Nablus: ‘Arrest, demolish, expel the occupation’

AP Photo/ Nasser Ishtayeh

Last night, in Nablus and the village of Tel, Israeli forces have arrested twenty-one Palestinians, family members of those who are suspected of carrying out this week’s operations in Tel Aviv and near the settlement Immanuel. Those who were arrested are the fathers, brothers and sons of those suspects. In addition, Israeli forces have demolished some of the family homes of those suspected and destroyed also adjacent homes of their neighbours.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz quoted today Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres, who said that ‘he supported the IDF decision to exile families belonging to Palestinian terrorists, but only if the move were legally sanctioned’. Well, as far as lawyers know, there are no provisions in existing law that allow deportations.

As for international law, the Hague Regulations of 1907 do not mention deportations and the Fourth Geneva Convention is unamiguous in its prohibition, which is not subject to misinterpretation, since the official ICRC Commentary states that this prohibition is ‘absolute and allows of no exceptions’.

What would Shimon Peres mean by saying that ‘it depends on the legal examination’? Does his remarks has anything to do with the entry into force of the Rome Statute, establishing the International Criminal Court, since it defines deportation or forcible transfer as a ‘crime against humanity’. The Israeli attorney general, Elyakim Rubenstein, said today that he would be holding emergency consultations with senior figures in the defense establishment ‘in the very near future,’ to discuss the legality of the planned expulsions.

I find it strange that Peres said that the current situation ‘leaves [Israel] no choice’. There is a choice, of course, one that has never been tried before, that is, to end occupation and dismantle apartheid.

The Israeli spokespersons who say that Israel does not have an intention to ‘stay in the territories’ must be reminded that Israel continues to build settlements, continues to expropriate lands and resources, continues to suppress and oppress an entire population, confined to their homes and shelters and continues to make life as miserable as possible. In fact, according to Israeli commentators, it is Sharon’s purpose to forcibly force Palestinians down on to their knees in order to have them accept and sign any ‘offer’ of any kind. Basically, making life as miserable as possible, where the Palestinians have either a choice to leave or stay but under total submission to their occupier.

According to sources in the Israeli occupation army, quoted also by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the Israeli occupation army had been pressing to take such measures as deportations as a punitive measure for a while, and said that the step was only approved recently.

Israel Radio reported that ‘only actions that harm the immediate surroundings of the terrorists might deter future suicide bombers’. What does that suppose to mean? You arrest the immediate family members, demolish their homes and expel them. But what about their mothers, sisters, and neighbours? Why doesn’t the occupation army also arrest and expel their friends, their mates in school, university, their teachers, and their loved ones? But that is not the only ‘immediate surroundings’, what about the anchors on television stations, the radio hosts, the journalists who write daily news about what happen to ordinary Palestinians? What about the Israeli soldiers, serving in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, who destroy the lives and hopes of future generations?

Yes, why don’t they arrest the occupation itself? What about arrest and expel Israeli leaders who ordered the occupation army to demolish homes, to kill civilians, to arbitrary arrest, detain, and torture? Does this mean that, as part of their ‘immediate surroundings’, Ariel Sharon and Shimon Peres could be arrested, their homes demolished and could this mean their deportation as well? What about George W. Bush and his administration who have introduced their total support to colonisation, occupation and apartheid with billions of dollars? Could he be arrested and deported and his White House demolished?

The Israeli occupation army has said that its actions were part of its mission against terror, which included those against the terrorists, their operators and their immediate surroundings. A great word, ‘immediate surroundings’, which can only mean: ‘arrest, demolish and expel the occupation’.

- the picture shows Palestinian neighbors looking through the rubble at the family home of Ali Ajouri, a leader of the Fatah-linked Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militia, in the Askar refugee camp near Nablus. Israeli soldiers destroyed the three-story building and arrested his father and two brothers (AP Photo/ Nasser Ishtayeh).