Taking advantage of pandemic Israel moves to annex more Palestinian land

first_imgSpeaking to students at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University in November 1989, Benjamin Netanyahu, at that time the Israeli deputy foreign minister, said: “Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China [at Tiananmen Square], when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories.” In other words, Netanyahu was lamenting a missed opportunity to carry out more war crimes with impunity.  In fact, committing war crimes in the chaos of international confusion and/or distraction has been Israel’s modus operandi since its inception. This came to fruition with the terrorizing, massacring and expelling of indigenous Palestinians under the cover of Europe’s holocaust and World War II.  Behind the popular romantic narratives of Israel’s existence is a reality of wanton murder, theft and ineffable misery and suffering. This malfeasance is not merely the strategy of a settler-colonial state bent on ethno-religious purity. Rather it is the national supremacist mindset of a government and citizenry that propel the engine of land theft and settlement, complete with fine-tuned tools to take everything: apartheid laws, mass imprisonment, home demolitions, property confiscations, murder, daily harassment and humiliation, control, cultural appropriation, bombing, night raids, day raids, school raids, kidnappings and propaganda. All to take the land, water, heritage and home of the terrain’s true, native people. Taking advantage of pandemicNow, 31 years after Tiananmen, Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel and is taking full advantage of the current global coronavirus pandemic to consolidate more power over the whole of what is Palestine. Israel is pushing to formalize its control over the majority of the West Bank land area, inching closer to fulfilling the promise of its flag: a Star of David between two lines, symbolizing Israeli reign from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.In 1948, Israel formalized its theft of 78 percent of Historic Palestine. After launching a war in 1967, it then occupied all of Palestine and formally annexed Jerusalem.  The Oslo Accords of 1993 allowed Israel to control approximately 60 percent of the West Bank, in what is called Area C, ostensibly as a trust that would be handed over to the future Palestinian state.  However, as the world finally understands, Israel never intended to let go.  Instead, they built settlements at breakneck speed, importing Jews from other countries to populate them, offering various economic incentives in order to create “facts on the ground.”  Now, Israel proposes to formalize its control by annexing 30 percent of the West Bank, which includes the most fertile and resource-rich lands — of course. It has pursued a strategy of imperialism by the inch, the incremental theft of land in normal times so as not to arouse international ire. And in times of upheaval or distraction, like a global pandemic, it takes bigger bites. From a small gang of European colonizers at the turn of the 20th century, the Zionists went from owning less than 3 percent of the land to now controlling approximately 92 percent of Historic Palestine (including Area C) and 100 percent of all water resources — which they ration to Palestinians at three times the cost of water sold to Jews in the same area. They also totally control all commerce, food production, borders and movement.Consistent with the government’s nefarious aims, illegal Israeli settlers are exploiting the pandemic lockdown, imposed in the occupied West Bank, to attack Palestinian homes and livelihoods. Destruction of Palestinian farmsIn a single week in April, there were three incidents in which Israeli settlers destroyed Palestinian farms and paved the roads in the districts of Nablus, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In separate incidents, settlers attacked olive groves, cutting down trees that are hundreds of years old and belong to Palestinian families who traditionally subsisted on them. Settlers have increased their vandalism of cars and property belonging to Palestinians, with instances documented in Madama, Burqa and Burin.“We experience attacks from the settlers a few times a month,” Ghassan al-Najjar, a 30-year-old activist in Burin, a village 3 miles south of Nablus, told Middle East Eye. “But ever since we were put under lockdown because of the coronavirus, it has increased tenfold.” He continued, adding that settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, have been raiding the village daily. The Palestine Liberation Organization issued a statement against these abuses, as well as Israel’s recent desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, when Israeli settlers stormed the mosque under police protection. “The escalation in settlement activities coincides with the crimes of settler gangs who are wreaking havoc against and assaulting our people by cutting down trees and attacking houses and vehicles in the streets, and starting to build roads for settlers, as is now taking place between the villages of Za’atra and Hawwara for the use of settlers, which is an attempt to create the Bantustans and ghettos for our people, believing that they can take advantage of the current situation to pass the so-called American deal of the century,” said the PLO in a statement after a meeting in Ramallah to discuss the latest developments.The statement also rejected Israel’s recent excavations near the wall of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Israel has been digging under the mosque and the Dome of the Rock since 1967, trying to find some trace of the Jewish Temple they claim is there. After 53 years of digging and excavating, they’re still empty-handed, with no evidence to show in support of their romantic narrative.  Their colonial fairy tale of Israel belies the destruction of an entire ancient society that has lived, loved, built, farmed and died in that land for millennia. And now Israel is using the global pandemic as cover to take one more stab at erasing the Palestinians all the more.A Palestinian-American writer and political activist, Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (2010) and founder of a nongovernmental organization, Playgrounds for Palestine. Abulhawa’s parents, born in At-Tur in Jerusalem, were refugees of the 1967 war. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Limerick families in crisis after home help hours cut

first_imgNewsLocal NewsLimerick families in crisis after home help hours cutBy Alan Jacques – October 29, 2015 609 Twitter WhatsApp WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Print Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Linkedin Facebookcenter_img Previous article18% increase in calls to Limerick domestic abuse serviceNext articleTeenagers training for film industry Alan Jacqueshttp://www.limerickpost.ie TAGSfeaturedFianna Fáilhome helplimerickOireachtas Health CommitteeWillie O’Dea TD Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live by Alan [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of a “bitter betrayal” on supports for older people following confirmation that over 143,000 home help hours have been slashed over the past five years in Limerick alone.According to Census 2011, there are 8,246 family carers in Limerick city and county providing around 200,000 hours of care every week in their own homes.Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea, who is the party spokesman on Social Protection, told the Limerick Post this week that many older people are finding it more and more difficult to continue living at home following a substantial reduction in home help supports since this Government came into office.“The cuts to home help hours for older people are nothing short of disgraceful and are another example of the Government’s failure to keep the promises it made in order to get itself elected,” the Limerick politician claimed.“Fine Gael and Labour committed to increasing home help supports year on year. What has happened is the complete opposite. The assistance hours have been slashed by over 25 per cent in Limerick over the past five years, which is way above the national average of around 10 per cent, and as a result of these harsh cuts, older people are finding it increasingly difficult to stay living in their own comes,” he said.Figures provided at a recent Oireachtas Health Committee meeting show that the number of home help hours in Limerick is down from 524,671 in 2010 to a projected 381,000 in 2015 — a fall of 143,671 hours over five years.Nationally the number of home help hours are down from 11,680,516 in 2010 to a projected 10,447,000 in 2015 — a fall of 1,253,516 hours over five years.Deputy O’Dea continued: “This cut clearly highlights the extent of the Government’s betrayal of its Programme for Government commitment in relation to home supports for older people. It’s another example of Fine Gael and Labour’s continued attack on older people and people with disabilities.“The cuts to over 70’s medical cards, to home adaption grants, to the housing aid for older people scheme, to the telephone allowance, the abolition of the bereavement grant, and the five fold hike in prescription charges have had a serious impact on older people in Limerick and across the country.He feels it is deeply unfair for the Government to continue to target older people in this way and also “extremely counter-productive”.“By failing to provide the supports needed to allow people to live securely and with dignity in their own homes, the Government is forcing these people onto the already overburdened hospital system and costing the taxpayer more in the long-run.” Email Vanishing Ireland podcast documenting interviews with people over 70’s, looking for volunteers to share their stories Advertisement Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed livelast_img read more