Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The False Status Quo Exposed: The Land is being Stolen from us - The Sovereignty Movement

by The Sovereignty Movement

The former Defense Minister's Secretary for Settlement Affairs describes how PA Arabs are determining facts on the ground with international funding, especially in the territory subject to full Israeli control.

The warnings issued by the Sovereignty Movement regarding the PA leadership's determining facts on the ground is now reinforced by the public remarks made by the former Defense Minister's Secretary for Settlement Affairs, Kobi Eliraz, in a series of media statements on the subject.

Eliraz warns against Israeli negligence, which is content to care the existence and development of communities in Judea and Samaria but neglects the great expanse of territory outside of the communities, despite these territories also being defined in the Oslo Accords as under full Israeli control. Along with the Israeli neglect, explains Eliraz, there is a well-synchronized trend, funded by international bodies, to determine facts on the ground and since Ottoman law still applies to these "facts", they may be perceived as valid in the international, legal sphere.

The Palestinian Authority, intentionally and with the encouragement of European countries, is taking over the expanse", states Eliraz in an interview with Galei Zahal. "The open area, almost 500,000 acres, is trod upon and stolen on a daily basis, both by massive illegal construction and with agriculture. Territories where there were never Palestinians, that are not registered to anyone – today it is enough that a farmer plows for ten years and the land becomes lost to us because he has a strong claim on it".

According to Eliraz's statement, Arab illegal construction is exceedingly massive, as is shown by research conducted by Eliraz himself for about three years. "There is a governmental office and a lot of funds here. And actually, this is a land-grab; there are 865,000 acres called Area C that are controlled by the State of Israel, where most of the Jewish communities are located. And the open area within this territory is almost 500,000 acres of open land". These lands, he says, "are being taken from us on an almost daily basis, both by massive illegal construction and by expansive agricultural work in the area in places where there were never Palestinians".

In an interview with Arutz 7, Eliraz added to his warning: "It has taken time for the State of Israel to see this but even since it has become aware, it has not done much to stop it. We must consider the reasons for this, but in practice, the settlement enterprise is focused on what is happening within the Jewish communities and not in the open area and in any case, the politicians are more focused on construction and normalization than on what is happening in the open area".

"They are taking over the open area and using Ottoman law, which applies to the area, allowing Palestinians to work the rocky land that has never been cultivated. The Palestinian can come in and cultivate it for ten years and then he will have a strong claim according to Turkish law. On the other hand, a Jew needs to have land documents and it is more difficult for him. Moreover, fewer Jews engage in agriculture. Therefore in practice, what is happening is a major land-grab of the open area and a sort of (Israeli) withdrawal from Area C. We will, of course, remain with the communities but in order for the Jewish communities not to become small and restricted cantons, we must find a way to arouse the political scene and the government to take a decision which, by the way, would not be complicated, in the near future so that it will not be too late", added Eliraz, emphasizing that the situation, as it is now, is reversible, "but the longer we do not take essential and meaningful steps for the future, the more likely it will become irreversible".

Eliraz's remarks have resulted in a call that has been repeated again and again, and now even more assertively, by the heads of authorities in Judea and Samaria to begin immediately to take steps to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Following these remarks, the head of Har Hevron Local Council Yohai Damari stated that "the government and relevant bodies must open their eyes and begin to deal with this terrible problem. No one wants a Palestinian state that will threaten us from the south, the north, the center or anywhere else. We must have sovereignty, we must enforce the law and most important, we must see what is happening, before it is too late. I call on the prime minister, cabinet ministers and all factions to apply sovereignty over all of Area C in Judea and Samaria in order to end the hostile takeover and the Palestinians' dream of taking control of the land".

Yossi Dagan, head of Samaria Regional Council, responded thus: "Statements made by the Defense Minister's secretary for settlement affairs should worry every person in the State of Israel. The relevant authorities' failure to deal with the situation is unacceptable. If the government doesn't wake up we might find ourselves in the midst of a disaster. Of a terror state. Prime Minister and Minister of Defense  Netanyahu must address this situation, even during an election cycle and instruct the enforcement bodies to stop immediately the expansion of Palestinian construction in Area C. This is criminal neglect of the State of Israel's interests".

Head of Binyamin Council Yisrael Gantz made similar remarks, calling on the government of Israel and its head to "wake up and act against the Palestinian Authority's illegal construction and criminal acts, before it is too late".

We note that during the past two years, the co-chairwomen of the Sovereignty Movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, have issued hasbara material emphasizing the de facto significance of the lack of sovereignty. In a series of articles and hasbara operations the two women have explained that for many in the national camp and among the leaders, there is a sense that in the absence of sovereignty, a status quo is maintained between the sides. But while Israel is engaged only with her communities, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria are focusing their practical efforts on establishing facts on the ground, especially in Area C, which is subject to full Israeli control officially, but in practice, is neglected by Israel.

"The status quo illusion blinds many among the Right camp, who do not understand the urgent need to apply sovereignty", say the co-chairwomen of the Sovereignty Movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, "Every day that sovereignty is not applied, we lose more of the Land".

Translated from Hebrew for the Sovereignty Movement by Sally Zahav

The Sovereignty Movement

Source: http://ribonut.co.il/BlogPostID.aspx?BlogPostId=325&lang=2

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