Monday, February 9, 2009

While the Cat's Away - Nadia Awad, February 4, 2009 - While the cats are away, it is guaranteed that the mice will go out and play. Of course, the analogy here refers to media, short-span attentions, and Israel’s latest occupation-cementing activities. While the world was focusing on Gaza and the devastation taking place there at the hands of a lethal Israeli army, other alarming events were going on largely unnoticed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel may not have appreciated its forces being under critical limelight in Gaza, but they were certainly able to take advantage of a distracted media trying to cope with reporting on the rapidly rising death toll there.

In the weeks during and immediately after Operation ‘Cast Lead’, Israeli occupation forces were very busy in the West Bank and east Jerusalem doing what occupation forces apparently do – conducting incursions and raids, arrests, demolitions and land confiscations. In the period just before December 27 and leading up to this week, Israeli forces have killed 10 Palestinians in the West Bank, including children, and arrested at least 214 others (also including children). Moreover, they arrested 584 Palestinians who were working without permits in Israel proper, along with some 16 Israeli employers. Troops also conducted a minimum of 138 incursions into various villages and towns around the West Bank.

Of course, raids and arrests are the norm for Palestinians. What is more disturbing, however, is the amount of land, the thousands of dunums that were expropriated while Palestinians, Arabs and the world were looking towards Gaza....

Nadia Awad is an analyst and researcher at MIFTAH. In the past she has served as assistant producer at MBC/Al-Arabiya News.

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