March 17, 2012
Throughout the Territories, Palestinians suffer horrifically. West Bank and East Jerusalem residents live in terror of pre-dawn raids, arrests, false charges, torture, rigged trials, and imprisonment.
In a war zone, besieged Gazans have it worst. Depravation harms them. Humanitarian crises erupt. Basic needs aren't met, including vital medical care for lack of fuel, electricity, medications, proper equipment, and ability to move freely elsewhere for treatment.
For the past week, daily Israeli air attacks terrorized them. At least 25 died. Dozens more were wounded. Targeted and gratuitous slaughter erupts whenever Israel wishes. Expect more. Israel won't tolerate calm or peace. Like America, it needs heightened fear to reign terror ruthlessly.
After days of violence, will Cast Lead II follow? Retired Southern Command General Tzvi Fogel favors it, saying:
"Today everyone understands that unless we initiate a determined and courageous operation designed to dismantle the weapons and the threat from Gaza, we will not solve the problem."
"We need to make sure there are no weapons in Gaza." Southern Command has prepared plans to make it happen. The question is whether weĺll have a leader with enough courage to make the decision to act in Gaza, fighting on land and not just from the air."
Extremist MKs express support. Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz wants Netanyahu to declare a "special (security) situation" emergency, saying:
"Gaza is not a nature reserve, and the terrorist leaders must not feel that safe."
MK Avi Dichter said "Israel has entered a war of attrition."
Left unsaid was Israeli forces began it lawlessly. Victimized Palestinians are called terrorists for defending themselves. In lock step, media scoundrels regurgitate the Big Lie.
So does UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He called Palestinian self-defense "unacceptable." At the same time, he dismissively urged Israel "exercise maximum restraint."
Brussels-based European Campaign to Raise the Siege on Gaza official Anwar Gharbi denounced him, saying:
"This is not the first time (Ban) has adopted pro-Israeli and pro-occupation attitudes. Earlier, he banned the freedom fleet boat from entering" Gaza.
"What Ban Ki-moon stated as well as his attitudes violate international laws by supporting the aggressor, so he is not qualified to stay in his post and the international society must reconsider his position for the UN as Secretary-General for being biased and unbalanced."
He's disgracefully silent on Israel's worst crimes. Despite his sworn duty to uphold fundamental human rights, equity and justice for all, and efforts "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war," he dismissively ignores Israeli state terror and expresses one-sided support.
Like Washington, other Western states, and complicit regional despots, he sanctions violations of fundamental UN Charter provisions. Doing so lets Israel get away with murder and much more.
B'Tselem Report on Israeli Land Theft
A new B'Tselem report discusses Israel' theft of privately owned Palestinian land. It does it by lawlessly reclassifying it state owned. Titled "Under the Guise of Legality: Declarations on state land in the West Bank," it cites Israel's High Court Elon Moreh case ruling.
It prohibited seizing privately owned land for settlements. It ordered them confined to state land. Prior to Israel's 1967 occupation, Israel's land registry restricted it (excluding East Jerusalem) to 527,000 dunams or 9% of West Bank land.
Most was concentrated in the Jordan Valley. The Central Mountain Ridge region had virtually none. Over the years, that changed. Based on procedural grounds and convoluted claims, over 900,000 additional dunams were stolen.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal. Nonetheless, they're expanded daily. Israel plans more Judea and Samaria seizures, including all East Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. At most, Palestinians will be left with isolated scrub land bantustans called a state.
Through silence and dismissiveness, major media scoundrels approve. Israel already stole over 40% of valued West Bank land. Unless stopped, it'll have all parts it wants.
B'Tselem analyzed the 1858 Ottoman Land Code and Jordanian land laws that amended and revised it. It also considered relevant Mandatory period UK court rulings.
It showed "Israel's application of its declarations policy was unlawful, since it classified some land as government property even though, under the local Law, it was private Palestinian property."
"Under the Guise of Legality shows that the declarations policy breaches the local land laws" three principal ways:
(1) Under Ottoman law, farmers who cultivated "miri land" for 10 years without state objection owned it. Jordan applied the same standard.
Israel's convoluted reinterpretation requires Palestinians to prove they cultivated at least 50% of their Central Mountain Ridge land. If less, Israel claimed all of it state owned even though local law calls it private Palestinian property.
(2) Israel's High Court stipulated that Palestinians who cultivated "miri land" for 10 years, then stopped, retained ownership rights, even without registering it in their name in Israel's land registry. Jordan applied the same standard.
Israel's declarations policy reversed it to facilitate massive land theft.
(3) Under Ottoman law, "metruka land" is public two ways. Either it serves the entire public or belongs a specific group that had and used it many years. The Supreme Court held that groups or village residents need only show they used the relevant land for many years to establish collective rights.
Israel ignores the ruling entirely. Doing so violates its High Court and breaches local law. B'Tselem's analysis shows that Israeli state land declarations have been "substantively different from the results of the land settlements that were carried out in the West Bank during the Mandatory and Jordanian periods."
As a result, "a significant percentage of" Israeli designated state land "is privately owned Palestinian property, which was taken from their lawful owners by legal manipulation and in breach of local Law and international law alike."
A Final Comment
Israel is a serial law breaker. It governs extrajudicially in matters ranging from longstanding militarization of an occupied area, persecuting its residents ruthlessly, terrorizing them as state policy, committing cold-blooded murder, and getting international law High Contracting Parties to approve.
It shows what obstacles Palestinians must overcome to live free on their own land in their own country. Israel stole it. They'll continue resisting until one day it's again theirs. With enough support from millions of ordinary caring people, it's just a matter of time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.