Monday, July 28, 2008

Another Bogus Triumph of Justice

On its front page yesterday Haaretz proclaimed an apparent triumph for the cause of justice: Part of the barrier that separates the villages of Jayus and Falamah from their lands would be moved closer to the Green Line – at the cost of 50 million shekalim to the Israeli taxpayer. The original route had been planned, of course, to accommodate the expansion of the settlement Tzofim, which itself is built on Palestinian land.

It seems that IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi,doesn't want to spend time, energy, and money, planning a route that may later be moved by the High Court of Justice. In this case, the new route follows the suggestions of the "dovish" Council for Peace and Security headed by Col. Shaul Arieli (ret.), who has co-authored a book on the barrier with the human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard.

A triumph for the good guys, you say? Think again.

The new barrier will be closer to the Green Line, not on the Green Line. What difference is it to the villagers of Jayus and Falamah if the barrier is moved closer to the Green Line, when they still have to go through gates and get permits to farm their lands. Maybe some villagers will benefit. But if you have lands on both sides of the barrier, and if you have to farm both lands at the same time, you still lose out – and plenty.

The decision is emblematic of the way things work here in Israel. A decision is made that involves an outrageous injustice and that causes untold suffering in the name of Israeli security. Then comes along the High Court, usually because of a suit brought when the human rights organizations are involved, and occasionally a policy is changed, with great fanfare, to something more moderate. The Alan Dershowitzes and Michael Walzers of the world are happy. But the less egregious decision still involves an outrageous injustice and causes untold suffering. Israelis pat themselves on the back and retain their self-image of being civilized – since they had the power to do worse.

Any wall, even one on the Green Line, is a lousy idea that endangers both people's security.

But I won't argue that in this post. Rather I wish to claim that the question is not, "What can the State of Israel legitimately do to Palestinians for the sake of its security?

The question is rather, "What can the State of Israel legitiimately do to any civilians, including Jews, in the name of its security?

The answer to the second question determines the answer to the first. If it is wrong to do it to a Jew (say, one that is not a citizen of Israel), it is a wrong to do it to a Palestinian.

Please read the article below or here

In one West Bank village, new barrier route won't help

By Avi Issacharoff


Farmers in the village of Jayus, in the northern West Bank, were not overjoyed over the defense establishment's reported decision to move the separation fence, thus giving the villages there easier access to their lands.

"Israel's decision is a disaster for us," said Jayus farmer Sharif Khaled.

Until now, Khaled would pass through the fence every morning and evening, via a special gate the Israel Defense Forces opens three times a day, in order to access his lands and greenhouses west of the fence.



He and his wife returned home Monday at 4:30 P.M., as they have been doing since October 2003. He showed the soldiers at the gate his special IDF-issued work pass, and entered Jayus.

However, even after the fence is moved, Khaled will have to go through a similar gate in the new fence, he said.

Contrary to Israel's announcement that 2,600 of the village's 3,000 dunams will be east of the new fence, another 6,000 dunams of Jayus' land will remain west of it, Khaled said.

"We had hoped the new fence would be on the Green Line. It will leave 6,000 dunams west of the fence and only 2,000 on our side. It will still be difficult to reach the land," he said.

Khaled has 175 dunams of land west of the fence, where he grows vegetables and fruit. He must renew his permit every few months in order to access his lands. However, he fears that by the end of this month, he may not be able to do so.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One beneficiary of this new route is Lev Leviev. The new route will still allow him to build his 1,500 unit expansion to the Leviev-built settlement Zufim, to be called "Nofei Zufim." Note the blue line on the map at the end of this article:

The article also points out:

he change in the route of the Apartheid Wall will return 2,609 dunums (out of almost 9,000 dunums) of agricultural land to its Palestinian owners, while 5,585 dunums will be confiscated once and for all and will be used for settlement expansion plans. A further 277 dunums of land will be razed for the new path of the Wall. Farmers will be completely cut off from their lands that are on the other side of the Wall as the gates in this section of the Wall will be completely closed.

The settlement of Zufim is slated to swallow much of the annexed land together with an industrial zone the Occupation will build on the agricultural lands of Jayyous. The construction of infrastructure for the new part of the settlement called "North Zufim" has already begun. Construction of an electricity network has started and the creation of housing units is imminent.

Once again the Occupation promotes a court decision as a concession that presumably is to "legalize" the Wall. Yet, it simply seals the farmers' fate of dispossession. The Wall is not less illegal and no less a tool of colonization and settlement expansion; furthermore, Palestinians do not fight to re-route the Wall but to tear it down.