Sunday June 22, 2008
Israeli military forces have told the residents of the village of Arab ar-Ramadin that they will all be expelled from their homes in the coming weeks, as part of the Israeli project of expansion onto Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Since the Israeli government began construction of their Annexation Wall on the village’s land in 2004, the residents of Arab ar-Ramadin have maintained an increasingly tenuous hold on their ancestral lands, which have been rendered inside ‘Israeli’ area, due to the placement of the Wall.
There has been a low-intensity siege warfare on the village since 2004, in which residents have been forced to show an ID card which has not been issued to them, harassed at checkpoints and refused entry to their homes under the force of the Israeli military. On June 5, an Israeli military commander, accompanied by a force of 20 soldiers, arrived in the northern part of Arab ar-Ramadin. The commander informed the head of the community that the village needed to move to the other side of the Wall. Upon the villagers refusal to cooperate, Occupation forces threatened them, stating that they would be forced to leave.
If the eviction is carried out, 207 people will be expelled. 30 homes and animal pens will be destroyed and an estimated 1,500 sheep, the main source of income for the people, will be adversely affected.
Since 2004 demolition orders have been issued to the village. The most recent demolition took place in March of this year, when residential structures housing 10 people were bulldozed. Since the building of the Wall, daily life in Arab ar-Ramadin has become a constant struggle. The village, which is located in the same pocket as Ras Tireh, Wadi Rasha, and Daba, is isolated by the Wall and the Alfe Menashe settlement from the rest of the West Bank. People are consistently harassed or completely barred passage at the gates that close them off from the rest of the world. Furthermore, they are unable to bring in fodder for the sheep as the Occupation military prohibits both the crossing of vehicles and anyone without a permit.
Arab ar-Ramadin does not have schools within the village. As of 2003, 46 students were travelling daily to Habla and six high school and two university students were studying in Qalqiliya city. Habla was, prior to the Wall, a 2.5 km walk for the students, today they must walk 5 km and await the opening of one of the Wall’s gates. At least 2,339 dunums of the village’s land have been confiscated in the southern area for the Wall. Some of these lands are used for grain (839 dunums) and the rest (1500 dunums) are pasturelands used for grazing animals. According to the Popular Committee Against the Wall, the case of Arab ar-Ramadin is symptomatic of the Occupation’s policy of ethnic cleansing. This project is paired with the creeping expansions of the Wall, settlements, settler-only roads, checkpoints and a complex of military orders and restrictions that creates permanent pressure on the Palestinian population centres. Villages like Arab ar-Ramadin, which are surrounded completely by the Wall and settlements, live with the most serious threat.
Currently, there are 14 villages with a total population of 6,314 inhabitants that face the imminent destruction of their homes and expulsion from their land.
Ben-Gurion wrote in 1937:
“With compulsory transfer we [would] have a vast area [for settlement] …. I support compulsory transfer. I don’t see anything immoral in it.” (Righteous Victims, p. 144) On December 19, 1947, Ben-Gurion advised the Haganah on the rules of engagement with the Palestinian population. He stated:
“we adopt the system of aggressive defense; with every Arab attack we must respond with a decisive blow: the destruction of the place or the expulsion of the residents along with the seizure of the place.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176-177 and Israel: A History, p. 156)
Ben-Gurion was happy and sad when the U.N. voted to Partition Palestine into two states, Palestinian and Jewish. He was happy because “finally” Jews could have a “country” of their own. On the other hand, he was sad because they have “lost” almost half of Palestine, and because they would have to contend with a sizable Palestinian minority, well over 45% of the total population. In the following few quotes, you will see how he also stated that a “Jewish state” cannot survive being 60% Jewish; implying that something aught to be done to remedy the so called “Arab demographic problem”. He stated on November 30, 1947:
“In my heart, there was joy mixed with sadness: joy that the nations at last acknowledged that we are a nation with a state, and sadness that we lost half of the country, Judea and Samaria, and , in addition, that we [would] have [in our state] 400,000 [Palestinian] Arabs.” (Righteous Victims, p. 190)
While addressing the Central Committee of the Histadrut on December 30, 1947, Ben-Gurion stated:
“In the area allocated to the Jewish State there are not more than 520,000 Jews and about 350,000 non-Jews, mostly Arabs. Together with the Jews of Jerusalem, the total population of the Jewish State at the time of its establishment, will be about one million, including almost 40% non-Jews. such a [population] composition does not provide a stable basis for a Jewish State. This [demographic] fact must be viewed in all its clarity and acuteness. With such a [population] composition, there cannot even be absolute certainty that control will remain in the hands of the Jewish majority …. There can be no stable and strong Jewish state so long as it has a Jewish majority of only 60%.” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 176)