While The World Looks The Other Way – Israel Destroys Goat Herding Communities
Many people including descendants of Holocaust survivors and victims, have accused Israel of “genocide” for the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the conflict erupted in July last year. For its actions, Israel has been branded racist, an apartheid regime and accused of serious war crimes. All of these events were brought into sharp focus under last summers Operation ‘Protective Edge‘ where the world watched in horror the actions of the Israeli military, so utterly condemned by the world today.
David Cameron should not be forgiven for supporting this oppressive and murderous regime, but he is alas confused, as all statesmen of mediocrity and self serving interest usually are.
He seems to have forgotten Margaret Thatcher and the Tory party’s shameful support of South Africa’s apartheid regime and his subsequent apology to rid the ‘Nasty Party’ of its misguided history. Her cantankerous husband, Denis, had an uncle who was a Durban businessperson, a factor that prompted his extensive South African investments.
In 1972 they sent their son, Mark, to Johannesburg for a year’s work experience, and two years later they went on a tour of the country. One of their hosts was “P.W.”Botha, who pronounced himself highly impressed with Mrs Thatcher. There is no record of the Thatchers expressing moral misgivings about the apartheid they witnessed, but how much of this blinkered response was a product of racism?
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Back in the 1970s, her views on South Africa were being moulded by the racist attitudes of her friend Laurens van der Post. In addition to being a Jungian mystic, a teller of tall tales about himself and a man who fathered a child with a 14-year-old girl, he believed in innate racial characteristics. Mandela’s Xhosas (members of a South African people traditionally living in the province of Eastern Cape who formed the second-largest ethnic group in South Africa after the Zulus) were treacherous; Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s Zulus were noble savages. Thatcher therefore did her best to champion the latter’s cause.
In 1984, Thatcher became the first British prime minister in 23 years to host an apartheid head of state. Three years later, she declared: “The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation.” Her stance fostered a toxic ethos within her party. Thatcher’s most loyal Cabinet colleague, Norman Tebbit, called Mandela a “terrorist”. South Africa hosted regular apartheid-sponsored visits from Tory MPs, and Young Conservative leaders wore “Hang Nelson Mandela” badges. There is some debate that in 1985 David Cameron was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced the “Hang Mandela” posters.’
Eventually, in 2006, Conservative leader David Cameron admitted they had got it wrong and that Mandela was “one of the greatest men alive”. As part of his effort to detoxify the “Nasty Party”, he added: “The fact that there is so much to celebrate in the new South Africa is not in spite of Mandela and the ANC, it is because of them – and we Conservatives should say so clearly.”
David Cameron, all of a sudden has forgotten these earlier days, learned nothing from this historical moment and suffered a sudden form of selective amnesia when it comes to apartheid regimes.
Apart from his overt support of Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance with regard to the occupied territories, Israel’s clear war-crimes as identified by a recent United Nations report and apartheid actions with its new separation wall – Cameron is disregarding the facts on the ground.
Amid a growing humanitarian crisis in Europe and the Middle East, Netanyahu on Sunday refused calls to admit non-Jewish refugees from Syria and announced plans to build a “security fence” to shut out people fleeing war to save their lives. Presumably, Cameron does not want to see Israel flooded by a ‘swarm’ of immigrants
And whilst that crisis is going on, Netanyahu is taking advantage of internationally averted eyes.
31st August 2015 – The military arrived at the al-Khdeirat Bedouin community, between the Palestinian village al-Jaba’ and the Israeli settlement Adam. The forces demolished 15 structures, ten of them were residential, and five were used for livestock.
Seven of the structures demolished, serve two families that reside at the site permanently. These families number 17 persons, of them ten children. The rest of the structures demolished (five residential structures and three livestock structures) serve nine families that live at the site on a seasonal basis, and aren’t currently present there.
The Al-Khdeirat community is home to around twenty families that earn a living from raising sheep and goats, and reside in the community on a temporary basis. Most of the families were elsewhere with the herds when the demolition took place.
20th August 2015 – Military representatives came to the community of Khirbet ‘Einun, which is located around 5 km east of Tubas. The forces demolished the homes of two families, totaling 11 people, including 7 minors, and a sheep pen. Then, the forces moved on to the Khirbet a-Deir community, located between the Palestinian village Ein al-Beida and the Jordan border. They demolished the home of an 8 person family, including three minors. Today, the authorities left 19 persons, including 10 minors, in conditions of extreme heat (exceeding 40c) without any solution.
18th August 2015 – Civil Administration (CA) and the military came to the village of Fasayil in the northern Jordan Valley, which has about 1,500 residents. The forces demolished 17 structures: 10 residential tents and shacks, and the remainder for livestock rearing. The demolitions left 48 people homeless, including 31 minors. Most of the families whose homes were demolished already lost their homes in previous demolitions in 2014. Temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius. Israel prevents Palestinians from establishing permanent homes and connecting them to water and electricity infrastructures, thereby leaving them exposed to harsh weather conditions throughout the year.
17th August 2015 – This morning, around 6am, civil Administration and army forces arrived at the a-Sa’idi community, near a-Za’ayem. The forces demolished the homes of four families numbering 32 people, of them 21 minors. The a-Sa’idi community numbers a total of 6 families, around 40 residents.
Later the authorities demolished 12 structures in the adjacent Bir al-Maksub and Wadi Shneisel communities. Nine of the structures demolished were the residential homes of families numbering 60 persons, of them 39 are minors, and three served as shelters for the herds. Bir al-Maksub and Wadi Shneisel communities.
11th August 2015 – Today, the Civil Administration and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet Humsah, which lies about two kilometers from the Hamra Checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley, in the West Bank. The forces demolished a structure under construction that was intended to house a family of four who live in a tent nearby. They also demolished two livestock pens belonging to another family in the community. Since the beginning of 2015, residents of this community have been made to evacuate their homes 11 times due to military training in the area, and nearby fields where the residents graze their flocks have been burned down. The forces then continued to the community of al-‘Ajaj, which lies between the Palestinian village of al-Jiftlik and the settlement of Masu’a. There, they demolished two homes and two livestock pens. The families now remaining homeless number 12 people, half of them minors. The forces then continued to the village of a-Zubeidat, where they demolished a structure for storing livestock fodder.
5th August 2015 – at approximately 5:00 A.M military forces came to the Palestinian community of al-‘Aqabah, which lies some two kilometers east of the Palestinian village of Tayasir in the Jordan Valley, the West Bank. They demolished the home of a five-person family (including two minors) in the community. They also demolished five structures that five of the community’s families used for storage and holding livestock.
Later, in the Palestinian community of ‘Ein al-Meyteh, also in the Jordan Valley, close to the Israeli settlement Maskiyot, the military demolished three residential tents and four structures used for raising livestock. These tents and structures were used by two families numbering eight people, including two minors. Since the beginning of 2015, the residents of ‘Ein al-Meyteh have been forced to temporarily leave their homes five times, due to military actions. The military also demolished a livestock pen in the nearby Palestinian community of Khirbet Yarza. This community, too, has been harmed by military activity in the past year: in January 2015, the military dismantled and confiscated pipes that had been laid to supply water to the community.
In the space of just a few days, Israeli military forces have destroyed a dozen communities, housing nearly 400 people of which, 186 were children, destroyed livestock buildings and left them to the 40c heat and ripped out water or electricity supplies. All of these people and their communities are living off the land, herding goats and sheep. They are not throwing rocks or protesting.
These are the actions of a regime determined to rid themselves of the Palestinian people and their communities.
What is it about these facts that David Cameron does not understand or accept? Simply put, by the nature of these actions alone – Israel is now a fascist, racist state by default.
One day, when this apartheid regime fails, because they all do, will Cameron change his tune again, just like he has with his callous ‘Swarm of Migrants’ description of fleeing refugees and his ever growing list of embarrassing political U-Turns?