In her Open Democracy report, Victoria Brittain (above, left), a former associate foreign editor of the Guardian, describes conditions that now prevail in the Jordan Valley's Area C:
"In Area C construction is prohibited, no water or electricity connection allowed, schools and water pumps put up by aid agencies are destroyed, health care is almost absent. Israeli settlements, outposts and military bases proliferate. Five thousand Palestinians live in 38 communities in parts of Area C, like these designated as 'firing zones' for military training.
"Burhan Bisharat's village of Kirbet al Makhoul was destroyed four times in two weeks in late September last year. With no warning or demolition notices the bulldozers drove up the dirt road before dawn and brought down tin homes, hay sheds, animal pens, water troughs and a playground with swings belonging to the twelve families.
"Today Bisharat, his wife, and youngest daughter, are visibly traumatised and he spoke softly of how the psychological pressure, especially of the fourth destruction [of his home], was very, very difficult for him. He saw relief tents brought by the ICRC put up and immediately brought down by a bulldozer in front of the aid agency staff."
[The picture at the top shows Bisharat sitting in his ruined home. It was taken in October, 2013]
"The three now live in another almost empty replacement home half the size of what they had before and which Burhan built himself in two days, bringing an aluminium roof from Nablus. But every day is lived under the shadow of another onslaught that they know can hit their lives any time.
"This is a father who took the very difficult decision to send his seven older girls to live a few miles away in a small town where they go to school. His oldest daughter is 17 and in the twelfth grade and is in charge of the little household of children.
"'I want my children to have a better life through education...it is best to keep them away, though it is very tough for them to be alone, and (with a gesture to his silent wife) for their mother.' Burhan is only 38, but the harshness of his life has made him look and seem a generation older."
Israel repeatedly, and illegally, destroys the Basharat home because Israel wants to clear the land for what it wants as a future Israeli state. This repeated action takes place at the time when negotiators are discussing the future "ownership" of the land.
Palestinian rights to this land are not in dispute; it is land that is illegally occupied by Israel. Furthermore, the mistreatment of Palestinians like Basharat and his family is illegal. In a world where justice has meaning, such mistreatment is considered to be a crime.
Who are the guilty parties in this crime? Israel, of course, but Israel is aided and abetted by every U.S. President and Congress and every American taxpayer who elects pro-Israel governments. We are all guilty because we tolerate or encourage the permanent intimidation of our public officials by Israel and its American allies.
There was a time when a few major U.S. political leaders spoke against that intimidation.
In his new book, The Brothers, Stephen Kinzer offers a remarkably candid quote from one of the brothers in his book, John Foster Dulles, then the U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower administration. Israel took advantage of the Suez Crisis in 1956-57, sending its army across the Sinai Desert toward the Egyptian border. Dulles angrily insists that Israel withdraw.
In response, Dulles used words no recent Secretary of State would dare use:
"I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy not approved by the Jews. ... The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the Congress through influential Jewish people in this country." (p. 244).
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