Press TV interviewed Author, Activist and Founder of ICAHD (Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions), Jeff Halper regarding Israelis demolishing the Palestinian homes, and the possibility of the recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN.
Press TV: What is the latest? Have there been any major home demolitions since the last time we spoke?
Halper: The demolitions continue all the time. Israel tries to do them under the radar. So, there is three here, four there and two somewhere else. I think the main target today is the Jordan Valley. There hasn’t been much attention paid to that. The whole Jordan Valley area has been made off limits to Palestinians. There have been demolitions of entire villages in the Jordan Valley.
Also, what is important to emphasize is that there has been tremendous demolition action inside Israel among Palestinian and Bedouin groups. There was a Bedouin village demolished 21 times now. In other words, we can’t look at the house demolition issue only as an issue of occupation. The entire process is an ethnic cleansing of the entire country that began in 1948 still continues.
Press TV: Did anything change with the recent Arab and North African uprisings? Did that bring additional pressure to bear on Tel Aviv?
Halper: Only indirectly, as Israel feels that it cannot break through its bubble in any direct way. The only hopeful change is that it shows how isolated the United States is. I think Europe and Russia and the UN are becoming much more involved. Now for the first time I feel the ball is in the hands ironically of the Palestinian Authority.
If they can push for September to have a Palestinian state recognized by the UN within the 67 borders, there is a really good chance of turning this around, and really having a Palestinian state, and getting rid of the Israeli settlements. Israel is trying to frustrate this. Netanyahu’s advisor has just been in Russia. Israel is very scared of that. But this is an opportunity that I hope isn’t missed.
Press TV: But what then happens if September comes and goes? I mean that could be a flash point right there Jeff.
Halper: Exactly, and if a Palestinian state is recognized, then Israel really is occupying a sovereign state of the UN. And that changes the game tremendously. If it doesn’t happen, the Palestinian Authority is either going to collapse or resign.
In which case, Israel would have to reoccupy the Palestinian cities and Gaza. It could not allow Hamas to step into the vacuum. I think the very threat of that violence and chaos here would force the hand of the international community.
I think it would be tremendously disruptive to the entire global system. It would inflame the Muslim world certainly. So I think September is something we all should start mobilizing about because whether the state is declared, or whether it’s not declared, for whatever reason I think this is going to be a game changer.