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Israeli Apartheid Rolls Along

Today, the UN’s OCHA-OPT released it’s latest report on the plight of the Palestinians…

Violence between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank appears to be worsening, say UN agencies, NGOs, and the Israeli and Palestinian communities living there.

An increased number of Palestinian civilians have been injured and had property or land damaged in incidents involving Israeli settlers living in the West Bank since the start of 2011, reports the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Meanwhile, a systematic lack of law enforcement against settlers by Israeli authorities is being reported by Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and Palestinian victims.

Israeli NGO Yesh-Din says nine out 10 investigations of Israeli attacks against Palestinians are closed, with no indictment served, according to a 16 February data sheet on its monitoring of police investigations of a variety of offences.

However, only a fraction of the actual number of incidents are reported, says Yesh Din, as many Palestinians do not feel comfortable dealing with the Israeli police.

Five settler-related incidents in the West Bank resulted in Palestinian injury and property damage on 9-15 February, according to OCHA, including a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly shot by Israelis settlers from a neighbouring outpost while walking from his farm to his home in Jalud village, Nablus Governorate.

Since the beginning of 2011, settlers have killed two Palestinian teenage boys and injured another 14 in various incidents, says OCHA. […]

“Price-tag” policy

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Max Gaylord told IRIN the recent spike in settler violence could be related to the “price-tag” policy.

This pattern of violence, named by Israeli settlers as the “price tag” strategy, emerged during 2008, in which “groups of settlers would exact a `price’ against Palestinians and their property in response to attempts by the Israeli authorities to dismantle `unauthorized’ settlement outposts,” according to OCHA. [12 pg. PDF]

When linked to the Israeli occupation, settler violence can be a mechanism of displacement, said Gaylord, and “the pattern of bringing settlers to justice is not reassuring.” […]

Dual system of law

Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, said there is a dual system of law in the occupied territory.

“Palestinians are under Israeli military rule and Israeli settlers are under Israeli’s civilian court system, which provides benefits and protection,” said Michaeli.

Menachem Klein, political scientist at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said Israeli society’s perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shifted from a border conflict to an ethnic conflict.

“The land grab is an expression of a greater struggle. The settlers want the Jewish people to own the land and to limit the Arab/Palestinian presence,” said Klein.

“The current Israeli government is the result of society’s shift towards an ethnocentric state,” he said.

Israel’s February 2009 legislative council elections led to a coalition agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party and far-right Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, known to support the settlement movement.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights began monitoring settler violence in the West Bank in 2009, and it remains one of their priorities as lead of the “protection cluster”.

According to OCHA, there were 87 Israeli-settler related incidents leading to Palestinian casualties in 2010, and eight in January 2011; and 240 incidents leading to Palestinian property/land damage in 2010, and 21 in January 2011.

There were 33 Israeli-settler related incidents leading to Israeli casualties in 2010 and one in January 2011; and 83 incidents leading to Israeli property/land damage in 2010 and none in January 2011.

In this month’s spike, OCHA has documented seven settler-related incidents between February 16-22, resulting in the injury of two Palestinians and damage to property – typically olive trees – on which many households depend for income. Israeli settlers also entered Burin village in Nablus governorate and stoned Palestinian-plated vehicles, setting one on fire.

The Israeli police were unable to verify these figures upon IRIN’s request.

(As reported by the humanitarian news and analysis service, IRIN)

Two recent Settler related events…

Medics: Hebron girl hit by settler car… In which, an Israeli settler ran down an 11-year-old girl in his car on Sunday near the Beit Ainun junction in Hebron, medics said.

Settlers fire-bomb Palestinian home in Nablus

Settlers set fire to a Palestinian home on Monday, injuring two children, and attacked Palestinian cars around Nablus, officials said.

Settlers threw Molotov cocktails at homes in Huwara village, setting fire to the home of Rabi Taha As-Sebty, said Palestinian Authority settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas.

Why is it that it’s always the children that pay the heaviest price…?

Now, despite an Oscar win yesterday…

Documentary on Tel Aviv school, ‘Strangers No More,’ wins Oscar

The movie tells the tale of the children from 48 different countries who attend the Bialik-Rogozin School, many of whom have escaped genocide, war and hunger to arrive in Israel.

That very school is in jeopardy as the Grey Lady notes…

Migrants in Israel Face Uncertainty, Despite Oscar

…The school, which is state-supported, caters to the children of migrant workers and refugees from 48 countries. For many of them it is a safe haven from daily hardships and, in some cases, traumatic pasts.

Although the American-made documentary, “Strangers No More,” celebrates the school’s atmosphere of diversity and tolerance as it tries to integrate the children into Israeli life, there is an ominous subtext to the story that was not explored in the movie. Of the school’s 828 pupils, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, 120 are facing deportation with their families because they do not meet government criteria for obtaining legal status.

Despite all the school’s attention from the Oscar, Israel’s Interior Ministry said Monday that the government’s preparations for dealing with the children of illegal residents were in their final stages and that the plan would be carried out in the coming weeks.

Recently, Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel…

Now, in a startling turn of events, Bibi announced today…

Israel vows to raze all illegal outposts built on private Palestinian land

The decision, which will be submitted to the High Court of Justice in response to 15 petitions demanding the outposts’ demolition, will apply to at least three outposts inhabited by about 100 families.

The government will immediately dismantle all illegal settlement outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian land, with the sole exception of the house owned by slain Israel Defense Forces officer Eliraz Peretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided yesterday in consultation with the defense minister and the attorney general.

The decision, which will be submitted to the High Court of Justice in response to 15 petitions demanding the outposts’ demolition, will apply to at least three outposts inhabited by about 100 families.

Now, that is only baby steps in the process, in the right direction mind you, but, the backlash was immediate and swift…

Police clash with rightists protesting in Jerusalem over West Bank outpost demolition

Settlers clash with Israeli police, roads closed

Hundreds of angered Israeli settlers gathered in the Nablus region Monday, prompting road closures to prevent attacks on Palestinian drivers on the Nablus-Qalqiliya road, and the Jit-Flefleh road.

The closures stopped movement between dozens of villages, and the nearby city centers and followed the dismantling of two buildings in an illegal Jewish-only outpost near the Havat Gilad settlement.

Bibi must be feeling the International heat, but, he has an even tougher row to hoe with his main constituency…!

One can only hope peace and justice will prevail…!

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