Israel, the country that claims to be the “only democracy in the Middle East,” doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of respect for freedom of the press. This past Saturday they shut down a Palestinian-run TV station in Ramallah, seizing equipment and arresting the station’s manager. Today, Palestinians in Gaza held a protest (video above).
And while they were protesting, Israel announced a new confiscation of Palestinian land–approximately 580 acres in the West Bank near the Dead Sea upon which they plan to build Jewish settlements and construct tourism sites.
Here’s a bit from a Ma’an News article:
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel has reinstated a policy of confiscating vast swathes of Palestinian land for settlement expansion in a trend not seen since the pre-Oslo period in the 1980s, Peace Now reported Tuesday.
The Israeli settlement watchdog pointed chiefly to a vast tract of Palestinian land south of Jericho that was declared “state land” by Israel’s civil administration last week in one of Israel’s largest land grabs in recent years.
The group reported 2,342 dunams (580 acres) of land in the southern occupied West Bank area had been signed off as Israeli government property on March 10.
And according to a Reuters report:
The U.S. State Department criticized the land seizure, saying ongoing expropriations and settlement expansions were “fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution.”
“We strongly oppose any steps that accelerate settlement expansion, which raises serious questions about Israel’s long-term intentions,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.
Asked about Army Radio’s report of the land confiscation, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon’s office said in an email to Reuters: “We are not relating to the issue.”
Photos of a de facto Israeli confiscation notice – a Hebrew map and accompanying documents titled “A declaration of government property” – were tweeted, however, by the Palestine Liberation Organization on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, outside the Jewish state, pro-Israel lobbies continued to trample upon what’s left of democracy in the West. In France, a woman got hauled away to jail for wearing a “boycott Israel” t-shirt…
Feel free to boycott Iran or any other country you choose. Just don’t you dare announce your intentions at boycotting Israel. Similar attacks upon liberties of course are taking place in America, where anti-BDS measures are sweeping through one state legislature after another. How far does all this go? Where does it eventually all end?
Hard to say for sure, but you might want to check out an article about a decision taken by McGraw Hill, one of the country’s most preeminent text book publishers, to destroy books it had published containing the familiar image of maps showing the successive loss of Palestinian lands over the years since 1948. The publishing company took the step after being pressured to do so by a number of Zionists, including the blogger Elder of Ziyon. You can go here to read the whole story. Ironically, it seems we are entering an era of book burning in the United States–ironic because book burning of course is what the Nazis were supposed to have done.