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PHOTOS: In West Bank village, Palestinian farmers go against the grain

For the first time in 14 years the farmers of Salem decided to reach their agricultural lands without permission from Israeli authorities. It wasn’t long, however, before Israeli settlers and soldiers came to disturb their work. 

Text and Photos: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Palestinian farmers sow their lands located behind a settlers' by-bass road, at Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 05, 2014.  Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Palestinian farmers work their lands, located behind a settler by-bass road, Salem, Nablus, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Every December, just after they have finished tilling their soil, Palestinian farmers in the West Bank head back to sow their land. Some of them plant wheat while others sow barley or other kinds of seeds.

However, not all Palestinians can do so freely. Farmers who own lands located near Israeli settlements, military camps or settler bypass roads are barred from accessing their land throughout most of the year. In these areas, Israeli authorities allow farmers to reach their lands only two times a year: once in April, during which they till the soil around olive trees, and again in October for the olive harvest. Because this process is limited to such a short time, it is usually not long enough to finish the work.

Due to the restrictions, many farmers have not been able to fully cultivate their land for years. On Saturday the farmers of Salem, a village located few kilometers east of the West Bank city of Nablus, decided to access their land without permission from the Israeli authorities for the first time in 14 years. The land is located behind an Israeli bypass road used by the settlers of Elon Moreh.

Elon Moreh settlement seen from the agricultural lands of Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

The Elon Moreh settlement seen from the agricultural lands of Salem, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Together with Palestinian and international activists, the farmers headed to their lands. After quickly crossing the bypass road, they performed Friday prayers on their land, after which they managed to till the soil, plant several olive trees and sow the land with barley.

It wasn’t long before Israeli settlers took notice of the “unusual” activities, and soon enough, Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene. The soldiers ordered the people to clear the area or be removed by force, and attempted to confiscate a passport belonging to one of the international activists. The activists decided to leave the area in order to avoid clashes that might destroy the farmers’ gains.

During the tilling, two Israeli settlers tried to provoke the Palestinians by driving their motorcycles around where they were working. The farmers continued to work under the gaze of the Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian farmers detained after sowing their lands located behind a settlers' by-bass road, at Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 05, 2014.  Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Palestinian farmers sit near an army jeep during, Salem, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian farmers argue with Israeli soldiers who try to prevent them from sowing, Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014.

Palestinian farmers argue with Israeli soldiers who try to prevent them from sowing their lands, Salem, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org0

 

Israeli settlers try to provoke Palestinian framers by driving their motorcycles among the group, Salem village, Nablus, West bank, 5.12.2014. Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Israeli settlers try to provoke Palestinian framers by driving their motorcycles among the group, Salem, West Bank, December 5. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinian farmers argue with Israeli soldiers who try to prevent them from sowing, Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Palestinian farmers argue with Israeli soldiers who try to prevent them from working their land, Salem, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Every year, after months of being prevented access to their lands, Palestinian farmers often discover new problems. Some report that dozens of their olive trees have been damaged, which they assume is likely the work of Israeli settlers. Others report that Israeli settlers have attempted to till their land in order to cultivate it for themselves. So far, Palestinians of this region have managed to prevent these kinds of activities.

However, some farmers discover new settlement outposts being built near their lands. The growth of settlements can mean increased restriction of movement in the years to come, as well as further obstacles to cultivating the land that these families have tilled for generations.

Palestinians perform Friday prayers on their agriculture land, Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 5, 2014. Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Palestinians perform Friday prayers on their agricultural land, Salem, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli soldiers watch as Palestinian farmers sow their lands located behind a settlers' by-bass road, at Salem village, Nablus, West Bank, December 05, 2014.  Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers watch as Palestinian farmers sow their lands, located behind a settler bypass road, at Salem, West Bank, December 5, 2014. (Photo by: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Related:
PHOTOS: Palestinians watch harvest season disappear before their eyes
‘Land isn’t enough; the army takes olives, too’

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    1. utemia

      ‘Tis a strange world we live in where cultivating your land, the root from where every single culture developed from, becomes a contested privilege between two warring factions who claim and demand that *right* for themselves.

      A culture war, quite literally.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Sorry, Utemia, this is not a war between two equal factions who can both legitimately claim ownership. This is theft and oppression and humiliation, by a bully, of a much weaker party. You, with the best of intentions, are bending over backwards trying to be “evenhanded” and it rings false.

        Reply to Comment
        • utemia

          If someone without knowledge of the context looked upon this incident with the farmers, all they’d see was the land and those who fight to cultivate it. One group keeps the other from going to their owned land and has all the power of the military on their side, the others go there eventhough they don’t have permits and doing it is risky, people that cultivate land (or vandalize land) that isn’t theirs…

          It wasn’treally meant to be evenhanded, just a kind of outside obvservation. It’s almost a deconstruction of one aspect of the conflict.

          Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Maybe you should look at the context. Communities in Samaria and Judea get nervous when Arabs approach land near their communities. Palestinians have carried about terrorist attacks against Elon Moreh. On Oct 21, 1987 Palestinian terrorists murdered an 8 year old girl from Elon Moreh. In 1988 Arabs stoned to death 15 year old Tirza Porat. In 2000 Arabs sacked Joseph’s Tomb not far from Elon Moreh. The Arabs destroyed Torah scrolls and other holy books. When Rabbi Lieberman from Elon Moreh set out on foot to see what could be salvaged he was shot to death by Arab terrorists.

            In 2001 an Arab suicide bomber blew himself up next to a Jewish school bus near Elon Moreh.

            On March 28, 2002, a Palestinian gunman infiltrated the village, burst into the home of the Gavish family and opened fire. The lone gunman managed to kill four residents before being killed himself. The terrorist was feted as a Palestinian hero.

            More recently in 2010 5 Arabs were caught armed with weapons, bombs and a knife on the way to commit a terrorist attack against Elon Moreh.

            In 2011 a survey crew surveying the eruv of the community were stoned and beaten with metal bars by a crowd of Palestinians and international supporters.

            In March 2011 on Sabbath eve in the nearby community of Itamar, Palestinians infiltrated the community and slashed the throats of three children and their parents. The terrorists had used the harvesting of nearby lands to plan and carry out the terrorist attack. Arabs celebrated the attacks and handed out sweets and candies.

            In March 2012 two more knife wielding terrorists were caught attempting to infiltrate and kills Jews in Elon Moreh.

            In January 2013 police intercepted 2 Arabs on a suicide mission against Elon Moreh. They were found carrying fire bombs and grenades together with a letter claiming responsibility for an attack that had not yet taken place.

            In November 2014 a Yeshiva student driving back to Elon Moreh was ambushed by rock throwing terrorists who did significant damage to his car.

            The people of Elon Moreh have a legitimate interest in examining what Palestinians are doing near their community. The Israeli state has an interest in keeping the peace and preventing Palestinian terrorism against Jewish communities.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            PedroX “Maybe you should look at the context.” When an alien people steal and occupy land in complete contradiction of the Geneva Conventions and international law, and then completely disrupt the lives of those who have lived on the land for centuries, conflict will inevitably arise. Much as violence is always regrettable there is a simple solution – end the occupation, which in Jeremy Bentham’s words would create “the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong”. It is intolerable that millions live in abject misery for the benefit of a few hundred thousand colonists.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Jews are not alien to the land of Judea and Samaria. They are the indigenous people of the area. The Jewish people inhabited the highlands of Samaria back in the Bronze Age. The lands of biblical Elon Moreh were legally purchased.

            Jews lived in the Elon-Moreh -Shechem (Roman Neapolis and Arab Nablus) area from the Bronze age up to the 1930s when they were driven off their lands by Arab terrorism.

            Under international law the League of Nations approved a Mandate for Palestine which set over a small portion of land in the Ottoman Empire for the Jewish people to rebuild their historic home. They were given the right to build and settle anywhere in Mandate Palestine. The 1945 Charter of the United Nations enshrined the rights of peoples under the Mandate system not to have their rights taken away.

            The Jordanians in the 1948 war ethnically cleansed all of Judea and Samaria of Jewish people and prevented Jews from exercising their rights. After Israel ejected the Jordanians from the West Bank, Jewish people have again been allowed to build and develop in their the land set over for their home.

            The people who founded modern Elon-Moreh were helped by Shimon Peres to found their community but over 5 years Rabin prevented them from doing so. In 1979 Begin allowed them to settle but the Supreme Court of Israel oredered them evacuated because they had chosen land which was private land belonging to the Palestinian Arabs. Another location, not belonging to any Palestinian Arab, was chosen and Elon-Moreh was re-established. The Palestinians have no claim against the land.

            Yet the Palestinians continue to engage in terrorism to once again drive Jews out of their homes.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Your analysis approximates to the truth PabloX, (roughly). There is no evidence for a Hebrew community in the Bronze Age, but during the early Iron Age archaeologists have found some evidence that “the earliest Israelite settlements” had an origin which was “Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite. Almost the sole marker distinguishing the “Israelite” villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether this can be taken as an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute”. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_history#Ancient_Jewish_history_.28c._1500_BCE_.E2.80.93_63_BCE.29) Of course this gave Zionism no right to conquer that land – there were Christians living in the Levant from the first century CE but the Crusaders had no right of return, and there were pagans living in Europe at the same time but that would give America no right to colonise England or Germany. The Balfour Declaration (and the resulting British Mandate) did absurdly assert support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” but this is so vague and so ethically dubious (one country promising the land of a second country to a third group) that you cannot possibly construe it as giving you the right to build colonies everywhere in the land.

            You have the gall to suggest that a few hundred Jews living outside the territory proposed for a Jewish state, even though they were fighting to conquer Palestinian land, were ethnically cleansed, even though 750,000 Palestinians, many simply wishing to live their lives in peace were forcibly expelled (amidst horrific massacres) from the area “proposed” for a Jewish state in a non-binding UN resolution.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sluggo

            Brian states that (sic) Israel’s creation stemmed from “…one country promising the land of a second country to a third group…”

            This is willful ignorance. The League of Nations identified that a part of the liberated Ottoman Empire would be set aside for a Jewish Homeland. Many countries,were,established in this or related mechanisms. So why single out Israel as the only,nation that was ethically dubious? I think that redrawing boarders, creating new and eliminating existing countries all over South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa is not only a lot,of work,,but, it is unethical.

            Reply to Comment
          • utemia

            I looked up since when the settlement exists.. since 1980, 34 years now. And while I can understand that those who live there are legitimally worried about attacks, would you say that this superseeds the rights of palestinian people who have owned land near this new settlement for longer than 34 years to cultivate their land to make a living?

            The current solution is that palestinians are only allowed very sparingly onto their own land, and this very convoluted permit regime.

            It seems like there is a kind of circular logic involved ..if one side keeps people off the land that that side owns, that side will very likely and inevitably be open to ideas of murder and retaliation.

            Any working solution has to be arguably a compromise that both sides can live with, more or less.
            The way it is currently managed is unfair to all those palestinians who are legitimatly interested in cultivating their land and nothing else.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Jewish settlement in the area of Elon-Moreh -Shechem(Nablaus)extends back 3500 years into the Bronze Age. Jews in small numbers continued to live in the area until the 1930s when Arab terrorism drove them out.

            Jews have now returned and live on land which was not Arab private land. The Arabs have no right to attack the Jewish people who have returned to land from which they were driven. One might add that the international community in 1922 recognized the historic and legal rights of the Jewish people to settle and develop the land for their home. At the same time the League of Nations set over 99 of the Ottoman Empire’s lands for Arab homes.

            The fact that Arabs cannot accept Jews living in their midst and resort to deadly terrorism means that they will be restrained in cultivating land near Jewish communities until such time there is peace.

            Reply to Comment
          • utemia

            Come now, Pedro X. The Jewish settlement in question that you mentioned in your examples exists since 34 years. Let’s stick to the present, more or less.,..

            I am not denying that the settlement in question (the one mentioned in the article) exists, and is likely there to stay – but in its most recent form it established itself in 1980. Since the political situation had dramatically changed from 1930s to 1980, it is pointless to even use what happened back then in any argument that actually wants to solve the problem.

            Your argument is that because “the Palestinians”, which are apparently a homogeneous hivemind, are not willing to live in peace with their unwanted Jewish neighbours. From the outside it looks like neither are the Settlers.. and both side can cite reasons for their respective standpoint. You can do until you’re blue in the face, but it isn’t very constructive.

            A solution to this problem – palestinian farmers in close proximity to Jewish settlements can’t access their lands because of Israeli security concerns – is not helped by pointing fingers at each other.

            Those palestinian farmers that just want to cultivate their land should be able to do so, and maybe find a way to allow for that while maintaining the security saftey blanket for the settlers.

            I have no idea how to accomplish that, but I find it very aggravating that everybody is always looking to the past to justify future violent reprisals, instead of trying to solve the problems and work with those that are willing to do so. Change doesn’t happen quickly, but it has to be possible to find a way that is better than what it is like at the moment. By the way, that goes for all sides.. but it isn’t just the Palestinians who have to give up violence, it is also Jews that have to be willing to trust and cooperate and stop being an overlord.

            It reminds me of a blood feud, which is archaic … but I guess maybe fitting in this case since people seem to prefer the mindset of 3500 years ago.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            You talk of trust:

            “it is also Jews that have to be willing to trust and cooperate’

            Modern history shows that the Palestinians have not accepted that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are here to stay. Jewish communities and members of these communities have been subjected to a string of attacks especially since the advent of the Oslo Accords.

            The killing and wounding of Jews in the early years of the Oslo Accords destroyed much trust that the Arabs wanted co-existence. One would have thought that Israel agreeing to the Oslo Accords would have brought about less violence and not a substantial upswing in attacks against Jews.

            The killings during the second intifada confirmed the that Arabs did not believe in co-existence. Since then the killing of Yeshiva students in 2008, the killings of the Fogel family, the members of the Har Hof Synagogue, the Jewish teenagers in June and the interdiction of hundreds of terror plots have convinced Jews that the Arabs have no intention in pursuing a peaceful solution of the conflict.

            The Palestinians own polls after the Gaza War showed that 7 out of 10 Palestinians want to import Hamas weapons and tactics into the West Bank to carry on the conflict and only 1 in 4 favored a negotiated solution.

            If the Arabs want the Jews to trust them, they will have to earn trust by giving up violence, incitement to violence, glorification and financial support of terrorism and promoting terrorists and terrorist acts for their children to emulate.

            Reply to Comment
          • utemia

            Pedro X: “If the Arabs want the Jews to trust them, they will have to earn trust by giving up violence, incitement to violence, glorification and financial support of terrorism and promoting terrorists and terrorist acts for their children to emulate.”

            Obviously that is the basis for coexistence, and I totally agree that it is absolutely necessary. Would you be willing to extend your trust to individuals to whom these criteria apply – and, to stick with the article, let them farm near jewish settlements whenever they want?

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            “Would you be willing to extend your trust to individuals to whom these criteria apply”

            Yes, I would. I know there are some like Salaam Fayyad or Professor Dejani who believe in co-existence but they are swamped by the people espousing violent resistance in the face of impossible odds and non-cooperation with their biggest trading partner to whom the viability of any future Palestinian state is tied.

            It is all very sad, because the status quo is not a solution but it is the best option at this time.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jake Singer

            Pedro X, the problem with your argument is you are conflating Jewish Rights with Land Rights. Just because a person is Jewish does not entitle them to a parcel of land or restrict the use of land by it’s deeded owner. This generalization is true within and outside the Jewish community. A Jew doesn’t have extraordinary rights to any deed unless they can prove ownership. And, even if they can prove ownership, they have no right to restrict the use of a neighbors property.

            If International law is your arguments basis, under International law settlements are illegal, and the role of the occupier is to protect the occupied not the colonialists. You can’t have it both ways, use part of the law that is convenient and ignore the lion’s share of it.

            If historical rights are your arguments basis, than you know the oldest written records the Jews have clearly states that the Land was Canaanite and Philistine. Jerusalem belonged to the Jebusites.

            If your argument is religious, and you are saying God gave it to you. You’re own Hebrew bible says that you are only residents and that the land belongs to God and he gives it to whom he choses. The Hebrew scriptures shows that the Hebrews broke the covenant and thus they would suffer the curse and lose the right to live and worship on the land. Thus the destruction of the temple and loss of the Ark of the Covenant.

            So neither under accepted land ownership laws, nor under International law, nor via Historical rights, and not even your own Jewish Scriptures do you have any legitimate claim.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jan

            I hate to remind you of this again Pedro but each and every settlement in the WEST BANK is ILLEGAL under international law. Those settlers of Elon-Moreh do not belong there. They need to get out and go back to Israel. The sooner the better.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            It is striking the calm, cold, “oh we are all so very reasonable” posture Pedro assumes–a technique both sly and brazen, designed as it is to elide the glaring fact that these settlers have invaded their neighbor’s house and broken their own commandment against coveting their neighbor’s goods in addition to their defying clearly established international law against settling occupied territory. The main technique of hasbara is distraction.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sluggo

            Jan, because you say so does not make it true. You may say that the settlements are disputed under international law. As documented in Oslo, they are to be determined in negotiations.

            Reply to Comment
          • Josh

            The illegality of settlements are NOT disputed under international law.
            Only disputed under rightwing jewish imperialists.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sluggo

            Josh, your two sentences contradict one another. Clean it up a bit and do avoid name calling of,those who disagree with you

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            None of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria or in Jerusalem are illegal. Israel never transferred a part of its population to the West Bank. The members of Israeli communities in Samaria and Judea originally continually defied the Israeli governments’ bids to stop their movement. Israelis of their own volition moved and formed Jewish communities on the land as they were entitled to under intentional law. The unanimous decision of the League of Nations om 1922 decided that the area was set aside for Jewish settlement, development and the establishment of self governing institutions in conjunction with the Jewish Agency. Jews took up their historic right and as Winston Churchill said they are there by right.

            Let us play the devil’s advocate for a second. The offence under the Geneva Conventions of transferring populations is not an offence committed by those who are transferred. It is committed by the state or the leaders of the state. Those transferred commit no offence and their communities are not illegal. They are not subject to removal because they have committed no crime. To force these communities and their peoples to relocate would be a crime under the Geneva Conventions if it applied to Judea and Samaria and the West Bank.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “The members of Israeli communities in Samaria and Judea originally continually defied the Israeli governments’ bids to stop their movement.”

            Just as brazenly deceitful as one can get. There is no honest conversation to be had with you. ALL successive Israeli governments have deliberately and with massive resources and devoted effort, aided and abetted the transfer of their own population. The fact that these budgets are often hidden under layers of bureaucratic camouflage does not change this equation one iota. Really amazing the dishonest pathways hasbarists will try to divert us down. What a joke.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            I think the report of a Supreme Court Judge carries a little more weight than an op-ed by a MA student.

            Justice Edmund Levy made a definitive finding that Jews have a right under international law to live and build in Judea and Samaria. See pages 8 to 13 of his report

            http://www.scribd.com/doc/248691969/The-Levy-Commission-Report-on-the-Legal-Status-of-Building-in-Judea-and-Samaria2

            “In August 1922 the League of Nations approved the mandate given to Britain, thereby recognizing, as a norm enshrined in international law, the right of the Jewish people to determine its home in the Land of Israel, its historic homeland, and establish its state therein. To complete the picture, we would add that upon the establishment of the United Nations in 1945, Article 80 of its Charter determined the principle of recognition of the continued validity of existing rights of states and nations acquired pursuant to various mandates, including of course the right of the Jews to settle in the Land of Israel”

            “The results of that war [1948] determined the political reality that followed: The Jewish state was established within the territory that was acquired in the war. On the other hand, the Arab state was not formed, and Egypt and Jordan controlled the territories they captured ”

            “the Arab countries, which refused to accept the outcome of the war, insisted that the Armistice Agreement include a declaration that under no circumstances should the armistice demarcation lines be regarded as a political or territorial border”

            “Jordan’s annexation did not attain legal standing and was opposed even by the majority of Arab countries, until in 1988, Jordan declared that it no longer considered itself as having any status over that area”

            “This restored the legal status of the territory to its original status, i.e. territory designated to serve as the national home of the Jewish people, which retained its “right of possession” during the period of the Jordanian control, but was absent from the area for a number of years due to the war that was forced on it, but has since returned”

            “Alongside its international commitment to administer the territory and care for the rights of the local population and public order, Israel has had every right to claim sovereignty over these territories, as maintained by all Israeli governments.”

            “Israel has never viewed itself as an occupying power in the classic sense of the term, and subsequently, has never taken upon itself to apply the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.”

            “Israel pursued a policy that allowed Israelis to voluntarily establish their residence in the territory in accordance with the rules determined by the Israeli government and under the supervision of the Israeli legal system, subject to the fact that their continued presence would be subject to the outcome of the diplomatic negotiations.”

            “we have no doubt that from the perspective of international law, the establishment of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is not illegal”

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            No. A cooked up, internal, made-to-order Israeli-produced document does not outweigh Steiman’s authoritative analysis.
            Only Pedro could offer that with a straight face. Jan, I have read (and previously posted here) Steiman’s astute and authoritative analysis and appreciated it for its clarity and effective debunking of a lot of deliberate nonsense. Thanks for bringing it back! Everyone here should read Steiman’s analysis.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Steinman defines himself as a leftist who is opposed to the occupation. I heard he was interned to New Israel Fund’s Shati. He is from Virgina and had no legal training or life experience to make any authoritative opinion.

            His piece does not address the most basic underpinnings of Justice Levy’s analysis and conclusions.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            It matters not whether Steiman is a “leftist,” vegetarian, fruit juice drinker, or hippie, what matters is the cogency and force of his argument. It is admirably clear and debunking. Convincing. This may be a minor matter to you, but it rings true from beginning to end without a trace of slipperiness, sophistry, evasion, etc. A pleasure to read on that score.

            Reply to Comment
          • Jan

            Regarding the link you gave to the opinion of the Israeli jurists, I would have expected the same type of opinion from South African jurists who supported apartheid or from racist white jurists in America’s South. Jurists often tend to go along with what is popular. The US Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, said that blacks were to be counted as being 3/5 of a person.

            I will believe the international community jurists long before I will believe self-serving jurists.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Thanks for your reply. I understand better what you are attempting. I think that “people that cultivate land (or vandalize land) that isn’t theirs” would work better if the last word was encapsulated in quotation marks.

            As in:

            “people that cultivate land (or vandalize land) that isn’t ‘theirs'”

            Because it is theirs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Also, “vandalize” should be “‘vandalize'”

            Reply to Comment
        • In full agreement with your comment Bryan

          Dave

          Reply to Comment
    2. Sluggo

      I do like the pun in the title.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Brian

      Also, “vandalize” should be “‘vandalize'”

      Reply to Comment
    4. Lo

      These are obviously just the latest in a line of Palestinian secret weapons. These Arab terrorists are capable of turning israeli dirt and israeli water into palestinian food. It’s like some kind of Muslim terror magic. In order to RESPOND to this direct, anti-Semitic attack, the IDF has announced that millions of shekels will be spent to interdict and suppress these animals (who aren’t even real anyway, dontchaknow), but it’s super sad about it.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Now that’s the kind of deconstruction I like!

        Reply to Comment
      • Suggo

        Yes, we know you only like nonsense and in fact, fear real discussion involving facts, nuances, empathy, and reality

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          An apparently you like cross dressing. Who knew?

          Reply to Comment
    5. Bruce Gould

      Let’s grab the bull by the horns: “Jews” don’t have any special “rights” to live in Israel because there were people who called themselves “Jews” who lived there in 2,000 b.c, this is all mystical nonsense; there isn’t any mystical substance that gets passed down through the generations by some quantum-mechanical mechanism and which confers property rights. This idea belongs with lebensraum, manifest destiny and all the other Orwellian abuses of language.

      Reply to Comment
      • Suggo

        Others oviously disagree with you and you don’t get to make the rules.
        Regardless, at this point, there is a sovereign, recognized state in Israel,,and your arguments require erasing almost 100 years of history.

        Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        The Jews had lived for thousands of years in Judea and Samaria until the Jordanians made the area Judenrein in 1948 and continued to do so for 19 years until Israel ejected them. The right of the Jews to live, settle and develop their historic home was recognized under international law of 1922 and enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations in 1945.

        The fact that Jordan made the West Bank Judenrein for 19 years does not mean that it will be so now.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Brian

      It is so striking isn’t it that the very people who’s great grandparents and grandparents came here to escape the kind of treatment they received under the Pale of Settlement

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_of_Settlement

      have now set up shop with their own Pale of Settlement and maintain and reinforce it with gusto. To the point of subjecting farmers to the humiliation a titled Russian landowner would have considered his right to dish out to the miserable inhabitants of the shtetl. Only back then no international law restrained Catherine the Great. Today, international law has legally restrained Yizkhak the Lesser and Bibi the Not-So-Great, but they ignore it. For how long?

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Ze’ev Sternhell, in Haaretz:

        “Another aspect of this early failure is the fact that the founders made laws for themselves, not for human beings as such. They never imagined that the Feiglins and Elkins would have ruling power in the most persecuted nation in modern history. Their great foe was Jabotinsky, whom Ben-Gurion and Katznelson knew, and against whom they fought for power and for the means to achieve their common goal, but not for the goal itself.

        Even in the second generation, that of Menachem Begin and his comrades in the underground, the type of politicians such as Naftali Bennett, Uri Ariel, Miri Regev and Ayelet Shaked would not have existed because the occupation and the settlements that created them did not exist at the time.

        No one ever envisioned the actual possibility that power would fall one day into the hands of people with the demeanor of masters, for whom the oppression of another nation was second nature. Who ever imagined that the Jewish community might one day turn into a colonialist entity and lay the foundations of an apartheid regime as a permanent condition, and would want to engrave that shame in its law books on top of that?”

        Reply to Comment
        • “Who ever imagined that the Jewish community might one day turn into a colonialist entity and lay the foundations of an apartheid regime as a permanent condition, and would want to engrave that shame in its law books on top of that?”

          No one, which is why what is happening is horrifying most of the world, why people are talking about Israel, angry with the GoI and with the latest mass murder in Gaza, people who had given the GoI a free pass are now saying wait a damn minute here – just what the hell are you doing?

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    7. Brian

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.630423

      Oz, Grossman sign petition calling on European parliaments to recognize Palestine

      Renowned Israeli authors Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua have signed a letter calling on European parliaments to recognize a Palestinian state.

      According to the Gush Shalom organization, Oz, Grossman and Yehoshua join some 800 Israeli signatories, including Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and former Minister Yossi Sarid….

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      • Sluggo

        Yes, and this published letter, publicly available with the names of the signatories should prove all the nonsensical claims of Israeli non-democracy and fascism as being false.

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    8. Mo

      A picture speaks a thousand (or more) words.
      The most telling tale here is the fact that all of those farmers have the freedom of arguing with hon-toting soldiers without have even a slight fear in doing so. They know they are treated with respect as a democratic government treats its citizens. Now, flip side, what would happen if a Jew (or other) had a beef with a soldier in ANY Arab country in the world other than perhaps Jordan and Egypt? That right there speaks more than any of the words in the story.

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    9. That’d be a great icebreaker if we were actually talking about “ANY Arab country…”. The topic is Israel and Palestine. Feel free to join in the lively discussion at https//www.AnyArabCountry.com

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      • What apparently went right over Mo’s melon was the fact these farmers were accompanied by people with cameras (hence the pictures) and the IDF is slowly, slowly understanding that assaulting Palestinian farmers on video doesn’t play well to the local or international audience.

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        • utemia

          The downside of that much videofootage is that for the layperson it’s pretty difficult to know what footage is genuine from an incident and which one isn’t or has been edited.

          The most dangerous thing is inaccurate information, and social media is awesome in appropriating video and pictures and altering the context so it fits their respective narrative.

          I look at those pictures and films with interest, and I think that it is positive that they film everything because that is a great defensive weapon, I am also always wary.

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    10. It’s interesting to note that the issue that I think is the most important has not been mentioned by any of the above commentators.

      1. The Israelis living in the hilltop Jewish communities are full citizens of the state with full democratic rights. They have passports – they can drive to Tel Aviv and go to the beach – they can fly out of Ben Gurion airport – they can vote for the government that sends the soldiers etc. etc.

      2. Their Palestinian neighbors who live virtually next door to them have no such rights, and live under military law, much like the native Americans did for the first 150 years of the USA. God willing, the non-Jewish population of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) will not have to wait so long.

      This political dynamic between the conquered and the conquerers is the heart of the matter. All else is commentary. International law, one-state, two-states, or ten states – all become irrelevant if everyone has equal political rights. Democracy and human rights should rule, not ethnic groups and not religious groups.

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      • utemia

        “All else is commentary. International law, one-state, two-states, or ten states – all become irrelevant if everyone has equal political rights. Democracy and human rights should rule, not ethnic groups and not religious groups.”

        Both sides should be ruled by that, but human rights aren’t just a right to be accorded to people, they come along with the obligation for said people to treat others as such, as well. I think that both sides have issues with that..

        It seems like these two groups view and treat each other as a homogenous group respectively in which the other is not seen as individuals, and the worst members of the group and their actions/ideologies are seen as representative of the whole.
        The mere idea of equality and human rights will only be/ is viewed with scorn because of this.

        There are those who argue that this whole conflict can be seen as a civil rights struggle – and I can see the merit of that. On that level you could approach individual conflicts like this village and its surrounding jewish settlements and try to work on that. Try to get people who are willing and interested in engaging the other, so that they might have a chance to get to know each other – not as a whole homogenous blob, but as people who live in close proximity but have no contact for the myriads of reasons mentioned so far.

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