Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How the Occupation Works, No. 35498

Yesterday the High Court ruled that Highway 443 has to be open to Palestinians. Read about it here and here.

I have written about Highway 443 before. This is the highway that connects Jerusalem through Modiin to the Ben-Shemen Interchange and the Jerusalem-Tel-Aviv road. It is built on expropriated Palestinian land, and Palestinians are not allowed to use it. Some people call it the most famous "apartheid road", but that's an insult to apartheid. I prefer the Hebrew term "hafradah," separation, which speaks of the complete separation of Israelis from Palestinians, unlike apartheid, which separated them in certain spaces.

Why haven't the Israelis let the Palestinians use the road? Oh, they will tell you that the reason is security, and there have been attacks on Israeli vehicles. After all, steal land, keep people under occupation, and, surprise, the neighbors get restless. Of course, if the issue were security, then security measures would be taken so that people of all sorts use the road. But it has never really been about security, has it, I mean, the Zionist enterprise. It has always been about control of the land.

So this is how it works: To expropriate land for a road, you need a reason that shows that the expropriation will be to the general benefit of the people whose property is being used. So you go to the court and say that those people will use the road. Then you build the road and – always for reasons of security – you deny those people the right to use the road. In the case of Highway 443, you actually make it almost impossible for people's villages to connect to the road, or to villages on the other side of the road. And all in the name of the convenience of the new road – for the Occupiers. Modiin is within the 47 armistice line, but settlements in the Modiin Illit block are not. The road, in any event, goes over the armistice line.

Yesterday, the High Court ruled that the Highway has to be opened to Palestinians in a few months. That is a good decision, but trust me, it will not be implemented. The Court's decisions are routinely ignored or circumvented, either through legislation, military decision, or whatever. And that is how the system of occupation works. The Court's decision will be trumpeted by liberal hawks like Alan Dershowitz to show the world what a grand judiciary system Israel has; on the ground, it will mean nothing.

This is not to say that the effort to open the road is wasted. On the contrary, a great Yasher Koah/congratulations to those NGOSs that brought the case to the High Court. Their actions may not effect change now, but at least some Israelis and Palestinians will be able to tell their children and grandchildren that in the dark night of injustice they lit some candles.

6 comments:

traducteur said...

That's Zionism for you: each institution has its role to play. The Supreme Court's function is to issue these liberal decisions; the role of the press (aka hasbara machine) is to publicize those decisions; and the role of the army, government and settlers is to go on killing Palestinians, confiscating their land, sluicing off their water, prohibiting goyim from living in Jewish communities, etc. All the players work harmoniously together toward their shared goal of a goyimrein state.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

You hit the nail on the head when you say that the decision won't be implemented. Over the years, the High Court has issued tons and tons of landmark rulings that have had no practical effect (the "ban" on torture, the "ban" on human shield use by the IDF, the "granting" to Iqrit and Birim villagers of the right to return to their lands --later revoked by the very same High Court--, etc.).

Do you have access to the Highway 443 ruling? I'm sure there's a caveat, a small paragraph hidden somewhere allowing the military never to open the road to the owners of the land that was stolen to build it.

Eric said...

The ongoing principle of Israel today is- We wont let any goy or any goyish institute like a "High Court" prevent us from our goal of destroying ourselves. Zionists must make their own decisions not influenced by goyim, courts, or even the law of gravity, for that matter.

fiddler said...

Jerry, it's the '49 armistice line (not '47).

Ibrahim, I don't have the ruling (and for want of Hebrew couldn't read it anyway), but the hint is right there in the 3rd to last paragraph in Haaretz:

"notwithstanding the authority of the military commander to impose limitations on the freedom of movement, stemming from his duty to preserve public order and secure the communications arteries in Judea and Samaria, his authority does not extend to imposing a permanent and absolute limitation on the movement of Palestinian vehicles on the road."

So instead of a "permanent and absolute" limitation the military may now impose a "temporal" (infinitely extensible) limitation whenever the whim strikes them, and the whim is well-known to be able to strike them any time.

Of course, on the premises of 1) the land having been expropriated for the benefit of the locals and 2) concerns for the safety of Israeli Jews (i.e. foreigners) using the road, the logical conclusion would have been to close it to the foreigners, but that would've been apartheid, and we can't have that, right?

myron said...

Settler leader, Uri Elitzur wrote in Mekor Rishon, the Right Wing Weekend newspaper, that the Supreme Court decision was right- EVEN in light of possible security risks.

Reported in Hebrew on YNET ..
http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3829657,00.html

fiddler said...

The ink is barely dry on the High Court decision, and a "temporary" ban is in place already:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1142515.html
No doubt thwarting legal representation of Palestinians before a military court is security-related - the presence of lawyers might have an adverse effect on sentences after all.
And the Haaretz commenters calling the all-too-familiar shifting to-and-fro of responsibility "Kafkaesque" are 100% right. Israel has often been called a "garrison state" - this one is The Castle in which the Palestinian Herren K. undoubtedly will face their Trials.