Jeff Halper part 1


Minnesotan-born Jeff Halper left academia in Israel to become a full time resister to the corrupting occupation of palestinian land. He is the founder of The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) a human rights and peace organization he established in 1997 to end Israel’s Occupation over the Palestinians. ICAHD takes as its main focus, as its vehicle for resistance, Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within Israel proper. ICAHD was awarded UN Economic and Social Council Special Consultative Status in 2010.
Jeff gave 2 talks in Toronto and he left to bring his message to the rest of Canada.
Israel’s policy since the beginning and accelerated after 1967 is to steal the land ”dunam by dunam, goat by goat’. Day by day they make it hard for Palestinians to stay in their own country, House demolitions, about 27,000 since ’67 are a favourite tactic in this violent pas de deux. Most Canadians of course are unaware of the many cruel policies used by the state to make life miserable for the original inhabitants.

Most of these disgusting tricks lie just below the radar of North Americans.They aren’t as obvious as the wholesale murder which recently visited on the trapped people of Gaza. They are like  death by attrition, a slow drip of misery on a daily basis.It is low-intensity warfare, a bureaucracy of laws meant to humiliate and frustrate Palestinians. Whether it’s land purchases—the Jewish National Fund will only sell land to Jews—and you can get a tax break in Canada for supporting this one; it may be marriage laws, lost land laws—you were chased out in ’48 or 67—too bad, you never returned. Lost land. It is arcane “administrative detention’ which can lock you up for indefinite periods; it may be constant harassment from settlers who uproot your olive trees; it may be state murder or as it is called “extra-judicial” killings…No trial in the only democracy in the Middle East. Just bang,bang you’re dead. We never liked you.

Or it may be collective punishment like house demolitions,”atavistic revenge” as Halper calls it. Between 2001-2005, according to B’tselem (the Israeli Human Rights org) figures, 664 Palestinian homes were demolished in the Occupied Territory as forms of punishment. Some 4,182 innocent people were displaced, many of them neighbours of the suspect’s family, and this often on the basis of suspicion alone .
The policy of punitive demolitions in fact grew out of the British Emergency Regulations of 1945, which none other than Menachem Begin referred to as “Nazi” regulations and worked tirelessly, though ultimately unsuccessfully, to have them cancelled during his years in the Knesset. These policies continue as halper says as “the exercise of raw, atavistic violence, unfocused revenge against suspects not yet tried or convicted part of a broad policy of repression unlinked to any political process that may resolve the conflict.
Not only do punitive demolitions violate the basic principle of due process of law, the home in question belonging only to a suspect, but the targeting and punishing of a suspect’s family members innocent of any crime through the demolition of their home constitutes collective punishment, a violation of Article 33 of The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the Fourth Geneva Convention). That Article reads: “No persons may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed,” and it defines collective punishment as a war crime. Needless to say, punitive demolitions are only applied when the attacker is a Palestinian and the victim is a Jew; neither Israeli army or settler violence towards Palestinians is punishable, certainly not by demolishing Israeli Jewish homes.

ICAHD offers several tours in Israel/Palestine.These tours are never taken by the pilgrims who flock to “the Holy Land”.They do do not want to get e involved in “politics.”

Ottawa January 27-30
Halifax January 31-February 2
St. John’s February 3-4
Edmonton February 5-7
Winnipeg February 8-9
Vancouver February 10-12

1 Comment »

  1. 1

    I trust that a copy of this went to a rabbi at Holy Blossom, eh? >

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