Israel continues to raze and annex Palestinian lands

Posted: August 18, 2007 in anti-Semitism, Israel, Jerusalem, Middle East, News & Views, Palestinians, Politically Incorrect News & Views, Politics, Religion, War crimes, World News, Zionists

And this time, it’s in the City of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. 

August 17, 2007 – Friday
Bethlehem land destroyed as settlers anchor in…
Human Rights
Bethlehem land destroyed as settlers anchor in
Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, Aug 17, 2007

BETHLEHEM, 16 August (IPS) – Israeli forces began Wednesday to bulldoze hundreds of trees on land owned by a Catholic convent near the city of Beit Jala near Bethlehem. This section of forest is being razed, according to Israeli plans, to complete a section of the separation wall, which continues to carve the West Bank into pieces.


Near the convent, the Israeli settlement colonies of Gilo and Har Gilo, behind the wall on Palestinian lands, continue to expand over the rocky hillsides.

When this section of the wall is completed, several villages will be separated from each other and the greater Bethlehem area. But this is not an isolated incident these days in the West Bank.

A few kilometers east of the Cremisan convent and Bethlehem city, the small Palestinian village of Wadi Rahaal is facing extinction as a result of expanded Israeli settlement policy and the widening path of the wall.

“We are now surrounded by the settlement of Efrat,” Suha Ziyada, 22, one of the 750 residents of Wadi Rahaal tells IPS. “They started constructing the wall several months ago … and the settlement is growing every day.” Efrat settlement colony, part of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, currently houses approximately 9,000 settlers, including Israelis and immigrants from the US, Canada, South Africa, Britain and Russia.

The Efrat settlement colony website states that “a garden city has blossomed in the Judean hills.” Yet one can see that large swaths of forest area and wilderness have been destroyed as the settlement grows, and settler-only roads cut the hillsides in half.

“This used to be a beautiful forest where we would go for picnics,” Ziyada tells IPS, pointing to a hill near her home. “But now, it’s been all cut down. The top of the hill is all gone. There used to be wildlife here, many different animals that would live in the forest. But they’re all gone too.



“We can’t build any more houses in the village. The Israeli military prohibits any villager to expand their home and build on the land. A few months ago, [the Israeli military] destroyed three houses at the edge of the village because a settler complained to the military that he didn’t want to see Arab houses from his window. So the military came in and destroyed the houses.”

Ziyada also tells IPS that the settlement practices collective punishment in many ways to eradicate the villagers from their land. “The water supply comes from the settlement, so they control it. Last month, we didn’t have running water for three weeks. They cut the water and said there was damage to the pipes, even though we knew it wasn’t true.”

Last year, the Israeli military blocked every road but one in and out of Wadi Rahaal and installed a locking metal gate on the remaining road that imprisons the villagers every evening. The soldiers lock the gate at arbitrary times; there is no set schedule, and many residents find themselves unable to enter or leave their village at regular hours.

“The settlers enter Wadi Rahaal, they walk around to intimidate and frighten the villagers. They throw rocks at our heads and they are all armed. There are also Israeli helicopters that fly over the village very low. There are checkpoints all over the village,” Ziyada says.

Just two weeks ago, Ziyada gave birth to a daughter, Mayar. “I was scared to death to give birth during the closure. When I went into labour, the gate was closed and locked. We tried to go around through another road, but it was impossible. So my mother went to have a fight with the soldiers in the settlement. We have no hospital, no clinic in the village, so I had to go to the Bethlehem hospital.”

After hours of anxious waiting for an Israeli soldier to come and unlock the gate, Ziyada, in active labour during that time, was finally able to reach the hospital.

The anxiety of waiting for someone to unlock the gate was worse than the labour pains, she says. “That feeling kills you; not having the ability to control your own life and not having the ability to give birth in security. This is the situation of all the Palestinian women here. The pregnant women are all afraid of what will happen when we give birth.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli Interior Ministry has issued a report stating that the population growth of Israeli settlers is double that of the civilian population living inside the 1948 borders of Israel proper. The Ministry revealed that there are currently 275,156 settlers living in illegal settlements in the West Bank, a 5.45 percent growth from last year’s census figure of 260,932.

The fact that settlers are continuing to colonize the West Bank is in direct contravention to international law. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative, a party that places itself apart from both Fatah and Hamas, told IPS in an emailed comment that Israel is pushing forward with settlement expansion projects across the West Bank, which “immediately negates any possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state … these developments further support the PNI’s long-stated claim that Israel has no intention of ending its occupation of Palestinian territory or abiding by international law. Rather, the Israeli government remains content with its goal of the continued illegal expropriation of Palestinian land.”

Ziyada says that she is afraid for her daughter’s future. “Being a mother is a wonderful feeling — but in this situation, it kills your dreams. Everyone wants to have a child, to provide them with the best life, but I can’t take my daughter to the clinic when she is sick. I just think, what if she gets sick at night when the gate is closed, what shall I do?”

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  1. 🙂

    You amaze me. So Haaretz, Ilan Pappe and Yosif Lapid, all Jews and Israelis, are… extremist?

    Dear friend, your arguments have no weight or value. And if you have read my previous posts, you would have learned that I went back to pre 1900’s.

    Thank you for proving my point. You skim and don’t read.


  2. sphyrnatude says:

    yes, you did include sources, but you forgot the essential part of a true evaluation: to look at IMPARTIAL evidence, and evidence from both points of view.

    Anyone who spends a little time can dig through the web and find extremists that say things without any facts backing them. Also, if you want to make an honest evaluation of what is going on in the mis east (it is alot more than just Israel), you’ll need to review your history at least as far back as the early 1900s. Once again, make sure you review acurate history, and examine views from both sides of all of the issues.

    After you’ve spent a coupla years studying the history and thej facts, you’ll be qualified to start making comments. Until then, you are welcome to your opinions, but they are as valid as the opinion that creationism si real….

  3. sphyrnatude

    You’re absolutely right – that as long as people insist on accepting propaganda as fact, intelligent discussion is simply not possible. I would add: IMPOSSIBLE.

    For you, dear Sir have once again shoved your foot deep in your mouth.

    Every post I have here has a source and/or reference to support the argument: Economist, Haaretz, Ilan Pappe, Amnesty International and many Israeli Human Rights activists sources.

    Now if you mean to tell me that the whole world is wrong and YOU are right, then produce a source. You failed to do so. Therefore I have no more time for the likes of you.

    For your entertainment, I am including a couple of sources… maybe if you begin to read a nit more than a headline, you will learn… a lot!

    1st source: Haaretz. Need I educate you on Israeli media?

    2nd source: Telegraph:

    3rd source: Yosef Lapid, the head of Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial, says Israeli Settlers are comparable to Nazis! Imagine that!!!

    Now.. please get lost!

    With Love,


  4. sphyrnatude says:

    As far as going back to where the settlets came from, Hitlers concentration camps have either been destroyed or turned into museums. The UN created Isreal as a safe haven for the victims of the holocaust. The current boundaries of Isreal are the simple result of Isreals succesfull defence agains repeated arab attempts (and complete failures) to destroy israel.

    The simple fact is that the palestinian refugee crisis was created by the palestinians themselves. After the variouse defensive wars that israel has been force to fight, Israel has never prevented residents from returning. The palestinians (with support from most ofht arab countries) simply decided that they were unwilling to live ina jewish state, and refused to return. Likewise, when other countries offered them residency, they again refused to return, insisting that the only place they would ever return to would be the places that they had abandoned and refused to return to before. Of course, they will only return when Israel no longer controls those areas – or in other words, when israer no longer exists.

    Instead of spouting the propaganda that you have read, I would suggest that you take a few hours, and take a look at the history of the state of Israel, including how it was formed, the boundary disputes and wars that have occured over the past 50-60 years, and the origins and history of the palestinian crisis. If you are capable of a neutral evaluation of the situation, you will realize that israel has done everyhting it possibly can to simply protect itself and continue to exist. As a matter of fact, as a nation, Israel has shown remarkable restraint in NOT retaliating against its neighbors who have consistantly stated that their goal is to destroy israel. Of course, history also shows that they have acted as well as simply talked.

    No, the situation is not simple, and yes there is an incredible amount of propaganda on the subject. Instead of relying on google, perhaps a true exploration of the facts (I would suggest from both the israeli and palestinian sides) will provide you with some interesting facts. For example:
    “palestine” did not exist as a country or cultural entity until after the formation of Israel – when a large groupd of residents fled the new israel, and vowed never to return until Israel ceased to exist.

    The “refugees by choice” were given opportunity to return to their homes is israel, and refused. They were also given the option (many times) to relocate to other arab nations, and likewise refused

    The Arab countries have officially stated that they view the current “palestinian” refugee situation as a simply tool that can be used to justify their efforts to destry israel, and as such, they have stated that they will do whatever they can to exacerbate the situation.

    Despite countless attacks on israel from “palestinian” camps, and neighboring arab states, israel ony very rarely responds militarily. When it does respond militarily it is only when Israels existance is being theatened.

    the number of israeli civilians killed by “palestinian” suicide murderes exceeds the number of “palestinians” killed or injured by israel by over 10:1 (note that we are only counting israeli civilians KILLED, but refugees killed AND injured).

    As a soverign nation, israel has put up with more military attacks from its neighboring countries than any other nation in world. The ratio os foreign attacks vs israeli counter attacks is thelowest in the world (meaning that israel has suffered more attacks than any other country in the world, but has retaliated far fewer times than any other country in the world).

    As far as your claim that it is Israel that has been uprooting trees, and not palestianians: once again, take a lok at history. Israel has done more to stabilize the ecosystem of israel than any other government in the history of the area. The trees are there in the first palce because israel planted them. If you take a look at the number of trees that have been destroyed by the myriad of attacks carreid out ny “palestininas” and their arab allies, the number of trees that the israelis have uprooted is paltry by comparison. For example, in last years hexbolah attacks from lebanon, over 500,000 trees were destroyed – BEFORE israel even responded to the rocket attacks. The estimated time to repair that particualr damage is over 50 years.

    So, please, take a look at the real history instead of the propaganda. Once you’ve done so, I will be glad to continue this discussion, as I feel that a solution IS possible. However, as long as people insist on accepting propaganda as fact, intelligent discussion is simply not possible.

  5. Sphyrnatude:

    I knew this article would draw comments like yours. Have you Googled the topic though? You would have learned (in case you missed it here) who wrote it and where else it appears.

    And it’s Israel hat has a history of uprooting olive trees… not the Palestinians!

    As ridiculous as your comment is, I turn it around and ask:

    If the settlers are so concerned about their safety, why don’t they GO BACK to the US or Europe or wherever on earth they came from?


  6. sphyrnatude says:

    if you loko at the source “electronic” the viewpoint isn”t that surprising. Apparently, suicide bombings, missile and rocket attacks, and murder are OK (if done in the name of palestinian freedom”, but israeli attempts to defend their lives are not – especially if it involves cutting down a tree or two (compared to the thousands of trees that were destroyed in rocket attacks from palestinian camps), or a bit of inconvenience is caused to someone who lives ina camp (by choice – the camp residents have been given many opportunities to relocate to permanent homes, but have fefused). Of course, the inconvenience caused to the camp residents is much more seriouse than the deaths caused by the palestinian terrorists, missiles, and murderers.

    If this woman is so concerned about her daughters future, why hasn’t she relocated to jordan or one of the other countries offering residency to the camp refugees?

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