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Abby Zimet: They Took My House, They Took My Life, They Took Everything.

Arresting Hatem Abu Asab for living in his house. Photo by Sahl Zighari

Israeli police forcibly expelled a Palestinian family from their home in the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday and promptly turned it over to right-wing Jewish settlers, who raised the Israeli flag over it as family members wept. The culmination of a long legal fight, the eviction came with no warning after an Israeli Supreme Court ruling based on a deeply racist, convoluted law that declares Jewish residents of any pre-1948 property its “rightful owners” – a privilege pointedly not extended to Palestinians. The Abu Asab family, which had already been displaced during the Nakba, has lived in the house for 67 years. “They destroyed my life. They took everything,” cried matriarch Rania Abu Asab. “They’re in my house, and I’m in the street.”

After police threw out the seven adults and three children of the Abu Asab family – and refused to allow any of them to collect their  belongings – for good measure they also arrested patriarch Hatem Abu Asab and his son, and assaulted other relatives. The eviction is one of a growing number of such actions in Jerusalem’s Old City, where Israel and settlement organizations are intent on tightening their control under the guise of a tourist-oriented “Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter.” In truth, they are determinedly “imposing a nationalistic Israeli character” on a once-multi-cultural city, another step in the Occupation’s  decades-old ethnic cleansing project aimed at erasing Palestinians. Wrenching video of the eviction destroys the venal lie behind efforts to normalize Israeli crimes: It proves Israel has become a state of sociopaths, and the pitiless Nakba is ongoing.

Rania Abu Asab mourns the theft of the house she has lived in her whole life.
Israeli settlers take over Palestinian home.

First published in Common Dreams. Included in Vox Populi with permission.

2 comments on “Abby Zimet: They Took My House, They Took My Life, They Took Everything.

  1. johnlawsonpoet
    February 22, 2019

    US military aid to Israel is often justified with the claim that “Israel is the only democracy in the region.” You have to wonder what democracy really means if it leads to such brazen injustice; surely a system of government must be judged, not only by its internal processes–voters trooping off to the polls, etc.–but also by its results. Could anyone possibly expect the Palestinians or other victims of so-called democracies to admire, let alone want to adopt, a governmental system that has oppressed them for decades?

    I share Daniel Burston’s hope that Israeli society will choose better leaders, but it’s frankly hard to imagine any Israeli government bringing those entitled, racist, chauvinist settlers to heel.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Daniel Burston
    February 22, 2019

    Speaking as an Israeli citizen, I find this eviction – and many, many others just like it – thoroughly contemptible; evidence of just how far Israeli society has strayed away from its (formerly) democratic character and aspirations. And yes, the machinery of state is now in the hands of sociopaths. But there are still many Israelis like me, who react with horror and indignation at these (increasingly routine) violations of human rights.

    Let us pray that Netanyahu falls in the upcoming election, and that the new government puts a stop to evictions, settlements and the like, and actually negotiates a two state solution in good faith. it is not too late!

    Daniel Burston

    Liked by 3 people

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