Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, December 2012
Stop Israeli Home Demolishing!
By Mahmoud El-Yousseph
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, December 17, 2012
Can you imagine if someone came to you and said, “According to the Bible, your house is on my land! You better move!”
And imagine if they went on to say: “If you don’t move, we’re going to harass the hell out of you! We’re going to make every aspect of your life a living hell! We’re going to discriminate against you, restricting your movements, separate you from your loved ones, limit your water supply, confiscate your property, and even demolish your home. Unless of course you prefer to demolish you own home to avoid the demolition fees!”
This is precisely what happened to the Dabash family of Sour Bhaer village in the southern part of occupied Jerusalem on November 29, 2012, when Israeli officials ordered the family to tear down their home, housing 20 members of their extended family, or face a fine of $21,000.
Last April, the same fate befell the Zamel family who had lived in the village of Ein El-Hilweh for hundreds of years. They were forcibly removed. The family never even got an official demolition order from the Israeli army.
According to the American website “If Americans Knew,” the number of Israeli homes demolished by Palestinians since 1967 is zero, whereas the number of Palestinian homes demolished by Israelis within the same period is 24,813.
This is equivalent to 82% of the homes in Westerville, Ohio, where I live, being wiped out.
No one will forget the April 9, 1948 massacre of Deir Yassin, a suburb of Jerusalem. This is where Irgun and Haganah Jewish terror groups murdered 250 Palestinian villagers in their sleep. Among the victims were 52 children and 25 pregnant women.
After the Deir Yassin massacre, Jewish terrorist organizations drove trucks throughout Palestine, announcing by loudspeaker to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians that unless they fled Israel they would meet the same fate.
Using these brutal methods, Zionist soldiers drove 800,000 Palestinians out of their homes. Among those left homeless were both my parents and older brother.
Soldiers killed any person who delayed or attempted to take any possessions with them. Palestinian towns were bulldozed and replaced with Jewish communities.
This massacre has has lead to the longest and largest ethnic cleansing in Palestinian history.
Miko Peled, an Israeli author and a peace activist, wrote a column in December 2011, titled “Ethnic Cleansing of Invented People”. This is what he said: “In 1948, when the Palestinian families were forced out of West Jerusalem, my mother was offered one of those beautiful, spacious homes. She refused the beautiful spacious home offered to her, completely free, because she couldn’t bear the thought of living in the home of a Palestinian family that had been forced out and now lives in a refugee camp.”
During last month’s Israeli air and sea assault on Gaza, which lasted eight days, Israel managed to destroy or damage 1,713 homes. As many as thereby 10,000 people were made homeless.
Israel’s message to the Palestinians and the rest of the world appears to be this: “Israel does whatever it likes. It refuses to honor international agreements and laws. It will lie if it needs to lie. It has no shame, no moral code. All it considers is its own survival. And if for any reason you Palestinians are not happy with the situation and dare to protest, you will be arrested for terrorist activities, imprisoned, and killed.”
We all know that building a new home is a life project upon which a family works for many years. A house often symbolizes the social worth of a family, demonstrating its hard work, its well-being and standing in the community. The systematic destruction of Palestinian homes is therefore deliberately intended to cause maximum pain: to impoverish home owners and ethnically cleanse them, driving them out of their native lands.
It is to steal their lands and give them to a race of predatory colonists who have no right to one square inch of Palestinian territory.
We need to hold Israel accountable for demolishing Palestinian homes.
Mahmoud El-Yousseph is a retired USAF Veteran
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