Israel’s Illegal Land Grab Formalization Bill
by Stephen Lendman
The so-called formalization bill passed its first Knesset reading, a measure designed to illegitimately legalize annexation of Palestinian land.
It calls for recognizing 55 illegal settlement outposts on private Palestinian land as officially belonging to Israel. Enactment will steal over 8,000 dunums, including 3,067 where 55 outposts are situated, along with furthering far more land theft ahead.
Peace Now calls the scheme “grand theft robbery.” Under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, land on which they’re built stolen from Palestine.
Israeli attorney Avichai Mandelblit general opposes the measure, calling it indefensible if challenged in court. It contravenes Israeli and international law, he said. Passage is expected anyway.
In revised form, it excludes the Amona outpost. Israel’s High Court ordered it demolished. The measure gives settlers “usage right” to privately owned Palestinian land, a slippery slope toward grand theft, Israeli practice from inception, already controlling over 60% of historic Palestine, heading toward stealing it all.
Commenting on the new bill, B’Tselem said “(d)ispossession of Palestinians was never a matter contingent on this legislation. It has been integral to the settlement enterprise from its very inception and is one of the most consistent trends in Israeli policy over the decades.”
B’Tselem’s new report titled “Expel and Exploit: The Israeli Practice of Taking over Rural Palestinian Land explains the disturbing history of three Nablus District Palestinian villages - ‘Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem. Similar actions harmed hundreds of other Palestinian communities since Israel’s 1967 occupation.
Palestinian land is stolen, used for settlements and other illegal development. Dispossession follows, fundamental international law breached every time.
B’Tselem: “The separation Israel has created between the Palestinian residents and their farmland and pastureland allows settlers to build houses, establish outposts, dig pathways, plant crops and groves, graze flocks, and take over natural water sources on that land. Meanwhile, villagers are also regularly subjected to physical attacks.”
These practices are flagrantly lawless, “based on a skewed and manipulative interpretation of the laws that Israel itself applies in the West Bank.”
Forced separation of Palestinians from their land, water and other resources violates their fundamental rights. Israel “devastated the local economy, and propelled (Palestinians) into poverty and dependence on external bodies. Villagers were left in a state of insecurity on multiple levels: financial, food and social insecurity.”
“…Israel utterly ignores the needs of the millions of Palestinians living under the strict military regime in the West Bank that denies these residents the option of taking part in determining their future, robs them of their rights and their assets, and bars them from any possibility of maintaining an ordinary routine.”
As Israel increasingly encroaches on Palestinian land, Palestinians are left isolated on scores of bantustans in so-called Areas A and B.
They’re deprived of virtually all fundamental rights under brutal militarized occupation. The world community ignores them, complicit with Israeli viciousness.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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