Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, January 24, 2005

It's Not Just About Terrorism

Excerpted from today's New York Times:

"The Israeli government secretly approved a measure last summer that says the state may seize land in east Jerusalem that is owned by Palestinians who live elsewhere, the government and an attorney for the Palestinians said today. Many of the Palestinian landowners live in neighboring Bethlehem and in the past had access to property that is inside the Jerusalem boundaries that Israel unilaterally established after capturing the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Mideast war. Many Palestinians have not been able to reach their property in the past two years because of the West Bank separation barrier, which Israel has built between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. But until recently, the Palestinians still believed they owned the property, most of it olive groves and grape orchards that have been in the families for generations.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government approved the confiscation measure in July under the Absentee Property Law, which has been on the books since 1950. Israel has invoked the law to seize thousands of homes and parcels of land that belonged to Palestinians who fled or were driven out during the 1948 war surrounding the founding of Israel. The Israeli government did not announce the move, which requires no compensation for the land, when it was made, but has acknowledged the new policy following a report last week in the daily Haaretz.

In many cases, the Palestinian landowners in the Bethlehem area live only a short distance from their Jerusalem property, and in some cases are right next to it. Johnny Atik, a Bethlehem resident, lives in a house next to his eight acres of olive trees. However, his house is in Bethlehem, while the olive grove is on land that is part of Jerusalem, according to Israel. The Israeli separation barrier runs through Mr. Atik's backyard, separating him from his olive trees, Mr. Seidemann said. Over the past two years, Mr. Atik and other landowners have repeatedly requested permission from the Israeli military to tend to their land, but never received it."

These issues very rarely make U.S. papers, although they are well known in Europe. U.S. journalists are usually loath to mention any actions of the Israeli government that are unpleasant. Contrast this Israeli policy with the US policy on Cuba, Iran, Iraq, and the whole of Eastern Europe, demanding that refugees and exiles be given their land back in full or be compensated. Dare I mention certain artwork? Of cousre, just putting this here will probably raise accusations of anti-semitism. But here's the point: Israeli actions are part of the problem too. It's not just about terrorism. But the US will not condemn this dispossession, only the terrorism. The US will not establish middle east peace by creating a showcase of democracy in Iraq (the pipe dream of the neocons) while we are seen, rightly (sadly) as having a double standard about how nations should behave.


US West said...

LTG, this has been reported in this country. Frontline has covered it more than once. And of course, there was even a documentary that ran on PBS, and is often rerun, that is very compelling. But you are correct that exposure is nowhere near what it should be.

What Israel does the Palestinians is shameful and I, to may be accused of anti-Semitism by saying this, but Israelis have become that which they condemned. I remember another wall that was built to separate a German city. It was widely condemned and eventually torn down in 1989. I also recall that in 1936, the future immigrants to Israel were locked up in ghettos across Europe, dispossessed of their land, their homes, their families, and eventually their lives.

Yet today, another wall is being built. I work with a lady whose family is being separated by that wall as it cuts across their street.

The other thing that happens is that Israel changes the rules on the Arabs all the time. So even those Arabs who try to cooperate with the Israel justice system get nowhere. So, they sit and watch their orange and olive trees bulldozed by Israelis. They can’t have access the legal system to appeal. When they try, they are set up for the fall ( a little the American Indians). They are relegated to living in permanent refugee camps in their own country, and forced to live under strict military occupation. I have heard (but have not confirmed) that over 70% of the fatalities in the territories are children. And we wonder why they resort to blowing themselves up on Israeli streets?

The argument you make in your post, LTG, is the same one made by Arabs across the Middle East. Until the U.S. gets serious about holding Israel’s feel to the fire, we have no credibility in that region. And I have long said that we have to cut Israel where it hurts, the pocket book. They get more of our cash every year than the state of California. They get it in direct aid, loan guarantees, and military deals. And then there are the remissions set back by the Jewish community here in the States. A nation that has been at war as long as Israel is living pretty high considering. That would not be possible if it weren’t for U.S. assistance. As a Lebanese friend once told me, “Arabs can make the desert bloom, too. Just give us a few billion every year.”

US West said...

As let me add that we are taking plenty of lessons from Israel's handbook on how to fight "terrorism".