Changing the demographic structure of Palestine has been the main strategy of Israel for the past seven decades. Israel believes that the preservation of the Israeli nationality will guarantee the continuation of the settlement and development of this regime and maintain the main idea in their security theory. However, some statistics show that in exchange for every two Jewish immigrants entering the occupied territories, one returns to their former homeland. Israeli officials do not challenge the population crisis, because their different views on Jewish/non-Jewish citizens, and even discrimination among Jewish immigrants, can be another challenge for the regime.
We Are Facing an Acute Case of Human Rights Violation
This racial discrimination can be summed up in the important law of “freedom and human dignity”, according to which Israel is a Jewish state – an unequal law that discriminates against Palestinians around the world. According to the UN human rights report, there is a range of social and legal discriminations against Christians, Muslims, and other Israeli citizens, not giving Arabs equal rights with Jews in education, housing, employment, and social services. The same discriminatory view is observed among immigrant Jews, with huge differences between the different ethnic groups in different social dimensions, and political and administrative opportunities.
One of the main goals of Israeli officials in Sheikh Jarrah area is to change the demographic structure and totally Judaize Jerusalem (Quds). In fact, the Israeli government has put the same policy of forced migration of Palestinians on their agenda, and this time they have chosen Sheikh Jarrah to implement this sinister policy. Hence, they confiscate Palestinian houses in Sheikh Jarrah. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its recent report has called the Israeli decision an example of “Apartheid like behaviour”.
Israeli-Palestinian Clash But what caused the Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah to rise up against the Israeli regime on the eve of World Quds Day? The events and developments of Sheikh Jarrah began when Israel’s court, in a strange, inhumane and painful act, began issuing eviction notices to Palestinians in the area to expel them from their homes.
Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah staged large-scale demonstrations in protest of the Israeli regime’s move, which is a clear example of the theft of Palestinian land and property. However, their demonstrations did not yield any results, as the Israeli military carried out a large-scale and pre-planned operation to crack down on the demonstrators. Dozens of Palestinians have been arrested in Sheikh Jarrah in recent days, and many more have been seriously injured in Israeli attacks.
The Israeli court has ruled that according to the documents provided to the settlers, the Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah must leave their homes and hand them over to the settlers. So far, Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah have refused to accept the coercion and have not shied away from Israeli bullying.
The Israeli court has given the Palestinians a deadline to reach an agreement with the Israeli settlers on the status of home ownership in Sheikh Jarrah in the next few days! Palestinians completely reject the deadline. The Israeli court has suggested that if the Palestinians do not want to leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, then they should pay their rent to the settlers.
Simultaneously with the intensification of the Israeli regime’s repressive measures to evacuate the Sheikh Jarrah area and hand it over completely to the Israeli regime, the hashtag “Save Sheikh Jarrah” has been created on mass media networks. Sheikh Jarrah, Stop Evacuations The Sheikh Jarrah area, located in the eastern axis of occupied Jerusalem, has been an important target since 1967 for changing the demographic fabric of Jerusalem and depriving it of its Islamic identity. Israeli cameras are installed in the area and monitor all movements of Palestinian citizens. Sheikh Jarrah is known for the special architecture of its large houses and courtyards and is the historical identity of Palestinians and the city of Quds.
For some time now, the Sheikh Jarrah area in occupied Quds has been witnessing fierce clashes between Zionist militants and Palestinian citizens living in the area. In recent days, the Zionists have intensified their repressive actions against the Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah. Meanwhile, the international community and the Western media continue to remain silent about Sheikh Jarrah. Global Reactions
US Senator Bernie Sanders faulted the actions of Israeli right-wing extremists for sending tensions spiraling and sparking another conflict between Israel and Palestine. “Once again, we are seeing how the irresponsible actions of government-allied right-wing extremists in Jerusalem can escalate quickly into a devastating war,” Sanders said on Twitter @SenSanders) on May 11, 2021. Sanders added: “Despite the emphasis of the Democratic and Republican governments on the right to self-defense and the protection of Israeli citizens, why is this question never heard: Despite the recurrence of these words over the years and the occurrence of one war after another, what are the rights of Palestinian citizens? And why do we only notice the violence between Israel and Palestine when Palestinian rockets land on Israel?”
Famous singer Zayn Malik (@zjmcanada) on Twitter released the hashtag “Free Palestine”, supporting the oppressed people of Palestine. Malik, who is originally from Egypt, was threatened by Zionist extremist groups after the tweet was released, but said he would stand by the Palestinians.
Posting messages of support on Twitter, several football stars expressed their concern over Israel’s bombing of Palestinian neighbourhoods. Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah called on world leaders, including Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to intervene immediately and help stop the killing of innocent Palestinians.
“I’m calling on all the world leaders including on the prime minister of the country that has been my home for the past 4 years to do everything in their power to make sure the violence and killing of innocent people stops immediately. Enough is enough. @BorisJohnson”
— Mohamed Salah (@MoSalah) May 11, 2021
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, whose team won its second Premier League championship yesterday, posted the Palestinian flag along with its iconic independence symbol on his Twitter timeline. He also used the hashtag #Palestine #SaveSheikhJarrah.
— Riyad Mahrez (@Mahrez22) May 10, 2021
Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi shared a striking photo of a Palestinian girl exchanging words with Israeli police after she was arrested.
— achrafhakimi (@AchrafHakimi) May 10, 2021
Famous French player Franck Ribery, who won numerous titles playing for Bayern Munich, tweeted, #FreePalestine.
— Franck Ribéry (@FranckRibery) May 11, 2021
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba also showed his support for the Palestinian people in a post on social media.
“The world needs peace and love. It will soon be said. Let us all love one another. #PRAYFORPALESTINE,” Pogba said on Instagram.
In a Twitter post, Fenerbahce’s Mame Thiam quoted a verse from the Quran,
“O humanity! Indeed, Allah’s promise is true. So do not let the life of this world deceive you, nor let the Chief Deceiver deceive you about Allah,” Surah Fatir verse 5.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry condemned in a statement the Israeli regime’s attacks on Palestinians and the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by the Israeli military. “We condemn in the strongest terms the Israeli occupation forces’ attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque and the fasting Palestinian worshipers,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Turkey’s political parties issued a joint declaration on Monday condemning Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque. “As the Turkish Grand National Assembly, we strongly condemn this persecution and lawlessness by Israel”. They called on all international institutions, including the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly, to stop Israel’s excesses in Jerusalem.
The actions of the Zionists in Sheikh Jarrah have also provoked a sharp reaction from Palestinian groups. In this regard, the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” has stated: “The series of crimes of the Zionist regime against the residents of Sheikh Jarrah will not go unanswered. The Zionist regime will pay for its crimes in Sheikh Jarrah. Palestinians have various tools to counter Zionist actions in Sheikh Jarrah.” “In our view, Israeli crimes against the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah area are condemned,” said Ibrahim Malham, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority. What Israel is doing to Sheikh Jarrah is a violation of human rights.
HRW Report Earlier, Human Rights Watch stated that Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinians are examples of “apartheid crimes.” The group’s position was violated on Tuesday, 27 May, said the 213-page report entitled “Threshold (Tolerance): Israeli officials and the crimes of apartheid and oppression.”
The report said that with the aim of continuing its domination over Palestinian territories and its inhabitants, while confiscating land, restricting the movement and living of Palestinians and implementing policies that would reduce the Palestinian population, Israel practically relied on the Jews to expand settlements.
Government support is open. The report added that Israel systematically prioritises the interests of the Jews in these areas and commits crimes of apartheid and persecution of the Palestinians. This is the first time in the 43-year history of Human Rights Watch, based in New York, that the group has named Israeli policies and actions against the Palestinians as racist discrimination. This is also the first time that a major international human rights body has explicitly made such allegations against Israel.
Human Rights Watch says these policies apply to millions of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and that since 1948, Palestinian Arabs and subsequent generations of Arab-Israelis have been discriminated against because of apartheid. The group stressed that it did not want to compare Israel with the apartheid era in South Africa, but rather assessed that Israel’s specific policies and practices are defined as apartheid under international law and in accordance with the Rome Convention.
The report also called on international bodies to consider imposing sanctions on some Israeli officials who have been involved in anti-Palestinian policies, such as confiscating their property and barring them from travelling.
Israel-Palestine Reaction to HRW Report
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has categorically rejected the Human Rights Watch report, calling it “fundamentally wrong.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry has said that Human Rights Watch acts like other organisations pursuing an “anti-Israel agenda.” Israel added that the group had “encouraged a boycott of Israel for years” and that its report “was prepared under the influence of elements associated with the anti-Israel movement.” Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Michael Beaton also told Reuters that the report by Human Rights Watch was “fundamentally irrelevant to the issue of human rights.”
On the other hand, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, welcomed the report and said that it was time for Israel to be punished by the international community for these policies. Mr Abbas called for “immediate intervention” by the international community, and said that it was important to ensure that international organisations and companies did not become complicit in Israel’s “war crimes” against the Palestinians. Two years ago, the Israeli government ousted Omar Shakir, the head of the Israeli-Palestinian desk of Human Rights Watch, a US citizen, on charges of supporting the pro-Israel boycott movement.
Omar Shakir emphasised that the documents obtained were the result of a 30-year research. Mr Shakir told Reuters that the group’s new report would be made available to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. According to Omar Shakir, the transfer of the report to the Hague Tribunal is part of a “routine procedure”, because the “Rome Charter”, adopted in 1998, is the basis for the establishment of the Hague Tribunal. The Hague tribunal’s prosecutor announced last month that he was launching a “war crimes” case against the “occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. This met with the satisfaction of the Palestinians and the anger of Israel.
US Position Against HRW Donald Trump’s administration has placed Human Rights Watch on a blacklist of “anti-Semitic groups” along with a number of other human rights organisations, including Amnesty International Oxfam, for pursuing “obsessive” prosecution and condemnation of Israel. But in the early days of Joe Biden’s administration, he overturned the previous government’s decision against these groups, as well as against the Hague Criminal Court. Human Rights Watch reported that in recent days new violent Israeli-Palestinian clashes in East Jerusalem have sparked Palestinian protests in the West Bank, and that the Israeli army has threatened to expand its attack on Gaza following the rocket fire by Palestinian militant groups into Israel.
Final Word The forced relocation of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is a “full-blown crime” and the international community must prevent this crime which violates the most basic human rights of Palestinians. The Palestinians are paying the price for the rivalry between the right and the far right in Israel. Intensification of the policy of Judaisation, settlement and forced migration of Palestinians may lead to an inflamed situation, especially in Jerusalem, in a way that is inconceivable.