Ethnic Cleansing: Erased Bedouin village of Walaja to be replaced by Jewish settlement of Givat Yael


By ibrows
July 31, 2010
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Ari Hart's guest column in the Jerusalem post raises many important questions relating to Israel's raid on a Bedouin village this week. Israel razed around 40 homes belonging to the residents of this 'unrecognised village', despite the Bedouin living in the Negev prior to the creation of Israel. This act of destruction has left around 300 Bedouin homeless. The JNF will facilitate the transfer of this Bedouin land to Jewish settlers in an attempt to 'Judaise' the land. The proposed Jewish settlement of Givat Yael, if it goes ahead will build 1,200 homes, some of them directly on top of existing homes in Walaja. As such, the Israeli state is engaged in Ethnic Cleansing the systematic removal of Palestinians in order to replace them with Jewish residents, wiping out generations of history in the process.

Below is a section of Ari Hart's article:

''SOME MIGHT look at this situation and see the government protecting its citizens, with unfortunate collateral damage. Some see this story as part of a systemic plan to eliminate one of the few remaining Arab villages between Gilo and Gush Etzion. Others might see this story as a result of all-too-familiar Israeli bureaucratic confusion and red tape. Whatever political lens you look though, the results are the same: we are suffocating the village of Walaja.

If you believe that all Palestinians must permanently leave Israel and the West Bank, then perhaps Walaja’s suffocation is no big deal. But if you believe, like me, that Palestinians aren’t going to just disappear, then this situation should worry you. If you believe that as Jews we must hold our state to the highest possible standards of compassion and justice, this situation should anger you.

And if you believe that there are Israelis and Palestinians who want to lead normal lives in peace with their neighbors, but that possibility is slipping away, then Walaja should worry you.

Calling for change in Walaja does not undermine the death and pain of thousands of Israelis who have been killed or hurt by Palestinian violence. It does not undermine Israel’s right to exist or moral standing in the world. On the contrary, Walaja as it stands now undermines our own moral standing. The difficulties villagers face in building homes and getting residency rights support those who claim that Israel is functioning as an occupation state smothering Palestinian existence. The isolation of Walaja and the confiscation of farmlands, coupled with its proximity to surrounding Gilo and Har Gilo, strengthens the voices who say that the security barrier is functioning as a land grab.

If the village of Walaja is a security threat, why have we waited four years into its construction to finish the wall’s completion? And what is the relationship between Givat Yael, the proposed settlement that shows plans for 1,200 homes, some of them directly on top of existing homes in Walaja, and Walaja’s current suffocation?

Do we have the moral courage to take a hard look at the effects of our own policies?

Don’t get me wrong: Our security concerns are very real. We have very real enemies who want to destroy our state and our people. Paraphrasing the sage Hillel, “If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?” We must also remember, though, that the lives of the villagers in Walaja are real too. “If we are only for ourselves, what are we?”

At this moment, we are engaged in a process of encircling a village with walls and turning it into a ghetto, denying people access to their land, livelihoods and bones of their ancestors, completely disregarding the lives of the human beings living under Israeli jurisdiction.

“If not now, when?”''

http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=183031

COMMENTS

happygoldfish

Sat, 07/31/2010 - 22:45

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ibrows, your headline is a lie, isn't it?

walaja is not "erased" … it has 2,000 palestinian residents, according to your own source, but only 40 homes (with 300 residents) have been destroyed, according to you (presumably from some other source that you're not telling us about )

http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=183031 (ari hart, 30/7/2010): Walaja, sitting on the seam between Jerusalem and the West Bank, is home to about 2,000 Palestinian villagers.

ibrows: Israel razed around 40 homes belonging to the residents of this 'unrecognised village', despite the Bedouin living in the Negev prior to the creation of Israel. This act of destruction has left around 300 Bedouin homeless.

walaja (or al-walaja) clearly has not been erased … so why does your headline ("Erased Bedouin village of Walaja …") say it has been?

(and there's nothing to support the words "ethnic cleansing" in your headline, either)


raycook

Mon, 08/02/2010 - 22:02

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As usual ibrows takes the demonisation option.

But on Walajeh there is a definite case for concern from those who want to look at the facts instead of to look for sensational headlines that are always knocking Israel and ignoring anything positive. Anyway, aren;t there 2 different stories here that ibrows has conflated?

On 13th July I wrote this article:

http://www.raymondcook.net/blog/index.php/2010/07/13/walajeh-this-is-wro...

and I asked if anyone could tell me why this was not wrong. I'm prepared to listen to the facts and change my mind.

If the JP posts something like this, not Ha'aretz, then it's at least worthy of consideration.


happygoldfish

Tue, 08/03/2010 - 10:19

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raycook, i think your concern is in reliance on alleged facts (in karin laub's jpost 13/7/2010 story) which a look at the aerial and satellite photos shows to be untrue, in particular …

karin laub: … the loop runs tightly around Walajeh’s builtup area, penning it within less than a square mile and isolating it from almost all its farmlands.

but the google satellite photo (do a google-map-search for "alWalaja, Israel") shows scattered houses in a large area, mostly along the few roads, and comparison with the barrier route superimposed on a un ocha aerial photo (http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_barrier_route_alwalaja_july_a3...) shows that the barrier goes nowhere near most of the houses

the barrier follows the top of the hillside terraces (go to the very-large-scale google photo to verify this), thereby enclosing almost all the walaja farmland … the only exception seems to be on the west, where walaja's land overflows the hilltop into israel (where old walaja was)

(to the north and south are the jewish settlements, which i assume contain no land belonging to present or former walaja residents)

this "isolated" land to the west of the barrier, between the barrier and the israeli border (the green line), seems to be an average width of about 200 metres (with a maximum of about 400 metres), and a length of about 1000 metres (the scale on the un ocha map is ridiculously wrong … by comparison with the google map, the distance labelled "45,000 metres" should be about "450 metres"!)

writing false reports is easy if no map is included … in this case, maps seem to show that the barrier does not "run tightly around Walajeh’s builtup area", and is not "isolating it from almost all its farmlands".

btw, walaja is a roughly egg-shaped valley almost surrounded by steep terraced hillsides, with only a narrow exit to the east (towards beit jala and bethlehem) …

and a brief history is set out at http://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/2010070915338.pdf

The original route of the Barrier would have split Al Walaja into two. However, the community appealed to the Israeli Court and in October 2004 won their petition that the village remain intact. However, the new route threatened to separate farmers from their agricultural land which would be reachable only through agricultural gates.

In April 2006, the Israeli Authorities confirmed the plan to encircle Al Walaja with the Barrier — making it a Palestinian enclave inside Gush Etzion, connected to Beit Jala and Bethlehem through a tunnel - and confiscating 1,600 du of Al Walaja land.

raycook: Anyway, aren;t there 2 different stories here that ibrows has conflated?

i think you're right … walaja isn't anywhere near the negev, yet ibrows writes about it being a bedouin village, impliedly in the negev

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