Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yahoo Aricle -

Here's an article I found on Yahoo and I just had to comment on parts of it.

Here goes...

JERUSALEM - Nearly 40 percent of West Bank settlements are built on private land seized from Palestinians, an Israeli watchdog group said Tuesday — challenging the government's long-standing assertion the communities were built only on unclaimed territory.

Citing leaked Israeli military documents, Peace Now unveiled a report it said showed settlements were built on Palestinian property seized by the army long after Israel's Supreme Court outlawed the practice in 1979.

"We are talking about an institutional land grab," Dror Etkes, a settlement expert with the group, told reporters in Jerusalem.

In the Gaza StripSEARCH, meanwhile, Israeli troops killed a top Hamas commander in an operation against Palestinian rocket squads. Two other Palestinians, including an elderly woman, also were killed, hospital officials said.

In apparent Palestinian infighting, a former FatahARCH
Cabinet minister, Abdel Aziz Shahin, 62, was shot and wounded in Gaza City after criticizing the ruling Islamic Hamas on a radio show, hospital officials said.

Peace Now said its information was leaked from the Civil Administration, the Israeli military department responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war. It said at the government's request, the Supreme Court delayed a scheduled May hearing on Peace Now's petition to have the data released under freedom of information laws.

In its 174-page report, Peace Now said the Civil Administration database showed 38.8 percent of the area currently occupied by Israeli settlements, settlement outposts and industrial zones in the West Bank was privately owned Palestinian land, illegally expropriated by Israeli authorities.

Most notable was the city of Maaleh Adumim outside Jerusalem — with a population of 30,000, the West Bank's biggest settlement — where Peace Now said 86.4 percent of the real estate was in fact Palestinian-owned.

Israel has agreed to freeze settlement construction under an internationally backed peace plan, but says the fate of the settlements should be left to future peace negotiations.

The court ruling of 1979 ordered the Defense Ministry to stop seizing private Palestinian land for military use and turning it over for settlement construction. Peace Now said the practice continued, and 31.3 percent of the land built into settlements since the ruling is owned by Palestinians.

Civil Administration spokesman Shlomo Dror said he had not had an opportunity to study the report and could not comment on the figures.

"I can say that in general we have a clear directive not to build on privately owned Palestinian land," he said. He added that West Bank property records, passed down through successive Ottoman, British and Jordanian rulers, were incomplete and that some people listed as holding property titles had died and their heirs were unknown.

"I'm not sure that all the land Peace Now says is Palestinian, is Palestinian," he said.

Bentsi Lieberman, head of the settlers' council, insisted the settlements were built on public land. Speaking on Channel 2 TV, he said much of the land is claimed falsely by Palestinians.

Nearly 244,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank. In the summer of 2005, Israel evacuated all 8,500 settlers from the Gaza Strip, along with its military bases.

Since then, Palestinian militants in Gaza have been pounding southern Israel with homemade rockets. A woman in the town of Sderot, a frequent target, was killed in a volley last week.

Palestinian militants fired at least three rockets into Israel on Tuesday, one of which critically wounded a man in Sderot as the top U.N. human rights official toured another part of the town.

In Tuesday's raid, ground troops, backed by helicopters and tanks, surrounded the Gaza City home of Ayman Hassanin, 26, a local Hamas leader, witnesses said.

Gunmen streamed to the area as troops called on loudspeakers for Hassanin and his brother, Ibrahim, to surrender, according to the militants' mother, who identified herself only as Umm Mahmoud. A gunbattle erupted, and Ayman Hassanin was killed.

A 70-year-old woman also was killed in the battle, and a 20-year-old man was killed elsewhere, Palestinian medical officials said.

The army said troops fired at the house only after militants fired bullets and mortars at the soldiers.

Also Tuesday, two Italian Red Cross workers in Gaza were kidnapped by militants, the agency said, the latest in a series of abductions of foreigners in the territory. In the past, hostages have been released unharmed after a relatively short time, though two Fox journalists were held for two weeks.

Problem # 1 is with this statement, "Citing leaked Israeli military documents, Peace Now unveiled a report it said showed settlements were built on Palestinian property seized by the army long after Israel's Supreme Court outlawed the practice in 1979."

The Israeli Supreme Court might have outlawed the practice in 1979, but that is irrelevant because thirteen years earlier, in 1967, the three countries that this article failed to mention, those three which collaberated to destroy Israel in that war, lost the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. Israel's critics now hysterically yell that Israel's seizure and annexation of those lands was illegal, but excuse for me mentioning that the attempt for Jordan, Egypt, and Syria to destroy Israel in an unilaterally accepted war is also illegal. Why would anybody attack the second illegal move and leave the first one unchallenged? Does anybody see a problem with that logic?

We must understand how this article is using the phrase "Palestinian property." The usage here is meant to refer to land that on which Palestinians lived before Israel became a state in 1948. That's all well and good and that land might have been land on which Palestinians lived, but in 1967 the Jordanians, Egyptians, and Syrians forfeited the right of the Palestinians to that land when they attacked Israel. Those who don't know much about modern Middle Eastern history have to know that the West Bank was considered Jordanian up until after the Six Day War. To add insult to the Palestinian's injury, they started this war without even once taking into account what would have happened to those Arabs had the attacker countries lost the war. When Israel won the Six Day War of 1967 the land on which the Palestinians lived was passed off into Israel's hands, and we would be fools to say that Israel's seizure of those lands was illegal because the war itself was illegal. It is absolutely ridiculous to say that Israel's winning the war was illegal, but if you consider for a moment, that is precisely what is being said when we hear "it was illegal for Israel to capture those lands." Doing something in a state of self defense is never illegal, just like it is never illegal to kill a person who has a gun to your head. The only reason that it became known as "Palestinan property" is because Israel's annexation of those areas of land were not absolute, the country divided the newly annexed area into three areas; areas where Palestinians had civil and local control, areas where Israel had civil control and Palestinians had local control, and areas where Israel had both civil and local control.

The question Peace Now's report begs is on which category of land were the settlements built. But a more philosophical question remains; isn't it Israel's fault for its own problems now for not taking full control of the entire West Bank in 1967 and annexing it as part of the country? By giving the Palestinians a measure of sovereignty in the area Israel made a huge mistake, but it's easy to judge these things in retrospect, which I am not doing. What I am doing is pointing out that the source of Peace Now's gripe with Israel is seeded deep in the grievous error that Israel made after winning the Six Day War, the attempt to give the Palestinians free reign rather than expelling them from those borders. That the most skilled military officers of the Israeli army did not realize in advance that providing the defeated Palestinian Arabs with this type of sovereignty within Israel's new borders (although many apparently did) is indicative of a national illusion shared by Israeli culture. That illusion is that peace was possible with the Arabs and it is very important to say that the Arabs did not share this same illusion, not then and still not now.

Yet another philosophical perspective renders the fact that Muslims see no difference between religion and politics, and to a degree I believe this to be a positive trait and wish to see the Jewish People recognize that this too is their destiny, but that is another topic. The Jews of Israel have detached from this ideological yearning that religion should influence (and rule) all aspects of their national political existence, but the neighboring Arabs, who haven't, view Israel in the way that they view their own national existence. Therefore, they must associate anti-Israelism with anti-Semitism because the right of the Jewish State to exist is based soley on Judaism, and the Arabs, who are Muslim, know this. The extent that Israel should be destroyed is equal to the extent which Israel is inextracable from Judaism. The extent to which a Jewish national state should not exist is equal to the extent which a Muslim national state should.

It's late so I'll add more criticism of this article later. Good night.

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