Palestine Update 374
In the IOF, were they stupid? Drunk with arrogance? Or both?
Our leading story today is about the beastly killing of Iyad al-Hallaq, a 32 year old man who was faced with low-functioning autism. His mental capacity was that of a eight-year old. It was the same kind of excitement that grips a child that age that also gripped Iyad on the day he rejoined school after months of lockdown. He held no weapons – just the kind of stuff one would take to school. The soldier who shot him repeatedly knew he could have cornered him if, indeed, he had a weapon. In fact, the soldier’s senior officer ordered him to stop shooting.
Hate is like this. You set out to either hurt or kill the one you detest. That’s what the Israel did. He killed an innocent Palestinian in cold blood. There will be a sham investigation and the soldier will get away with murder. Perhaps, he will be decorated!
Such is the colonialist-apartheid regime. Soldiers who have killed in cold blood without rationale suffer their own mental distress( their karma). As an Indian, I see them in Goa. They travel the drug route around Indian and often settle in Goa for months or even a year living a degraded existence. Locals who see them from the distance often say they have yet to see ‘nice Israelis’. They fear them because they are grimy, aggressive and even violent. They are drugged, and trade in drugs to maintain themselves once their personal resources are over.. Their-self-inflicted victimization comes from their years of service in the army where their every action is an act of criminality and psychological depravation .
When it comes to Palestinian suffering, Israel rarely looks itself in the mirror. And when it does, it seldom takes any real action to change the oppression and subjugation of the millions of Palestinians under its military occupation. Israel’s army sought to obliterate memories of the killings of more than 217 Gazan protesters massacred between 2018-2019, by claiming that most were either violent or affiliated with Hamas. Israel’s dispossession, annihilation and subjugation of Palestinians has become so routine, so normalized, and exercised with such impunity that it barely stirs any attention in Israel anymore. Those who understand the Palestine occupation and Israel’s colonialist practices tend to feel that Israel is on the path to self-destruction.
The remaining stories in this issue of Palestine Updates bears out what I have observed above.
‘Iyad was the flower of the family. They cut him down too early’
Iyad al-Hallaq had waited to return to school ‘with bated breath,’ said his sister, Diana al-Hallaq. During the coronavirus outbreak, the Elwyn School for children and adults with special needs, where Iyad studied, was shut down. Iyad, a 32-year-old Palestinian man with autism, cried because he wanted to study, and their mother had to explain to him over and again that the school was closed. When he was still not convinced, their mother took him there twice to show him, explained Diana. ‘Our mother felt he was different [from a young age],’ said Diana. ‘The moment we understood that he has autism, my mother loved him even more. She believes in God, and she saw Iyad as an angel who was sent to her from heaven to protect us and her.’”
Hallaq was diagnosed with low-functioning autism as a child and had trouble communicating with people. According to his father, Khairy Hallaq, his son had the mental capacity of an eight-year-old – and no concept of the dangerous reality of life under occupation around him.
As Israeli police’s internal investigations department has opened a probe after the killing of a Palestinian man with mental disability by two Israeli police officers last week, Palestinians said they have little hope that it will result in any accountability. A source within the investigation said one of the officers – a new recruit armed with an M16 assault rifle – is suspected of continuing to shoot at Hallaq despite being told by his commander to stop, according to Haaretz.
For the Settlers in the West Bank, it will never be enough
Gideon Levy writes, “An iconic photo taken last week tells the whole story: A group of tough men are sitting in a circle, some of them in sandals, some in boots, most of them wearing kippas, one in a jacket. The mafia in action, the gangsters discussing the stolen loot. They are eyeing a map that is spread out on the wooden floor in front of them. Most of the areas on it are colored pink. That’s the occupation map. “Colonialism 2020,” someone tweeted, the settler leaders discussing annexation. Their future never looked so rosy, just like the lands on the map, but they are resentful. That’s how they always are. The robbed Cossack that’s never satisfied. That’s the occupation lust and real estate greed that can never get enough, along with their constant cynical manipulation, their resentment. For all their manipulations, they still complain. For 50 years they’ve been complaining about all Israeli governments, blackmailing all of them nearly equally. The resentment works for them; few prime ministers could resist yielding to it. Now it’s Netanyahu’s turn. That photo was also a picture of pure apartheid. The white ranchers divvying up the skin of the bear they’ve hunted that doesn’t belong to them. Most of the residents of those rose-colored lands will never be asked what they think, but Israeli propaganda won’t call that apartheid. Is there more proof than that picture that apartheid has won? Where are the Palestinians? Aren’t they human beings?”
Jerusalem beneath the Surface
Archaeology in the Service of Politics
“The reality around Jerusalem’s historic sites is complicated by the multiplicity of private and government players with varying responsibilities. It makes any objection to projects an extremely complex bureaucratic process. We, in Emek Shaveh, often find ourselves trying to explain the intricate map of interests and players at key historic sites. To make this information more accessible we are pleased to offer you this interactive political and historical map of Jerusalem. The map features two separate, but related, layers. The historical layers present the wealth of historical periods and the history of Jerusalem’s monuments and sites over the centuries. The other layer maps the central private and governmental bodies currently managing and operating major archaeological sites in the Historic Basin.”
Israeli Legislator Invokes Nation-state Law in Bid to Block Palestinian Family Unification
“The head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has cited the so-called nation-state law to call on the government to bar Palestinians from moving to Israel to be united with relatives. The attempt Tuesday by committee chief Zvi Hauser is the first of its kind to rely on the 2018 Basic Law on Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People. Up to now, family-unifications have been declined only based on security considerations…By a 41-13 margin overnight Monday into Tuesday, the Knesset voted to extend application of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law by a year to bar some Palestinians from moving to Israel to live with relatives.”
Three common misconceptions about Israel’s annexation plan
Michael Sfard writes, “The first and most egregious mistake is the claim that annexation will not change anything, since ‘In any event there’s de facto annexation’ and ‘Even without annexation the Palestinians are suffering.’ This view leads to a dangerous leftist mutation: quiet support for annexation, in order to ‘remove the masks.’ The approach is a misapprehension of the implication of applying Israeli law in the West Bank. Annexation will necessarily lead to the massive expropriation, automatic in some cases, of Palestinian land and property, the subsequent expulsion of individuals, families and entire communities from the annexed territories and a dramatic rise in the power of the settlers’ local governments, which today are a weak administrative entity that is controlled by the Israel Defense Forces.”
The new battleground in the war against Palestinian rights
Israel’s balancing act that allowed it to reap America’s unconditional and, often, blind support, while slowly benefiting from China’s growing economic influence and political prestige, is already floundering. The heated cold war between the US and Chinese economic superpowers, the Israeli strategy of playing both sides is unlikely to pay dividends in the long run. Soon enough, Tel Aviv might find itself having to make a stark choice between Washington and Beijing. When US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited Israel on May 13, two items topped his agenda: Israel’s imminent illegal annexation of Palestinian land and the growing Israeli-Chinese economic ties.
Pompeo communicated his country’s stand on both issues- Washington’s long-standing policies regarding Palestine and China. In the case of Palestine, as with the rest of the Middle East, Washington seems to adhere to Tel Aviv’s agenda, often to the letter. China is a different story. Two significant historical examples come to mind: one, is Israel’s attempt to sell China Israeli-made Phalcon airborne radar system, which relied heavily on American technology in the 1990s; a similar event transpired in 2005, this time concerning Israel’s Harpy anti-radar missile.
For the Chinese, Israel matters for two different reasons. One, Israel is a strategic stop in China’s Belt and Road initiative, China’s most significant economic project to date, ultimately aimed at turning Beijing into a center of global trade and financial activities. Two, China is hoping to fight the US on its own political turf in the Middle East – partly in response to the American ‘pivot to Asia’ strategy, which was initiated by the Barack Obama administration.