Tsvai HaGanefim HaIsraelim - An Army of Thieves and Occupiers
BUSY road into Nablus. But this was before the Occupation tightened its grip around this important Palestinian city, stifling the economy.
PARDON my Hebrew, but the so-called Israel Defence Forces are an Army of Thieves. I'm not just talking about soldiers helping themselves to stuff, every army has them, and the same goes for officers running profitable little sidelines. Put somebody with a gun in charge of civilians and their property, and there you go. The IDF have had 40 years to get used to being occupiers, 60 if you count their role in dispossessing Palestinians in what Israel called its "war of independence", and Palestinians their Nakba (catastrophe), after which those Arabs who had not fled remained under military government for a decade.
But what has just happened in Nablus is theft under orders, and symbolises not just the Israeli Zionist authorities' attitude to the land and its people, but the military's contempt for the so-called peace process of which we hear so much from Israel's supporters in Western governments.
Nablus is one of the main Palestinian cities, with a proud history and, until recent times, a centre of traditional industry, such as soap making, and commerce. The area also has almost a quarter of its population refugees. The occupiers have surrounded the city with road blocks, and caused massive unemployment. People's national pride and frustration was shown in a big majority vote for Hamas. A previous mayor of Nablus, Bassam al Shaka, had his legs blown off in an Israeli terrorist attack. On May 23 last year, in supposed retaliation for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israeli forces staged an over-night raid, seizing mayor Adly Yaiah and two other council members. (Note, when Palestinians take an Israeli, even a combatant, he is "kidnapped", but if Israeli forces take away an elected leader he has been "arrested".That's a style note for contributors to the media, including Wikipedia).
In their latest move the IDF is not content with taking a mayor, they have captured an entire shopping mall! The army told shop owners this week that the property rights to the Nablus mall will be transferred to Israel as of 15 August. The army said they will imprison anyone who enters the building for 5 years. The mall, they claimed, is being used to fund terrorist activities.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the high-handed move, declaring “we consider the actions of the Israeli army as invalid, and ask that Israel respect this decision, based on agreements between the PA and Israel.` Calling on Nabulsis to reopen their stores in the mall, in defiance of the occupiers, Fayyad added that he would like to `send a message to the international community` and tell them that the PA is `insisting to walk within our principles until freedom is achieved.`
Fatah called for action over the Israeli seizure, . and local people urged the Palestinian Authority to give special aid to Nablus to overcome unemployment and poverty caused by the occupiers. But meanwhile the Israeli military appears to have accompanied its proclamation with a wholesale theft of essential items from the city, and trashing of civil and private property..
The Israeli-based "Occupation" magazine which keeps track of repression and provocations by the military published this letter which a Nablus resident had sent to a friend:
hi......and hope everybody is ok.
For the last 3 days, the people in Nablus awoke at a great shock to discover that the Iraeli army has confiscated their property in a very organised and well planned way...here is what happened... during the first night, and at around 12, many military vehicles accompanied by huge containers attacked a school, a clinic and a mosque...the entrance doors were broken, exploded and damaged...all the inside furniture, equipments, tools, files,and other property were carried by the soldiers into the lorries... you would never imagine that these things would ever be taken... the computers, files, cameras, the chairs and tables from the school, even the doors - unbelievable - .... these places were left empty with a state of mess and damaged things... the school and clinic were ordered closed for 3 years... the second night a huge shopping center called Nablus mall was also attacked in the same way... this Building has over 50 stores including a bank, many shops for furniture, one of the shops was the one that I bought you your presents dear [yyyyy] and dear [xxxxx], a restaurant, a supermarket, and many offices... the property of 4 places were emptied into the lorries in the middle of the night... other shops were messed up and others were damaged... a leaflet was left and it said that the mall will be closed for 2 years, and that the property that has been taken---stolen, confiscated---now belongs to the Israeli army... anyone dares to enter will be prisoned... at the same time, 5 mosques were entered and messed up in different places in the city... finally, last night, the building of the municipality of Nablus--I am sure you remember it dear [xxxxx] -- was attacked in the same way... the computers that are used for water and electricity services were all taken, in addition to files and other stuff... some items were damaged during the attack, and night guards in all situations got beaten up... you would not believe this: 5 big size buses that carry students and belong to a school were driven into the lorries and taken... we do not know who`s next tonight... may be our house properties, our furniture and kitchen equipment... could this be true... no one owns anything anymore... we all belong to the Israeli army.... our lands, our olive trees, our bodies, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we get from the super market, our family members who are in jail, our beds and chairs..... what is left for us? our brains??????maybe I do not know what to add, because there is nothing to be added. so, take care and stay in touch since I feel isolated, and somehow vulnerable and no longer in touch ..... i love you both... i really do...
In the House of Commons at Westminster this week, replying to questions by Labour MP Phylis Starkey, Prime Minister Gordon Brown assured MPs that the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority was making important progress, and appealed to both sides to avoid provocations. In robbing the people of Nablus this way, the Israeli military is robbing Palestinians and Israelis alike of their hopes for peace and a better life, and it is also ripping off the respectability with which Western governments attempt to cloth their support for Israeli aggression and oppression.