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Palestine "Settler Colonialism” applied in Kashmir

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Abdur Rahman Khan
Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still aiming for 1 July as his D-Day to launch the West Bank annexation project, no roadmap has yet been presented.
The UN has expressed concern against Israel's plans to annex parts of the West Bank . European countries have been more outspoken , threatening sanctions.
According to a recent survey, 58 percent of Israelis believe such a move will be followed by the outbreak of a third Intifada, or Palestinian uprising - meaning many of those supportive of annexation are very much aware of the cost of such a life-changing step.
The fragmentation of the Palestinian and Arab camps and US President Donald Trump’s unconditional support for Israel are seen by the Netanyahu as a unique opportunity to cement Jewish-Israeli supremacy over historical Palestine.
With Palestinians struggling for over half a century under a military system stripping them of most of their rights, while Israeli settlers benefit from full rights guaranteed by the state of Israel, pro-Palestinian figures have long argued that the occupation has been a de facto apartheid system.
Palestine plan in Kashmir
On the other hand, the recent changes in the domicile law in the Muslim majority state of Kashmir is being viewed by the experts as similar “settler colonialism” plan as what the Israeli is planning in Palestine.
Observers say changes in the domicile law in Kashmir may also disenfranchise thousands of non-resident Kashmiri Muslims, as well as tens of thousands of Muslims who were exiled from the region since 1947 to Pakistan and elsewhere.
"It's a blatant attempt to colonise Kashmir and populate it with new and old colonisers to make Kashmir's indigenous citizens a minority in their own land," said Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian affairs expert and director of the Istanbul-based Centre for Islam and Global Affairs.
"Indian state functionaries themselves have spoken of this well-thought-out Israeli-style solution for Kashmir. It is certainly a settler colonialism project with tragic consequences for Kashmiris," Kashmir-based journalist Najeeb Mubarki told The Middle East Eye.
"Of course, this doesn't mean the contested, disputed nature of Kashmir is over, but the Indian state seems certain that demographic changes and creating Israeli-style 'facts on the ground' is its 'final solution'."
"What adds salt to the wound is the timing. Instead of providing facilities to the people to face the challenge, New Delhi gave priority to its nefarious plans of demographic change in Kashmir, knowing the world's attention is on the pandemic," said a Kashmiri businessman .

From 1954 till 5 August 2019, Kashmir had a special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws, have own flag and a constitution.
Those provisions also barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory, but they were revoked by India last year.
India has recently enacted a new legislation, that allows Indian citizens to permanently reside and buy land in Indian-administered Kashmir if they have worked in the region for 15 years or studied there for seven years.
Children of federal government employees will also get domicile certificates if their parents have lived in Kashmir for 10 years, according to a notification released by Indian Home Ministry.

Muslims no longer welcomed in Kashmir
Pro-freedom groups and rights activists say the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)​​ plans to implement a "demographic change" by settling army officers, bureaucrats, migrant labourers and even nomadic slum dwellers in the region. 
"The world is fighting the demon of coronavirus and Indian rulers are busy usurping the rights of Kashmiris," Syed Abdullah Gilani, a spokesperson of popular resistance group Hurriyat (G), told Middle East Eye.
"India has again blatantly violated the UN resolutions on Kashmir and we will expose India's fascist approach of conspiring against Kashmiris."
Hafsa Kanjwal, a historian who teaches at Pennsylvania's Lafayette College, told Middle East Eye that the law lends itself to "settler colonialism in Kashmir."
"This is just the beginning. Now that more Indian businesses and corporations are able to operate in Kashmir, the number of those who will claim domicile will steadily increase," she said.
Kanjwal added that India's plan of demographic change in Kashmir begins "with a change in certain laws, instead of a more widespread ethnic cleansing, which could potentially render international condemnation".
India recently held guided tours of foreign envoys to the region after annexing the picturesque Himalayan territory. That move was accompanied by a harsh crackdown, a sweeping curfew, and thousands of arrests. BJP has been saying its measures will stabilise Kashmir and provide jobs to the Kashmiris.
Still, Khurram Parvez, a noted human rights activist in the region, said by virtue of India's domicile law, "outsiders are also going to be the claimants of already existing jobs, which worsens an already huge unemployment problem."
"This is an act against the interests of unemployed youth. Those outsiders who get jobs due to this order will also claim the right to purchase land in Kashmir," Parvez told Middle East Eye.
He said another amended law will grant any slum dweller a house in the region "which is certainly something which can lead to [illegal] settlements".
Indian Muslims 'too poor' to buy property
Critics accuse the right-wing BJP led by ​Prime Minister ​Narendra Modi of undermining India's secular constitution by passing a slew of measures against the country's minority Muslim population.
While India annexed its ​portion of Kashmir in August, India's top court allowed a Hindu temple to ​be ​bui​lt in​ Ayodhya ​city, ​where Hindu militants of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other groups razed a 400-year-old Babri mosque in 1992.
In December, India passed a new citizenship law, dubbed "anti-Muslim", that fast-tracks naturalisation for some religious minorities from neighbouring countries, but not Muslims. 
When it comes to Palestine and Kashmir, India and Israel are oppressors-in-arms
Right-wing groups have also targeted India Muslims for praying in open parks or roadsides. Recently about 50 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in religious riots when US President Donald Trump visited the capital, New Delhi.
The new domicile law in Kashmir ​may ​offer desperate Indian Muslims ​a chance to ​reside in Muslim-majority Kashmir. But local Kashmiris say that Indian Muslims are too poor and marginalised to try to take advantage of the new order.
"These domicile laws have been devised only to facilitate a non-Muslim Indian influx into Kashmir," a Kashmir-based political analyst said, on the condition of anonymity. 
"Indian Muslims are poor. They don't have resources to buy properties in Kashmir. In Kashmir, businesses are not running. Job opportunities are dismal.
"Any Indian who does not have the state financial and military muscle behind him can't sustain in a conflict zone like Kashmir. Indian Muslims would never get any such support from the ruling government". - The analyst said.