Saturday, December 27, 2008

The phone book as criminal evidence

Q.: What do Baruch Sofer, Elad and Noa Mandel, Tehila Cohen and Eitan Klein have in common?
A.: They are all listed in Israel's phone books.

So what, you'll say. So are 4 million other Israelis.

But these people live in illegal Israeli outposts in the West Bank. Sofer is a resident of Amona, the Mandels live in Palgei Mayim, Cohen calls Neveh Erez home and Klein is a dweller of Nofei Nehemia, Rehelim, the first outpost listed in the Sasson Report, a 2004 document that examined the State of Israel's role in assisting the settlers in the establishment of those unlawful outposts.

How did these folks get to have a telephone line in the first place? At first sight it would look a bit illogical. The current Israeli government claims to be opposed to the unilateral seizure of Palestinian land by the settlers. Now since there exists a State entity that regulates the telecommunications business, all lines installed in territories under Israeli control must be approved by the State. Therefore, the lines in the outposts enjoy the legal approval of the State of Israel, the same state that has called the outposts illegal. Surprised?

Well, you shouldn't be. The whole issue is part of a bigger problem, namely the Israeli governments' constant equivocation when it comes to the settlements; their saying one thing and doing another. Their denouncing the settlers while allocating resources to build homes for them like crazy. Their decreeing that this or that outpost will be evacuated while looking for the legal loopholes that will allow the decision not to be implemented. Their claiming that they only intend to keep those settlements next to the Green Line (1967 border) in a final agreement, while approving a new civilian settlement in Maskiyot, far removed from that line.

No amount of evacuation promises will convince the international public that Israel's government has the determination or even the wish to remove the illegal outposts from the West Bank, when it can't even bring itself to remove them from the phone book.


Yaacov said...

Hello? Faux-Ibrahim? There's a war on, if you haven't noticed?

Well, if you insist on being foolish, ponder on this. There are tens of thousands of Arab homes in East Jerusalem which have been built contrary to the zoning laws. In Israel, you can't be connected to the electirc grid and the water mains unless you've constucted your structure according to all the relevant rules. Since those tens of thousands didn't, and aren't, they can't be conected. So the High Court of Justice itself had to authorize the electric and water companies to break the law so as to be able to supply these many tens of thousands of people with water and electricity, in spite of their having contravned the building codes, saftey rules, and others.

So nasty, those Israelis.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Thank you for the reminder. This is not a news blog (I do roughly one post a week), but a blog of analysis. I'll write on the Gaza op when the dust settles, or even in the middle of the dust if it takes too long to settle.

As for the Arabs in Jerusalem, you know any analogy between lawful residents of a country and squatters in someone else's land is false. The Jerusalem Arabs need new homes to acommodate their increasing population. The settlers don't need to set up new outposts and all they want is to grab the Palestinians' land. I think you can understand that clear difference.

Ernie Halfdram said...

It might also be worth pointing out in this context, although I don't ordinarily respond to trolls, that the reason Palestinians in E Jerusalem, and indeed anywhere else in Israel or the WB, are systematicaly refused building permits as a matter of policy.

Medicine said...

The current Israeli government claims to be opposed to the unilateral seizure of Palestinian land by the settlers.