Tag Archives: Israel Committee Against House Demolitions

A day of anti-Israel hatred and Holocaust minimization in Parliament.

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

Ismail Patel, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Megan Driscoll, Linda Ramsden in Parliament .

“It was supposed to be Never Again” declared Ismail Patel but the Palestinians in East Jerusalem, he said, are “oppressed”, undergoing “ethnic cleansing” and suffering a “genocide”.

Patel, Chair of Friends of Al Aqsa, was speaking in the Grimmond Room of Britain’s Houses of Parliament last night at an event to launch his organisation’s “Jerusalem Report” which focuses on “Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem.”

According to Megan Driscoll, Advocacy Officer at Coalition for Jerusalem (based in Jerusalem), who spoke first, Israel’s “Jerusalem Masterplan” is to secure the Jewish majority in the city.

Driscoll said that the Palestinian population there is currently 34% and that Israel’s aim is to drive this down to 30% and probably lower.

The way Israel is doing this, she continued, is through “residency revocation” which makes Jerusalem Palestinians “stateless”.

Driscoll said Israel revokes residency if Palestinians have lived abroad for more than seven years or have taken citizenship in another country.

She said there is also a Jerusalem “centre of life” test that Palestinians must pass. This, she said, is so stringent that even Palestinians still living in Jerusalem have not been able to prove such centrality and have lost their residency rights.

Driscoll claimed that since 1967 there have been over 14,000 such “residency revocations”. She referred to this as the “Quiet Deportation” and said it was successful because instead of being “mass collective punishment” it received less attention in the media because it was executed against individuals and families.

Linda Ramsden, Director of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, said that Israel’s “policy of displacement began in 1948 when 530 Palestinian villages were demolished and 750,000 Palestinians made refugees”.

She described how most Palestinians applying for building permits are refused because they cannot prove ownership of land due to a lack of documents (does it not occur to Ramsden that maybe, just maybe, they do not own the land in question?).

Ramsden said that once a house is built without a permit a Palestinian family will suffer from stress worrying which day their home will be demolished. She said this causes a lot of “stress related illness”.

When a house is due to be demolished, she continued, hundreds of police and dogs arrive which, she said, is “very frightening”. Bulldozers are used for the demolition and pneumatic drills destroy the base of the house.

She claimed the families are fined and sent a bill for the demolition and that some Palestinians demolish their own homes to avoid these “horrendous costs”.

Meanwhile, last night’s event was hosted and chaired by the Labour MP for Bolton South-East Yasmin Qureshi. Qureshi was fresh from the House of Commons debate that afternoon on the situation in Gaza.

Qureshi is very quietly spoken but the words that come out of her mouth are pure poison where Israel is concerned. If one thinks that Ismail Patel’s application of the term “Never Again” to the Palestinians was bad enough Qureshi’s Holocaust minimization is more shocking.

Here is what she said in yesterday’s Parliamentary debate:

“What has struck me in all this is that the state of Israel was founded because of what happened to the millions and millions of Jews who suffered genocide. Their properties, homes and land—everything—were taken away, and they were deprived of rights. Of course, many millions perished. It is quite strange that some of the people who are running the state of Israel seem to be quite complacent and happy to allow the same to happen in Gaza.” (my emphasis)

This followed Labour MP Gerald Kaufman’s attack on ALL Israelis in the same debate:

“Again and again, Israel seeks to justify the vile injustices that it imposes on the people of Gaza and the west bank on the grounds of the holocaust. Last week, we commemorated the holocaust; 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza are being penalised with that as the justification…It is totally unacceptable that the Israelis should behave in such a way, but they do not care. Go to Tel Aviv, as I did not long ago, and watch them sitting complacently outside their pavement cafés. They do not give a damn about their fellow human beings perhaps half an hour away.” (my emphasis)

This is how Britain’s Parliament is sometimes so abused. While innocent Syrians are being murdered and left permanently disabled by barrel bombs dropped out of the sky by Assad’s forces certain MPs are offensive about Israel, Israelis and the Holocaust instead.

While Kaufman voted against any intervention in Syria, Qureshi couldn’t even be bothered to turn up to that vote last August!

Last night’s event launching the “Jerusalem Report” was sold out but due to the strike on the London underground not many people could get there.

It must be galling that when so much effort has been put into producing an evening of hatred, lies and Holocaust minimization so few people are there to appreciate your efforts.

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ICAHD’s Jeff Halper speaks to London churchgoers of Israeli “super Apartheid”.

Halper's slide of Salim Shawamreh after a house demolition.

Halper's slide of Salim Shawamreh after a house demolition.

Jesus is reborn in the form of Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). Halper sacrificed himself to leave sunny Israel and visit rainy London for a speaking tour. He appeared on Monday night in the ancient church of All-Hallows-on-the-Wall in the the City of London to talk about the plight of the Palestinians.

Halper, like Jesus was, is also Jewish, and, just like Jesus, has suffered incredible hardship for the sake of others. The blurb for the speaking tour described Halper as being “prepared to put his own comfort and safety at risk. He dismisses the physical hardships, manhandlings and brief sojourns in Israeli jails which he has endured, as insignificant compared to what Palestinians may suffer every day”.

Halper was supposed to have been joined by Salim Shawamreh (see photo above) who owns a house called Beit Arabiya, but Shawamreh was absent eventhough the event was meant as a fundraiser to help him rebuild his home which had, apparently, been demolished for the fifth time by Israel. On previous occasions Halper had been there to help rebuild it. Halper describes such rebuilding “as a political act of resistance until we prevail”.

Has there been a falling out between Halper and one of his main disciples? I expected to hear how Shawamreh had been detained by the Israeli authorities.  The blurb for the talk simply stated “Unfortunately Salim Shawamreh whose family owns Beit Arabiya was due to be at this event is no longer able to join us.” Halper had nothing more to add to that on the night.

In Shawamreh’s absence Halper couldn’t resist the urge to raise funds for himself. He told us that the moment he was thrown down a hill with Shawamreh he pledged to tell his story. His publicist then offered us the chance to purchase Halper’s book An Israeli in Palestine for £12.

Halper immediately told the 100 or so Christians (and one Jew) in the church how deceitful the Israelis were. Conveniently forgetting the many Israelis murdered or left disabled and disfigured by Palestinian suicide bombers Halper said that the “separation wall”, like most other Israeli policies, had nothing whatsoever to do with security and that discussing the wall in such terms made Israel sound like the victim.

It helped Israel claim “we are the good guys, they are the bad guys” as Israel tried to “reframe the conflict”. According to Halper, the wall is twice as high as the Berlin Wall was and five times as long.

Halper said Israel has demolished 27,000 Palestinian homes since 1967 and in only around 600 of those instances was security of possible concern for Israel. And he said that the “settlements” had nothing to do with security either.

Halper didn’t think there was a proper conflict, which needed two sides; Israel is too powerful due to its vast business dealings with Britain, its official treaty with America and its economy which is three times the size of Egypt’s, Palestine’s, Syria’s and Jordan’s combined, not forgetting Israel’s nuclear prowess.

Halper said most Palestinians live on £1.50 a day with no access to the Israeli job market and that Israel is driving middle class Palestinians out. He said that the Palestinians are so regulated they even need permission to plant gardens next to their homes and for growing certain flowers.

He said 300,000 Palestinians had left “the occupied territories” in the last 10 years while those remaining are confined to “bantustans”. Halper, sadly, spent the evening demeaning the experiences of blacks in apartheid South Africa, even describing Israel as being “super Apartheid”. See here:

Ever the hero, Halper went on to describe his brave actions during proposed house demolitions. Being an Israeli Jew, he said, meant it was more unlikely that he would be imprisoned. This allowed him to throw himself in front of bulldozers and to climb onto the roofs of those houses earmarked for demolition.

He mentioned Rachel Corrie who, he said, was “killed after being twice run over by a bulldozer”, and a pregnant Palestinian mother of ten who died after her house “was demolished while she was asleep inside”.

Did Halper have an answer to the problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Yes. He called for something like the “European Common Market” where citizens from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon “can live and work throughout the region” and that “if Palestinian refugees want to come back from Lebanon to live in the Galilee, you can do that”. Watch here:

Such a simple solution and one which Israelis are bound to go for in their droves despite the prospect of living right next door to the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists dedicated to the slaughter of Jews! I doubt even Israel’s Arab citizens would go for it.

Meanwhile, if anyone catches sight or sound of Salim Shawamreh, please let me know as I’m concerned as to his whereabouts.