fbpx
CurrentMiddle East

Opinion: Sheikh Jarrah Evictions Prove The PA’s Dissociation From Palestine’s History Of Forced Displacement

Undoubtedly, the international community can do more to halt Israel’s forced evictions, if it had the political will to do so. But the UN and international institutions have demonstrated the contrary through their inaction or meagre expressions of concern.

Undoubtedly, the international community can do more to halt Israel’s forced evictions, if it had the political will to do so. But the UN and international institutions have demonstrated the contrary through their inaction or meagre expressions of concern.

Israel’s targeting of Sheikh Jarrah with forced displacement is no longer a mainstream media concern, even though Palestinians are still faced with the threat of eviction.

Earlier in January, the Salhiyeh family lost their home to an expropriation order issued by the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem. Israeli forces destroyed the family home soon after the residents were expelled, and some of them beaten. The Salhiyeh family is originally from Ein Kerem, from which they were displaced in the 1948 Nakba. 

The complete absence of protection for Palestinian homes has left families in Sheikh Jarrah taking turns guarding their properties from Israeli settlers and the army. But their resilience is no match for Israel’s bulldozers and settlement expansion plans, because Palestinians are left to fight their battles alone, with no political backing.

The UAE-Israel Peace Agreement: Normalising the Abandonment of Palestine

Since May last year, the residents of Sheikh Jarrah maintained momentum against Israel’s settlement expansion plans, resulting in focused global attention for a brief period, until the Israeli Supreme Court offered a so-called “compromise” to Palestinians – to live as “protected tenants” and to pay rent to the Nahalat Shimon association for 15 years, which would leave them at the mercy of Israel’s settler movement and the government’s expansionist policy. Palestinians, of course, refused the offer.

But Israel’s purported conciliatory gesture was enough for the international community to shift its attention away from the impending forced evictions at Sheikh Jarrah. After all, the UN’s humanitarian paradigm is where Palestinians fit in, according to international diplomats. 

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) approach does not help with the political dissociation which the international community performs so well. Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh merely took to Twitter to condemn the forced eviction, according to the PA’s official news agency, Wafa.

“Demolition of homes and displacement of Sheikh Jarrah residents is a crime committed by Israel and demonstrates its occupation policy,” al-Sheikh tweeted. “This requires the world’s condemnation of this criminal and brutal behaviour and to demand an immediate halt to measures violating international law.”

Al-Sheikh recently met with Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “I highlighted the need for a political horizon between the two parties based on international law,” he stated. Yet for Palestinians, the most al-Sheikh can manage is to grovel to the international community to stop it, while the PA continues its charade of waiting and striking deals with Israel for its own security. 

Treating Sheikh Jarrah as an exception, as the PA did with Khan al-Ahmar, dilutes the Palestinian experience of forced displacement, which is a key feature of Zionist colonisation of Palestinian territory. It also feeds into Israel’s narrative of exception, which has aided the settler-colonial state to avoid accountability for its violations of international law. 

Israel-Arab Normalisation Agreements: What Do They Actually Mean?

Israel is seeking territorial contiguity. The UN does not need further proof of Israel’s “occupation policy,” as al-Sheikh describes the latest displacement from Sheikh Jarrah. If the PA acts as if the UN still needs proof of Israel’s international law violations, then it means that the PA is a far cry from acting to hold Israel accountable. Meanwhile, Palestinians have no protection from the systematic eviction process, because the PA is too busy assuring Israel of its security collaboration. 

Undoubtedly, the international community can do more to halt Israel’s forced evictions, if it had the political will to do so. But the UN and international institutions have demonstrated the contrary through their inaction or meagre expressions of concern. The PA, on the other hand, reaps failure after failure and sets a disastrous precedent to follow.

If the Palestinian leadership itself is so weak in the face of Palestinian land being stolen by Israel, the international community has no opposition to its complicity with Israel other than from the Palestinian people themselves. 

Related

Latest

Latest videos

Menu