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July 8, 2009

“Security” as Land Theft: The Case of Jayyous (a must read)

Israeli soldiers check the permits of farmers seeking to work their land in Jayyous (Photo W. Parry).
Israeli soldiers check the permits of farmers seeking to work their land in Jayyous (Photo W. Parry).

IT WAS A joke of exasperation that I heard from a number of Palestinian farmers months ago: “Next we’ll need permits from the Israelis to sleep with our wives,” they would say after they had summarized the bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through to go about their normal lives. Having witnessed the catalogue of Kafkaesque routines and requirements that they patiently undergo to, for example, access their farmland to earn an honest living, it didn’t sound so outlandish a prediction.

What should be outlandish—and outrageous—is Israel’s blatant duplicity concerning the separation wall it has erected within much of the Palestinian West Bank. Israel speciously calls it a “security barrier.” Anyone who examines Israel’s policies and methods of ethnic cleansing of Palestine, however, will quickly realize that “security” is an over-exploited ruse used to legitimize its colonial policies and to shield itself as a nation from moral responsibility for its actions. The annexation, apartheid or separation wall, or barrier, or fence—whatever phraseology one wishes to….

read on

The muslem Marwa al-Sherbini killed in German court drama with 18 stabs – july 4th

Immigration jail at Ramle

Monday 6th July, Heathrow, London Adie Mormech, one of the six British Free Gaza boat passengers and crew deported today from an Israeli jail, says he’s raring to return.

The Free Gaza boat Spirit of Humanity was forcibly boarded by the Israeli navy last Tuesday while trying to sail to Gaza through international and Gazan waters. The boat remains at the Israeli port of Ashdod. “Another boat which tried to reach Gaza a few months ago is still there, so we don’t have much hope of getting ours back” says Mormech, “but the lawyers are working hard on it and we will be fundraising for new ones.”

Of the experience of being boarded by Israeli soldiers, Mormech remained upbeat about his memories. “The soldiers were trying to look intimidating,” he said, “but the boat was rocking so much that they kept sliding all over the place and falling over each other… the Special Forces weren’t looking so special!”

Of his time in the Israeli immigration jail at Ramle, though, he emphasised the appalling conditions for people – mainly from Africa and South East Asia – being held there for years at a time. “It was like dipping your toe in an enormous pool of lost people,” said Mormech. He described the jail, where Free Gaza prisoners were helped by fellow inmates with mobile phones and in return gave English lessons and took testimonies, as a ‘hellhole.’ Many of the inmates, he said, have no money for lawyers, and described one individual from Cote d’Ivoire who had been incarcerated for two years with no hope of legal representation or release.

And, said Mormech, the inconsistencies and irregularities of the Israeli system which seemed like a “game of cat and mouse” for him as an internationa,l are “of course, a brutal reality governing the lives of thousands of Palestinians.”

“It’s not about me, it’s about Gaza entirely,” he stressed.

Sarah Irving is a freelance writer specialising in social and environmental issues and the Middle East

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