Hundreds of Palestinian citizens demonstrate against the demolition of homes in the Arab town of Qalansuwa earlier this week.
In a week during which the Israeli media focused mostly on itself and Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest corruption scandal, we in the Arab community focused on our homes, and our basic right to live on this land. This past week the government destroyed 11 homes in the town of Qalansuwa, striking a blow against a fifth of the population.
The prime minister shared a Facebook post titled “Our forces destroyed Arab homes,” unleashing the venom of his followers, hungry for revenge and driven by hatred, since blaming Arab citizens for arson is no longer effective. One Facebook post and 11 demolished homes. The Joint List called an emergency meeting, as did the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, Qalansuwa’s mayor stepped down, and a general strike was called. Social media networks were flooded with photos of bulldozers and armed security forces diligently destroying homes whose status was in the process of being formalized. It was an underhanded move; no one could oppose it or even expect the bulldozers at 6 a.m.
The message delivered to the average Israeli went as follows: the government takes action against illegally-built homes in both Qalansuwa and Amona. But the only thing these two places share is that they are built on Palestinian land: in Qalansuwa the residents built the homes on their land, and in Amona the settlers stole land that does not belong to them and built their homes using the public’s money. In Qalansuwa the homes were demolished, while the residents of Amona are taking their fight to the High Court to prevent the demolition of their outpost. The residents of Qalansuwa will not be afforded alternative housing, the settlers will be handsomely reimbursed with both housing and money.
How can one even make the comparison? With Netanyahu, everything is possible — as long as the people keep supporting him. The news of the demolition “calmed” supporters of human rights following claims that no one was living in the homes that were demolished (which turned out to be false), bringing an end to the public discussion.
Who gets to speak?
The Arab leadership was roundly criticized for using the tired tactic of calling for a general strike in the Arab sector. There were calls among the community to rebuild the homes, for the resignation...Read More