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40,000 Arab-Israelis to be Moved as Hamas Rises

40,000 Arab-Israeli to be Ethnically Cleansed as Hamas Star Rises

By Genevieve Cora Fraser

The Israeli government plans to transfer 40,000 Arabs living in unrecognized villages in the Negev into other areas in Israel, according to a WAFA news agency report from the Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages in Negev. The plan developed by the Israeli National Security Council was supervised and endorsed by the current Israeli Cabinet.

Nearly a decade ago Sarah C. Aird, writing for Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, warned that since the Israeli government passed the National Planning and Building Law in 1965, Arab-Israeli villages became "unrecognized villages” which effectively made these communities illegal and claimed the land as state property. “Although the government has not forcibly removed residents from these designated areas, it has created almost unbearable conditions for more than 60,000 Arab-Israeli villagers. The government's expectation was that these residents would eventually leave of their own accord, opening the region for Jewish-Israeli settlements.”

“The Israeli government's refusal to officially recognize these communities for more than 30 years has caused the residents tremendous hardship. The government rarely provides even the most limited services to these areas and made it illegal for private agencies to do so. As a consequence, residents in the unrecognized villages must survive without running water, electricity, sewage treatment facilities, schools, and health centers.”

Now 40 years since the passage of the Israel’s National Planning and Building Law, not only Shimon Peres continues to talk about Judaizing the Negev, a member of the Likud party has proposed "massive ethnic cleansing" of non-Jews in Palestine-Israel as a "final solution" of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Khalid Amayreh wrote in a January 4, 2006 Aljazeera.net article.

Amayreh reports that Uzi Cohen, a member of Ariel Sharon's right-wing party and a deputy mayor of the town of Raanana, told Israeli public radio recently that there is widespread support in Israel for “the idea of ethnic cleansing. Many people support the idea but few are willing to speak about it publicly,” he said.

The plan to transfer 40,000 Arabs by the Israeli National Security Council aims to uproot the Arabs from their land and resettle them “into tiny areas as refugees. It also aims at stealing the land from its owners by force. The plan is to be implemented within two years through which the dwellers of the area are about to be fiercely thrown out,” according to the statement released by the Regional Council of the Unrecognized Villages in Negev. The Council calls on human right organizations to pressurize Israel to drop such a plan and quoted the villagers as saying that they will not leave “even if we are destined to die.”

January 17th Israel began implementing the plan when two hundred Israeli soldiers arrived with two bulldozers to demolish several houses owned by Bedouin families. According to the Arab Association for Human Rights and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, “At 7 o'clock they started demolishing the house of Khaled al Nasasra living in the unrecognized village of Abu Solub, leaving him, his wife and his seven children with no dwelling. Right afterwards the soldiers moved on to another unrecognized village called Tlal Rashed where they pulled down the home of Haleel Al-Hauashla. Another house of Al-Ataiga has been demolished in an unrecognized village just behind Rahat.”

“All those families are left with nothing but black despair. They have no alternative accommodation for the night, making the situation worse is the fact that it is winter and very cold and rainy outside.”

Arab Israelis (who are ethnically Palestinians) initially lost control of their land and property when fledgling Israel created the racist Absentee Property Laws in 1948 and the early 1950s, declaring Arab Palestinians living in Israel “absent” from the land they owned and occupied. However, under international law, all Palestinians have an inalienable Right to Return as well as compensation from Israel for their losses based on current market values. What the recently-elected Palestinian Hamas government does is to point this out. The current Palestinian population within the Occupied Territories, Israel, refugee camps and the Diaspora is approximately 9 million. Israel’s Jewish population is 5.2 million. If international laws were to be upheld, the Palestinians would win back their country and prosperity without firing a shot.

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