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Backing the Palestinian liberation struggle, as a liberal Zionist

As Diaspora Jews, do we actually talk to Palestinians about their wishes? Do we take the time to support liberal Palestinian activists? Our role is not to fight for what we think Palestinians want but to support them as they push for their liberation themselves.

By Jake Cohen

Diaspora Jewish activists from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence get instructions from a Palestinian resident of Umm el-Kheir, West Bank, July 11, 2016. (Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man)

Diaspora Jewish activists from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence get instructions from a Palestinian resident of Umm el-Kheir, West Bank, July 12, 2016. (Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man)

When young liberal Zionists arrive on British campuses many of us find that we naturally settle into left-wing, progressive, political circles. Our fellow progressive students are committed to anti-racism, gender equality, equality of access to higher education; it’s a natural fit.

If we just don’t mention Israel, then it’s all fine.

We learn early on that to bring up our complicated feelings of love and disappointment towards Israel, in these spaces, is to invite tension, shouting and a sense of disbelief that we can’t see how ‘simple’ the situation really is. From right-wing Zionists on campus we receive shouts of ‘traitor’ and from the Palestinian activist side, we are labelled apologists. Faced with this cold war, we tend to be left with one of two options: either we renounce our liberal values and leave progressive student spaces, or we play down our Zionism in order to continue to fight for all the other causes we care about.

So we look for a third way and are left with a question: what can we do to bring more nuance on to our campuses? The first thing we must do is apply the left wing progressive lens we have learned to use for everything else to the Israel-Palestine sphere too. This forces us to re-imagine Israel-Palestine as not just a conflict, but a liberation struggle too. As a people whose central narrative is liberation from Egypt, this shouldn’t be hard for us to understand. However, for the analogy to work we must re-position our focus. No longer are we the oppressed people. For too long, we have talked of hearing both narratives whilst still firmly placing ourselves as the main protagonists. Instead, we must de-center ourselves and make space for the Palestinians. This is what it means to view Israel-Palestine as a liberation struggle, not a conflict.

A delegation from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence helps rebuild a demolished home in the Palestinian village of Umm el-Kheir, July 12, 2016. The Israeli settlement of Carmel is seen in the background. (Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man)

A delegation from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence helps rebuild a demolished home in the Palestinian village of Umm el-Kheir, July 12, 2016. The Israeli settlement of Carmel is seen in the background. (Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man)

So what role do we play on Israel-Palestine? Exodus steps in with a perfect set of role models: the Egyptian midwives, Shifrah and Puah. We often use the midwives’ civil disobedience as a model for our support of Israeli NGOs working for human rights in Israel-Palestine. However, this can lead to us losing out on their more subtle lesson. Moses is only saved when the midwives take the time to form a relationship with the oppressed people and then work in solidarity for what those people say they want. As Diaspora Jews, do we actually talk to Palestinians about their wishes? Do we take the time to support liberal Palestinian activists? Do we have meaningful relationships with Palestinians on the ground? Groups such as All That’s Left and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence are leading the way in this, but until we can all answer yes to the above questions we cannot say that we have learned from Shifrah and Puah.

So this is our job as liberal Zionists. Our role is to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and ally ourselves with their liberation. Our role is not to fight for what we think Palestinians want but to support them as they push for their liberation themselves. Our role is to fight injustices where we see them among Israel and the Jewish people and nurture the growth of non-violent activism within the Palestinian people. There are countless Palestinian organizations working towards similar goals that need our support. My commitment to this has been to fundraise, with Yachad Youth, for our ‘Partners to Peace’ campaign, which aims to support Holy Land Trust, a Palestinian NGO that trains young Palestinians in nonviolent activism. 30 British Jewish students are involved in this campaign. All of us our active on campuses, in Zionist youth movements and in the wider Jewish community, and this campaign presents us with the opportunity to put on the agenda of our community the importance of solidarity with Palestinian partners.

In the Diaspora, we often talk about bringing nuance to the debate and being pro-Palestine and pro-Israel. To do this, we need to start actively allying ourselves with Palestinians. We need to be empowering the moderate voices like our own in Palestinian society and we need to be bringing these voices into the Zionist discourse. In short, we need to step aside and be allies and supporters.

Jake Cohen studies Arts & Sciences at University College London. He is part of the Reform Zionist youth movement RSY-Netzer and is a campaigner with the Yachad Youth campaign ‘Partners to Peace’. You can find out more about the campaign and donate at www.partnerstopeace.org.uk

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    COMMENTS

    1. Grandpa Frost

      Their “struggle” is not for liberation. Their vicious, sadistic war is designed to subjugate the Jews. And they say it openly.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        Grandpa, here’s an article from the Forward about the Palestinian citizens of Israel – they have rights, they generally play by the rules, they don’t want to destroy Israel. Maybe the Palestinians who say angry things are the ones having their homes demolished?

        http://forward.com/opinion/354766/why-do-israels-arabs-keep-playing-by-zionist-rules/?attribution=articles-article-listing-2-headline

        “Arab citizens have not turned into a fifth column during Israel’s wars with the Arab world, did not join the Intifadas, were not engaged in terrorism, and did not revolt (the October 2000 unrest was triggered by police repression and killing of Arab protesters). They regularly vote in Knesset elections (63.5% in 2015) and want their political parties to join coalition governments (51.5% said so in a national public opinion). They support a two-state solution (71.3% in 2015) and vehemently oppose plans to cede some of their villages and towns to a future Palestinian state. There is a steady rise in the number of Arab volunteers to civil service (from 240 in 2005 to 4,500 in 2015) despite the objections of Arab leaders.”

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          True. A lot of our Israeli Arab citizens are loyal Israelis who are happy to stay as Israelis. That says something about our treatment of our minorities. No it isn’t perfect but we are still in a war with the brethern of our Israeli Arabs. And while many of them ARE loyal, many are not loyal and they have sided with their brethern in word and deed.

          The true yard-stick of whether we can be fair to our Arab citizens will come after a proper peace deal. Not while we are in the midst of a war. Just look at how even the Western democracies treated their naturalised citizens who came from enemy countries in WW2, ala Germany and Japan. They were interned into camps for security reasons. If we would have done that to our Arab citizens, what would you say Bruce?

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Note the diction. “We…our Arab citizens….” The “we” is telling and the “our” is telling. Might as well be talking about your pets. Oh wait. One of you did just that: “my pet Palestinian,” Bus189 wrote.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “One of you did just that: “my pet Palestinian,” Bus189 wrote.”

            You mean here:

            http://972mag.com/watch-activism-and-spirituality-in-the-palestinian-olive-harvest/123039/

            My subsequent post gives context to what Bus said. And it is still better than what you, Ben, said:

            “Jewish-like, ya know?!”

            And you pretend to be worried about Bannon’s supposed antisemitism, Ben? What alittle hypocrite you are. But never mind. We are used to ya. YOU are our pet antisemite, Ben.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​Gussie, you are a perfect barometer of the man in the street behind Netanyahu. You give away in your very diction the the real power relations you demand in the so-called democratic Jewish Nation State.

            “We…our Arabs….” The Palestinians would be very foolish to sign on to being “our Arabs” by “recognizing” this racist concoction. Bluster on. Please. You are laying out quite nicely what this business is all about. Please explicitly state what is wrong, from a human rights standpoint, with my parody of American Jewish settler cowboys in the Wild West Bank who would ejaculate “Jewish-like, ya know?!” I think it characterizes nicely their casually racist and convenient corruption of Judaism. I am interested in your argument to the contrary. I am eager to hear your viewpoint on this. Lay it out.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Poor Ben. He just can’t stomach the perfectly reasonable post which someone like me posts here. He does anything to obfuscate it with endless inane posts. So here, I’ll make his job a bit harder. I’ll repost my post which I originally posted to Bruce (not to Ben) again.

            “True. A lot of our Israeli Arab citizens are loyal Israelis who are happy to stay as Israelis. That says something about our treatment of our minorities. No it isn’t perfect but we are still in a war with the brethern of our Israeli Arabs. And while many of them ARE loyal, many are not loyal and they have sided with their brethern in word and deed.

            The true yard-stick of whether we can be fair to our Arab citizens will come after a proper peace deal. Not while we are in the midst of a war. Just look at how even the Western democracies treated their naturalised citizens who came from enemy countries in WW2, ala Germany and Japan. They were interned into camps for security reasons. If we would have done that to our Arab citizens, what would you say Bruce?”

            Enjoy Ben, and have a nice day.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Hmmm. You sure are cagey about answering my questions. It’s like that when you’re out on a limb and can’t get down.

            Reply to Comment
    2. carmen

      You can’t be a liberal AND a zionist, sorry, too different to be paired together. You’re one or the other.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        Says Carmen the expert about what people can or can’t be. And you wouldn’t have the foggiest about what Zionists can or can’t be.

        Hint: a zionist is a Jewish nationalist. Do you know what a nationalist is? Are you going to tell me that you Arabs are not nationalists? Seeeesh what an ignoramus.

        Reply to Comment
    3. I really appreciate the analogy of the midwives. It is an image that I can work with in my own thoughts and actions. (spoken as an Israeli, living in Israel, who acknowledges that there is a liberation struggle for Palestine)

      Reply to Comment
    4. Carmen

      Jake Cohen – being a ‘liberal zionist’ is impossible. You can’t sugarcoat the zionist agenda by saying you’re ‘liberal’. It sounds more like you’re ashamed of zionism and are trying to give it a kinder, gentler tone by saying liberal. In the vernacular of the UK – BOLLOCKS. If you’re ashamed of zionism, understandably, then denounce it – don’t praise it or give us ‘ziolite’. If not, be all out with it as it is, a racist, supremacist ideology. At least we know who you are then. Cheers.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        If being in favor of a Jewish nation is racist supremacist then being in favor of a Palestinian Arab nation is being racist supremacist. Or for that matter being in favor of any other nation is racist supremacist. Yes, even being in favor of the English or Greek nation would be racist supremacist. But you say to that BOLLOCKS, Carmen, don’t you? Why? Because YOU are a racist supremacist. You approve of all other nationalism except Jewish nationalism.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Oh, why yes, how true. I mean sure, the French demand recognition of their Nation State of the White Catholic French People, and the British demand recognition of their English State of the White Protestant Christian People. And they have a Christian Agency that locks up state land and it can’t be sold to Jews or Muslims. Why yes, that is how it is in England and France. Yep. Why yes, I am sure you can also find statements of liberals here approving of that kind of English and British nationalism. Yep, those “Jewish nationalists,” they are just like everybody else. So true.

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Deflect deceive and change the subject. I responded to Carmen’s assertion that being a Zionist (a Jewish nationalist) is racist and supremacist.

            I just told her that if that is so, then:

            …being in favor of a Palestinian Arab nation is being racist supremacist. Or for that matter being in favor of any other nation is racist supremacist. Yes, even being in favor of the English or Greek nation would be racist supremacist. But you say to that BOLLOCKS, Carmen, don’t you? Why? Because YOU are a racist supremacist. You approve of all other nationalism except Jewish nationalism.

            Do you want to argue that point Ben? If yes, then proceed. Otherwise I will discuss your attempted distraction some other time.

            Have a nice day Ben.

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            good ol’ Ben comparing England and France in peace to Israel which has been facing 100 year war by our neighbors in which they have been attempting to eliminate us (now Ben will ridicule this fact). He is soooooo predictable.

            So, Ben, please compare the behaviors of England and America during WW2. What did they do to their naturalised citizens from Jepan and Germany? I mentioned it in my previous post but in your inimitable style you choose to ignore it.

            Nice one Ben. Ben? Ben? Are you there, Ben?

            Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            “And they have a Christian Agency that locks up state land and it can’t be sold to Jews or Muslims.”

            Israel does have such a law. No selling of state land to anyone. Jew, Muslim, Christian or anyone else. Only leasing. How exactly is that Discriminatory, Ben dear?

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            Hi Ben –
            I will not engage with AJew/Gustav anymore – it’s like talking to a 3-year-old, which is as enlightening and thought provoking as watching paint dry. I refuse to speak to anyone who doesn’t have the courage to speak for himself(?) but hides behind ‘we’ and ‘us’. 🙂

            Reply to Comment
    5. carmen

      Israel’s Discriminatory Land Policies
      By Stephen Lendman

      Global Research, July 31, 2009

      In-depth Report: PALESTINE

      Israel’s late 1947 -1948 “War of Independence” took six months to create a new Jewish state, excluding Arabs to the greatest extent possible. To accomplish it, widespread war crimes and atrocities were committed as about 800,000 people were brutally uprooted, ethnically cleansed, or murdered in cold blood. In addition, 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities were destroyed and erased except in the collective memories of their inhabitants and descendants who’ll always consider them their rightful homes.

      Shortly after, laws were passed to legitimize the seizure and exclusive Jewish use of Palestinian land. The June 1948 Abandoned Areas Ordinance referred to “any area or place conquered by or surrendered to armed forces or deserted by all or part of its inhabitants.” It gave the Israeli government exclusive jurisdiction rights, including “expropriation and confiscation (authority over) movable and immovable property, within any abandoned area.” It meant displaced Palestinians were prohibited from returning and claiming their property that by law was no longer theirs.

      The September 1948 Area of Jurisdiction and Powers Ordinance stated that “Any law applying to the whole of the State of Israel” applies as well “to the whole of the area including….any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defence has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defence Army of Israel.” It meant that Palestinians lost all rights and were subject to whatever laws Israel enacted.

      In March 1950, the Absentees’ Property Law (ABL) defined an absentee as:

      “a person who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) has ceased to exist (and no longer) was a legal owner of any property situated in the area of Israel….”

      The ABL transfered property owner rights to a Custodian of Absentee Property. It made him liable to the real owner for the value, but prohibited the return of his land. Israeli law stole it to have Palestinians remaining in Israel relocated and declared “Absentees,” no longer rightful owners of their property.

      In July 1950, The Development Authority (Transfer of Property) Law was a legal ploy to shield Israel from being accused of having confiscated abandoned Palestinian land and whatever was on it.

      The Development Authority (DA) was established as an independent body to buy, sell, lease, exchange, repair, build, develop and/or cultivate seized property. Henceforth, only transactions between Jews or a Jewish entity were allowed. It was understood that “under no circumstances should the (expelled) Arabs return to Israel.”

      In July 1960, Israel Lands Administration Law established an “Israel Lands Administration. (ILA)” At the same time, Israel’s Basic Law affirmed that “ownership of Israel Lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel (KKL – Jewish National Fund, JNF), shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner.” Lands were defined to mean “land, houses, buildings and any thing permanently fixed to land.”

      On its web site, the ILA states that it controls 93% of Israeli land as “public domain; that is, either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) or the Development Authority (DA).” The ILA “is the government agency responsible for managing this land which comprises 4,820,500 acres (19,508,000 dunams). ‘Ownership’ of real estate usually means leasing rights from the ILA for 49 or 98 years.”

      ILA’s legal framework stems from “four cornerstones:”

      – the 1960 Basic Law: Israel Lands;

      – the 1960 Lands Law;

      – the 1960 Israel Land Administration; and

      – the 1960 “Covenant between the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organization (Jewish National Fund).”

      The Israel Land Council (ILC) determines ILA policy. The Council chairman is the “Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Industry, Trade, Labor and Communications.”

      The ILC is comprised of 22 members, 12 from government ministries and 10 representing the JNF.

      ILA functions include:

      – assuring that national land use conforms with Israeli laws;
      – protecting and supervising state lands;
      – making them available for public use;
      – planning, developing and managing state land reserves;
      – initiating planning and development, including relocating existing occupants, meaning removing Palestinians to make way for Jews;
      – regulating and managing registration of state lands;
      – authorizing contracts and agreements with other parties; and
      – providing services to the general public.

      ILA policy objectives include:

      – designating land areas for public and state requirements;
      – assuring the availability of land reserves for future needs;
      – preserving agricultural lands;
      – administering land use in accordance with the law; and
      – safeguarding state lands.

      Overall, Israeli laws and ILA policy prohibit Arabs from buying, leasing or using land exclusively reserved for Jews. On May 21, 1997, Israel’s largest circulation newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, quoted Yassar Arafat saying: “Israel has always confiscated land from Arabs and dispossessed them of the property. The land always goes from Arabs to the Jews,” and he added that Palestinians who sell their land to Jews are traitors.

      The Jewish National Fund (JNF)

      In 1901, the Fifth Zionist Congress established it to “purchase, take on lease or in exchange, or otherwise acquire any lands, forests, rights of possession and other rights….for the purpose of settling Jews on (Palestinian) lands.” About 80% of the land was confiscated, not bought, from its rightful owners – expelled Palestinians in Israel’s “War of Independence.”

      JNF calls itself “Caretakers of the land of Israel for over a century (and) a global environmental leader by planting 240 million trees, building over 200 reservoirs and dams, developing over 250,000 acres of land, creating more than 1000 parks, providing infrastructure for over 1000 communities, (and) bringing life to the Negev Desert” exclusively for Jews on stolen Palestinian lands.

      JNF develops land. It doesn’t sell it, but it can lease it to Jews or any Jewish-controlled company, organization or entity. It holds these lands on behalf of “the Jewish People in perpetuity.” In addition, its Himnuta subsidiary is charged with “redeeming” West Bank Palestinian land. A 1961 agreement between the State and JNF arranged for the ILA to manage 93% of Israeli land for Jews alone.

      In 1973, former Israeli scholar, critic, and lifelong human rights activist, Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), wrote a paper titled, “What is the Meaning of the Jewish State” in which he said:

      “The real situation in Israel is really very simple: Israel is not an ‘Israeli’ state, or a state of its citizens but it is a ‘Jewish state.’ ” With regard to land, “More than 90% of the inhabited areas of the State of Israel are under the rule of the Jewish National Fund regulations, under which non-Jews cannot rent or buy a house or flat, open a business, in short cannot live. This land is called in Hebrew ‘the land’ saved. The land which belongs to non-Jews is called unsaved not national (meaning Jewish) and by buying or confiscating it from a non-Jew by a Jew, the land is supposed to be ‘saved.’ ”

      It’s only the beginning. Numerous privileges are afforded Jews alone that include:

      – not only the right to the land but to a mortgage or loan to finance it;
      – on confiscated West Bank land, “Jewish inhabitants enter into prepared houses, with water and electricity;” unconnected Arab villages are forbidden to use either; and
      – “A building project for the newly-married applies only for the Jewish newly-married and so forth; to be a Jew in a Jewish state is to be both a privileged being, and to be able to receive a lot of ‘easy’ money a non-Jew can not ever get.”

      Adalah’s Challenge

      As the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court on October 13, 2004 “Challenging the Prohibition on Arab Citizens of Israel from Living on Jewish National Fund Land.” It demanded an end to this discriminatory policy and cited other civil rights petitions for the same purpose.

      On August 15, 2004 in a letter to Adalah, the ILA acknowledged that “JNF land tenders are only open to Jews.” It said it supports the policy and “is bound to respect the objective of the JNF as detailed in the Covenant signed by the State of Israel and the JNF.”

      JNF’s written response said it “is not the trustee of the general public in Israel. Its loyalty is given to the Jewish people in the Diaspora and in the state of Israel….The JNF, as the owner of the JNF land, does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.”

      In a July 29, 2007 press release, Adalah referred to “a (July 18, 2007) racist bill entitled the ‘Jewish National Fund Law (JNFL)’ ” stipulating that JNF land is to be solely for Jews. It added a new provision to the 1960 ILA Law called “Management of the Jewish National Fund’s Lands” saying:

      “Despite whatever is stated in any law, leasing of Jewish National Fund’s lands for the purpose of the settlement of Jews on these lands will not be seen as improper discrimination.” Further, “For the purpose of every law, the association documents of the Jewish National Fund will be interpreted according to the judgment of the Jewish National Fund’s founders and from a nationalist-Zionist standpoint.”

      The JNFL was introduced in the Knesset and passed its preliminary reading. In September 2007, Israel’s Supreme Court held a hearing on Adalah’s 2004 petition and approved a JNF and Attorney General proposal to delay further deliberation for three months. It stipulated that, during the interim period, Arabs could bid for JNF-controlled lands but that JNF would be compensated for Arab purchases by transferring other state lands to it.

      Adalah’s General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen and Attorney Suhad Bishara rejected the proposal because it left Israel’s discriminatory policy intact. In other words, newly seized land would replace Arab purchases, leaving them no better off than before. Adalah argued for ending Israel’s discriminatory policy, not tinkering with it around the edges and accomplishing nothing.

      So far, it hasn’t happened. In addition, current law empowers the ILA further to restrict and prohibit Palestinian land development by:

      – putting large Arab areas under its control through the creation of regional councils;
      – enforcing rigid zoning restrictions for residential, agricultural, and industrial use; forbidding unlicensed construction, banning it on agricultural land, and stipulating where Jews and Arabs can live;
      – denying Palestinian areas room to expand while affording Jewish ones great latitude;
      – transferring public land adjacent to Arab communities to the JNF and mandating its use for Jews only;
      – declaring national priority town areas off-limits to Arabs;
      – delaying, restricting and prohibiting local development in Arab communities;
      – denying Palestinians representation on national planning committees; and
      – using forced evictions and home demolitions to make more areas available for Jews.

      The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA) and Ittijah (the Union of Arab NGOs) Position Regarding ILA Proposed Reform

      HRA and Ittijah say the proposal “violates international law and universal values.” Prior to 1948, Jews controlled 6% of historic Palestine. It’s now 93% – an “unparalleled (situation) anywhere else in the world (under which) the State of Israel enjoys absolute control of the most significant resource….” Occupied Palestinians and millions of displaced refugees have suffered grievously. So have Israeli Arabs from discriminatory land distribution policies.

      Until the mid-1990s, the ILA allocated land for just two Arab Nazareth and Umal-Fahm housing projects alone. Its approach emphasizes land redemption, meaning seizing it from its owners and transferring it to Jews.

      The proposed law “attempts to remove the foundation for current and future claims to return to the homeland and to secure the land rights of Palestinian refugees, as well as (250,000) internal refugees (Israeli Arabs).” If passed, this law “effectively removes the future possibility of reaching a just solution to the” Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After 61 years, equitable land ownership resolution has yet to be achieved nor has Israel complied with international law. It prohibits the transfer of refugee land or other property and assets to the state or third parties.

      Yet, the ILA does it anyway, and under the proposed law, urban land ownership will be transferred in a way that will disconnect the state “from the further residual ownership held in accordance with the contracts up to this point.” This process will entail “the complete and final negation of the rights of ownership of the Palestinian refugees to these properties” so that they’ll never be able to claim them again.

      Fourth Geneva’s Article 147 specifically prohibits this by stating:

      “Grave breaches to which (the) preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention:….taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

      Various other international laws acknowledge the obligation of occupying powers to restore properties to their rightful owners and that failure to do so constitutes a serious lawless breach. HRA and Ittijah want expropriated property returned and internal refugees allowed back to their communities and land. A repressive Israel and dismissive world community stand in their way.

      B’Tselem Calls Israeli Settlement Expansion “Un-natural Growth”

      B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. On July 7, it reported that Israel uses “natural growth” as fig leaf cover for its continued settlement expansion project. Internally last year, the population growth rate was 1.6%. It was 5.6% in West Bank settlements. Further, since Israel accepted the Road Map’s mandated freeze provision, its settler population expanded 37% in six years – from 211,400 to over 289,600, besides over 190,000 more in Arab East Jerusalem.

      Netanyahu claims barring “natural growth” will tear apart families. Unmentioned is the continued theft of Palestinians lands, a grave violation of international law. Yet, Israel argues that, by law, it can’t reverse issued tenders after properties have been bought and construction begins. However, two 1992 High Court of Justice rulings disagreed. They held that the government could legally halt construction even after begun and that any losses incurred could be addressed in civil court. “The Israeli government has all the legal and administrative tools necessary to halt construction in the settlements.” Further, international laws are binding to signatories, and no state can legislate around them.

      Israel does it anyway and plans continued settlement expansions on expropriated Palestinian lands. Interior Minister Eli Yishai threatened to use every resource possible to the maximum. The Ofra settlement is indicative. At least 58% of it was built on privately owned Palestinian land, now lost to make way for Jews. The same pattern holds throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians are being removed to accommodate an expanding Jewish population on all land that Israel values, and under Netanyahu’s “natural growth” policy, it may accelerate faster than ever.

      Reply to Comment
      • AJew

        It is interesting to see this Israel hating lady getting so huffed and puffed about someone like little ol’ me disrupting their endless Jew baiting (oops I mean Jewish state) lynch party.

        Nice copy and paste job lady but at the end of the day, none of what you pasted proves that Israel’s land policies are racist or discriminatory.

        FACT: Anyone can buy and sell privately owned lands. Be they Jewish, Muslims, Christians or anyone else.

        FACT: State owned lands cannot be bought or sold. They can only be leased. And again the same rules apply to Jews, Muslims, Christians or anyone else.

        I think what infuriates lady’s like Carmen is that wealthy Arab oil sheiks can’t come in and buy up state lands. But hey lady, the law is the law and whichever way you cut it, these laws are not discriminatory nor are they racist.

        But if Carmen is looking for discriminatory racist practices, she need not look further than the practices of Palestinian Arabs. What do they do? They passed a law which forbids Arabs selling lands in the WB to Jews. And do you know what the penalty is for breaking their land law? The penalty is death! And indeed, a number of unfortunate Palestinian Arabs who have been caught selling lands to Jews WERE executed. One has to wonder why Carmen and her cronies are not outraged about such racist discriminatory practices? I expect no sensible answer from the biased Carmen and her cronies.

        Here is a link which describes what happened to some unfortunates already:

        http://www.timesofisrael.com/abbas-toughens-law-against-palestinians-selling-land-to-jews/

        “In 1997, Farid Bashiti, an Israeli citizen, was enticed to Ramallah and murdered for his involvement in property sales. An Israeli court recognized Bashiti as a terror victim in February 2000. Another person, once a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem, Eid recalled, was abducted from Damascus Gate in the Old City and died of torture in a Ramallah prison.”

        Yessireee. No outrage by Carmen and her cronies about that. 😧

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          That’s exactly right – you won’t get outrage from me. I don’t get huffed or puffed AJew – I’m just not that into you 🙂 Your consistently changing topics and presenting scenarios with questions and answers relating to the scenarios you set up, and then except me or whoever to deal with your mental hopscotch is part and parcel of hasbara training – distract, distract, distract and then claim victory when myself or whoever won’t bite. I could care less about your whataboutery and segues for sympathy, more distract, distort, lie and lie some more. On another tack, you might try cutting and pasting too – it will help keep you on point…oh, right.

          Please, feel free to have the last word. 🙂

          Reply to Comment
          • AJew

            Whataboutery?

            Yes you could call it that. I call it a bit of balance.

            To be enraged (and yes, you people seem to be always enraged) only about real or imaginary wrongs which Israel allegedly commits against Palestinian Arabs while at the same time to ignore history and what Palestinian Arabs have done and are still doing against Israeli Jews, is called bias and propaganda.

            Lil’ ol’ me took it upon me to post here to redress that lack of balance in a very small way. You ain’t gonna respond to me, Carmen? I can live with that lady.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Ben

      So funny Gustav of all people sputtering about rage. Such insight.

      “real or imaginary”

      What part of the occupation is imaginary? Or “alleged”?

      “Balance.”

      That’s the school of negotiation that goes like this: “Let’s you and me take our time and be ‘even-handed’ about this while I alone chomp on the pizza that you and I are someday going to divide up. Burp. I mean what about the fact that you get upset when I eat your pizza? How can I ever trust you to eat your pizza in peace? I better eat it for you.” Pure occupier’s logic.

      Reply to Comment
      • ANew

        “The occupation”

        It would end if the Palestinian Arabs would be willing to compromise on their unreasonable demands such as their so called right of return, agree to recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people agree on borders involving land swaps.

        Oh and the occupation would have never happened if the Palestinian Arabs would have accepted the existence of the Jewish state, in the first place (in line with UN resolution 181 which was a vote for two states: one JEWISH STATE ond one ARAB STATE). But they chose to riot instead and in conjunction with their Arab allies, they tried to prevent the creation of the Jewish state by violent means. GOOGLE it Ben.

        “Balance”

        Nah. None of your straw man arguments Ben, please. Such arguments are only used by propagandists (like you Ben). They involve building your own straw man, knocking it down then congratulating yourself for scoring a victory.

        Wanna know what real balance is? It is recognising history and admitting one’s own wrong doings in order to be able to reach a solution such as the one that I outlined above in response to your slanted take on what the occupation is, how it came about and how it can end.

        Respond if you want to Ben but I am already bored by the prospect of your response because I think it is beyond you to even understand what I said above (judging by your past record). And it seems that your fellow Arabs (the Palestinian Arabs) are the same as you. Hence we are where we are. In an impasse. Hopefully though your new generation of Arab Palestinians will at long last grasp the need for them not just to dwell on the wrongs that befell them but to recognise that their fathers dished out wrongs to the Jews of Palestine which then caused the Jews of Palestine to react to that.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          No, I’m done. Thanks.

          Reply to Comment
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