Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How the Landgrab System Works

Akiva Eldar writes in today's Haaretz that the government is considering creating a sewage treatment system near Ofra that would serve Palestinian villages and Jewish settlements.

Now isn't that a heartwarming story? The Occupier is finally taking care of the occupied.

Not quite. This is a textbook case of how the Occupier steals land, then builds a settlement on it, then pollutes the villages next to the settlement, then steals more land to build on it a sewage treatment facility. Here's how it works.

Step One. The settlement of Ofra is built illegally on Palestinian public and private land. ("Haaretz reports in that 179 of the 600 buildings in Ofra are considered illegal by the Israeli administration, a somewhat surprising statistic since the infrastructure was provided by the government, which also provided preferential mortgages.")

Step Two. The illegal settlement of Ofra illegally seizes Palestinian private land to put up an illegal sewage treatment facility. Before then, Ofra's sewage was polluting the neigboring village of Ein Yabrud.

Step Three. A resident of Ein Yabrud and the human rights organization Yesh Din petition the High Court to remove the sewage treatment plant.

Step Four. The government issues a demolition order, does not carry out the demolition order, and at the same time, announces its intention of exploring the possibility of expropriating the private land for a facility that would serve Jews and Palestinians together. (It seems that the High Court has ruled that if private land is expropriated for public works, then the Palestinians have to benefit.)

Step Five. For the facility to serve the Palestinian village of Ein Yabrud, a highly-expensive pumping facility needs to be built (on Palestinian land?). Nothing like that has ever been built on the West Bank, and the chances of its being built are near zero.

According to the government announcement:

"After the legal picture was clarified and a demolition order was issued for the facility, an order was given to suspend state funds to the plant, and it has not received a permit to connect it to the power supply. The sewage treatment plant was initiated by the Shomron Union for Ecology and the Environment Ministry, after the settlement's sewage polluted the environment and endangered groundwater sources," the announcement says.

So…either the illegal settlement will connect its illegal sewage treatment plant illegally to the power supply. Or the illegal settlement will illegally pollute the neighboring village of Ein Yabrud.

And that, Rivkele, is how the corrupt system works.


fiddler said...

Here's my proposition: let the inhabitants of the 179 illegal buildings of Ofra swap residence with (preferrably) those inhabitants of Ein Yabrud who own the land at Ofra.

1. Palestinians will benefit from the sewage plant without any further ado.
2. If the Ein Yabrud houses are rented, not given for free, to the former Ofra settlers, the Palestinians effectively get their stolen property back.
3. The settlers get the benefit of becoming accustomed early to life in a future Palestinian state (if they chose to stay, that is).
4. I get the Nobel Price.

Say, when was the last time so many birds were killed with one stone?

Jerry Haber said...

fiddler, you've got my vote.