21st Century Mass Expulsion

by Nasim Ahmed

The Palestine Telegraph –  21 April 2010

Briefing on the Israeli Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration (Amendment No. 2) and the Order regarding Security Provisions (Amendment No. 112) passed on Tuesday, April 13 2010.

Behind the euphuism, ‘prevention
of Infiltration’ lies a horrible truth which Israeli officials are
trying desperately hard to conceal. This simple truth is a truth that
has been cardinal throughout Israel’s existence and continues to do so.
It’s a truth that connects the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948
and the recent military order that would result in the forced expulsion
of many thousands of Palestinians. It’s the truth that Israel was
founded on a policy of systematic population transfer and it has been
committed to this policy ever since its inception.

This simple fact is a natural
outcome of Israel’s central creed, ‘redemption of the land with as few
of the indigenous people as possible’. Since its inception its central
creed has been efficiently carried out through modern methods of
population transfer and land appropriation. This explains why, even as
rhetoric and politics change, expulsion and dispossession continue
through various methods.

Its strategy commenced with a
total denial of Palestinian as a people. Since than over many decades,
Israel has developed and refined policies to disperse imprison and
impoverish the Palestinian people, in a relentless effort to destroy
them as a nation. It has industrialized Palestinian misery through ever
more sophisticated systems of curfews, checkpoints, walls, permits and
land grabs. It has transformed the West Bank and Gaza into laboratories
for testing the infrastructure of confinement, human resolve and the
limits of human despair.

Throughout history Israel rarely
missed an opportunity to implement its core principal of population
transfer and it has relentlessly pursued this course through its many
wars, creeping colonization in the form of settlement building, a
regime that combines occupation, apartheid and colonization.

Israel’s entire legal structure
in the occupied territory is designed to serve this end. Since 1967, in
order to control the occupied Palestinian population, Israel enacted
more than 1,200 military orders and has altered the administrative and
legal situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in violation of
international humanitarian law. Other parts of the occupied West Bank,
including eastern Jerusalem, were annexed by Israel immediately after
the 1967 war and colonization of the occupied city is ongoing in
violation of international law. Its military regime has in effect
legalized the illegal.

In securing its aspiration and
maintain Jewish privileges over the land Israel enacted the Law of
Return (1950), the Law of Absentee Property (1950), the Law of the
State’s Property (1951), the Law of Citizenship (1952), the Status Law
(1952), the Israel Lands Administration Law (1960), the Construction
and Building Law (1965), and the 2002 ‘temporary’ law banning marriage
between Palestinians in Israel and Palestinians of the occupied
territories. In consistent with this trend it enacted in April 2010 two
further military orders, Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration (Amendment No. 2) and the Order regarding Security Provisions (Amendment No. 112).

This military order is part of a
series of steps implemented by Israel to empty the West Bank of
Palestinians, especially by removing them to Gaza. It will cause tens
of thousands of Palestinians to be deported from the occupied West
Bank. The orders substantively changed the definition of "infiltrator"
and in effect apply it to anyone who is present in the West Bank
without an Israeli permit. The orders do not define what Israel
considers a valid permit. The vast majority of people now living in the
West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be
present in their own land and a demand to do so is preposterous.

There are tens of thousands of
people at risk, who pose no security threat whatsoever they’re just
trying to lead their lives. The order will turn them into criminals –
making it criminal for them to be present in their own home –As a
consequence it will tear away at the fabric of life in the West Bank.

The order classifies people
without the right Israeli paperwork as "infiltrators". The wording of
the order has been amended from the original order drawn up in 1969
which even back then was in contravention of international law. The
definition of "infiltrator" was then: "A person who entered the area
knowingly and unlawfully after having been present in the east bank of
the Jordan, Syria, Egypt or Lebanon following the effective date (of
the order being given)." Under the new order this is to be changed to:
"Infiltrator – a person who entered the area unlawfully following the
effective date, or a person who is present in the area and does not
lawfully hold a permit."

The orders are worded so broadly
which theoretically would allow the military to empty the West Bank of
almost all its Palestinian inhabitants. The document itself does not
specify exactly what is meant by "a permit’’ and leaves Palestinians at
the mercy of Israeli hands.

Such an indiscriminate proposal
is criminally indifferent to the composition of the Palestinian people.
Since the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their land in 1948
the vast majority are forced to live as refugees in host countries
across the Middle East and many have also been forced to flee to other
parts of the world. The nature of Diasporas is such that people are
forced to live under various different regimes with many different
challenges and the community functions under extreme difficulty. Such
challenges have not stopped Palestinians from returning to their land
and living as Palestinians in Palestine.

This indiscriminate assault on
the Palestinian family and the Palestinian community contravenes not
just international law but basic humanity. The average Palestinian
family has global ties and this military order is granted to separate
Palestinian families. This will have huge implications threatening
pain, anger and frustration to be vented on the streets.

As many as ten different human
rights group condemned these measure including Btselem and a number
other Israeli ones. They’ve raised grave concerns over its future
impact where tens of thousands of Palestinians can conceivably be
thrown out of their homes. The human rights organizations have also
mentioned its immediate impact, which will be felt in the immediate
future by two distinct groups of Palestinains; those from Gaza and
Palestinians and non Palestinians from other countries married to
Palestinians in the West Bank. Suspected "infiltrators" could also be
jailed for up to seven years under the new orders. Furthermore anyone
being removed might also have to pay for the cost of their own

Implicit in the order also is
Israel’s effort to fragment the Palestinian cause and hasten
Palestinian ‘politicide’. Gaza and the West Bank are single entities
and Israel has no jurisdiction and legitimate rights to alter that fact.

Palestinians in Gaza and
Palestinians in the West Bank are all Palestinians just like British
citizens in London and British citizens in Birmingham and there is no
moral and legal authority to prejudice the rights of one over the
other. Dividing the Palestinian people is a reckless attempt to
dissolve the Palestinian cause into manageable units with the intention
to prejudice and maybe even scupper final status negotiations.

Israel’s policy of annexation
known’s no bounds. It continues to behave like a rogue state with
wanton disregard for Palestinians and international law. The
international community should not be surprised at this new development
as this is just another manifestation of its core tenet coursing
through human history and no doubt it will continue to exhibit many
more of its ugly features in years to come.

These military orders belong in
an apartheid state not in a so called democracy. They are products of a
world view based on racist assumptions and not the values of human
rights and human freedom.

The international community, if
it’s serious about peace and the rule of law, should not accept this
military order simply because of its insipid attempt at mass expulsion
of Palestinians. No propaganda should be allowed to deter the fact that
this is nothing but 21st century legalized mass expulsion.
In essence it’s a product of a creed that seeks systematic transfer and
expulsion of Palestinians from their land; when war is not an option,
when open population transfer is internationally intolerable it seeks
other means that is less conspicuous.

The West knows this is occupied
territory and Israel through its occupation contravenes international
law every day without any compunction and yet it is rewarded with a
likely membership to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD). Rewarding Israel when Israel is little short of a
pariah state has been a constant theme and is also the root cause of
the constant failure to bring peace and justice to the region. Peace
requires justice and justice is never served by double standards in
statement and action.

Nasim Ahmed is a British Middle East Researcher.

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