It’s critical to remember that while Israel’s use of home demolitions is a constant tool for indigenous displacement and erasure, the ebbs and flows of this formal policy’s execution are shaped by different political formations. A rise in home demolitions almost always corresponds to the power of the most fascist, right-wing elements in Israeli society. Therefore, it is no surprise that demolition metrics are up across the board. There is a 155% increase in displaced people compared to last year’s timeframe (January 1 through March 2, 2022, compared to January 1 through March 2, 2023). These numbers don’t account for the number of demolitions that happen inside the Green Line in places like the Naqab or the Galilee regions as well as other non-Jewish communities.
Organizations like Regavim, Ir David, the Hebron, and Ateret Cohanim have all funneled hundreds of millions of charitable donations through channels in the United States, Canada, and the U.K. to develop political programs that ushered in more robust, aggressive, and permanent policies that structured to erase Palestinian communities and replace them.
These financial structures have been essential in financing the ultra right-wing government, with members of the aforementioned organizations all utilizing their previous organizations to make inroads into the government and ultimately gaining MK positions — like Bezalel Smotrich — the co-founder of Regavim.
Dismantling the financial mechanisms that underpin the settler movement must take an elevated position within the Palestinian movement for liberation if we want to prevent the next Huwara. Learn more at defundracism.org.
Earlier this week, following the invasion and attack on Huwara, Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich liked a tweet calling for the destruction of the Palestinian community. When asked about this in an interview on Wednesday, March 1, Smotrich doubled down, calling for the state to carry out this eradication. He argued that he believes the state has an obligation to do this, not its settler citizens. He was not being facetious.
Bezalel Smotrich, co-founder of Regavim, has spent most of his career dedicated to exactly what he described in this interview: the displacement and destruction of Palestinian communities. Through building relationships with the military, surveilling Palestinian communities, and lobbying for their destruction through court petitions and political engagement in the Knesset, Smotrich has worked hard to convince the state to increase its use of violence against vulnerable communities. Among the most prominent examples of his former organization’s targets are Khan al Ahmar — which is not facing potentially imminent displacement – and Khallet ad Dabe’, a small hamlet in Masafer Yatta that is also at immediate risk.
Among other settler leaders like Itamar Ben Gvir and Yishai Fleisher (spokesman for the Hebron Fund), Smotrich is speaking openly and honestly about his hopes for the elimination of indigenous Palestinians. Palestinians know that we must take these threats seriously, and we need our allies to understand their significance. As structural and individual acts of violence mount against Palestinians and our communities, we must disrupt the international support going to the organizations mounting the pressure and making it ever more appealing for the state to move forward with drastic measures.
Read more about Regavim, the settler organization pushing for Khan al Ahmar and many other communities’ displacement, and what you can do here: defundracism.org