Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing Intensifies

Israel evicts entire Palestinian village for army exercise

Residents of Wadi al-Maleh evicted after Israel army declares area a live training zone Israeli soldiers evicted several hundred Bedouins from a village in the occupied West Bank today after the army declared the area a live-fire training zone.

The residents of Wadi al-Maleh, a village mostly inhabited by shepherds in the arid area bordering Jordan, had almost all left their homes by an evening curfew and retreated to neighbouring villages, Aref Daraghmeh, a local leader said.

The displacement coincided with several demolitions of Arab properties in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which come as the United States is trying to revive stalled peace.

In January, villagers received a similar eviction order and left without resisting, only to return after 48 hours. Almost all of their 90 buildings, including shelters for their animals, were demolished in 2010, local rights groups said.

Israeli troops prevented outsiders, including journalists, from accessing the area saying it was a “closed military zone”.

The military did not respond to a request for comment. Wadi al-Maleh is located in “Area C,” a swath of land making up two-thirds of the West Bank under full Israeli control and where most Jewish settlements are located.

Half a million settlers live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory captured in the 1967 Middle East War which Palestinians want for a future state.

Israeli army firing zones comprise 18 per cent of the West Bank, roughly the same size of “Area A,” the land including major cities and towns which is under full Palestinian control.

According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 5,000 Palestinians in 38 herding communities live on army firing zones, along with several sprawling Jewish settlements and farms.

Besides al-Maleh, 12 Bedouin villages throughout the length of the Jordan Valley have received eviction orders since 1999, according to the Association for Human Rights in Israel.

The International Court of Justice and most governments deem Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal. Israel disputes this and cites Biblical and historical links to the land.

Israeli authorities razed two family homes in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Tur this morning, displacing 18 Palestinians who failed to acquire elusive building permits, local officials said.

The army also demolished a well near a Palestinian refugee camp south of the city of Hebron and cleared an agricultural area of dozens of olive trees east of Bethlehem, according to Palestinian government media. Israeli officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

North Korea’s Nut Jobs to Sentence Child Feeder to Death?

Vatican Radio reports North Korea has charged an American missioner who fed starving children with plotting to topple the state: Vatican Radio) North Korea says it will deliver a verdict soon in the case of an American man arrested there and accused of subversion. The man’s friends say he is a Christian missionary who has been trying to help orphans there.

North Korea’s state news agency said the case of American Kenneth Bae will soon go to the Supreme Court there for judgment.

Bae’s friends and colleagues say he is a Christian missionary who has travelled frequently to North Korea to help feed orphans there.

He was arrested in November last year after entering the country in a tour group. North Korea said he confessed to trying to “topple” the state, and that it has evidence of his intentions.

Officially, North Korea guarantees freedom of religion. But defectors have said authorities execute or imprison those who hold Mass secretly or distribute Bibles.

Last year, North Korea released another U.S. missionary, Eddie Yong Su Jun, without trial. And in 2010 it released two American Christians, one of whom said he had gone there to highlight human rights abuses.

But analysts say the case of Kenneth Bae could be more drawn-out: amid North Korea’s current talk of nuclear war, his fate is one of the few ways right now it can try to pressure the United States into granting concessions. Text from page

of the Vatican Radio website