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Home arrow Israeli Apartheid Structures arrow Negev desert nomads on the move again to make way for Israel's barrier
Negev desert nomads on the move again to make way for Israel's barrier PDF Print E-mail
Feb 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Security fence and spread of Jewish settlement risks way of life for thousands

Rory McCarthy in Azariya
Wednesday February 28, 2007
The Guardian

The bulldozers came for Hamid Salim Hassan's house just after dawn. Before the demolition began, the Bedouin family scrambled to gather what they could: a fridge, a pile of carpets, some plastic chairs, a canister of cooking gas and a metal bed frame.

Now, with their house a wreck of smashed concrete and broken plastic pipes, Mr Hassan and his family are living in a canvas tent on a neighbour's land. Their possessions are piled outside, along with boxes of supplies, including washing-up liquid, toothpaste, corned beef, wheat flour and tomato paste, provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

His tent is small but it affords Mr Hassan a compelling view of the future. Stretched out before him are the hilltops of the West Bank where he and his family, all Bedouin shepherds who fled Israel in 1948, used to live and graze their sheep. Standing there now is Ma'ale Adumim, one of the largest Jewish settlements which is illegal under international law. Snaking up the hillside towards his tent is the West Bank barrier, also ruled unlawful in advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice. When complete, the steel and barbed wire barrier, which here will be 50m wide and include a ditch and patrol roads, will surround Ma'ale Adumim, attaching it to a greater Jerusalem.

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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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