Happy are the Filipinas whose risk of deportation from Israel has awakened Israelis with consciences, who understand that dry regulations and laws are not the only guide to a worthy life. Happy are the small Filipinos born in Israel, whose Israeli friends are immune from the brainwashing of a “state for Jews only,” and are demonstrating and interviewed against the deportation.
Israel has created ten methods of deportation. One of them it has reserved for labor migrants and African refugees fleeing war and famine, while the rest have been assigned to the native Palestinians – children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people who were born here. Most of the Israeli public views these methods as justified and supports – even if only by remaining silent – their continued implementation. We, the minority, scream against it inside a bell jar.
There is the expulsion of people and chasing them out of the country, there is the forced displacement from homes and villages to enclaves of Area A, there is expulsion to the Gaza Strip and turning it into a penal colony, expulsion from Jerusalem to the West Bank and from agricultural land that provided a living for the family for hundreds of years.
Official Israel is careful not to declare that its intention is to empty the land of its Palestinian natives. It has always relied on laws, regulations and military orders – seemingly respectable and proper – with a stamp of approval from the High Court of Justice. It has revealed great talent to ignore the principle of equality and the political, social and geographic contexts of its forced rule over another people. (For example: Why do they not grant building permits to Palestinians in the places they have lived for decades and centuries? Because the law states that only a detailed master plan allows the granting of building permits. So why don’t they prepare a master plan for the Palestinian community?
The clerks of the IDF’s Civil Administration in the West Bank, or those of Jerusalem city hall or the Galilee and Triangle areas shrug and remain silent, and the honorable justices of the High Court of Justice do not ask difficult questions. They only know that the house does not have a permit – so its fate is to be demolished.
There is expulsion by virtue of the Israeli control over the Palestinian Population Registry, which turns Palestinians into permanent residents by the grace of Israel’s bad intentions. Until 1994, Israel revoked the residency status of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and in the Gaza Strip if they resided overseas for a long period, or were not here during the 1967 census.
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The Oslo Accords, in one of its rare positive sections, annulled this liberty of the occupier to revoke Palestinian residency, but not that of the Jerusalemites. But the liberty of Israel to determine who and how many of the 1967 and 1948 deportees could return to the West Bank enclaves was not annulled. The mechanism of “family reunification” – which has been recognized as one the ways of restoring residency status – was always too slow, and since 2000 it has in practice been frozen in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In Jerusalem it is subject to the whims, foot-dragging and cold-heartedness of the Interior Ministry. And at any moment the Shin Bet and the Interior Ministry can revoke the residency status of a Jerusalem resident for “security reasons” and deport them to the moon.
There is expulsion by drying people out. Israel controls the water sources. It sets low water quotas for the natives. Agriculture for Jews is expanding in the West Bank, while the water for the Palestinians – for drinking and agriculture – is shrinking.
In the summer months hundreds of thousands are dependent on water supplied in water tankers (because there is no water in the taps) and pay 10 times as much for it. The Gaza Strip is cut off from the water in the rest of the country, as if it were an isolated island. Ninety-five percent of its water is unfit for drinking. Not everyone can bear this for a long time.
There is expulsion by the banning of construction and connecting to infrastructure and by constant demolitions, blocking access to springs and grazing land, in what is called Area C, which covers most of the West Bank. Not everyone can bear it for a long time. People move to live in the Palestinian enclaves.
Israel’s control in Area C (while embedding and perpetuating the situation that was supposed to be temporary, according to the Oslo Accords) is one of the main reasons for the deterioration of the Palestinian economy (de-development is the excellent term coined by economist Sara Roy): The absence of an economic horizon is a means for causing masses of young people to leave the country.
Evil is also the work of vicious people: Wherever the state and the Civil Administration do not succeed, the settlers intervene. The army punishes the Palestinians for the settlers’ violence, and prevents the former from accessing their land to “prevent friction.” This is how our observant, frum youth take over more and more Palestinian land.
The ban on movement of the residents of the Gaza Strip is not just the imprisonment of two million people. It is their expulsion from our minds and the slaughter of creativity, ability to make a living, to study and heal the sick. In contravention of the Oslo Accords, Israel defines Gaza-born residents who managed to reach the West Bank and stay there as illegal. To avoid deportation, they imprison themselves in their hometown in the West Bank. It’s no surprise that young Palestinians are trying to leave the country: expulsion in the guise of leaving of one’s own free will.
And there is mass expulsion during wartime, whose peak was brought on by the 1948 war. Therefore, our messianic right – mildly religious, Orthodox nationalist and secular – dissatisfied with the creeping expulsion of Palestinians that the government is carrying out all the time – loves wars, looks forward to them and instigates them.