The world is witnessing a dangerous escalation of Israeli violations against the Palestinian people. In occupied Jerusalem, Israel’s Judaization efforts target the Palestinian population and attempt to alter the legal and political status, demography, and cultural identity of the city through ethnic cleansing. For example, Israeli authorities’ attempted forcible eviction of the Salhia family from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Additionally, Israel’s pursuit of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem” through the construction of massive settlement roads to the East and West attempts to sever Jerusalem’s physical connections to its Palestinian surroundings, isolating the city and its citizens. In this context, it is also worth noting a petition submitted by occupation authorities to demolish a large Islamic complex in Beit Safafa, South of Jerusalem, which includes the Abd al-Rahman Mosque and its golden dome, answering the demands of extremist settlers who resent its resemblance to the Dome of the Rock.
In the Jordan Valley, Israel’s gradual annexation measures continue as occupation forces devastate Palestinian land with tanks and heavy military vehicles, razing crops, destroying electricity infrastructure and natural resources such as water, stealing or destroying perennial olive trees, expelling Palestinians from their homes under false pretexts, and preventing their return. Israeli occupation forces are consistently violent towards Palestinian civilians, forcefully preventing any non-violent resistance by firing live and rubber bullets, sound bombs, poison gas bombs, and skunk water against Palestinian citizens participating in peaceful demonstrations. Lethal force is often used against Palestinians, even the elderly. In the past week, 80-year-old Omar Abdelmajid As’ad was dragged from his car then brutally beaten and left to die by Israeli occupation forces, and 75-year-old Suleiman al-Hathalin, an anti-occupation activist, died from critical injuries sustained in a deliberate hit-and-run by an Israeli police vehicle.
Until the present, the international community has failed to intervene or provide protection measures for the Palestinian people, and has only provided lip-service. A commitment to the two-state solution not accompanied by practical steps towards genuine and meaningful peace, reduces it to nothing more than an empty slogan. The international community must urgently call for an international peace conference with clear terms of reference based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. Actions, not words, are the only way to achieve the two-state solution.
For more information, please contact the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific: ph. (02) 6286 9193.