Israeli Impunity: The Demolitions of Sur Baher

Posted on Jul 27, 2019

by Samia Khoury

There was a wide coverage by the media this past week of the brutal demolition of Palestinian homes in Sur Baher in the Palestinian territories. It was so brutal that the attack by some settlers from the Neve Yacov settlement on the St. James church in Beit hanina with yogart cartons and tomatoes while they were celebrating the end of the summer camp seemed almost harmless despite its racist significance, and intrusion on the grounds of the church which is very close to our house and where I usually worship.

We all still remember that it was the boycott and sanctions that helped bring about the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa, yet the US staunchly shields Israel from such actions and criminalizes any party that imposes sanctions or boycotts Israel.

Israel claims that it had to resort to the demolitions for the sake of its security as the homes were too close to the separation wall. How ironic indeed because the Israeli claim for building the separation wall in the first place was for security reasons, but in reality the wall ended up snaking through the Palestinian territories. And now they claim that the buildings are too close to the separation wall so once again in the name of security those buildings had to be demolished although they were not illegally constructed as Israel claims, because they were located on Palestinian territory and had building permits from the Palestinian authority. Where does Israeli security stop? Is the sky the limit or is it the whole Palestinian territories ?

UN officials and the European Union condemned the demolitions and called for an immediate halt to the policy. Canada expressed its deep concern calling on Israel authorities to halt such demolitions which are illegal under international law and undermines efforts for a two state solution (as if there is a chance anymore for the two state solution).

At this stage of Israeli impunity, condemnation and concern have no impact any more, and Israel has been getting away with all its violations of human rights and international law. So unless there is action and Israel is made to pay for its impunity, those statements are useless, and have no power to redress such a grave injustice. We all still remember that it was the boycott and sanctions that helped bring about the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa, yet the US staunchly shields Israel from such actions and criminalizes any party that imposes sanctions or boycotts Israel. [See also “What is BDS?” ]   It is worth reminding my readers of Dorothy Thompson’s quotation in 1951 in the early years after the Nakba when she said “The state of Israel has got to learn to live in the same atmosphere of free criticism in which every other state in the world must endure.”

How long will the international community continue to accept such double standards?

Once again I would like to end with a quotation by Dr. Martin Luther King:

In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King