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For one Palestinian village: A judge, settler and demolisher

The High Court justice who gave the army a green light to expel an entire Palestinian village just happens to live in a nearby settlement, one of many that thrives on their dispossession.

By Dror Etkes

High Court Justice Noam Sohlberg (Photo: Justice Ministry)

High Court Justice Noam Sohlberg (Photo: Judicial Authority)

The Israeli army’s Civil Administration has issued 70 demolition orders in the Jewish West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut, and 70 demolition orders in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susya over the years.

Beyond that coincidental number, the two towns don’t have much else in common. Located in Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem, Alon Shvut is one of the most prosperous and well-established settlements in the West Bank. Its 3,200 residents enjoy top-notch community services and a highly desirable quality of life not only in relation to their Palestinian neighbors, but also to the general Israeli population. Khirbet Susya, on the other hand, is a collection of tents, sheds and shacks that lack the most basic civil infrastructure. Its 350 residents are scattered on a few hilltops known only to a small number of people.

Despite the 30-odd kilometers that separate the two communities fate has connected them, and as happens from time to time, rather ironically. It turns out that the man who decided the fate of Khirbet Susya, which is the current incarnation of a village that is thousands of years old, is Supreme Court Justice Noam Sohlberg, a resident of Alon Shvut. Alon Shvut is a settlement, which contrary to the Zionist mythology of Gush Etzion, only a very small part of which was purchased by Jews before 1948.

Settler activists in Alon Shvut, like many other settlements, have for years refused to accept the very concept of privately owned Palestinian land. There too, despite all the self-righteous high talk of neo-Orthodox renaissance, Justice Sohlberg’s neighbors are bent on persistently uprooting, with a certain degree of success, the agricultural activity that had been cultivated by local Palestinians for generations.

A few weeks ago Justice Noam Sohlberg rejected a petition by the Khirbet Susya village council for injunction stopping the state from demolishing their homes and expelling their residents from the land they had been forced onto when the state seized their village lands in 1986 and established the Jewish settlement of Susya. In his decision, Sohlberg wrote:

“Based on past verdicts and decisions, and given that the petitioners have taken the law into their own hands, there are no grounds for issuing an injunction. The willingness of the local authorities to suggest an alternative zoning plan is duly noted, as long as the petitioners agree to make the necessary preparations in conjunction with the planning authorities.”

The immediate consequence of the ruling is that the army can now demolish the village and expel its residents at any moment, despite the fact that the larger legal question of the village’s existence has yet to even be heard by the High Court. And that is how the neighboring settlement spreads its wings, a settlement that already controls hundreds of acres of agricultural and grazing lands that were once used by Khirbet Susya and the surrounding villages.

Susya, West Bank, Palestinian village under threat of destruction (Activestills)

Susya, West Bank, Palestinian village under threat of destruction (Activestills)

Justice Sohlberg consciously chose to ignore the context in which the petitioners allegedly “took the law into their own hands.” He knows very well that the residents of Khirbet Susya, like the vast majority of Palestinians in Area C (the 61 percent of the West Bank that is under Israel’s full control), have no ability to take part in the civil planning process. By accusing the villagers of that, he reveals that the judicial process over which he presided has nothing to do with justice.

Justice Sohlberg, who is the most prominent yet not the only settler on the bench, is the standard bearer of a pre-eminent Western judicial tradition, which hails back and openly draws on colonialism. The tenets of that tradition are to exclude “the natives” from decision-making circles as well as to dispense them of the basic democratic principle of the separation of powers. Sohlberg finds himself in the company of the American Supreme Court judges who, in 1857, ruled that African-Americans could not be considered American citizens, as well as those who, a century later, championed the “separate but equal” paradigm.

In the past, the division of labor in the charade that’s known as Israel’s “rule of law” in the West Bank was clear: The settler was the one pushing the boundaries and pressing on with the expulsion and dispossession, occasionally taking on the role of the soldier, in charge of “maintaining the order.” And now we see that over time, the settler has been promoted to the bench, where he decides the fate of the occupation’s direct victims. It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic arrangement.

As the recent ruling that upheld the plan to evacuate the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran (which is in Israel proper) demonstrates, it’s impossible to place all the blame on Sohlberg. His appointment was made possible thanks to a deep change that the Israeli society is undergoing, and which trickles up to the High Court as well.

More than anything, Sohlberg’s appointment attests to the nature of the “justice” that Israel offers to the Palestinians in the West Bank. As the Arab idiom goes: “To whom will you turn  when the judge is your enemy?”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. Pedro X

      “Justice Solberg consciously chose to ignore the context in which the petitioners allegedly “took the law into their own hands.” He knows very well that the residents of Khirbet Susya, like the vast majority of Palestinians in Area C (the 61 percent of the West Bank that is under Israel’s full control), have no ability to take part in the civil planning process”

      Did he? Do Palestinians in area “C” including Susiya have no ability to take part in the civil planning process?

      The facts are that a master plan had been submitted on behalf of these Palestinian squatters. If they had no ability to take part in the planning process, how did they submit a master plan for consideration? By submitting the master plan application, the Palestinians impliedly accepted that they had no legal authority to have built where they did without building plans and permits. They also attorned to the jurisdiction and the authority of Israel to determine the application in accordance with the law in Area “C”.

      In October 2013 the Sub-Committee for Planning and Licensing of the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council rejected the master plan that the residents had drawn up for Susiya. The application was rejected because of several faults in the plan, such as it did not contain adequate planning for water or sewer matters. The sub-committee suggested the people of Susiya revise their plan to a location closer to Yatta which is 3 kilometers from Susiya where they could hook up to water and sewer and avail themselves of services which are not available to squatters in their present location. By relocating to near Yatta, the squatters would still be in close proximity to their agricultural lands.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “the Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council rejected the master plan that the residents had drawn up for Susiya. The application was rejected because of several faults in the plan…such as it did not contain adequate planning for water or sewer matters…not available to squatters….”

        Pedro X honestly you’re descending into comedy here, pretending that anyone who was not born yesterday thinks that planning for water and sewage was the real reason. Here you take officious nonsense to comic heights. I’m reminded of the MK’s uproarious laughter to Netanyahu’s speech about earnestly seeking peace. Realize also that the occupation is one huge squat, and the topic of this article is a High Court Justice who is a squatter!!!

        You might as well be an American reporter in the 1850s telling us the Plantation Owners Planning Council considered the Negroes’ submission but alas but for an unfortunate lapse in water and sewage planning….the Council was so disappointed and invites the Negroes to resubmit as it is anxious to reconsider their plan….

        Ludicrous.

        I thought I’d heard everything but apparently I hadn’t. A Justice of the High Court of Justice is…a settler!…flagrantly violating international law…has untold numbers of obvious conflicts of interest…is living in a particularly aggressively victimizing settlement that for years has refused to accept the very concept of privately owned Palestinian land…and…did not recuse himself when deciding (if it can even be called that) on, of all places, Susiya!!!!!! “The Settler has been promoted to the bench, where he decides the fate of the occupation’s direct victims.” This is the vaunted “Israeli rule of law.” Wow.

        Reply to Comment
        • BigCat

          Yet another rambling mumbo jumbo from Brian Ben David T. Dekkers. Which “international law” says that the West Bank of the River Jordan is occupied territory, moron? Do you know the answer to that question or are you just ranting what you heard others say and wallowing in your usual psychotic delusions that you somehow are saying anything of any value?

          Make arguments based on “international law” to defend your claim.

          We are waiting…..

          Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            OK Pussy, I’ll play the game. You tell us, with appropriate references, just what the exact status is under international law of the ‘West Bank of the River Jordan’.

            Just so I know.

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Good, good. Obvious Brian/”Ben” has accepted that he is a moron who parrots what he does not understand. Fair enough.

            Now, if you “want to play the game” as you said, pls. start “playing the game” by answering the question. That should not be extremely difficult, should it, “PUSSY”? (btw. it seems all you have in your senile mind is “pussy”, lol…)

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            BigCat: “Which “international law” says that the West Bank of the River Jordan is occupied territory, moron?”

            Article 42, Hague Regulations: “Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army. The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.”

            It is abundantly clear that this territory was placed under the authority of the IDF in June 1967, as evidenced by the fact that **all** Israeli government activity inside the West Bank is promulgated by way of IDF Military Orders signed by the IDF commander in the West Bank, and not by the relevant Israeli minister.

            Which rather means that – Hague Regs-style – it’s occupied, stoooopid.

            Or, if you want, we can refer to the Israel High Court of Justice

            IHCJ: “Since 1967, Israel has been holding the areas of Judea and Samaria [hereinafter – the area] in belligerent occupation.”

            Maybe you want to regard that as simple verbiage, so let’s look a little further down that judgement.

            IHCJ: “The general point of departure of all parties – which is also our point of departure – is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation (occupatio bellica)” ….”The authority of the military commander flows from the provisions of public international law regarding belligerent occupation. These rules are established principally in the Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague, 18 October 1907 [hereinafter – the Hague Regulations].”

            Or, put another way: Exactly. What. I. Said.

            Is there anything else I can help you with?

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            a) Neither Israel nor “the Palestinians” nor Jordan is Party to CONVENTION WITH RESPECT TO THE LAWS AND CUSTOMS OF WAR ON LAND (HAGUE, II) (29 July 1899). I believe that is what you referred to as “Hague Regulations”.

            b) The Israeli High Court is not an International body/Organ of any International Institution, moron, and the single judicial opinion you cited does not constitute international law. By your logic, Jordan (a) acquired the West Bank of the River Jordan by the use of force and (b) occupied it from 1948 – 1967. But I believe you don’t agree with the direct results of your own logic – as usual.

            Try again. You get just ONE MORE bite at the apple, because I am not going let you clog this thread with your usual loooong monologues of legal mumbo jumbo that often last days. One may argue that the West Bank of the River Jordan is or is not occupied, but the route you have followed in arguing the former is a particularly bad one. The arguments you are making are not the right ones.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            A) Ahem. Look again: “the laws AND CUSTOMS of war on land”

            Get it?

            No, I’m sure it flies way over your head.

            Dumbass, what that means is that those regulations are binding upon everyone, regardless of whether (or not) the people who are doing all the fightin’ and occupyin’ are “a party to the Convention”.

            Because – du’oh! – the “regulations” that were appended to that “convention” are now universally regarded as “international customary law”.

            Man, you really are some kinda’ ignorant, because otherwise you’d know that the German defendants in the Nuremberg Tribunals tried exactly your argument way back in 1945 (the “Hostages Case”, if you want to look it up).

            But those defendants ended up being convicted, precisely because the tribunal rules that even **before** 1939 those Regulations had become “declaratory of the laws AND CUSTOMS of war” and, therefore, had already become “international customary law”.

            Your excuse was ruled out by an authoritative tribunal more than 70 years ago.

            Where have you been all that time, BigCat?
            Hiding under a rock?
            Or fast asleep under a tree?

            b) Oh, please, spare me. The Israel High Court of Justice is perfectly competent to rule on that issue, precisely because – du’oh! – under Israeli domestic law an International Customary Law is automatically incorporated into Israel law i.e. a Custom of War is perfectly within the jurisdiction of an Israeli court wherever the IDF has authority.

            What? You didn’t know that?

            You really didn’t know that under Israeli Law a CUSTOMARY LAW is automatically part of the Law Of The Land and, therefore, within the jurisdiction of an Israeli court?

            Really? Man, you really are some kinda’ moron.

            P.S. Note this bit: “The general point of departure of all parties”

            That means that it wasn’t j.u.s.t. the court that was saying that this was an occupied territory. The Government of Israel (another of those “parties”) and the IDF commander in the West Bank (another “party”), and even the Beit Sourik Village Council (yet another “party”) all agreed with the court that this was, indeed, a territory that was being held under the belligerent occupation of the IDF.

            Fancy that: not even the GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL nor the IDF agrees with Mr. Dumbass.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            BigCat: “By your logic, Jordan (a) acquired the West Bank of the River Jordan by the use of force”

            Absolutely, yes.

            BigCat: …”and (b) occupied it from 1948 – 1967.”

            Absolutely, yes.

            Even the Jordanians agree that their “claim” over the West Bank was without any legal merit, which is why they were more than happy to relinquish that claim “without prejudice” when they negotiated the Israel/Jordan Peace Treaty.

            Heck, BigCat, do you know anything?
            Anything at all?

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            A “territory” according to the Hague Conventions means a “territory” of a State, not some no-man’s land somewhere. There was no State of “Palestine” and the “territory” on the West Bank of the Jordan River was not a “territory” of “the state of Palestine” (whatever that is). The Arabs rejected the UN Partition-plan. Jordan acquired the “territory” on the West Bank of the Jordan River by use of force and occupied it from 1948-1967. Israel captured that “territory” in a war of self-defense and is currently trying to find a way to settle territorial claims between it and those living there. Got it, moron?

            Btw

            No country, including Jordan and all other Arab countries, ever claimed that Jordan was occupying the West Bank of the Jordan River. Glad to know you are saying that it was an occupation. But then you still have to answer the question from which State it took it from?

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            BigCat: “A “territory” according to the Hague Conventions means a “territory” of a State,”

            *sigh*

            A masterful example of BigCat being soooooooo stoopid that he doesn’t even know that his argument is already forfeit.

            Dude, dumbass, idiot, it simply does not matter what the C.O.N.V.E.N.T.I.O.N. “meant”, precisely because the R.E.G.U.L.A.T.I.O.N.S. that were appended to that convention has already been authoritatively declared by a competent international tribunal to be “declaratory of the laws and customs of war”.

            That therefor means that Article 42 applies to any territory that has been seized by any army belonging to anyone.

            State actor or non state actor, it doesn’t matter.
            Territory of a state, or a stateless territory, it doesn’t matter.
            Army, militia, ragtag or paramilitary organization, it doesn’t matter.

            The REGULATIONS are “customary international law”, and therefore the article of the Hague Regs apply everywhere.

            Here is a territory.
            There is an army.

            Oh, look, that army has just seized this territory.

            Q: The result of that is…..?
            A: A belligerent occupation, moron.

            You know something, BigCat? I have to look far and wide (or Ginger has to spout her invariably-ignorant nonsense) before I come across someone who is as moronic than you.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            BigCat: “No country, including Jordan and all other Arab countries, ever claimed that Jordan was occupying the West Bank of the Jordan River.”

            *sigh*

            Only one country ever recognized Jordan’s claim that it could and did annex the West Bank following its seizure by the Royal Jordanian Army, and that country wasn’t Arab.

            Honestly, do you know anything?

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            This lunatic continues to jump up and down like a barboon shouting and repeating his usual looooong monologue of mumbo jumbo and listening to himself thinking he is saying anything of value. Obviously you are still angry about the humiliating blows you have been dealt on this site by e.g. Ginger and you can’t even seem to put her out of you foolish mind? Oh dear…..Chew yourself out, moron.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            It is beyond amusing to see that BigCat is quick to dish it out, but he can’t take it in return.

            BigCat, baby, your “arguments” are so monumentally ignorant that you can’t even comprehend these indisputable facts:

            1) It is universally recognized that in 1945 a competent international tribunal authoritatively ruled that the Regulations attached to the 1907 Hague Convention (hereafter, the Hague Regs) had already become International Customary Law before 1939.

            Which means that all of your “but, but, what about…?” or your “hey, Israel didn’t sign it!” arguments fail, and just as much as they failed when THE BLOODY GERMANS put forward those same lame excuses in 1945.

            2) That the West Bank is being held under the belligerent occupation of the IDF is a statement that is so self-evidently true that the Highest Court In Israel stated this as a self-evident truth in the very first paragraph in one of its judgements.

            And, indeed, in paragraph 23 of that same judgement the court said that this is a truth that is so self-evident that not only the court but also the Government of Israel, the IDF commander in the West Bank and, yes, even the Beit Sourik Village Council agree that this is a territory that is being held under the belligerent occupation of the IDF.

            Which leaves **you** as a self-deluded fool in the company of, well, heck, let me do the maths for you: nothin’ divided by nothin’, carry the nothin’……

            At least, until Ginger turns up and spouts her equally-ignorant nonsense, and then the two of you can sit in the corner and circle-jerk each other.

            Honestly, BigCat, you really are that moronic.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Gershom Gorenburg (Haaretz):

            Israel knew all along that settlements, home demolitions were illegal. New evidence shows government’s adviser on international law said in 1968 that demolishing terror suspects’ homes violates Geneva Convention.

            “It was March 1968. Yaakov Herzog, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, received a memo marked “Top Secret” from the Foreign Ministry’s legal adviser, Theodor Meron. As the government’s authority on international law, Meron was responding to questions put to him about the legality of demolishing the homes of terror suspects in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and of deporting residents on security grounds.

            His answer: Both measures violated the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in war. The government’s justifications of the measures – that they were permitted under British emergency regulations still in force, or that the West Bank wasn’t occupied territory – might have value for hasbara, public diplomacy, but were legally unconvincing.

            The legal adviser’s stance in 1968 is important today precisely because it is unexceptional. It’s the view of nearly all scholars of international law, including prominent Israeli experts. The memo shows that from the very start of the occupation, central figures in the Israeli government knew that deportations and demolitions violated Israel’s international commitments, and not just in the eyes of outside critics.

            Yet both measures have been used ever since….”

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            Ben, while I completely agree with the legal opinion of Theodor Meron, you should note that this was a legal opinion regarding the illegality of Israeli colonies inside the West Bank, and that’s not what BigCat challenged you to prove.

            He demanded that you identify the international law that proves that the West Bank is under a belligerent occupation, and that’s something that is quite different.

            Meron doesn’t actually touch on that question, precisely because he was not asked for his opinion on that question. He was asked about the legal status of “settlements”, and he found them to be illegal under GCIV.

            But nowhere in Geneva Convention IV will you find the phrase “belligerent occupation” actually defined.

            And, honestly, there was no need for GCIV to define what constitutes a belligerent occupation, precisely because just such a definition already existed: Article 42 of the Hague Regulations 1907.

            Here is a territory, and there is an army, and this army then surges into that territory and seized control of it.

            Q: What’s the status of that territory?
            A: That’s what Everyone But BigCat calls “an occupied territory”.

            Q: Say who?
            A: Article 42 of the Hague Regulations 1907, which is akin to saying “says everyone”.

            Queue the spluttering and spittle-ridden outrage…..

            But! But! Israel never signed the Hague Convention!!!
            (doesn’t matter, because the Hague REGULATIONS are now Int’l Customary Law)

            But! But! The Hague Convention concerned the territory of a state!!!
            (doesn’t matter, because the Hague REGULATIONS are now Int’l Customary Law)

            But! But! This is Israel, and I don’t want Article 42 to apply to Israel!!!
            (doesn’t matter, because the Hague REGULATIONS are now Int’l Customary Law)

            BigCat laid down a challenge, so skewer him on THAT challenge.

            After all, it’s not as if exposing BigCat as an ignorant moron is particularly difficult.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            YR, thanks for your continued superb clarity on these legal issues, it’s a service to us all. I had a feeling you might respond this way but I wasn’t submitting a supporting legal brief I was submitting something I read yesterday that falls under the general categories of “illegally occupied territories the occupier has always known it illegally occupies” and “knowing deceptiveness”–“knowing” being a redundant adjective I know but it bears emphasizing–and we have to admit that BigCat’s shenanigans do readily come to mind when we contemplate this latter category unless one wants to postulate that sheer stoooopidity is a sufficient cause. In any event if looks like he has tacitly conceded your point.

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            BigCat: “I believe that is what you referred to as “Hague Regulations”.”

            Nope, dope.

            Here, let me help you out:

            Nuremberg Tribunal: “But it is argued that the Hague Convention does not apply in this case. because of the “general participation” clause in Article 2 of the Hague Convention of 1907″

            [That is BigCat’s argument. Ponder the irony of the identity of his fellow travellers]

            Nuremberg Tribunal: “In the opinion of the Tribunal it is not necessary to decide this question.”

            Oh, really? Why not, I wonder…?

            Nuremberg Tribunal: “But the convention expressly stated that it was an attempt “to revise the general laws and customs of war” which it thus recognized to be then existing, but by 1939 these rules laid down in the Convention were recognized by all civilized nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war which are referred to in Article 6 (b) of the Charter.”

            Oh, dear, there goes BigCat’s argument….

            The Convention doesn’t even matter any more.

            What matters is what the REGULATIONS appended to that Convention says, because what those regulations say is how it all goes down, baby.

            You didn’t sign the Convention?
            Doesn’t matter. The Regulations still apply to you.

            Why do they apply to you?
            Because, dude, they apply to everyone, signatory and non-signatory alike.

            Why so?
            Because the Regulations are universally acknowledged as being “declaratory of the laws AND CUSTOMS of war”.

            Sorry dude, but you are an ignorant, dumbass, sorry-arsed, know-nothing moron.

            So moronic, indeed, that you don’t even know when your arse has been handed to you on a silver platter.

            That dumb, dude.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            Security Council, May 22nd 1948:
            “QUESTIONS TO THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES IN PALESTINE”

            (a) Over which areas of Palestine do you actually exercise control at the present time? …

            REPLIES OF PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF ISRAEL TO SECURITY COUNCIL QUESTIONNAIRE

            … In addition, the Provisional Government exercises control over the city of Jaffa; Northwestern Galilee, including Acre, Zib, Base, and the Jewish settlements up to the Lebanese frontier; a strip of territory alongside the road from Hilda to Jerusalem; almost all of new Jerusalem; and of the Jewish quarter within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

            ***The above areas, outside the territory of the State of Israel***, are under the control of the military authorities of the State of Israel, …”
            http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/B4085A930E0529C98025649D00410973

            LOL

            Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            Oh, yeah, UNSC document S/766 makes very interesting reading indeed.

            It actually shows that the Haganah was already on the offensive before the “Five! Count ’em! Five!” Arab armies decided to intervene on the expiry of the Mandate.

            Not only that, but note that the Israeli government actually admitted in S/766 that those Exterminating Arab Armies (did I mention that there were five of them? I think I did…) weren’t actually, you know, invading the state of Israel, much less attempting to “drive anyone into the sea”.

            Here, in fact:
            Q: “Have Arab forces penetrated into the territory over which you claim to have authority?”
            A: “Arab forces have penetrated into the territory of the State of Israel in certain corners of the Northern Negev and in the Jordan Valley south of Lake Tiberias.”

            Hmmm, squint and you’d miss ’em.

            Not much of an “invasion”, is it?

            More like a military operation to stop the Haganah from completing its conquest of all of the territory of the “Arab state”.

            Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          What you and Etkes ignore is that Israel’s civil administration planning committees have approved over 100 master plans in Area “C”. A good example of these new town plans is a village only five kilometers north of Susiya, called Khirbet Tawani. So Israel does approve properly prepared plans. Unfortunately, Susiya, did not submit a proper plan. Sewer and water concerns were only two the issues. Overall, the plan did not disclose the making of a viable community.

          The claim of an ancient (or modern) Arab community at Susiya is a lie. The Jerusalem Post on August 27, 2012 sets out the facts:

          “Arab shepherds from the nearby town of Yata, a Palestinian Arab city of 80,000 in Area A, have created a new village there called Khirbet Sussiya.

          They claim that their families have lived on this land for decades, if not centuries. Their struggle has become the cause célèbre of the cadre of foreigners and locals wishing to harm Israel and its standing worldwide through misrepresentations and outright lies.

          IN TRUTH, this is just a matter of squatters illegally trying to grab state lands. These illegal squatters will always be portrayed as helpless, weak and vulnerable, but they are nothing of the sort. They all have alternate, permanent homes in Yata and are encouraged by the PA to grab land.

          The area occupied by the squatters has been state land since the days of the Ottoman Empire. It has only ever served as grazing land and the caves found there have only ever been used for temporary dwelling by the shepherds for two weeks to a month a year during the grazing season.

          Aerial photo archives prove that the squatters have not lived there – or anywhere in the environs of Sussiya – for decades.”

          The PA has encouraged Palestinians to attempt to seize State land in Area “C”. Susiya is just one of many areas in which Palestinians have squatted not only in contravention of planning and zoning laws but in contravention of the Oslo Accords which gave Israel civil administration of the Area.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ya can’t see caves from the air!!!! British maps of the time do show Susiya. We went over this.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            “but in contravention of the Oslo Accords which gave Israel civil administration of the Area.”

            Excuse me for being obtuse here but how does the land then become Israeli state land? Because that is what you mean surely? And if not then it is land belonging to which state? And what does the High Court of that state have to say about the matter? And what the f*** is the Israeli High Court doing getting involved in someone else’s territory?

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Oh, this is a good one: Pedro just got both Brian Ben David T. Dekkers and Richard Lightbown running around in a circle – confused and ranting. And in his confusion, Brian just declared that Palestinians ‘cave-people’ when he blurted out: “ya can’t see caves from the air!!!” in response to Pedro saying that “aerial photo archives prove that the squatters have not lived there – or anywhere in the environs of Sussiya – for decades.” That’s right, people, Brian said Palestinians were ‘cave-people’ who lived in caves and that you cant see them from the air! My goodness, with friends like this, Palestinians have no enemies. What a fool this Brian Ben David T. Dekkers is!

            Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      Math problem: let X = the number of Palestinian homes which have been demolished in the last half century. Let Y = the number of Jewish homes which have been demolished in the same period. What is the ratio X/Y?

      Reply to Comment
        • BigCat

          LoL… this unemployed resident fool continues his lunatic fixation on- and obsession with Israel and Jews – though his own country, of which he neither knows nor cares about what goes on it, has problems that are overwhelmingly bigger and more serious than the social problems in Israel! You need serious psychiatric help, Brian Ben David T. Dekker…LoL… start healing yourself by getting a job, Benny

          Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Swedish Chef, why are you always coming across as either a gay-basher or a self-hating gay man or both? You should accept who you are whoever that is and accept others for who they are and stop including disparaging, nauseating, hateful, homophobic references to men having sex with men in every other post. Your fascination with this is plain but it’s TMI for the rest of us. Way TMI. And it is a kind of hate speech for which this site should (yet again) ban you.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      Good lord. When Etkes says that the Palestinians in Area C have no ability to take part in the civil planning process he means that they have no POLITICAL power, they don’t vote for the people who make the decisions, the system is stacked against them. Sure, they can complain, they can submit pieces of paper, but their ability to complain isn’t an indication that they have any real input.

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Bruce: “Sure, they can complain, they can submit pieces of paper, but their ability to complain isn’t an indication that they have any real input.”

        If this is so, how did Palestinians get the master plan for Khirbet Tawani passed, when it is only 5 kilometers distant from Susiya? What about the other master plans approved in area C?

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Because the “planning” has nothing to do with the planning but with the whims of where the Jews want the Arabs and where the Jews don’t want the Arabs. The pieces of “planning” paper are so much bullsh*t. That’s why.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Bar

      It’s a good thing this report didn’t demonize settlers, settlers who are judges or Israel.

      Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, Right

        Bar: “It’s a good thing this report didn’t demonize settlers, settlers who are judges or Israel.”

        I’m (slightly) curious to know what your definition of “demonize” is, Bar.

        Reply to Comment
      • “settlers who are judges or Israel”

        Actually, Bar, this is the most concise analysis I have read in some time, perhaps ever. Congratulations for phrasing it so well.

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    5. Ginger Eis

      Mr. Dror Etkes, Check, Mate!

      “Arab shepherds from the nearby town of Yata, a Palestinian Arab city of 80,000 in Area A, have created a new village there called Khirbet Sussiya.

      They claim that their families have lived on this land for decades, if not centuries. Their struggle has become the cause célèbre of the cadre of foreigners and locals wishing to harm Israel and its standing worldwide through misrepresentations and outright lies.

      IN TRUTH, this is just a matter of squatters illegally trying to grab state lands. These illegal squatters will always be portrayed as helpless, weak and vulnerable, but they are nothing of the sort. They all have alternate, permanent homes in Yata and are encouraged by the PA to grab land.”

      Well said, Pedro X.

      What you said is the crux of the matter and very well summarized the FACTS that came out of a lengthy, fiercely adversarial Court-proceeding that has lasted for several years now. This is a territorial conflict that the losers are desperately trying to frame as a human rights issue and using lies and deception to pursue and achieve that goal.

      More need not be said. Your case is well made.

      End Of Story!

      (3rd re-post. ignore if the older ones miraculously emerge)

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Where did you learn to play chess, Eis? I’d ask your chess teacher for your money back. You and Pedro X introduced the frankly contemptuous term “squatter.” This by itself says much more about you than about any Palestinian. Just a reminder: this article is about the scandalous fact that an Israeli Supreme Court Justice (!) has actually been exposed as a squatter! A squatter in a particularly aggressively victimizing settlement, itself a huge squat! And the squatter Judge, who squats a few kilometers from Khirbet Susya, is ruling, rather than recusing himself as any decent judge would, on Khirbet Susya!!!! The mind boggles. This is that vaunted “Israeli rule of law”?! Oh my. The fact that an Israeli Supreme Court Judge (!) can himself live in an illegal settlement in flagrant violation of international law (see posts, above, by Yeah Right) and then rule on a battle, just a few kilometers from his illegal house, between illegal settlers and Palestinian inhabitants of that occupied territory–is just what Dror Etkes says it is: a charade known as “Israel’s rule of law,” attesting to the “justice” Israel routinely hands out to the Palestinian inhabitants of the land

        Reply to Comment
        • BigCat

          “(…) They all have alternate, permanent homes in Yata and are encouraged by the PA to grab land.”

          That’s a hurdle you must overcome. You are unable to do that and instead chose to engage in your usual incoherent ramblings about international law neither you nor “yeahright” understands. What is this obsession with Jews, Benny? Have you ever wondered why or are you incapable of self-reflection?

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          I’m posting this without the two supporting links. I expect the original post with the links will show up by and by. I think posts with more than one link get screened. The imaginary “censor” affects all of us equally. By the way, I haven’t heard any of you champions of enlightened Israeli western civilization clamoring for the censoring of Sluggofumblericketyrocketswedishchef’s offensive, raw, sexist, misogynist posts. He’s a great ambassador of the typical Israeli you think? You should police your own.

          The Palestinian village of Susya was established by at least the 1830s. Written records of the existence of a Palestinian community in its location exist from as far back as 1830, and the village is also found on British Mandate maps from 1917. The Palestinian residents’ ownership of this land is established in law. The illegal Israeli settlement there, however, was established in 1983.

          Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            What about your using multiple identities on this site Brian Ben David T. Dekkers? Has +972 ever censured you for that?

            What about your obsession with Ginger Eis and the sexual posts you posted to her posts in the past, while employing nazi-imageries? Did +972 ever censure you for once because of that? Even after you became “Ben”, your obsessive attitude towards her did not change. Why, Benny, why won’t you seek help?

            What about when you call Pedro, Tomer, Ginger, the Trespasser, etc. “brown shirts”, “Nazis”, etc. Where you censured for that? Even now that you have become “Ben”, you have not been censured for all

            “IN TRUTH, this is just a matter of squatters illegally trying to grab state lands. These illegal squatters will always be portrayed as helpless, weak and vulnerable, but they are nothing of the sort. They all have alternate, permanent homes in Yata and are encouraged by the PA to grab land. Well said, Pedro X. What you said is the crux of the matter and very well summarized the FACTS that came out of a lengthy, fiercely adversarial Court-proceeding that has lasted for several years now. This is a territorial conflict that the losers are desperately trying to frame as a human rights issue and using lies and deception to pursue and achieve that goal. More need not be said. Your case is well made. End Of Story!”

            Which part of that did you not understand, Benny? Why then are you still ranting and rambling, Benny? You really don’t have any other occupation than your psychotic fixation on- and obsession with Jews, while neither knowing nor caring about what goes on in your own country or any other country? Oh dear…

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Ahem. You have not answered Yeah Right, up above. We’ll wait.

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            Well here we have third question, which perfectly demonstrates that not even your closed delusional system is logically elaborate.
            3.) Why does+972 not ban Ben, if we are the same?

            The other two question are:
            1.) Why should Ben even write as David T, if that could get him banned by +972?
            2.) Why did you write about him in third person when you failed to give a rational explanation to 1.) to me allthough you claim that we are the same?

            Now a sane person would come to the conclusion that Ben and I are not the same and you are just a troll who pathetically terrorizes commenters, if running out of your slightly more relevant idiocies.

            Reply to Comment
          • Swedish Chef

            Brian.
            You are just angry because I successfully call you out on your intellectual reasoning which borders the quality of Corky from the show Life Goes On. And I am only one of many who mock you

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            Another closed delusional system … Zionism is taking its toll.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The Palestinian village of Susya was established by at least the 1830s. Written records of the existence of a Palestinian community in its location exist from as far back as 1830, and the village is also found on British Mandate maps from 1917. The Palestinian residents’ ownership of this land is established in law. The illegal Israeli settlement there, however, was established in 1983. Please read this:

        http://rhr.org.il/eng/2013/11/susya-a-history-of-loss/

        The real story of Susya, and the treatment of its residents by the occupation, can be found here:

        http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jun/28/susya-demolition-israeli-occupation/

        A related text is of course S. Yizhar’s “Khirbet Khizeh”.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          David Shulman:

          “Susya is a microcosm of the Israeli occupation, a lucid embodiment of its norms and habits. Only the scale of the planned expulsion is a little unusual; normally the process, though relentless, proceeds in smaller steps. Note that the legal aspect of the situation, which I’ve only outlined, is little more than a superstructure, one might even say a distant theory; on the ground what one sees is a refined form of human malevolence, incapable of justification in rational terms. The Israeli army, the police, the bureaucrats of the Civil Administration, the government, the cabinet, the Knesset, the military and civilian courts, and large parts of the Israeli press—all are deeply implicated in an act, or a series of acts, of gratuitous violence inflicted on innocent human beings, in broad daylight. No one should pretend that any of this is anything but a crime.”

          http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jun/28/susya-demolition-israeli-occupation/

          Reply to Comment
          • Swedish Chef

            Apparently this David Shulmam is Brian’s new obsession. For five days now, Brian has been wacking it to him. He is just way too transparent.

            Reply to Comment
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