Israel “Legalizes” Settlements Built on Privately-Owned Palestinian Land
I really wanted to use the term “steals” in the headline. But I figured I better use a slightly less confrontational term there and then really let loose in the post itself. The Knesset just “legalized” the theft of thousands of dunams of land it doesn’t own. It stole this land from private Palestinian landowners in a shady deal that is characteristic of Israel’s Occupation.
Headlines say the new law’s intent is to “retroactively” legalize the land theft on behalf of the settlement on which it is built. If an Orthodox Jew eats pig is there any way he can retroactively make it kosher? No, pig is treif. You can’t ever make it kosher. But Israel believes that the laws of kashrut don’t apply to the theft of Palestinian land. It believes that through pure legalism it can sanctify the unholy. If a rabbi couldn’t get away with this why should a country?
If you’re of a more secular bent, imagine this operation as the equivalent of money-laundering. You take dirty money earned through crime, extortion, prostitution or drug-dealing and you snap your fingers, presto-change-o, and it becomes cleansed of its sins. That is what the Knesset has tried to do. In a rather venal and heavy-handed fashion.
This is the first step in a campaign by the Israeli Right to annex the West Bank. You being with 4,000 stolen homes and eventually you steal the whole shebang. Annex it. As the world stands by helpless because it wants to be.
There are now 750,000 Israeli settlers. That is well over one in ten Israeli Jews. They and their enablers run the country. You might as well call it the State of Greater Israel. Or even the new Davidic Kingdom. Whatever they call it, they will run it into the ground.
They live on land no one in the world recognizes as theirs. They are violating international law. And they ignore it. Because it is convenient to do so. And the world lets them. Now Donald Trump will let them just as Barack Obama and all previous presidents have let them. And when Palestinians rebel, when they bear arms in a fight to retain the pittance that hasn’t yet been stolen–then they are bloodthirsty killers incited by Facebook, rather than that Israeli theft of all their lands and dignity.
In the rules of evidence there is a precept called “the fruit of the poison tree.” I’ve always wondered at this almost theological term dropped into secular jurisprudence. It means that if you secure evidence of a crime through means that is improper, then the evidence obtained is fatally tainted. Similarly, when Israel steals Palestine right out from the noses of 4-million Palestinians, this renders the entire basis of the Israeli state poisoned. You cannot say that a State that deals in crime and theft is a legitimate State. It is a State born in sin. Sin that can only be expiated by doing justice to the Palestinian victims.
18 thoughts on “Israel “Legalizes” Settlements Built on Privately-Owned Palestinian Land – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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RS: since when does Israel “own” any of the land captured and occupied i 1967? I understand that Israel itself makes a distinction between land held in various ways under Ottoman or Mandatory law, so that some land is said (by Israel) to be “owned” by people whereas much other land is said (by Israel) to be public land which it — as occupier or administrator — it claims to own as the presently (for the time being?) government.
As a separate issue from the issue of who “owns” the land: international law (so I understand) does not allow an occupier to treat ANY occupied land as its own and may use occupied land only for reasons of military necessity. I suppose it’s more complicated than that, but maybe not, seeing as Israel refuses to admit (or to act as though) it is an “occupier” (quotes for the technical term not as scare quotes).
Under international law, when were individual Jews legally prohibited from settling in Judea and Samaria?
@ Ben: A conquering power may not settle its own citizens on conquered land. It’s as clear as day under international law.
[Comment deleted: you have been warned about the 3 comment per day rule. You have ignored the warning. Your next violation of any comment rule including this one could lead to bring banned.]
As long as Israel has the US as a shield in the UN, the Israeli government will continue with the settlements. To answer your question, Israel is in a hole legally because the occupied areas should not become de facto portions of the country that seizes them, and Israel has been growing by such seizures (on and off) during the entire time it has existed as an independent state. The fear by the “occupy the entire West Bank” faction is that the shield will go away and the process be up for examination by the international court, and they know they would lose. The rollback would probably move further and the era of borders of convenience would end, and I have no idea what that Israel would look like.
“State of Greater Israel or even the new Davidic Kingdom” – In most Israeli maps the West Bank is being srawn as part of Israel. There is nothing new about that.
And the Kosher example is childish. You can’t compare an event that took time in the past to an ongoing action with current effects. The problem is – you couldn’t resist “sticking it” to Orthodox Jews b/c in your mind Orthodoxy equal settlerism. When other makes similar mistake with Judaism and Zionism/Israel, you would argue for difference.
@ Jim: Israeli maps don’t determine what is legal or morally correct or even the views of the rest of the world. The fact that most Israelis consider the West Bank Israel’s means nothing except within the confines of Israel. A fact which remains unrecognized or accepted by the outside world.
I’m not going to permit you to put words or views into my mouth I don’t hold. Orthodox Judaism is not the problem per se. I know many Israelis and American Jews who are Orthodox and progressive on these issues. In fact, they agree with me that it is a particular portion of Orthodox Jews who are the problem (not all). Ultra-Orthodoxy for one. Chabad. Settler Jews. They are the problem.
” You take dirty money earned through crime, extortion, prostitution or drug-dealing and you snap your fingers, presto-change-o, and it becomes cleansed of its sins”
Your article omits mention of the fact the Palestinian landowners would be compensated for their losses.
@ Ben: You can’t force someone who owns land to sell it to you if they refuse to do so. Many of these Palestinians landowners don’t want compensation. They want their land. You can’t cleanse this sin by claiming you’re willing to pay them for something you’re stealing. If you put a gun to my head and steal my car, then offer me $100 for it, that doesn’t make your theft legal. That’s what Israel has done.
Remember your 3 comments a day limit. If you exceed it you’re ignoring previous warnings & offering grounds for restricting your access through comment moderation.
Ever read the story of Naboth, Ben?
There was a piece on BBC morning dealing with the concept of private property. The settler interviewed implied that settlers purchased the property from Palestinian owners and therefore it is a question of mutually recognized property laws independent of political considerations. The Palestinian lawyer interviewed claimed that not a single Palestinian landowner had ever considered a purchase offer from Israeli settlers because this would be consider paramount to treason. If the lawyer is accurate, how does a declined offer to purchase something ever constitute an ownership claim?
I call it the ‘Palestine Annexation Law’ for clarity – Haaretz has been calling it the ‘Land grab law’ – instead of the obfuscation used by the Settler MKs
The UN “strongly” condems the new Israeli law, Abbas is in Paris (he’s here nearly every week), Hollande and Abbas have just published a common condemnation of the new law.
The big question is: will France finally legalize the BDS movement without trying to criminalize the activists.
This is a very bad law but everyone in Israel knows that the supreme court will cancel it. That’s include many of those who voted for it and Liberman for example actually said it. http://www.mako.co.il/news-military/israel-q1_2017/Article-c05271d283fe951004.htm
So, its nothing but a game. Sucking up to the settlers knowing nothing will happen in practice and they will have the supreme court to blame.
@ Amico: Nonsense. You are referring to a time long ago when the Court was once independent & not afraid of ruling against the settler & allied elites. That day is long past.
The Supreme Court is now ideologically controlled by settlers. One of its leading jurists IS a settler. There is no certainty at all that the law will be voided. And even if it is, the political echelon has found ways around the Court before & no doubt will this time.
It’s humorous that you say the politicians are sucking up to settlers. They ARE the settlers. But one thing you say is true. It IS a game. A dangerous & potentially fatal game.
Speaking of games, do you want to bet on it? Just tell me what you want me to do if the supreme court will NOT void this law.
I am that sure.
“the Supreme Court is now ideologically controlled by settlers”
Nonesense, as the Amona affair demonstrated.
Moreover, the Attorney General of Israel, Mendalblit has made it very clear that not only won’t he defend the law in the Supreme court but will actually argue against it .
He prevously stated that “”כי החוק יהווה פגיעה אנושה ביסודות שלטון החוק כיוון שהחקיקה הזו תסדיר מצב שבית המשפט העליון כבר קבע שנחשב לפגיעה יסודית בחוק הקניין”.”
This is very unusual and demonstrates what are the odds that the law will not be voided.
In reality Netanyahu and Liberamn objected to the law up to quite recently
They changed their tone only because of the Amona affair that assisted Bennet is describing them as enemies of the settlements.
RE: In the rules of evidence there is a precept called “the fruit of the poison tree.” ~ R.S.
MY COMMENT: The way things are going in this Age of Trump, we will soon be very thankful for any not-too-awfully rotten piece of fruit that drops near us from even the most poisonous of trees!
What I find puzzling about this development is how the passage of the new legislation circumvented the 2005 ruling in the Israeli Supreme Court that ‘Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Gaza are lands taken in war and not a part of Israel.’ This ruling of course led to the withdrawal of both Israeli forces and settlers from the Gaza region. Furthermore I am unclear why this ruling does not apply to all territory siezed beyond the lawful borders assigned by UNSCOP in 1937 pursuant to the Peel Commission.
People often refer to ‘1967’ borders but in reality they hold no forensic effect and are simply ceasefire lines. It is noted that Israel applied for UN membership in 1948 in breach of the 1933 Montevideo Treaty requiring all member states to declare their lawful borders (to be contested by other member sates if required) This was because Acre deep inside the land guaranteed to Palestinian Christians and Arabs fell the same day and the following day the Haganah just kept right on going although then checked by five Arab armies.
How, in your opinion, does this new legislative initiative effect the relationship between the ISC and Knesset when clearly the ISC has ruled in copliance with the 4th Geneva Convention albeit not regarding all land taken by conquest? Clearly the legislature defies the 4th Geneva Convention and is at variance with the judiciary.