions for this natural increase in population are non-existent. And thus the army forces them to violate its laws when they claim their human right to shelter.
If we abide by the law, we must remember that all the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories were built illegally. And wonder again: the very same army that denies Palestinians construction permits issues them to settlements built illegally. Even when the Supreme Court of Justice instructs the army to demolish settlers’ homes that were constructed illegally, often the army doesn’t dare to demolish them.
Not law directs the crimes of those armed groups of men against the Palestinians, but an ideology whose believers demand the entire country for themselves. And as long as there is force enough to commit the crimes necessary for its fulfillment, they will persist.
We cannot prevent these crimes. All that is left to do is struggle for consciousness: Israel is systematically committing crimes against a defenseless civilian population whose only ‘crime’ is being Palestinians and living in territories that Israel covets for its own self. This is not done for the sake of Israel’s security. It is done in order to expand its area.
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