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The different ways Israel treats Jewish, Palestinian outposts in the West Bank

Palestinian activists protest Israeli attempts to ‘legalize’ settlement outposts by erecting one of their own. Unlike two nearby Jewish outposts, however, the Israeli army demolishes the Palestinian camp within hours.

Palestinian activists raise a flag at the ‘Yasser Arafat outpost,’ a nonviolent action protesting two new Israeli settlement outposts in the area, Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

Palestinian activists raise a flag at the ‘Yasser Arafat outpost,’ a nonviolent action protesting two new Israeli settlement outposts in the area, Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

Dozens of Palestinian activists erected an “outpost” in the Jordan Valley Thursday, in protest of recent Israeli army demolitions of Palestinian homes in the area, a marked contrast to a de facto military decision to allow the establishment of two new Jewish settlement outposts nearby. The Israeli army has not demolished either of the two Jewish outposts despite the fact that itself says they were illegally built.

It only took a few hours before significant numbers of Israeli troops arrived at the new Palestinian outpost on Thursday, forcefully removing the protesters.

Six Palestinian activists were wounded and required medical treatment at a hospital. The security forces also arrested two Israeli activists and were filmed striking press cameramen. The two Israelis were released within 24 hours.

The outpost, named after Yasser Arafat in order to mark Palestinian independence day, was demolished by the army. The two nearby Jewish outposts are still standing.

“The army has demolished homes in Khirbet al-Hama many times over the past few months, and at the same time settlers erected new outposts in the area,” said Abdullah Abu Rahme, an activist with the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, which organized the nonviolent action.

Palestinian erect a tent at the ‘Yasser Arafat outpost,’ a nonviolent action protesting two new Israeli settlement outposts in the area, Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

Palestinian erect a tent at the ‘Yasser Arafat outpost,’ a nonviolent action protesting two new Israeli settlement outposts in the area, Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

“We tried getting the courts to remove the settlers but it didn’t work,” Abu Rahme continued, adding that the protest action was a response to the the Israeli Knesset’s advancement of a law that, if passed, would legalize settlement outposts earlier this week.

“When the soldiers arrived [at the protest ‘outpost’] we told them that if they remove us they must first remove the settlers,” Abu Rahme, an organizer from the West Bank village of Bil’in, added. “We will continue, through nonviolent means, to get across our message opposing these outposts.”

Haaretz’s Amira Hass has reported in recent weeks on the existence of the two new Jewish settlement outposts, and how despite knowing of their existence, the Israeli army has done nothing to remove them. The Israeli army has not, however, stopped demolishing West Bank structures it considers illegal. Over this past year, 2016, Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes and structures than any other year in the past decade.

Israeli troops disperse Palestinian and Israeli activists who erected a protest ‘outpost’ in the Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

Israeli troops disperse Palestinian and Israeli activists who erected a protest ‘outpost’ in the Jordan Valley, West Bank, November 17, 2016. (Flash90)

I asked the IDF Spokesperson’s office why the Palestinian outpost was demolished within hours of its establishment while the two nearby Jewish outposts are still standing. A military spokesperson responded that building enforcement falls under the jurisdiction of the Civil Administration, itself a part of the military. A Civil Administration spokesperson told me that, “orders regarding the illegal construction have been delivered to the location, and enforcement is carried according to professional and operational considerations.” The spokesperson added, however, that the decision to remove and evict the Palestinian outpost was not made by the Civil Administration.

In other words, while various uniformed branches of the Israeli defense establishment toss responsibility on each other like a game of hot potato, Jewish settlement outposts are erected without interference in violation of Israeli military law across the West Bank. The Israeli government, meanwhile, appears eager trounce international law and the recommendations of its own attorney general to advance a law whose only purpose is to literally rob Palestinians of their land. But when Palestinians establish an outpost in protest of that behavior, troops are dispatched to destroy it within hours.

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call.

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    1. Ferry891

      No one cares if the Arafat outpost is shut down. They should have put up a gold sign that said ‘Trump Tower’ and then have the Israelis knock it down. Jeez. No wonder the Palestinians are where they are. They lack creativity.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Oh but don’t worry, we “Jewish nationalists” will treat Arabs real nice in the “Nation State of the Jewish People.” They’re so lucky. What’s the problem? Why would “the Arabs” hesitate to formally “recognize” our wonderful “Nation State of the Jewish People” concept? The French don’t demand anyone recognize their Nation State of the White Catholic French People, but we need it, we need that “recognition,” cuz we are different. Special pass, ya know. The world owes us. They just do. And our behavior to date should set everyone at ease! Anything you don’t like is entirely due to this: “We Are At War With Them.” And once that “war” (shhh! don’t mention that nasty “O” word!) is over we will all just instantly love to death “our” Arabs and it will all be SO equal! Oh! You have no idea! Yes! SO equal! With “our” Arabs. We promise! That’s all for now from the land of “Jewish nationalism,” so heartwarming!

      Reply to Comment
      • Train981

        You sound bitter. It really isn’t healthy. You should get that looked at.

        I can see now that some people have a hard time coping with the world not working out the way they want. They are in all kinds of denial and shock and need safe rooms where they can color in coloring books. I don’t really want to see that happen to you. So, you should probably know this right now. We are going to get what we are asking for and you should prepare yourself for that. Start going through the five stages of grief now.

        And once we get what we want there will be peace and we will all live happily ever after. The end. History will end and there will be unicorns dancing and rainbows all over the place.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          “You sound bitter.”

          I would not advise you to aim for a career that involves deciphering the nuances of human communication and emotional tone. Computers? There are lots of opportunities in computers, son.

          Oh by the way, can I catch Bus189 from Train981? And does that take me straight to Hard Right Wing Station in Samaria? I’m just a Jewish American tourist here in the occupied West Bank. Thanks. Somebody out here out of the blue said to me “You lost your pet Palestinian.” And I didn’t know what he was talking about because it never occurred to me that people would talk about other human beings in this manner. But I’m just a naïve tourist. Apparently they do, they do.

          Reply to Comment
          • OneEightNine

            I appreciate the career advice. <– This is how you respond to useful advice.

            Apparently you need to take both buses and trains on this site to be able to post otherwise you get an error. As for bus 189, I am not going to spare you the joys of learning about the public transportation system in Israel.

            Reply to Comment
        • carmen

          And denial isn’t a river in egypt.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Lewis from Afula

      Obviously, Israel treats Israeli outposts different from Jordanian-South Syrian-PLO outposts. The former are positive. In contrast, the latter are fascist nasty entities that seek Israel’s destruction.

      I believe all Jordanians need to go home. The IDF can help them achieve this goal.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Yes, we know what you believe. Scientologists apparently believe that the Earth is inhabited by alien thetans which live among us disguised as humans and that an evil alien ruler Xenu killed millions of Thetans from around the universe by kidnapping them and bringing them to earth in golden space-planes and blowing them up inside volcanoes with hydrogen bombs. Cults are interesting things.

        Reply to Comment
        • AJew

          You seem to know an awful lot about scientology Ben. Are you an ex scientologist? Or are you still one?

          Oh don’t bother answering it is just a rhetorical question. Either way, judging by your posts, you are a flat earther who believes in flying pigs and pink elephants 🤔

          Reply to Comment