Seizures of houses and holy sites [en]

Enjoying an absolute monopoly of power over the Occupied Territories since 1967, Israel has facilitated its colonization of these territories through a whole gamut of administrative, legalistic, economic, psychological, and physical measure. Immediately after the cessation of fighting in June 1967, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared the “unified” city its capital. The municipal boundaries were expanded to include large areas of Palestinian territory on the West Bank. Strategic parts of these areas were expropriated and housing projects were completed in them to accommodate Jewish Settlers “returning home” from Russia and the United States. Bulldozers were dispatched into the Old City of Jerusalem to tear down venerable medieval Muslim religious buildings adjacent to the Wailing Wall. Dozens of Muslim family properties within the Old City walls were seized in the name of “public interest” and transferred to Jewish Ownership. Extensive excavations were undertaken next to the foundations of the holiest of Muslim shrines without prior permission of the Muslim religious authorities. Three prosperous villages erased from the map and their entire population expelled overnight.

The so-called Emergency Regulations, resurrected from the days of British colonial rule, were the cornerstone of Israeli policy. These regulations allowed arrest without warning; censorship of newspapers, books, telegrams, and letters; restriction of movement, limitation of contact with others, dismissal of employees by order of the Minister of Defense, and internal exile and deportation from the country without judicial approval; the opening and closing of areas, the imposition of unlimited curfews, and confiscation and destruction of property. Under the umbrella of these regulations, habeas corpus was routinely denied by the Israeli occupation authorities as was freedom of expression, assembly, and movement. Hundreds of houses were blown up to punish relatives of individuals suspected of to involved in resistance. Troops received authorization to fire live ammunition into demonstrations by unarmed civilians, including schoolchildren. Thousands of Palestinians were detained and hundreds subjected to torture in prison. Academic life was disrupted through the periodic suspension of instruction at schools and universities, and the repeated invasion of classrooms and dormitories by special units of Israeli army. More than one hundred leading citizens (doctors, clergymen, feminists, judges, professors, civil servants, and union leaders) were banished from the country. Elected mayors were dismissed, deported, and (in some cases) maimed with the connivance of Israeli officials. Informers and quislings were subsidized and armed. Israeli colonist vigilantes, armed by their government, were permitted to take the law into their own hands in acts of vandalism and murder.