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Publish Date : 20 December 2019 - 23:43  ,  
News ID: 6555

Jeff Halper: Israel’s Demolishing Palestinian Houses Policy of Ethnic Cleansing

TEHRAN(Basirat): Jeff Halper, political activist, says Israel’s aim is to take more Palestinian lands by driving them out of their territory or confine the remaining people in a relatively small area.
Jeff Halper: Israel’s Demolishing Palestinian Houses Policy of Ethnic Cleansing

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, Jeff Halper said Israel extends the notorious separation wall “as long and as high as Israel needs to define its demographic borders and the cantos in which the Palestinians will be confined”.

Jeff Halper is an American anthropologist, author, lecturer, and political activist who has lived in the West Bank since 1973. He is a co-founder of The People Yes! Network (TPYN) and the former Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: What is Israel’s philosophy of demolishing Palestinians' homes? It has enough resources to devastate all the West Bank? Why does Israel demolish homes area by area?

A: Israel's policy of home demolitions goes back to the Nakba in 1948, when it systematically demolished more than 530 entire villages, towns and urban areas, some 52,000 homes. Some other 55,000 have been demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967, plus thousands more within Israel until today. It is a policy of ethnic cleansing, designed to drive as many Palestinians out of the country or to confine those that stay to small enclaves on 15% of the country. Israel will not demolish homes in those enclaves (Areas A & B, Gaza except in military attacks) and the enclaves of East Jerusalem and Israel proper since it needs them to house the population in concentrated areas.

Q: How do you view the demolition of Palestinian homes near the separation wall in East Jerusalem al-Quds?

A: All demolitions are war crimes since they violate the Fourth Geneva Convention that protects a civilian population living under occupation. The act itself was not unusual. Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes is a routine, almost daily occurrence. What set it apart was the scale, the impunity, and the political implications. On July 22, some 900 Israel forces were deployed to demolish 13 apartment blocks, evicting people in 70 apartments.

The action in July had all the elements of the slow-moving but relentless process of demolition: Israel’s use of zoning, planning, law, and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy as mechanisms for taking all the Palestinian land available for the natural expansion of its towns, cities, and villages, while freezing Palestinian building in 1948 in Israel and in 1967 in the occupied territories.

Q: Palestinians cannot build apartment buildings on their own lands near the apartheid wall even with the permission issued by the Palestinian Authority. Getting a building permission from Israel is not possible, either. Do you think the apartheid wall is being extended even more into the West Bank?

A: No, the apartheid wall is as long and as high as Israel needs to define its "demographic borders" and the cantos in which the Palestinians will be confined. House demolitions today is clearing land in order to link up the settlements into large settlement blocs.