Israel’s Settlement Enterprise: Longstanding, Outrageous and Illegal – by Stephen Lendman
B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, addressed it in its July 2010 report titled, “By Hook and By Crook: Israel’s Settlement Policy in the West Bank”, ahead of a July 6 meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama, their fifth – a shameless love fest endorsing Israeli crimes, Obama saying Israel has “got to be able to respond to threats or any combination of threats in the region,” ones it manufactures to pursue ruthless, lawless policies, nonviolent civilians the victims.
On July 5, Israeli National News.com writer Hillel Fendel headlined, “Timed to Sabotage,” quoting Yesha Council (YC) head Danny Dayan calling B’Tselem “an anti-Zionist tool for the destruction of Israel,” citing the report and its report release date as one example.
YC (the Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria, and Gaza) is the successor to Gush Emunim (“Block of the Faithful”), the militant pro-settlement movement committed to Palestinian displacement, its members influential in Israeli politics, advocating a Greater Israel exclusively for Jews, its ideology based on religious zealotry, its members calling Cast Lead a religious war, its bogus justification for systemic violence, barbarism, military occupation, land theft, and efforts to silence truth.
According to Dayan:
“Not one Arab has been deprived of his land to build Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. Unlike in previous settlement enterprises, such as the kibbutzim of several decades ago, when there was no other choice….Since 1974, not one piece of privately-owned Arab land has been confiscated – and those that were, were totally compensated for, either in money or land,” calling much in B’Tselem’s report “an absolute lie,” saying its “concern for human rights….just an excuse….to weaken Israel.”
Other Israeli, Palestinian, and international human rights organizations disagree, publishing volumes of confirming material, what zealots like Dayan want suppressed or condemned if made public.
In preparing its report, B’Tselem used official Israeli data, including state comptroller statistics, Civil Administration maps, and attorney Talia Sasson’s material on Israeli outposts, based on documents produced by Brig. General Baruch Spiegel.
Combined they show a half million Israelis “living over the Green Line: more than 300,000 in 121 settlements and about (100) outposts, which control 42 per cent of….the West Bank, and the rest in (12) neighborhoods” in Jerusalem Municipality annexed land.
From inception, Israel’s settlement policy has been based on “an instrumental, cynical, and even criminal approach to international law, local legislation, Israeli military orders, and Israeli law, (that’s facilitated the systematic) pilfering of land from Palestinians in the West Bank,” ongoing for decades to seize all valued areas, including Jerusalem to make it exclusively Jewish.
How? By bogusly declaring “state land,” resulting in the theft of about 16% of the West Bank, mostly from 1979 – 1992, but the process remains ongoing.
The State Attorney’s Office interpretation of the Ottoman Land Law, in fact, “contradicted explicit statutory provisions and judgments of the Mandatory Supreme Court,” facilitating land seizures, including privately owned Palestinian property, expropriated illegally, comprising 21% of settlement areas.
To encourage migration, benefits and incentives are offered, most settlements given National Priority Area A status, entitling them to:
— quality, low-cost housing with subsidized mortgages;
— free education from age three and extended school days;
— free transportation to and from schools, and higher teacher salaries to attract qualified ones to move;
— for industry and agriculture, grants and subsidies, indemnification from EU produce tariffs, significantly lower taxes than inside the Green Line, and
— larger balancing grants to help settlements cover deficits.
Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, the UN’s 1947 Resolution 181 artificially partitioning it, giving the choicest 56% to Jews, the remainder to Palestinians with Jerusalem an international city under a UN Trustee Council – a binding provision to this day.
In 1948, Israel’s “War of Independence” seized another 22%, in total 78% of historic Palestine, the 1967 Six Day War taking the rest, placing Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem under military occupation, thereafter systematically violating international humanitarian laws with regard to:
— illegal large and smaller-scale acts of aggression, inflicting mass deaths, injuries and destruction, mostly against civilians;
— free movement, expression and the right of assembly;
— the universally acknowledged right of return;
— Palestinians’ right to their own resources on their own land, including water and extensive offshore gas reserves, stolen to benefit Israel;
— East Jerusalem – annexed despite Security Council Resolution 478, declaring Israel’s July 1980 Jerusalem Law null and void with no legal validity;
— the Separation Wall on expropriated land, about 12% of the West Bank when completed (ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice);
— Palestinians’ access to their own land, air space, coastal waters, and control of their borders;
— illegally incarcerating thousands of political prisoners;
— systematically using torture, abuse and degrading treatment, illegal at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions;
— conducting targeted assassinations and other willful killings of non-combatant civilians;
–bogusly calling Palestine’s democratically elected government “terrorist,” refusing recognition, imposing an embargo, and conducting regular incursions against it;
— committing slow motion genocide against 1.5 million Gazans under seige, Israel’s so-called easing mostly subterfuge to keep it harshly in place; and
— decades of illegal settlement building on expropriated land, dispossessing protected persons, transferring their property to Jews, claiming bogus legal justification for whatever it does, absolution for being Jewish, the exceptionalism notion America uses, international law valid only for others, not themselves.
In fact, it’s universally binding, Israel, like America, a serial abuser, B’Tselem explaining:
“Israel has ignored the relevant rules of law, adopting its own interpretation, which is not accepted by almost all leading jurists around the world and by the international community,” its settlement enterprise one of many infringements of Palestinian rights, including:
— the right of property denied by land theft;
— equality and due process under military occupation;
— the right “to an adequate standard of living,” official policy to deny it to non-Jews;
— the right of free movement, expression, assembly, and self-determination under a viable Palestinian state or one nation for all citizens alike, what virtually all other countries allow inside fixed borders, not flexible ones so Israel can illegally expand.
B’Tselem’s report, like many others, exposes the “cloak of (illegality) that Israel has sought to (justify the) theft of West Bank (and East Jerusalem) land,” an illegal way it “advance(s its) political objectives,” by infringing on the rights of others – Palestinians, persecuted by successive regimes, claiming democratic credentials, revealed as ruthless, barbarous, and lawless against non-Jews, what growing millions globally are discovering, including many thousands of Jews, condemning what they’ll no longer tolerate, nor should anyone.
A Final Note
Even Israeli Jews are oppressed, heroic whistleblower/prisoner of conscience Mordechai Vanunu perhaps the most noted.
After being incarcerated for 18 years for exposing Israel’s secret nuclear program, he was imprisoned again on May 23, charged with contacting a foreign national, despite his legal right to do it, his right of free expression.
Then on June 18, Amnesty International (AI) reported him in solitary confinement, Malcolm Smart, AI’s Middle East Program director explaining:
“Mordechai Vanunu should not be in prison at all, let alone….in solitary confinement in a unit intended for violent criminals. He suffered immensely when he was held in solitary confinement for 11 years after his imprisonment in 1986 and to return him to such conditions now is nothing less than cruel, inhuman (and) degrading.”
After his April 2004 release, he was prohibited from leaving the country, approaching foreign embassies, and communicating with foreigners, including journalists, as well as required to get permission to change his address. In addition, a draconian military order, renewed biannually, kept him under surveillance and police supervision, denying his fundamental rights to free movement, expression, and association.
Held at central Israel’s Ayalon Prison, his lawyer, Michael Sfard, said he’s “suffering from isolation. He should not be made to pay a price because of the enmity of others towards him,” recrimination against anyone challenging state policies, an agenda above the law and fundamental humanitarian principles – for over six decades, disregarded and spurned, the way all rogue states operate, Israel today a global menace, the region’s most dangerous.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.