Israel’s plan to destroy the Bedouin town of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev area of Palestine 1948 has now led to at least two, possibly three deaths early this morning.
THE BACKGROUND: ETHNIC CLEANSING OF UMM AL-HIRAN
Israel wants to destroy the town of Umm al-Hiran, which has about 800 inhabitants, and to replace it with a town of Hiran where Jews can only live. Israel’s High Court has approved the plan. According to Israel, the town is ‘illegal’ because during its sixty-year existence Israel’s government has refused to recognize its existence.
The inhabitants, who were forcefully moved to the area in 1956 by Israel’s army after their first experience of ethnic cleansing, can’t be allowed to stay to live in the new town according to Israel’s government and High Court. No replacement housing will be build for them.
The land from which the people of Umm al-Hiran were driven out in 1956 was given to Kibbutz Shoval as agricultural land by Israel’s government.
BBC, that stalwart banner-bearer of Israel, lies directly in its report of today’s events, claiming that ‘a mainly Jewish town’ is to be built on site of Umm al-Hiran and repeating Israeli claims of ‘illegally built homes’.
Apparently the audiences of BBC must be ‘saved’ from facing the reality of what is going on: Ethnic Cleansing in an Apartheid State.
Reuters also takes this path, downgrading what is going on to
DAWN RAID LEADS TO DEATHS
Israeli forces started a raid at the town on 05:00 am with the intention of carrying out demolitions, but faced peaceful resistance from locals and peace activists who had gathered to support them.
Violence by Israeli forces ensued, with them using stun grenades, tear gas, sponge-tipped bullets and possibly also rubber-coated steel bullets, with the latter being denied by Israeli police.
Present were also Knesset members from the Joint List, with leader of the party alliance Ayman Odeh among those wounded; he was shot in head and back with sponge-tipped bullets. An Al-Jazeera cameraman was also among the wounded.
During this a car driven by 47 or 53-year-old mathematics teacher Yaqoub Moussa Abu al-Qian was shot at by Israeli forces, with the driver losing control and the car hitting 34-year-old police officer Erez Levy. Both died, Abu al-Qian from bullet wounds.
Israeli activist Kobi Snitz who was eye-witnesses, has been quoted by press that he saw Abu al-Qian’s white pickup truck first when it was about about 30 meters from Israeli forces. “They started shooting at the car in bursts from all directions,” and according to Snitz the car hit police officers only after the driver appeared to have been wounded and had lost control of it.
Another eye-witnesses says that Abu al-Qian had not been driving directly towards Israeli forces when the shooting began, instead, as reported by Reuters: “Suddenly the car started to go down the hill, without control, absolutely. The driver was obviously dead by the time that he lost control this way. That’s when he hit the cops.”
According to Yaqoub Abu al-Qian’s relative, who was wounded in his leg, the teacher was leaving for his job at the school in nearby town of Hura like each morning and had been driving normally when he was shot.
Israeli police quickly claimed that what happened was a ‘car ramming’ and have went to claim that Abu al-Qian was ‘a member of ISIS’, who was ‘involved in education and had a negative and dangerous influence’.
“A vehicle driven by a terrorist from the Islamic Movement intended to strike a number officers and carry out an attack”, “surged towards the forces intending to kill” became the official Israeli narrative to be repeated and amplified by the media.
This is a claim which even part of the ‘Western’ media so loyal to Israel has found necessary to lessen, as there’s so far no proof whatsoever, with the Associated Press writing describing the killed teacher ‘whom Israeli officials later identified as belonging to an Islamist group’ – without mentioning that the ‘Islamist group’ he was a member of is the legal southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
We shall see whether Berlin, Paris, Rotterdam and so forth will have another round of Israeli flag waving.
DESTRUCTION HAPPENING NOW
Israel has been pouring more ‘security’ forces to Umm al-Hiran since the morning, and more bulldozers and has even sent jet-fighters to fly over the town to scare the populace.
Under heavy armed guard bulldozers had demolished at least two buildings in the town and were in the process of destroying a third. To which extent the community is to be destroyed today remains unclear.
From the ‘international community’, silence. From rights organizations like Amnesty International a pious wish that at some point in the future there should be ‘a serious’ probe of ‘claims of police brutality’.