- By Middle East Monitor
After driving Palestinians out of their villages to purportedly set up military exercise bases, the Israeli daily, Haaretz, accused Israel on Monday of carrying out the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians in certain areas of the West Bank.
In its editorial, the newspaper mentioned when and how many times Israeli displacement campaigns had taken place. It also mentioned how many persons were displaced. “They removed 60 Palestinians, including 36 children, and destroyed 46 tents and improvised structures,” the editorial said.
“Thirty-two emergency tents from the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations given to the residents after the destruction were confiscated two days later. The soldiers checked every vehicle at the site to make sure none were carrying humanitarian goods, and the water in the tanks was poured out.”
The newspaper clearly accused Israel of causing “grave injustice to dozens of old, poverty-stricken communities that make a living from herding and farming.”
“This is part of the consistent implementation of a nationalist policy”, the newspaper said, “Based on the desire to uproot entire Palestinian populations from Area C and transfer them to Area A. In its desire to cleanse strategic centres of the West Bank (South Hebron Hills, the Khan al-Ahmar area and northern Jordan Valley) of Palestinian residents.”
“Apart from the fact that this is a cruel and inhuman policy that stands in opposition to every democratic and civilised principle, this behaviour proves that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to renew peace negotiations is nothing but a ploy.”
According to the editorial, “the declared reason for the destruction is usually military exercises.” In 2012, the IDF ordered the 17 communities of shepherds and farmers to temporarily leave their tents eight times for this reason.
“But despite the fact that firing ranges already make up 45.7 per cent of the area of the Jordan Valley, this is not enough for Israel. 20 per cent of the area was declared a nature reserve; hundreds of thousands of mines were laid in the area; and 2,500 dunams (about 625 acres) that were farmed by Palestinians were confiscated for the separation barrier.”
“In total, out of an area of 1.6 million dunams in the Jordan Valley, Israel has seized 1.25 million – some 77.5 per cent – where Palestinians are forbidden to enter.”