| Haaretz: Netanyahu forced to accept interim deal with Iran!

Haaretz: Netanyahu forced to accept interim deal with Iran ~ MEMO.

An Israeli writer, Barack Rafid, has cited Israeli and American officials as saying that the gaps between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama are unbridgeable.

In an article published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz today, Rafid said that in their last telephone conversation, which lasted for one and half an hour, both leaders failed to make their stances any closer.

Rafid also said that an Israeli official had recently advised Mr Netanyahu to moderate his “tough tone” with the American Administration. The politician warned that the current friction with the US administration on the Iranian nuclear issue would only harm Israel and leave Iran to be the sole beneficiary.

The writer claimed that the White House believes that Netanyahu’s approach to a deal with Iran is “everything or nothing.” Netanyahu wants more pressure to be put on Iran so that it dismantles all of its centrifuges.

The US on the other hand believes this is not effective. According to the writer it would lead Iran to quickly explode the negotiations and turn to the production of nuclear weapons. War would be the inevitable consequence.

However, Rafid notes that Netanyahu sees things in a different light. The writer said Netanyahu feels everything he warned of recently about Iran’s nuclear is now being fulfilled.

Netanyahu believes, according to Rafid, that he reads Iranian policy and negotiating tactics better than those sitting in Geneva. He believes that the action of the super powers would lead to a war.

Rafid added that Netanyahu was surprised by the American action in the last three days. Netanyahu apparently expected a severe American condemnation of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khaminae’s description of Israel as a “mad dog”. However the US only said that such remarks “cause annoyance.”

All of that has led Netanyahu to believe that the US and other powers are determined to reach a deal with Iran at any price. Iran, according to the writer, has itself discerned this enthusiasm and has now become even “more stubborn” in its stances during the current negotiations.

Additionally, Netanyahu believes the imminent deal would be an unprecedented opportunity for Iran to accelerate its nuclear programme. In the event, Iran would agree to reduce depleting uranium to 20 per cent in order to develop other elements of its programme.

Rafid concluded his article by saying that Netanyahu has started to accept the possibility of a temporary deal with Iran, but will now exert much effort to prevent it from becoming permanent.

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NuttyDivorce

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| Settlers usurping victimhood: Who is after Amira Hass?

Who is after Amira Hass? ~ Al Jazeera.

The settlers have become the victims, according to those attacking Israeli journalist Amira Hass, note authors.

“Hass’ critical voice is well-known. During her many years of reporting, she has covered the daily experiences and dynamics in and from Palestine,” say Gordon and Perugini [Getty Images]
World renowned Israeli journalist Amira Hass, who has won numerous prizes for her courageous reporting on Israel’s occupation of Palestine, is currently under attack. On April 4, two Israeli organisations requested that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein launch an official investigation against Hass, accusing her of fomenting violence and terrorism in her article The Inner Syntax of Palestinian Stone-Throwing, which had been published in Haaretz the day before.

Hass’ critical voice is well-known. During her many years of reporting, she has covered the daily experiences and dynamics in and from Palestine. She has never concealed her desire to contribute to the debate on the legitimate practices of resistance – on how the Palestinian struggle might be reshaped in order to invert the existing trend of dispossession and violation.

She has consistently argued that civil disobedience and sumud in their different forms need systematic grassroots organising. While the furor has concentrated on the content of Amira Hass’ article – did she or didn’t she encourage Palestinians to throw rocks? – the more crucial issue has been all but ignored. Who, one should ask, is after Amira Hass? And what are the real objectives of those attacking her?

The letters sent to the Attorney General by the Yesha Council and the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel condemning Hass are part of a much broader strategic plan orchestrated by a number of Israeli social actors who aim to expand and refine the grammar of expropriation, deprivation and violation. Alongside these two organisations, groups like NGO MonitorIm TirtzuRegavim and Shurat HaDin use human rights law as their new syntax in order to perpetuate Israel’s regime of colonial democracy. This is carried out in a variety of ways, including the ongoing and vocal labelling of people who resist Israel’s colonial project as terrorists and thus as egregious abusers of human rights.

The work of the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel illustrates this point. Established in 2004, the Forum is, according to its website:

“Committed to protecting human rights in Israel, ensuring sound government, and preserving the national integrity of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

One of the first actions taken by this legal and advocacy group was to support “the human rights of settlers” just before their evacuation from Gaza. The Forum submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice against what they considered to be the forced relocation and dispossession of Jewish citizens.

Since then, the Forum has become an established institution working for change through the national court system. “Its activities are carried out by professional attorneys, legal and financial experts volunteering their time, as well as student volunteers who are committed,” according to the organisation, “to social and political change.”

Follow the latest developments in the ongoing conflict 

Over the years, the Forum alongside groups like Regavim and Shurat HaDin, has submitted numerous petitions to Israeli courts in order to protect the human rights of the settlers. Their objective is to achieve two major goals. Firstly, the petitions serve as a tool to lobby the Knesset in order to push for further legislation that legalises the Jewish settlements while expanding existing policies of Palestinian dispossession in both the West Bank and the Israeli Negev (particularly against Bedouins). Secondly, they use human rights discourse in order to discipline anyone who transgresses the political, legal and moral boundaries of the settler colonial body – NGOs, academics and journalists who dare criticise Israel’s colonial practices are now characterised as human rights abusers.

An article published on the Forum’s website on March 15 provides a taste of how human rights are being deployed to advance Israel’s colonial project. Celebrating Moshe Yaalon‘s appointment as Defense Minister, the article entitled “A New Government – New Opportunities“, describes how the Forum has prepared a detailed work plan for the new Minister. The objective of this plan is to prevent “racial discrimination in all matters relating to land in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. There are,” the Forum maintains, “currently many laws which discriminate only against Jewish people who wish to purchase land or construct in this area.”

While the claim that settlers are a “racially discriminated” group and that their right to the colony is being violated might appear as a joke or a complete inversion of moral principles, it is widely shared not only by a network of new organisations, but also by the majority of Israeli politicians, from Yesh Atid through the Likud to HaBayait HaYehudi. It constitutes one of the two vocabularies of the new syntax deployed by these groups.

The other vocabulary is best symbolised by legal attacks, such as the recent one being waged against Amira Hass. Israeli dissidents who oppose colonisation are made aware, through legal threats, that opposition and resistance, or even thinking and writing about decolonisation, could constitute a criminal act. The interventions of these Israelis are considered to be extremely dangerous to the polity because they question and aim to undermine Israel’s right to the colony.

A clear indication that this indeed is the objective was intimated in an opinion piece about the Amira Hass affair, written by Sara Hirschhorn, a postdoctoral fellow at the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University. Hirschhorn, who is carrying out research on the Israeli settler movement, condemns Hass for siding with the Palestinians in dehumanising the settlers. The settler population, Hirschhorn argues, has been deprived for too long “of fundamental freedoms” and the “most shocking part of the ‘inner syntax’ is the failure to recognise the other [settler] as a human being”.

Hass’ detractors, in other words, are not merely interested in silencing Israeli dissidents, but rather they aim to reshape the way the Jewish settler and the settlement enterprise more generally is conceived. Their goal is to constitute Israel’s colonial project not only as legal and legitimate, but it is also about transmuting the discourse of human rights by blurring distinctions between dispossessors and the dispossessed. In this warped imaginary, the settlers have become the victims, while any attempt to dismantle the settlement project is a grave violation that should be forcefully countered.

Neve Gordon is currently a member at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and is the author of Israel’s Occupation. He can be reached through his website

Nicola Perugini is an anthropologist who teaches at the Al Quds Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. He is currently member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

 

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| Payback? Will Jew scam Jew by charging evicted Gaza settlers rent for mobile homes?

Evicted Gaza settlers to be charged rent for their mobile homes ~ Haaretz.

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Many angry residents, who have been living at a mobile home site since being evicted in the disengagement from Gaza in 2005 say they will not pay.

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Settlers evicted during the disengagement from Gaza who are still living at the Nitzan mobile home site seven-and-a-half years later will from now on be required to pay rent for their accommodations. But many angry residents say they will not pay.

Several days ago, the 500 or so families received their first bill from the government housing company Amigur, which is responsible for the crumbling prefabs known in Hebrew as caravillas, along with a letter informing them they would have to begin paying rent as of January 1. Rent for the 60-square-meter homes is NIS 1,400 a month, while families in 90-square-meter homes are being charged NIS 2,400 a month.

In its letter, Amigur warned that the Tenufa Administration, which is in charge of helping the evicted settlers, would be apprised of any nonpayment of rent, and that nonpayment would result in “all means at our disposal being used to collect the debt, including offsetting, deducting, and denying eligibility for various benefits and payments.”

But residents are incensed, noting that many of the families at the site are in very bad financial situations: They have eaten through their compensation payments or suffered other reversals, including losing money to dishonest contractors, and thus have no way to obtain other housing – or pay rent. Moreover, a new town called Be’er Ganim, which is finally being built for several hundred of the residents, is nowhere near fit for habitation.

“We have no intention of paying,” said community secretary Aviel Eliaz. “This is a disgrace. For four years we’ve been screaming that many families have no money to move into permanent homes. The solution is in the few million shekels that the Tenufa Administration refuses to give the residents.

“Be’er Ganim is not ready; there’s no electricity or infrastructure, and it looks like a construction site,” he added. “Even though a few families have moved there, it’s not fit for habitation.”

Of the hundreds of families placed in caravillas in Nitzan after the mid-2005 disengagement, 150 have moved to permanent homes built in Nitzan proper, while 30 have moved to Be’er Ganim despite the difficult conditions. Be’er Ganim, whose land was allocated only three years ago, has some 400 half-dunam plots that were sold to families at Nitzan for NIS 380,000 per plot. Another 190 were sold by lottery to children of these families who were over 18 at the time of the withdrawal, for NIS 480,000 a plot. Many Nitzan families are in the process of building homes there, but it is unclear when they’ll be ready. According to the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, some 80 families decided to build their homes together to cut costs, and this group’s houses are under construction. Another 50 homes are in the planning stages. But nearly 100 families have not even begun the planning process.

According to the regional council’s social services department, dozens of Nitzan residents have been out of work since the disengagement. Some 130 of their children have needed psychological help for behavioral and emotional problems. Over the past year, 160 families have approached the regional council for financial assistance, and there were 20 complaints of domestic violence.

Regional council chairman Yair Farjon blames successive governments. “We bought submarines, we bought Iron Dome, we won a couple more Nobel Prizes,” he said. “But every Israeli government has failed painfully and miserably in handling the rehabilitation of the evacuees.

“We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: What was done by emergency order was then handed over to be dealt with by a bureaucratic morass,” he continued. “I call on the prime minister to order his director general to get involved and find the quickest possible way to move the evacuees into permanent housing.”

Amigur responded that it was just following Tenufa’s instructions, and all questions should be sent there. Tenufa, which operates as part of the Prime Minister’s Office, said in a statement that “The administration and the Prime Minister’s Office are accompanying and will continue to accompany all the settler families until they build permanent homes. We’re talking about 121 families out of the 1,800 families that were evacuated, [the rest of whom] now live in their own homes or are in the process of building them.

“Every family, including the families at issue, got a plot and compensation, and was meant to begin paying rent on the caravillas two years after receiving its plot. The Tenufa Administration extended the period in which they were exempt from rent by double or more.”

What will happen to Nitzan residents who refuse to pay rent? Will Amigur evict them?

“That’s the million-dollar question,” said a regional council official. “We find it hard to believe that will happen. Do you think anyone would dare try to expel these people again?”

The mobile homes site in Nitzan.

The mobile homes site in Nitzan. Photo by Alon Ron
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| Sanctioning Land-thievery: UK, France may pull out envoys from Israel over E1 settlement construction!

UK, France may pull out envoys from Israel over settlement construction – reports ~ RT.

West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem December 2, 2012 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem December 2, 2012 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

France and Britain are reportedly considering moves against Israel over Tel Aviv’s decision to expand settlement construction in occupied territories, diplomats told an Israeli newspaper. This may include recalling ambassadors for the first time.

This comes as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the construction of thousands of new homes in Jewish settlements in the area known as E1, between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem – a step widely seen as retaliation forrecognition of Palestine as non-member state by the United Nations.

This time it won’t just be a condemnation, there will be real action taken against Israel,” a senior European diplomat told Haaretz daily.

The three European diplomats who spoke to the paper indicated that London and Paris were coordinating their moves against Israel, and have discussed the extraordinary step of recalling their ambassadors for consultations. The action, whatever it may be, could be implemented in the next few days.

London is furious about the E1 decision,” one of the diplomats said.

The recalling of ambassadors is a strong measure that has never been taken by the UK and France against Israel before. Haaretz stressed that the two nations may not take such action right now, but resort to it should the Israeli actions against the Palestinians escalate.

According to the reports, Britain and France already informed the United States and other European countries, including Germany, of their intentions.

This also comes after Israel canceled the transfer of US$120 million collected in taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in an apparent response to the Palestinians UN-bid.

The halted money, collected in taxes for the month of November, was scheduled to be passed on to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which constitutes a large percentage of the Palestinian budget, including paying the salaries of PA officials, Israeli media reported.

The construction of the new settlements in the E1 area connecting the Israeli settlement Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, could become a big obstacle for the future any Palestinian state as it would prevent territorial contiguity between the northern and southern West Bank.

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| Sovereign Palestine: Abbas Submits Weak UN Status Bid!

Palestine deserves full UN membership. It’s entitled to all rights and privileges afforded other Member States. Getting them is simple. It should have happened years ago.
Palestine satisfies all essential criteria. On November 15, 1988, it achieved statehood.
Previous articles explained. Security Council vetoes can’t prevent UN admission. General Assembly Member States have sole authority.
A two-thirds majority admits full de jure members. A simple majority admits observer ones. Palestine has more than enough support for either.
Why Arafat didn’t seek UN admission he can’t explain. In 2004, Israel murdered him. It’s indisputable. Clear evidence proves it.
Abbas has lots of explaining to do. He’s a longtime Israeli collaborator. He’s a traitor. Israel made him president for that reason.
Palestinians have good reason to expect a watered-down, meaningless UN bid. That’s all they’ll get. The fix is in. It shouldn’t be that way.
Abbas seeks nonmember observer status. With it come significant rights. Getting them requires not requesting they be excluded or omitting them from draft text language.
Full rights permit joining specialized UN agencies. They include the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Law of the Sea Treaty (LST), NPT, International Court of Justice (ICJ), and International Criminal Court (ICC).
Membership gives Palestine control of its territorial waters and air space. Other rights are afforded.
Suing Israel (at the ICJ) and Israeli officials (at the ICC) for genocide, as well as crimes of war and against humanity is permitted. By or after 2017, Israel can also be sued for criminal aggression.
November 29 is D-Day (decision day). UN Member States will vote. Palestine will easily gain upgraded nonmember observer status. At issue is what comes with it. It depends on what’s excluded.
Abbas submitted a 316-word draft. It calls for resuming peace talks with Israel. Doing so is meaningless and insulting. Abbas knows it. Going through the motions is a charade.
Peace isn’t possible without a legitimate partner. Palestine never had one. It doesn’t now.
Talks were stillborn from inception. One observer called them “the most spectacular deception in modern diplomatic history.”
Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands. Nothing short of unconditional surrender is acceptable. Decades of on and off talks were futile. Dealing with Netanyahu assures no resolution.
Israel spurns peace. Netanyahu calls pursuing it “a waste of time.” The so-called “peace process” is more slogan than reality. It’s a duplicitous charade.
Abbas’ draft language said nothing about halting settlement construction. It doesn’t request membership in UN agencies and treaties. That’s key.
Without it, upgraded status is meaningless. Vital rights are denied. Abbas seems headed in that direction. It shouldn’t surprise.
He sold out Palestinians at Oslo. He became Israel’s enforcer. He supports occupation harshness.
Israel made him president. He lives a privileged lifestyle. His own people suffer. He’s near retirement. He doesn’t want to spoil things now.
On November 26, the London Guardian headlined “Britain ready to back Palestinian statehood at UN.”
Statehood is not at issue. Britain’s “generosity” comes with strings. It wants Palestine denied all rights. It wants no anti-Israeli recriminations.
It wants Palestinians to behave like good little boys and girls and do whatever Israel wishes.
It wants occupation harshness continued. It wants no change in Gaza’s siege.
It wants Israel allowed to steal all parts of Judea and Sumaria it wishes.
It wants settlement construction to continue unimpeded.
It wants peace process hypocrisy to resume without preconditions.
It wants Palestine’s observer status to be impotent and meaningless.
Expect Abbas to accede to all demands. He cares only about his own status and welfare. He’s a duplicitous traitor. He’s also a pathetic spent force. Hamas emerged from Pillar of Cloud resolute and resilient.
Throughout eight days of terror bombing and shelling, Abbas was largely sidelined and silent. His support was rhetorical, not real. He wants Hamas destroyed.
He said so before Cast Lead began. He knew about it in advance. He endorsed it. He likely had advance Pillar of Cloud knowledge. He did nothing to help his own people. He spurns them. He’s their enemy, not ally.
Expect pathetically little from his UN bid. Why else would Israel, Washington, and other Western states permit it.
On November 27, Haaretz headlined “Israel, US hold secret talks on softening Palestinian Authority‘s UN bid,” saying:
Israel and Washington conspire like they always do. At issue is neutralizing Palestine’s bid. “Softening” means neutering or castrating.
On Sunday, Netanyahu’s representative, Isaac Molho, left for Washington. He’s meeting with senior administration and State Department officials.
Earlier, Israel and Washington went all-out to subvert Palestine’s bid. It’s proceeding as planned. Tactics changed. Focus now is on making it meaningless.
Obama officials say they “will try to soften the wording, in an attempt at damage limitation.” It’s more than that. They want full Israeli authority unimpeded.
They want no ICJ or ICC lawsuits. They want everything Britain demands and then some. They want Palestinians denied all rights. Obama and Netanyahu agree.
Language is being drafted. Washington and Israel want it inserted in Abbas’ draft before Thursday’s vote.
Earlier, Congress threatened to suspend, cut, or cease UN funding if Palestine gets nonmember observer status. Freezing or cutting off US funding supplied Palestine was also mentioned.
Israel promised tough retaliatory measures. Threats included revoking privileges afforded PA officials, canceling work permits for Palestinians in Israel, halting tax transfers, and greatly expanding settlement construction.
Avigdor Lieberman wants the PA destroyed. Softer language changes things. Haaretz said after the UN vote, “Israel will introduce sanctions against the Palestinians” but they won’t be as harsh as originally planned.
“Only if the Palestinians use the UN decision to advance moves at the (ICC) will Israel consider more drastic steps.”
An unnamed senior Israeli official said:
“We have to be clever, not just right. There will be measures in reaction, but they will be relatively moderate.”
He has temporarily freezing tax revenues in mind. Doing so is easily “reversible.” Israel wants Palestinian enforcers paid. They’re needed. They’re complicit in assuring occupation harshness.
Settlement construction will continue unimpeded. So will land theft and dispossessions. Palestinians will be forced off their own property. Their homes will be demolished. Jewish development will replace them.
Hundreds of new housing units will be announced. Illegal outposts will be authorized. Palestine will be shrunk in size to near extinction. UN status Palestine gets will be impotent to stop it.
Washington and Israel plan it that way. Expect Abbas to acquiesce. He always does. The fix is in. Palestinians always end up on the short end. Some day things will change. When, who knows.
A Final Comment
On November 27, at around 2PM regional time, Haaretzheadlined “Israel-US efforts to soften wording of Palestinian UN bid has failed, official says.”
Abbas submitted his draft days earlier. PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said language won’t change. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. What’s proposed is weak. The text left much to be desired.
Haaretz said Palestinians refused new language to “prevent them from filing (ICC) criminal charges….”
Having authority is toothless without using it. Abbas and other key PA officials spurned Palestinian rights for years. Expect no change now.
Haaretz said “Palestinians made clear to the US and several prominent European Union that they (will only) provide an oral guarantee” not to file ICC charges for about six months.
Before submitting his draft last week, Abbas inserted language some EU countries requested. It included:
  • peace talks would resume with no preconditions; and
  • a statement to the effect that Member States affirm the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, peace, and a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders.
Haven’t we heard all that before? It’s repeated ad nauseam. It’s gone on for decades. Policy doesn’t follow rhetoric. Occupation harshness continues.
Peace talks are meaningless without a legitimate partner. Palestine never had one. It doesn’t now.
For over 45 years, UN pledges and resolutions afforded Palestinians no rights. Nothing changed now. Measures without teeth are worthless.
Rhetoric falls woefully short. Nations able to help, don’t. UN nonmember observer status changes nothing.
Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Occupation harshness won’t change. Palestinian suffering continues. What matters is ending it. Nothing else.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour
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| More pirate state blues as disabled IDF veteran now sets himself on fire in Yehud – implosion imminent?

Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire in Yehud ~  Ilan Lio, Haaretz.

The man, 45, was evacuated to the hospital in serious condition, after sustaining burns over 80 percent of his body.

An Israeli man set himself on fire in the central Israeli city of Yehud on Sunday, and was evacuated to Tel Hashomer hospital in serious condition.

The incident comes two days after the death of Moshe Silman, an Israeli man who set himself on fire during a mass social protest last week.

The man was Akiva Mafa’i, a 45-year-old disabled Israel Defense Forces veteran. He reportedly brought a canister of gasoline to a bus stop in Yehud and set himself alight, when passers-by saw what was happening and put out the fire. The man sustained burns over 80 percent of his body.

Rescue services arrived at the scene, and evacuated Mafa’i to Tel Hashomer Hospital.

Mahmoud Gdir, an eyewitness, said that he was in his car across from the bus station when he saw the man.

“I saw a man pouring a bottle on his body, and immediately I understood that it was gasoline and not water,” he said. “I stopped and ran to him. I saw him holding a lighter, and I pleaded with him not to do it, but he did. I ran to my car to get a small fire extinguisher. It lasted about 2-10 seconds.”

The man had recently protested in front of the Defense Ministry and threatened to set himself on fire.

The Magen David Adom spokesman said rescue services who arrived at the scene found the man lying by the side of the road with his wheelchair next to him. “We found him in very serious condition with burns all over his body. He received initial medical treatment on the scene and was fully conscious. He was connected to a respirator and quickly evacuated to the hospital.”

Later on Sunday, Moshe Silman will be laid to rest at a Holon cemetery at 5 P.M.

The 57-year-old Silman set himself on fire during a social justice protest in Tel Aviv one week ago, and succumbed to his wounds on Friday at Sheba Medical Center. Silman was suffering from second and third-degree burns on 94 percent of his body.

Silman left behind a letter, in which he said, “The state of Israel stole from me and robbed me. It left me helpless.”

Israeli rescue services evacuating a man who set himself on fire in Yehud, July 22, 2012.

Israeli rescue services evacuating a man who set himself on fire in Yehud, July 22, 2012. Photo by Hadar Cohen.

| Report: Israel stripped quarter million Palestinians of residency rights!

Israel stripped quarter million Palestinians of residency rights : report: ~ Abeer Tayel, AL ARABIYA

Almost quarter of a million Palestinians — 100,000 residents of Gaza and 140,000 residents of the West Bank — have been stripped of their residency rights between 1967 and 1994, an Israeli daily reported on Tuesday. 

Accordingly, around 240,000 Palestinians who left the territories were barred from ever returning, many of whom were students or young professionals, working abroad to support their families, Israel’s daily Haaretz reported.

The data on Gaza residency rights was released by the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) this week, in response to a freedom-of-information request filed by Hamoked (The Center for the Defense of the Individual), the report said.

According to COGAT data, 44,730 Gazans lost their residency rights because they were absent from the territory for seven or more years. 54,730 others lost their residency because they did not respond to the 1981 census; while the remaining 7,249 lost theirs because they didn’t respond to the 1988 census.

15,000 of those deprived of residency are now aged 90 or older, according to Haaretz.

Had Israel not followed a policy of revoking residency rights from anyone who left the area for an extended period of time, Gaza’s population today would have been more than 10 percent higher than its current growth rate of 3.3 percent a year.

As for the West Bank resident who went abroad, they were required to leave their identity card at the border crossing. Those Palestinians received a special permit valid for three years, according to Haaretz. The permit could be renewed three times, each time for one year. But any Palestinian who failed to return within six months after his permit expired would be stripped of his residency with no prior notice.

The West Bank’s population growth rate currently stands at 3 percent. It would have been much higher if Israel did not apply such procedure along the 27 years between its conquest of the territories in 1967 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.

Hamoked said that stripping tens of thousands of Palestinians of their residency — and thus effectively exiling them permanently from their homeland — is a grave violation of international law.

The report published by Haaretz pointed out that a similar procedure is currently being applied by the Israeli authorities to East Jerusalem residents. A Palestinian who lives abroad for seven years or more loses his right to return to the city.

However, COGAT said there were various ways for Palestinians to get their residency restored and some of those Gazans who lost their residency rights later regained them.

Since many of those who lost their residency rights in both Gaza and the West Bank were students or young professionals at that time, their descendants today might exceed hundreds of thousands. But several thousands who were affiliated with the Palestinian Authority were granted the right to return in 1994; still other Palestinians have since been allowed to return for a variety of reasons.

Yet, the number of Palestinians still listed today as having lost their residency rights is about 130,000.

More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants — fled or were driven out of their homes in the Arab-Israeli war which accompanied the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

Around 160,000 Palestinians stayed behind and are now known as Arab Israelis. They number about 1.3 million people, or some 20 percent of the population.

 

A Palestinian who lives abroad for 7 years or more loses his right to return to East Jerusalem, according to Israel’s current procedures. (File photo)

A Palestinian who lives abroad for 7 years or more loses his right to return to East Jerusalem, according to Israel’s current procedures. (File photo)