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Discriminating Against Jews

By Michael Freund
11/1/2006, 12:00 AM

Gaza-based terrorists are firing rockets at Israeli cities, Hizbullah is plotting against the Jewish state, and Iran is moving ahead with plans to build nuclear weapons – but how is the Israeli army keeping busy these days?

Why, by tearing down Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, of course.

Soldiers today descended in force on the Jewish community of Sde Boaz, located in Gush Etzion just outside Jerusalem, to tear down a house and stable and uproot the foundations of another home, asserting that the structures had been built without the necessary permits.

Bulldozer Whether or not that is the case is beside the point. What matters here is the unequal application of the law by Israel’s Government vis-a-vis Jews and Arabs.

As anyone who has driven through various parts of Israel knows, there is in fact a wave of illegal building taking place, unhindered and unimpeded by the authorities. Beduin in the Negev, Israeli Arabs in the Galilee and Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem are engaged in a frenzy of illegal construction, yet virtually nothing is being done to stop this “land grab” from taking place out of fear as to how the affected populations might react.

But when a Jew goes ahead and tries to build on Jewish-owned land – whether in Gush Etzion or in Hebron – the security forces are only too happy to pounce, waving the banner of the rule of law even as they trample it under foot.

The fact is that you cannot have it both ways. You can’t deny Jews the right to build, and then punish them when they go ahead and do so anyway, while ignoring large-scale violations by Arabs, Beduin and Palestinians alike.

In Western democracies, they have a word for such policies. It is called discrimination. And it is time for Israel to stop practicing it vis-a-vis its own Jewish citizens.

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