The B’tselem is one of the Human Rights organisation I have the most deepest admiration for. B’tselem is an Israeli information center for Human Rights in the occupied territories which is militating to end Israel’s occupation. Why? Because B’tselem believes that putting an end to Israel’s occupation of the occupied territories is the only way to achieve a future that ensures basic human rights, liberty, democracy and equality to Palestinians and Israelis.
What is the meaning of the word B’tselem? Basically and literally it means in the image of the name was chosen by a former member of the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) Yassir Sarid who made an allusion to GENESIS 1:27 “And God created humankind in his image. In the image of God did he create them”
According to B’tselem website the name expresses “The Jewish and universal moral edict to respect and uphold the Human Rights of all people!
I admire B’tselem because it is an independent and non-partisan organisation. B’tselem has ‘won’ various awards which reflect its prestige. B’tselem has been the recipient of
- Carter-Mesnil award for Human Rights 1989.
- Danish PL foundation Human Rights Award together with Al Haq in 2011.
- The Stockholm Human Rights Award in 2014.
- Human Rights of the French Republic jointly with Al-Haq.
And briefly, Al Haq is what type of organisation? Al Haq is an independent Palestinian Human Rights organisation which was founded by Raja Shehadeh in 1979. Al Haq is based in Ramallah in the West Bank. Al Haq regularly sends written submissions to the UN Human Rights Council on Gaza and Jerusalem. It is apposite to note that Raja Shehadeh is a Palestinian lawyer & writer who was born in Jaffa, Israel, and is presently living in Ramallah, West Bank. He is the author of:
- Palestinian walks.
- Strangers in the house.
- Occupation diaries
- Where the line is drawn.
- Birds stopped singing.
- Language of war.
- Going home: A walk through fifty years of occupation (please make an effort to read that book).
Record number of home demolitions in East Jerusalem this year. And still we have two more months to go. Yes, according to B’tselem the Israeli authorities have bulldozed/demolished at least 140 Palestinian homes in occupied territories this year. Israelis’ presence in the occupied territories is a blatant violation of International law. On the 24th October B’tselem said 238 Palestinians have lost their homes due to demolitions and among the 238 Palestinians there are 127 minors. We have to go back to 2016 to see such a gross violation of Basic Human Rights. In 2016, 92 homes were demolished.
The Israelis always argue that the homes have been demolished because they were built without proper government permits. But what Israel will not tell you is that it rarely gives building permit to Palestinians. And on the other hand Israel will readily give building permits to Jews with all sorts of financial backing to build in nearly the same locality which has been refused to the Palestinians. It is a fact that discrimination which spurs the Palestinians to build without permits. We are fully aware that since president Trump has come to power there has been a gross increase only in Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. And the strategy of Israel is clear towards the Palestinian. And it is the same strategy even before the set up of the State of Israel. It is to use all means to force the Palestinians to flee not only the State of Israel but also the occupied territories.
After the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, Israel has occupied East Jerusalem and has systematically expanded its municipal boundaries to steal the land of the Palestinians on which they have constructed Jewish only settlements. Why? Because Israel wants the ‘monopoly of Jerusalem’ and does not wish to share East Jerusalem with the Palestinians. So the strategy is to get rid of the Palestinians, build Jewish only settlements, reverse the demographic trend in favour of the Jews and then support historical support for the presence of the Jews through dubious archaeological findings coated with academic wrappings.
Another Israeli rights group “Peace Now” (which I also admire) has recently demonstrated how the Palestinians who make up more than 60 percent of the population of East-Jerusalem have received a little less than 30 percent of building permits to build homes for their families.
B’tselem has also brought to the notice of the world population that the Israel authorities charge the Palestinians the costs for demolishing their homes, and if not paid the Palestinians are sent to prison. The Israelis charge a very onerous price. Why? So as to force the Palestinians to dismantle their own homes and the shame will NOT LIE on the doorsteps of the Israeli authorities. According to B’tselem half of the 40,000 housing units built in Palestinian neighbourhood units since 1967 lack permits. So the Palestinians are under constant threats.
But B’tselem has compiled only the demolition of homes which were build ‘illegally’according to the Israelis.
Israel has also a Quasi-Nazi practice of demolishing the family homes of alleged perpetrators following attacks in which Israelis are injured or killed mere suspicions are often enough to have your homes demolished.
It is laughable that a sizeable section of the Western media still thinks that Israel is a democratic State.
B’tselem says (and please ponder on it) that demolishing the homes of relatives who harmed or attempted to harm Israeli civilians or security personnel is prohibited collective punishment and is one of the most extreme measures used by Israel. Over the years Israel has demolished hundreds of homes, leaving homeless thousands of people who had done no wrong and were not suspected of any wrongdoing. It is an immoral and unlawful policy”
Yes immoral and unlawful! Immoral for all of us who don’t even care for a name of a second.