Palestinians suffer systematic eviction

Lydia Rivlin (H&H Broadway letters, November 19) is entitled to her own opinion, but must not contradict the facts. Over half a million Israelis live in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; 250,000 of these are in occupied East Jerus

Lydia Rivlin (H&H Broadway letters, November 19) is entitled to her own opinion, but must not contradict the facts. Over half a million Israelis live in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; 250,000 of these are in occupied East Jerusalem. This accelerating increase in the Israeli population means that Palestinians are being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas. Systematic evictions and house demolitions means that Palestinians families have fewer homes and less land.

For example, 140 building permits were issued this year for Palestinians in East Jerusalem where there is a shortfall of thousands of homes. At the same time, last week 900 new housing units were announced in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo.

Palestinians are systematically refused permits, so are forced to build illegally or leave their city. Israeli officials call this 'transfer'. When Palestinians get demolition orders, they go to court, paying lawyers, court costs and significant fines; their homes are nonetheless demolished: 22,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967. Over 1,800 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem currently have demolition orders pending.

As for evictions, consider Sheikh Jarrah, a middle class area of East Jerusalem, where 31 families previously refugeed from what is now Israel have eviction orders. Their homes were built in 1956 by the UN on land given by the Jordanian government. Two generations have been born there.


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Israeli settlers claim the land once belonged to Jews; the Israeli court agreed and issued eviction orders. On August 2 when two families comprising 53 people including 20 children were evicted, settlers moved straight in. These families now live in a tent in the street opposite. Other families will soon follow.

Ms Rivlin tries to make the situation in East Jerusalem sound 'normal' by comparing it to here. I can assure you from long experience there is nothing normal about systematic denials of building permits, evictions and home demolitions for Palestinians, where this land is then being used for Israeli-only expansion.

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Ann Wright

(address supplied)

Where does Andrew Thornton want to begin with his boycotting of goods? The USA has illegally occupied land stolen from the native Americans, the Australians from the aboriginal people, to give only two examples.

Will Budgens boycott American and Australian goods? Some hope! Israel, though, is an easy target. Lydia Rivlin's letter illustrates how selective people's consciences can be and how comfortable it is to judge without knowing the full facts.

Ruth Hazeldine

Jacksons Lane, N6

Andrew Thornton makes a good point with which I wholeheartedly agree: ''there comes a point where boycotts are required as consumers voting with their feet can deliver a message.''

Here is my message: Andrew, please make an effort to understand the whole picture, not just half truths and lies.

Boycotting products from the West Bank would be sort of admirable if your shop (Thornton Budgens) also boycotted products and services from Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and The Falkland Isles amongst others.

Just to remind you, we (the UK) acquired all these territories, and many others, as a result of aggressive wars whereas the West Bank was inherited by Israel as a result of a defensive war: their Arab neighbours attacked and the Israelis defended and, to many people's chagrin, won!.

Alan Melkman

(address supplied)

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