Tag Archives: West Bank

A Few of My Thoughts on One State or Two: Palestine

I am often asked if I support a one state solution or two state solution. Well my answer is…both.
In my ideal world:
0-20years

-End of occupation and withdrawal of troops from West Bank and E Jerusalem.
-Removal of Israeli forces from Jordan Border Crossing (Allenby Bridge)
-Creation of elevated train service from Gaza to West Bank under full control of Palestine with Israel controlling the ground under it.
-Removal of all settlers from West Bank
-End of all trade restrictions on Palestine
-Creation of a sustainable economy in Palestine
-Resettlement of 500,000+ Palestinian refugees to West Bank
-Jerusalem to be united and administered as an international zone
-Development of deep-sea port in Gaza controlled by Palestine
-Cessation of all Israeli military incursions and operations in Palestine and cessation of armed resistance attacks from Palestinian factions.
-Banishment of all ultra-national and ultra-religious factions and parties

Under this idea the need for armed factions would disappear and freedom of movement would be re-established. Focus would be on economy and state building not defense. Mutual recognition and diplomacy would replace the current animosity between both entities. People would begin to have normal lives living in peace knowing both people have a right to self determination. Slowly movement of people between states and interaction between the two will increase evolving into a US-Canada model.

20+ Years

-The formation of a bi-national government with equal rights for all people and religions.
-A move to one state will begin with the right of return granted to all refugees- Jewish and Palestinian.
-Two strong economies will merge into one with neither having the upper hand.
-Dissolution of JNF
-Recognition and rights given to Bedouin villages- equality with kibbutz’s
-Prohibition of civilian owned firearms.
-Removal of separation barrier
-Formation of joint military forces and end of mandatory service
-Representation at the UN as a bi-national state

I am far from being a politician or lawyer and theses are just my ideas and thoughts- nothing more.

Apartheid roads: Restricted Roads in West Bank

The following charts outline the road restrictions in place by Israel on Palestinians in the West Bank. Can you imagine not being able to use a road simply because you are Palestinian?

Roads Palestinians are prohibited from using in the West Bank

Roads Palestinians are prohibited from using in the West Bank

Roads in West Bank with partial prohibitions for Palestinians

Roads in West Bank with partial prohibitions for Palestinians

Hebron roads with restrictions for Palestinians

Hebron roads with restrictions for Palestinians

Graphs all courtesy of B’Tselem

Restriction of Movement=Restriction of Trade

The following article is from B’Tselem can be found HERE

Checkpoints

In February 2013, there were 98 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank.

58 are internal checkpoints, which are situated well within the West Bank. These checkpoints include 17 in Area H2 in Hebron, where Israeli settlement enclaves are found. Thirty-four of the internal checkpoints are regularly staffed.

40 of the fixed checkpoints are the last inspection point before entering Israel, although most are located a few kilometers east of the Green Line, or just outside the entrance to Jerusalem. All these checkpoints are staffed regularly, and are closed when not staffed. Some have been completely or partially privatized, and several are staffed by armed civilian guards employed by private security companies under supervision of the Crossing Directorate of the Ministry of Defense.

At some of the checkpoints, Israel prohibits crossing for private Palestinian vehicles, apart from those with special permits, and in principle allows crossing only for public transportation and commercial vehicles.

In addition, the army erects hundreds of surprise flying checkpoints along West Bank roads. During the month of May 2012, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counted some 256 flying checkpoints compared with c. 340 in March 2012. Between January 2011 and September 2011, OCHA counted a monthly average of c. 495 flying checkpoints. During 2009-2010, the monthly average for flying checkpoints was 351, and from September 2008 to March 2009, the monthly average was 65.
Physical obstructions

In addition, Israel has blocked the access roads to some of the main traffic arteries in the West Bank by means of hundreds of physical obstructions, such as dirt piles, concrete blocks, iron gates, and trenches. The number of obstructions fluctuates often, depending on political and security circumstances. During 2012, OCHA counted an average of 445 physical obstructions a month, compared to an average of c. 434 obstructions during the period May through December 2011 and an average of 519 during 2010.

The obstructions prevent the crossing of vehicles even in emergencies. In addition, they restrict the movement of many pedestrians who have trouble bypassing them: the elderly, sick persons, pregnant women, and small children.
Forbidden roads

Another restriction is forbidding Palestinians to use certain roads. In February 2013, there were 67 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that Israel classified for the sole, or almost sole, use of Israelis, primarily of settlers. Israel also prohibits Palestinians from even crossing some of these roads with vehicles, thereby restricting their access to nearby roads that they are ostensibly not prohibited from using. In these cases, Palestinians travelers have to get out of the vehicle, cross the road on foot, and find an alternative mode of transportation on the other side.

The forbidden-roads policy is not laid out in the military legislation or in any official document, except for the prohibition on travel on Route 443, a road that connects the Tel Aviv area with North Jerusalem, which was prescribed in a military order five years after the prohibition was instituted and was partially removed following a ruling by the High Court of Justice. Another road, which runs from the Beit ‘Awwa junction to the Negohot settlement, was reopened following a High Court ruling given in October 2009. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office informed B’Tselem that the prohibitions on Palestinian travel are based on “verbal orders” given to soldiers. This mode of operation adds a dimension of uncertainty and makes it difficult to critique the policy and test its validity in court.

The Separation Barrier

In addition to the above restrictions, the Separation Barrier, which was built mostly inside the West Bank, impairs Palestinian movement. As of February 2012, there were 35 checkpoints (included in the checkpoint data above) along the Barrier. In addition, OCHA counted, through the end of 2011, 60 agricultural gates intended to enable Palestinian farmers who live on one side and have farmland on the other side of the Barrier to get to their land. Crossing at these checkpoints and gates is conditioned on a special permit and by prior coordination with the Civil Administration. In recent years, Israel has reduced the number of permanent permits enabling access to land and communities situated on the western side of the Barrier and has limited the permits it issued to short, fixed periods.

The severe restrictions on persons wanting to cross the checkpoints and gates varies from one checkpoint and gate to another and from one time to another, but at almost all the regularly staffed checkpoints and gates of the Barrier, a person crossing on foot has to show an identity card or crossing permit and is checked in accordance with the procedures for crossing at the specific crossing. Often, soldiers check vehicles and the passengers’ items.

Unlawful policy causes collective punishment

One of the declared objectives of Israel’s policy restricting Palestinian movement is to protect the settlers. In light of the illegality of the settlements, the restrictions pile one illegal action on top of another: sweeping, disproportionate impairment of freedom of movement of an entire population to realize and perpetuate a policy that is illegal from the start. However, even if the restrictions were intended to prevent attacks inside Israel, and not in settlements, the policy would be illegal given its sweeping and disproportionate nature, which makes it prohibited collective punishment.Furthermore, Israel’s policy is based on the assumption that every Palestinian is a security threat, thus justifying restrictions on the person’s freedom of movement. This racist assumption brings with it the sweeping violation of human rights of an entire population based on national origin. As such, the policy flagrantly breaches international law.

Life Depends On Water But My Tap Is Dry: Life In Gaza Without Water

The refreshing water of the Eastern Mediterranean Ocean.

The refreshing water of the Eastern Mediterranean Ocean.


I wake up every morning and look out my window at the sparkling Mediterranean Ocean. Sometimes it’s azure other times it’s grey- but no matter the colour it always gives me a sense of renewal. Seeking to embody that feeling of renewal I head to the bathroom for a shower. Grabbing a towel and saying a silent prayer I turn the tap…drip…drip…driiiiippppp…then nothing. Great, another day without water.
Coming from the Western world I had experienced power and water outages a few times before-mainly as a result of a storm. Normally things would be back on in a few hours. In Gaza it is different- sometimes we go days without water and this is the way we must live. I remember the first time I woke up to no water. I was perplexed and wondered what was going on but figured it would be back on soon. I waited 12 hours and the faucet was still dry.
The system here was a bit confusing to me at first. I couldn’t understand WHY we just didn’t have any water. Let me explain how it works (or doesn’t work). Most homes in Gaza have huge plastic reservoir tanks for 2000 litres on the roof depending on the size of your family and size of your home. These tanks supply water when the municipal supply is not working. When the municipal supply and electricity are BOTH on at the same time- the tanks are refilled. A small electric motor pump engages and pushes the water up to these tanks. This is a great backup system however it is not fail safe.
Water tanks dot the skyline in Gaza.

Water tanks dot the skyline in Gaza.

water tanks2Sometimes it seems the stars have to align before we can have water.
If the electricity is off at the pumping station- and this happens often as there are fuel shortages and generators cannot be fueled- then there is no water.
If the electricity is on at the pumping station but off at your home-water cannot be pumped up to the tanks on the roof.
If it is not our day to have water from the municipal system- which is every 2 days only- and there is no water in the tanks on the roof because of no electricity-then there is no water.
Of course the water that does come out of the taps when it is available is undrinkable. High levels of nitrates and salt make it unfit for consumption. When I first came to Gaza my hair started to fall out and I developed a rash and itchy skin because of the contaminants. Even now if I stay in the shower too long my skin becomes irritated and forget about getting water in your eyes- they will be red and burn for days. The water even makes kitchen utensils and anything it touches rust in a few months. Our water heater has to be serviced every 3 months because the salt accumulates inside of it and breaks the heater. Clothes wear out after a few washes in the harsh water.
We also must pay to have ‘clean’ water delivered to our home for cooking purposes. 500 litres costs about 20 shekels or $6USD. Nearly everyone has a separate tank for this water and it is delivered by trucks every few days. I only use this water after boiling because I don’t completely trust its cleanliness. The trucks that patrol the neighbourhoods always play a song on their loud speaker so we know they are coming. Some play “Jingle Bells”, Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” or “It’s a Small World”.
Water truck making its rounds.

Water truck making its rounds.


For drinking water we purchase sealed 1.5liter bottles brought in from the West Bank that cost 2 shekels each. It is the only water I feel safe drinking. The cost probably doesn’t seem like much to you but over time it adds up.
So here I am-still waiting for the water to come on and am subsisting on the few bottles I had filled from the tap for emergencies.
Things like running water I took for granted for so many years but now I treasure every sacred drop.

A Look at Israeli Military Orders: From the Draconian to the Absurd

The first Israeli military order was issued on June 7, 1967. Military Proclamation 1 announced that Israel had occupied and assumed administrative control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip ‘in the interests of security and public order’. Today there are over 2500 military orders and countless amendments. It wasn’t until the 80’s that a compilation of the orders were put together so the general public could have access to the Occupation’s ‘laws’. Even today it is hard to find the exact details of some of the early orders and texts. I will share a small selection of these orders that control all facets of Palestinian life and apply to only Palestinians- not illegal Israeli settlers.

Water Apartheid
Military Order #92 and #158 (8/15/67) gives control of all water resources in West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israeli Military (Article 5). Gives Military power to appoint and direct the organization and directors of any “water entity” in the region (Article 5). Regulations that follow then requires a license from the Israeli Military to install or continue to own or operate any type of water control device (pump, well, irrigation equipment, etc.) which the Military can withdraw at any time. Public Notice of decisions in local newspapers no longer required, only posting within offices of the Israeli Military Authority.

Educational & Political Oppression
Israel Attempts to block ALL forms of resistance and attempts to erase our history.
Military Order #854 (7/6/80) puts Israeli Military in control of acceptance and entrance of students, and faculty and staff employment at West Bank Universities. Israeli Military controls licensing of teachers. Students without I.D. Cards must register with the Israeli Military.
Military Order #107 publishes a list of 60 prohibited school textbooks.Publications banned include works on Arabic grammar, histories of the Crusades and works on Arab nationalism.
Military Order #1079 (amends M.O.107) prohibits video and audio work of a political nature. Publishes new list of over 1000 items including all United Nations Resolutions pertaining to Palestine, poetry, novels, etc.
Military Order #101 forbids a gathering of more than 10 people unless the Israeli military receives advance notice with names of all participants.
Military Order #284 (7/26/68) prohibits training or contact with any “hostile organization” which includes any organization with aims to endanger the security of the public, or the IDF, or public order in Israel, or other areas under control of the Israeli Military
Under #284 it is also prohibited to listen to patriotic music and to have flags of any political faction. Oh and ‘hostile organization’ is ANY that rejects the Occupation.

The Absurd
The most absurd orders impacting a large section of the Palestinian population are the regulations levied at farmers.
Military Order #818 establishes how Palestinians can plant decorative flowers.
Military Order #1147 (amendment) requires Palestinians to get permission from the Israeli military to grow onions.
Military Order #1015 (8/27/82) requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to plant and grow fruit trees. Permits expire in one year or each June 15th.
Military Order #96 forbids transport or purchase of goods on a donkey.
Military Order #1002 requiring license issued by Israeli Military-appointed authorities to sell seedlings and operate a nursery.
Military Order #134 prohibits Palestinians from operating tractors or other farm machinery made in Israel or imported from any other country.
Military Order #47 (7/9/67) farmers need permission from Israeli Military appointee to transport agricultural goods.

Blatant Apartheid
Military Order #297 establishes I.D. Card system which are required by authorities for all business transactions. Gives Israeli Military right to confiscate I.D. Cards for any reason. Israeli Military not required to give receipt when confiscating I.D. Cards.
Military Order #1080 (10/3/83) (amends M.O.180) allows Israeli Military-appointed Village Leagues to carry guns and assume many police duties. (but not Palestinians)

Land Theft Laws
Military Order #811 and #847 allows Jews to purchase land from unwilling non-Jewish (Palestinian) sellers by using a ‘power of attorney.’
Military Order #25 forbids public inspection of land transactions.
Military Order #58 makes land transactions immune to review so long as the transaction was carried out by an Israeli ‘acting in good faith.’
Military Order #58, Article 5 says any land transaction will not be voided even if proven to be invalid.
Military Order #847 declares only Israeli notaries can authenticate signatures.
Military Order #1101(amends M.O.271) in order to apply to the Israeli Military Objections Committee for compensation for damages caused by Israeli Military, person must first get certificate from Area Commander that the Military personnel causing the damage were involved in a “security” operation at the time.
Military Order #25 (6/18/67) requires Israeli Military issued permit for all transactions involving immoveable property.

Financial Subjugation
Military Order #33 (6/26/67) gives Israeli Military control over bank deposits.
Military Order #45 (7/9/67) transfers control of Jordanian Banks, and applications for new banks, over to Israeli-appointed position of “Inspector of Banks”
Military Order #26 (6/18/67) gives Israeli Military control over currency transactions, bills of exchange, Gold transactions.
Military Order #998 requires Palestinians to get Israeli military permission to make a withdrawal from their bank accounts.
Military Order #952 (1/20/82) prohibits residents of West Bank from buying foreign currencies except for importing good and services, or for transfer to a dependent relative living outside the West Bank (not to exceed $3000). Also, residents of the West Bank cannot take more than $3000 with them when they travel outside the West Bank, and no more than $500 of that total can be in cash. Requires all residents who have bank accounts to inform the Israeli Military authorities of the account and it’s balance. Residents who own immoveable property outside the West Bank are required to inform the Israeli Military authorities about the details of that ownership.
Military Order #973 (9/6/82) prohibits all money transfers by individuals unless permission has been obtained from the Israeli Military authorities.

Complete Control of Commerce & Business
Military Order #93 and amendment gives all Palestinian insurance business to the Israeli Insurance Syndicate.
Military Order #128 gives the Israeli military the right to take over any Palestinian business which does not open during regular business hours.
Military Order #363 requires Palestinian mechanics to report to the Israeli military the particulars of any and all cars they repair.

Apartheid Legal Systems

Apartheid is defined by International Criminal Court (ICC), which also lists apartheid as a crime against humanity, as inhumane acts “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups… with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Palestinians live under military law and are tried by military tribunals. Illegal settlers are tried under Israeli civilian law and by ‘religious councils’.

Military Order #378 (4/20/70) empowers Military Area Commanders to establish military courts (Article 3) with prosecutors (Article 8), officials and judges(Article 4) all appointed by same Area Commanders. In addition, these courts can diverge from rules of evidence (Article 9) and regular procedures (Article 10), or hold hearings in secret (Article 11) when needed. Anyone disobeying or resisting the court may be immediately sentenced and jailed for up to 2 years (Article 17). If the Area Commander does not approve of the results of a trial, he has the right to cancel its proceedings and call for a new trial in front of a new judge (Article 42.4), or change the sentence (Articles 44 & 50.C.5.b). Allows the court to order the detention of a person for 6 month periods without trial (using an “arrest warrant”). The person can then be kept in jail longer with issuance of a new arrest warrant. Detention without trial is called, “administrative detention” (Articles 78.F & 87). States that the Military Area Commander has the right to restrict any movements and activities of any persons (Article 85) including confinement to a specific area including his home (Article 86). In addition, Area Commanders have the right to restrict or control the use of any vehicle for any purpose (Article 88), have the right to impose curfews on any area (Article 89), and have the right to close off any area or building or business or institution to any person prohibiting either entrance or exit (Article 90 & 91). In addition, the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove his innocence (Article 94).
Military Order #1229 authorizes Israel to hold Palestinians in administrative detention for up to six months without charge or trial. Six-month detentions can be renewed indefinitely.
Military Order #783 (3/25/79) establishes 5 regional “religious councils” in the West Bank to cover all Israeli-controlled lands in the West Bank. Establishes special Settlement Courts in the Israeli Settlements to try criminal cases (replaced by M.O.892, and relevant amendments also in M.O.1058).
Military Order #892 (3/1/80) established additional “Religious Councils” and Municipal Courts for specific Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and states that all are constituted and operated according to regulations issued by the Area Military Commander (Article 2).
Military Order #29 (6/23/67) concerns operations of prisons. Establishes registration system for tracking prisoners while they are in the prison system. Rules that prisoners can be denied access to a lawyer at any time at the discretion of the Israeli Military Commander.

Extending their control ad infinitum
Military Order #224 (1967) declares that the Emergency Regulations installed by the British Mandate Authorities in 1945 are in affect in the West Bank until specifically declared invalid by name. These Regulations gave the Military powers to violate civil rights and international laws because a security emergency had been declared in the West Bank.I will post more military orders at a later date as I think most people can only stomach a few at a time.
Peace and love,
Sally

War is Coming…Again

War is coming to us again it seems and in Gaza it is not a matter of ‘if’ but of ‘when’. The Israeli army has been shelling the coast with more frequency the past couple of days and this week has murdered 4 people in the West Bank. Every week I see more and more injustices here and every week I think ‘this will be the last straw, surely the world will wake up now and defend us’ but every week I am disappointed.
Israel is handing out gas masks to its citizens and deploying more air defense systems to the north, US is sending another battle ship… and what are we doing in Gaza? Living like we do any other day. The reality is this: we have no way to defend ourselves. We don’t have air defense- heck- we are not even allowed to have radar systems to track in-coming air strikes! Citizens here don’t have bunkers-they are reserved for Hamas of course. The only thing we can do is pray for peace and keep moving forward.
I have read posts from so many people who side with the US and want them to attack Syria. My guess is these people have never lived through air strikes and war. The situation is Syria is dire but there is so much at play. It is naive to think an attack from the US will magically fix the problem.
I hope with all my heart that US does not strike Syria and finds a way to help them rather than hurt them. It is time for negotiations and talks of peace- not for hypocritical threats about red-lines. Violence begets violence- after all of these years of war- have we not learned this simple lesson yet?

Perspective: Gaza ‘Rockets’ Versus Israeli Air Strikes

Everyday on Twitter I hear the same ‘argument’ from Israel supporters. It is always the same-they blame from the 65 year conflict is put on the Gaza rockets which started only 12 years ago. Logical right? I don’t support the rockets or any violence for that matter BUT I want to put things into perspective.
Below are images of Gaza rockets:

Gaza Rocket Pics: IDF Blog

Gaza Rocket Pics: IDF Blog

Between the years 2004 and 2013 there have been a grand total of 24 fatalities from Gaza ‘rockets’. Keep in mind that during Cast Lead offensive 1300 people in Gaza were murdered by Israel and Cast Lead lasted a mere three weeks.

Most Israel supporters also fail to mention the bombings and air strikes in Gaza and the West Bank in 2000, a year PRIOR to the 1st Gaza ‘rocket’.

Account of air strikes on Palestine before 1st rocket

Account of air strikes on Palestine before 1st rocket

Now please look at the pictures of the Gaza ‘rockets’ again and compare them to the following pictures I took in the aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defense – November 2012.

Ministry Building Saraya Area

Ministry Building Saraya Area

Shujaya Police Station

Shujaya Police Station


Press Building Jundi Street- main shopping area

Press Building Jundi Street- main shopping area

Police Building Near Shifa Hospital

Police Building Near Shifa Hospital

Now I ask you: WHICH is the real threat? The so-called Gaza ‘rockets’ or the very real and destructive Israeli air strikes?

Violent & Deadly Week in Palestine & It’s Only Tuesday

palestine under attack
The Israeli Occupation Army and the illegal squatters have been busy this week terrorising Palestine.Here are a few of the attacks on Palestinian civilians:

SATURDAY

Three swimmers were arrested off the coast of Gaza- IOF said they were ‘ too near’ the border.

IOF arrested 2 brothers in Hebron who work as shepherds.

SUNDAY
Sunday IOF arrested one and summonsed 2 on ‘security related matters’ south of Bethlehem.

Group of illegal squatters attacked a shepherd and stabbed several animals.

Photo" Ma'an News Agency

Photo: Ma’an News Agency

MONDAY

IOF ethnically cleansed Kanan Bedouin village in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina -home to 53 residents- who were originally cleansed and displaced in 1948.

Photo: Ma'an News Agency

Photo: Ma’an News Agency

TUESDAY
IOF raided Jenin in the early morning murdering a young father by gunshot to the chest and injuring three.

Photo: Ma'an News Agency

Photo: Ma’an News Agency

Early morning (2am) IOF navy opened fire at the Gaza shore. No injuries reported.

IOF opened fire at fishermen off North Gaza.

IOF destroyed part of a Palestinian home in Silwan and uprooted olive trees.

IOF destroyed 10 Palestinian buildings in the Jordan Valley near the West Bank villages of Furush Beit Dajan and al-Jiftlik