âI was woken up at five in the morning by the sound of pounding on my door,â said Omar Ezubeik, a Tripolitan. âIt was...
Syrian opposition leaders are calling for urgent international intervention in the besieged city of Homs, located 100...
From the Blog
How Slow Ethnic Cleansing Works
Fifteen-year-old Luai from Silwan, an EastÂ Jerusalem neighborhood, walked to the AlÂ Mascobiyya Interrogation Centre after hisÂ mother told him that the Israeli police hadÂ come to their house looking for him. LuaiÂ reported arriving at the interrogation centre atÂ around 1 PM and waiting for his mother to arrive.Â âI had barely waited two minutes whenÂ I saw an interrogator named âShadi,â recallsÂ Luai. âI know him because he interrogatedÂ me several times in the past. Once he spottedÂ me, he rushed towards me with another man in civilian clothesâŚand dragged me toÂ another building across the street.âÂ ââWhatâs going on?â I asked, but theyÂ didnât respond. I was scared and didnât knowÂ where they were taking me.â
Loai reports being taken to anotherÂ building and placed inside a large room.Â âShadi forced me to kneel down and face theÂ wall with hands behind the back of my head.Â âDonât say a single word or Iâll beat the hellÂ out of you,â he said to me.â Luai reports beingÂ kept in this position for about three hoursÂ whilst Shadi and the other man remained inÂ the room smoking and talking to each other.Â âWhenever I moved my head, theyÂ would slap me on the neck,â recalls Luai.Â About three hours later, the two menÂ started to interrogate Luai, and accused himÂ of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.Â The only evidence the interrogators referredÂ to was that of âour informers in the neighborhoods.âÂ Luai denied the accusations against him.Â âI wasnât scared,â says Luai, âas I have gotÂ used to this, as this is the fifth time they haveÂ arrested me.â
Contrary to Israeli law, Luai was interrogatedÂ in the absence of a family member,Â and at the conclusion of the interrogation, wasÂ made to place hisÂ fingerprints onÂ a blank piece ofÂ paper. Luai wasÂ then handcuffedÂ and taken to aÂ cell where heÂ was detainedÂ with five otherÂ detainees, includingÂ adults andÂ children. TheÂ following day,Â Luai was taken toÂ court but says heÂ did not understandÂ what theÂ judge was sayingÂ as he was speakingÂ in Hebrew.
FollowingÂ his court appearance, Luai was taken back toÂ Al Mascobiyya for a second night, before beingÂ released on 14 January 2011, on NIS 500Â (US $140) bail and a bond of 3,000 NIS ( USÂ $840). Luai was also given a five-day homeÂ detention order.Â âMy father has decided to leaveÂ Silwan,â Luai says, âand take us to AnataÂ refugee camp because heâs tired of soldiersÂ and settlers harassing us. Settlers who live inÂ our neighborhood keep insulting us and soldiersÂ arrest us whenever something happens.Â My brother, Feras, was released yesterday andÂ is now under home arrest for six months, andÂ my father is summoned from time to time.Â Our house is also under threat ofÂ demolition.â Â âTherefore, my fatherÂ had decided to leave SilwanÂ and spare us the suffering. ThatÂ means weâre going to start aÂ new life in Anata and go to newÂ schools. We will leave our relativesÂ and friends behind becauseÂ my father doesnât want us to getÂ arrested and beaten by soldiers.âÂ This report was written andÂ compiled from testimony givenÂ by the boy named Luai to anÂ organization called âDefense ofÂ Children InternationalâPalestineÂ Section,â received on 12 FebruaryÂ 2011. (The same organizationÂ reports 13 similar narrativesÂ from East Jerusalem.) What isÂ so striking about this is that itÂ isnât any kind of horror story, but feels utterlyÂ normalâthis is simply life for Palestinians inÂ East Jerusalem. One is impressed by the senseÂ of being completely helpless from aggressionÂ by the oppressor in the eyes of oneâs ownÂ children. For that reason Luaiâs father wouldÂ rather take his family to a refugee camp ratherÂ than live in his own home in East Jerusalem.Â This tragic process is what can only beÂ called slow ethnic cleansing. At present muchÂ of it is being focused on the neighborhood ofÂ East Jerusalem, because the Israelis wish toÂ push the Palestinians into small, miserableÂ ghettoes so Israeli Jews can take their houses.Â
Why is this important? Because it violates internationalÂ law, the International DeclarationÂ of Human Rights, and the most elementaryÂ concepts of human decencyâand becauseÂ the moral degradation of this systemic evilÂ corrupts us all. The West does not want toÂ know or care what happens to these peopleâÂ it is tempted to listen only to the voice ofÂ empire, the impact of superior military power,Â the wealth and the weapons of the Israeli stateÂ and its powerful proxies.Â Most of all, however, slow ethnic cleansingÂ is dangerous because any state that willÂ use these despicable methods will almostÂ surely be tempted someday to use a muchÂ more comprehensive form of ethnic cleansing.Â What happens to peoplesâ hearts andÂ souls when the political class and the militaryÂ establishment of a country find out they canÂ do anything with impunity, no matter howÂ brutal, and get away with it? What do theÂ tragedies of the 20th century teach us aboutÂ that? It teaches us that moral collapse doesnâtÂ happen all at once, but step by step. TodayâsÂ slow ethnic cleansing, unless it is democraticallyÂ and effectively challenged, is very likelyÂ to be tomorrowâs genocide