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Israel’s War on Palestine

By Hatem Abudayyeh

Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has ordered the Israeli army to intensify its attacks. The result – a wave of assassinations, armed incursions into Palestinian towns and villages and more operations to arrest activists in the Palestinian resistance. Using any means at hand to achieve these goals, Bush’s ‘war on terrorism’ serves as a pretext and cover. More than 17 Palestinians have been killed since Christmas, including three children under the age of 11 who were shot in the head.

A 17-year-old Palestinian was beaten to death by Israeli soldiers in Al-Khalil (Hebron) for violating an Israeli-imposed curfew. These curfews resemble something of a ‘medieval siege’ against the Palestinians, who are not allowed to leave their homes for weeks or months at a time, and making it impossible to work, to buy food or to access medical services.

Since September of 2000, the Israeli army has killed over 1900 Palestinians. Recent weeks have seen an unrelenting and vicious assault on the Palestinian people, allowing the army the freedom and authorization to detain, kill and beat everything in its path.

Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have broken up Palestinian territory into over 300 small land areas that people cannot travel in to or out of – essentially prison camps without bars. These closures are destroying the health and education systems, while forcing up the poverty rate to record levels. An estimated 75% of the population now lives below the poverty line of $2 a day, while unemployment stands at a staggering 62%.

Despite their illegality, dozens of new Jewish-only settlements have been established since the Palestinian Intifada, or Uprising (in resistance to Israeli rule) began two years ago. Some of them are connected to well-established settlements; others break ground in new areas. The new construction brings the total number of settlements built since the signing of the 1993 Oslo accords (which, in part, were supposed to put a freeze on settlement-building) to almost 100, expanding the settler population by 70%.

The settlements are on stolen Palestinian land. While the immediate physical ground occupied by these settlements represents only 1.6% of the West Bank, an incredible 41.9% total land area is controlled by the Israelis to keep the settlements to functioning. Every inch of this land has been taken from Palestinian workers and farmers. Many have seen their homes demolished to make room for the settlers.

This is part of a ‘master plan’ developed by Sharon and his administration. The plan strives to destroy the morale and economy of the Palestinian people so they will accept life under occupation, or to force what is left of the Palestinian Authority to accept a ‘peace agreement’ under Israel’s terms.

Sharon and the Israeli government are using the expansion of settlement blocks and the brutal repression of Palestinians to prepare for the complete Israeli reoccupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The destruction of Palestinian infrastructure and services by the Israeli military paves the way for a return to Israeli civil administration in the Palestinian territories.

Israeli military strategy aims to repress and strangle the Palestinian people and their resistance. It is financially supported with U.S. tax dollars. This strategy is not a short-term measure; rather, it is the implementation of a pre-arranged plan that will eventually lead to complete Israeli occupation of Palestine. Coupled with the impending war on Iraq, these developments in Palestine are attacks against the self-determination and freedom of all the Arab peoples. These attacks can and will be resisted. Palestine will be free!

#Palestine #Editorial #Resistance #Editorials #Sharon #MiddleEast