Rachel NeuwirthRachel Neuwirth is an internationally recognized political commentator and analyst. She specializes in Middle Eastern Affairs with particular emphasis on Militant Islam and Israeli foreign policy.
John Landau, freelance journalist, independent scholar, and longtime student of world history and international relations co-authored this article.
For part I, click here.
The Jewish “settlements” in Judea-Samaria (actually, villages, suburbs and urban neighborhoods) are illegal and must be demolished, and their inhabitants (about 750,000 people) should be expelled.
Actually, under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which still remains legally in force despite Britain’s abandonment of its responsibilities under the Mandate, Jews have every right to live in these territories, and Israel has the legal obligation of helping them to “settle” there. The Mandate document which defines the obligations of the Palestine “Administration” instructs it to facilitate the settlement of Jews on “state or waste” lands throughout Palestine—which is what Israel has done. International law requires the successor government of a territory to fulfill the legal obligations of the previous administering state when that state withdraws from the territory, as Britain did unilaterally in 1948. And that is the very most that Israel has done in Judea-Samaria since these territories came under its administration in 1967.
Israel Has built its Settlements on Palestinian land.
This too is nonsense. But unfortunately, it has been to a large extent propagated by Israel’s own “Civil Administration” in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Attorney General’s office, and above all, by the Israeli Supreme Court. Contrary to what Kerry and the Security Council claim, Israel’s Judea-Samaria administration is extremely pro-Arab and hostile to the settlers, especially in land dispute cases.
The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that all land in “occupied” territory is assumed to be “Privately owned Palestinian Land” unless there is very specific documentation that it once belonged to the Turkish or British former governments of the region. But since the laws of these governments regarded all undeveloped land as belonging to the state and rarely made any specific reference to any particular parcel of undeveloped, uninhabited
While there is no real evidence that any Jewish “settlers” are living on Arab-owned land, it is undeniable that more than 70,000 Arabs are living on Jewish-owned land in Judea-Samaria.
land, this ruling means that the government has accepted without question the claims of Arab litigants (and their leftist Israeli backers) that they own land on which Jews have settled without ever demanding that the Arab claimants produce a title deed, or a shred of evidence that they own the land.
In fact no Arab has ever produced in court, or even elsewhere, a title deed to even one square foot of land on which Jewish “settlers” are living. As a result of this self-destructive Israeli behavior, Jews have been expelled by the Israeli military from homes in which they had lived for years, and entire Jewish neighborhoods and even whole villages (not Arab neighborhoods and villages) have been destroyed by Israel’s own government.
While there is no real evidence that any Jewish “settlers” are living on Arab-owned land, it is undeniable that more than 70,000 Arabs are living on Jewish-owned land in Judea-Samaria. Jewish individuals and organizations have title deeds going back well before 1948, often to the nineteenth century, for land on which Palestinian Arabs are now squatting. The United Nations has even built a refugee camp on one large tract of land, purchased by a Jew from the Ottoman Turkish government in the nineteenth century. PLO documents published by Al-Jazeera even admit all this. http://www.ajtransparency.com/en/projects/thepalestinepapers/201218203525218283.html
None of this bending over backward to be fair to the Arabs living in the disputed territories has in any way lessened the false allegations of Kerry and the “international community” that Israel has stolen “Palestinian” land in order to give it to Jewish "settlers."
Israel has prevented Arabs from building new homes and developing land in the “West Bank.”
This is the most absurd balderdash of all. One of the authors was living in Israel shortly after the 1967 war, and saw with her own eyes that vast areas of the countryside were completely unoccupied. Since then, Arabs have built hundreds of new settlements in these previously vacant spaces since Israel first occupied (or rather liberated) them in 1967—far more than the total number of Jewish settlements that have been built there in this time. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs have built and moved into houses in these new settlements. The Israeli authorities have demolished less than 1 percent of these homes—mostly those that created serious health and safety hazards due to faulty construction, or because they were located in places that impinged on roads, rights of way needed for emergency vehicles, or water and sewer lines, streams, wells, and aquifers that their neighbors depend on for clean water.
Even so, the Israeli authorities have tolerated many of these problematic structures and have allowed Arab families to occupy them. They have not required Arab families to obtain permits to build these homes, and have certainly not required them to produce title to the land they have squatted on, even though Jews are required to obtain numerous permits before they are allowed to build.
The Israeli military has also demolished a small number of structures that impinge on roads, bases, outposts and training areas used by soldiers, since houses built in these locations can be—and have been—used by terrorists to ambush Israeli soldiers.
Israel has denied Arabs permits to build homes and businesses in Judea-Samaria.
Israel gives several hundred building permits a year to Arabs for construction in “East” Jerusalem, where some of the Arab residents accept the authority of the Israeli government. Elsewhere in Judea-Samaria, no Arab would dare request a building permit from Israel, or have any other open dealings with the Israeli authorities, especially where land is concerned, for fear of being murdered by the PLO Ramallah-Fatah regime’s “police.” The PLO government regards any dealings with the Israeli authorities that acknowledge Israel’s authority over land as treason. In fact, many Arabs have been murdered for having any dealings with Israelis connected with land. But as we have seen, Israel allows Arabs to build without permits.
The security checkpoints maintained by Israel to prevent terrorist attacks are a terrible affront to the dignity of Palestinians, prevent economic growth, reduce the Palestinian Arabs to dire poverty and prevent them from receiving medical treatment.
Americans have to endure far longer delays, and have to answer far more intrusive questions every time they try to make a doctor’s appointment over the phone, or to obtain any help from “Customer Service” when their utilities or appliances aren’t working. They also must endure worse delays in “normal” commuter traffic, when lanes or bridges are closed for construction, or when American police forces establish checkpoints on roads to make routine checks for traffic violations, or to catch escaped convicts (as police frequently do).
As for inhibiting Palestinian economic growth and denying Palestinians access to medical care, in reality the Arab population has prospered enormously under Israel’s administration. Life expectancy has nearly doubled. Real incomes have tripled. When Israel first ‘occupied’ Judea-Samaria, it had only one two-year college. Now it has 24, including many that offer masters and doctorate degrees. Less than 30 percent of Arab children went to school; now over 99 percent do. Hundreds of new Palestinian businesses have been established, and several new hospitals have been built along with many new clinics and medical centers. Large numbers of Arab patients receive the best treatment in the world at state-of-the-art Israeli hospitals; now 99 percent do. Less than 30 percent of Arab homes had running water, electricity, telephone service, television, and heating in 1967; now nearly all do.
Between 1967 and 1993, when Israel administered all of the ‘West Bank,’ it experienced annual economic growth rates of 10 percent a year, rivaling those of China. Growth has slowed since the Ramallah-PLO regime took over the Arab-populated areas of Judea-Samaria—because of the massive corruption of the Ramallah regime and its extortion from Arab businessmen, not because of the Israeli “occupation” or security checkpoints.
Documentation: Dr. Moshe Dann, “Is Amona built on private Palestinian land?” Israelnationalnews (Arutz Sheva web site Nov. 11, 2016.Hillel Fendel, “The Myth of Private Palestinian Land in Judea and Samaria,” INN, September 20, 2016. JNi Media,“Eight Crucial facts You Need to Know About the Amona Case,” The Jewish Press, http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/eight-crucial-things-you-must-know-about-the-amona-case/2016/11/20/