Israel is systematically destroying Palestinian refugee camps and expelling en masse refugees, especially in the Gaza Strip. Under the direct orders of the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israeli occupation forces have conducted repeated incursions into refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, particularly in Rafah since April 2001. So far, Israeli bulldozers have leveled at least 227 homes in the Gaza Strip refugee camps. For example, on 27 August, Israeli occupation forces leveled 23 homes in the Rafah refugee camp, which housed 138 Palestinian civilians.
For the past week, Israeli occupation forces have conducted a wide-scale destructive operation against Palestinian homes in the Yebna and Brazil Rafah refugee camps. Israeli occupation forces enter the refugee camps protected by the night’s dark veil and under a heavy cover of machinegun fire and artillery, they terrorize the Palestinian residents in those camps and send them running for their lives away from their humble homes. Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have now seen their homes and worldly belongings crushed to smithereens under the tires of Israeli bulldozers. Consequently, hundreds of Palestinian families now live in tents, confined to the miserable conditions their parents and grandparents tolerated after Israel forcibly exiled them from their homes in 1948.
These racist acts of aggression target the Palestinian refugees Israel had displaced from their original homes over fifty-three years ago. Destroying civilians’ homes is a policy that no self-respecting government can accept. Rather, it is a policy adopted by leaders who exercised ethnic cleansing in Bosnia Herzegovina and other places around the world.
We regret that voices from the Israeli peace camp on this matter have been silent. We find it rather shocking that such crimes have been generally met with silence from persons in the Labor party and other forces in the Israeli left.
Silence is collusion. Facing wide-scale crimes against Palestinian civilians with silence amounts to collusion and support of such horrifying crimes.
It is our view that the European position towards these atrocities and racist policy is insufficient. Equally renounced is the American Administration’s silence on these dangerous breaches of every basic human right for the Palestinian refugees. This American muteness only serves the Israeli government to continue pursuing this catastrophic and racist policy against Palestinian refugees.
We urge all those concerned with human rights and committed to a future of peace and dignity in the Middle East to mobilize against the Israeli government’s campaign against Palestinian refugees. Pressure must be exerted to force Israel to halt its campaign, which is aimed at creating another forced mass exile of Palestinian civilians from their homeland. We call upon all governments, local, regional, and international non-governmental organizations to work diligently and expeditiously to put an end to the destruction of Palestinian refugee camps.
List of Homes Destroyed in the Gaza Strip on 27 August
Below is a list of the 23 homes destroyed on 27 August 2001 in the Rafah refugee camp by Israeli occupation forces. The table contains a list of the homes and to whom they belong.
1.Mohamed Hamdan Mohamed Abu Jazar
2.Ra’ed Mohamed Hamdan Abu Jazar
3.Fathi Yousef Abu Jazar
4.Mohamed Yousef Abu Jazar
5.Wael Fathi Abu Jazar
6.Hasan Darwish Abu Jazar
7.Wa’el Hasan Darwish Abu Jazar
8.Ra’ed Hasan Darwish Abu Jazar
9.Sa’eed Abdallah Ahmed Judeh
10.Abdel Hamid Sa’eed Abdallah Judeh
11.Abdel Hakim Sa’eed Abdallah Judeh
12.Abdel Majeed Sa’eed Abdallah Judeh
13.Abdel Fattah Sa’eed Abdallah Judeh
14.Abdel Salam Abdallah Judeh
15.Hamed Suleiman Abu Jazar
16.Ahmed Suleiman Abu Jazar
17.Sa’eed Abdel Razzaq Radhwan
18.Ghazal Suleiman Khalil Radhwan
19.Mohamed Abdel A’l
20.Ibrahim Mahmoud Mansour
21.Sarid Ahmed Mansour
22.Mohamed Abdel Rahman Mansour
23.Mohamed Hasan Abu Al-Zamr
Mr. Yasser Abed Rabbo is Palestinian Minister of Culture and Information.