‘Utterly horrifying’: Journalist says Israel committing ‘slow-motion ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians

Brandon Gage

AlterNet  /  July 24, 2023

Author and Jewish Currents Editor-in-Chief Peter Beinart revealed to MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan on Sunday that what he witnessed during his recent trip to Israel was a “slow-motion ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians by Israel’s armed forces.

“In parts of the West Bank, what you’re seeing is a kind of slow-motion ethnic cleansing,” Beinart recalled. “So in area C of the West Bank, which is sixty percent, which is a territory where Israel doesn’t really doesn’t want Palestinians to be, you have a place like Maafa Yatta, which you mentioned, 2,800 people spread over a bunch of villages. All of those people are faced with expulsion and all of the, virtually all of the buildings are already being threatened with demolition. I saw a school that had been demolished by the army, so the children now have to walk kilometers to another village. In the other villages, the schools are also threatened with demolition.”

Beinart added, “And this is the kind of thing that I think, I desperately wish that people in Israel would feel the same degree of passion. And that people in the United States would ask basic questions like, ‘Is this a good use of our taxpayer money to help the Israeli army do this?’ It’s, it’s really utterly horrifying to see people who live every day with a prospect that bulldozers could come and destroy all of the town, all of the buildings in their village, and force them to go somewhere else.”

Meanwhile, Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, is set to vote on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul bill on Monday — which has ignited massive domestic unrest since its introduction.

Correspondents Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner of The New York Times explained on Sunday:

The overhaul aims to limit the ways in which the Supreme Court can overturn government decisions, a deeply contentious plan that has led to perhaps the country’s gravest domestic crisis since its founding 75 years ago. The furor surrounding the proposal has become a stand-in for deeper rifts in Israeli society between those who want a more secular and pluralist state and those with a more religious and nationalist vision.

Israel has faced months of protests, including a one-day shutdown of the economy earlier this year, which the nation’s biggest union has threatened to repeat if the proposal passes. By 8 a.m. on Monday, crowds of protesters had already blocked roads leading to Parliament, some of them having camped out overnight.

President Joe Biden issued a statement exclusively to Axios for the hospitalized Netanyahu on Sunday, saying, “It looks like the current judicial reform proposal is becoming more divisive, not less,” and that “given the range of threats and challenges confronting Israel right now, it doesn’t make sense for Israeli leaders to rush this — the focus should be on pulling people together and finding consensus.”

Brandon Gage – senior editor, writer for AlterNet