Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights

This section covers items—reprinted articles, statistics, and maps—pertaining to Israeli settlement activities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. Unless otherwise stated, the items have been written by Geoffrey Aronson for this section or drawn from material written by him for Report on Israeli Settlement in the Occupied Territories (hereinafter Settlement Report), a Washington-based bimonthly newsletter published by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. JPS is grateful to the foundation for permission to draw on its material.
Olmert and Settlements: Lofty Goals Betrayed by Actions on the Ground
(Settlement Report) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150
Isolating Jerusalem
The Death of the Settlement Freeze—Four Months since Annapolis, by Peace
Now (excerpts) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Containing Palestinian Neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem’s Old City . . . 153
Permission Denied: Building and Traveling in the West Bank
Area C: Construction and Demolition Statistics, by Peace Now (excerpts) . . . . 155
High Court Closes off Use of Major Highway to Palestinians, by Akiva Eldar . . . 156
Tyranny in Tar, by David Kretzmer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
From Settlement Report, March–April
Since his election as prime minister,
Ehud Olmert, long a stalwart supporter of
Greater Israel, has made unprecedented
statements declaring an interest in ending
Israel’s rule over Palestinians. In stark contrast
to Olmert’s rhetoric, however, the settlement
machine grinds on. Many Israelis
and others are now asking whether Olmert
means what he says when he voices a need to
end occupation, evacuate settlements, and
agree to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Or are his comments merely a new twist to
Israel’s oft declared interest in “stretching
out its hand in peace” to its Arab adversaries
even as this objective is betrayed by Israeli
actions on the ground?
Some History
Menachem Begin’s election as prime minister
in May 1977 opened a new chapter in
Israel and the national enterprise of settling
the West Bank. No longer would the policy
of “creeping annexation,” adopted by Israeli
leaders during 1967–77, be obscured by the
official policy of “deciding not to decide” the
future of theWest Bank and Gaza Strip. Begin
was not one to shrink from declaring without
ambiguity his dedication to settlement
throughout the “Land of Israel.”
Begin himself soon traveled to the wildcat
West Bank settlement of Elon Moreh—
an “outpost” in today’s parlance—which
elements in the just-defeated Rabin government
patronized even as the prime minister
condemned its consolidation.
“There will be many more Elon Morehs,”
Begin declared. “Since May of this year, the
name of these areas has been changed from
occupied to liberated territories. This is
liberated Israeli land, and we call on young
volunteers in the country and the diaspora
to come and settle here.”
Sharon Settles
There was no mistaking Begin’s intent,
or the parallel intentions of his principal
settlement architect, Ariel Sharon, who
served Begin, and then Yitzhak Shamir, in a
Journal of Palestine Studies Vol. XXXVII, No. 4 (Summer 2008), pp. 150–158, ISSN 0377-919X, electronic ISSN 1533-8614.
2008 by the Institute for Palestine Studies. All rights reserved. Please direct all requests for permission
to photocopy or reproduce article content through the University of California Press’s
Rights and Permissions website, at http://www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintInfo.asp. DOI: jps.2008.XXXVII.4.150.
number of key settlement-related posts. As
a minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet,
Sharon returned to Israel from discussions
with Pres. Bill Clinton at the Wye Plantation
in October 1996 admonishing “young
volunteers” (many of whom were the children
of Begin’s settlement cadre) to “grab
and settle” land throughout the West Bank,
unleashing the most recent phase of new
settlement creation. These so-called illegal
outposts—the successors to the veteran
settlements of Ofra, Elon Moreh (renamed
Keddumim), Ma’ale Adumim, and numerous
others—now number close to 100.
Sharon worked in the service of Likud
governments, but his origins were in the
bosom of Israel’s Labor establishment—the
party of David Ben Gurion, Golda Meir,
and more recently, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud
Barak. If Begin is considered the settlement
movement’s cheerleader and most
unabashed advocate, Sharon—and by extension
Israel’s Labor establishment, from
Levi Eshkol to Barak—was its most effective
contractor. It is not for nothing that one of
the truisms of Israel’s occupation is “Labor
announces one settlement and builds ten,
while the Likud announces ten and builds
Cry and Build
While Sharon was a child of Israel’s Labor
establishment, Olmert was born and bred
in Begin’s Likud. Indeed, for most of his
political career, Olmert, anointed as one of
the Likud “princes” who would someday
inherit Begin’s mantle, placed himself on
Begin’s right wing, voting, most notably,
against Begin’s pathbreaking peace treaty
with Egypt.
As premier, however, Olmert has adopted
the “cry and build” persona preferred by his
predecessors in the Labor Party. Indeed, in
important respects he has outflanked his
predecessors in Labor from the left. Rabin,
for example, never would have dreamed
of declaring, as has Olmert, the creation
of a Palestinian state to be a vital Israeli
interest. Yet despite such sentiments, like
his Labor predecessors, Olmert presides
over settlement policies that, contrary to
the spirit of his public pronouncements,
continue to advance creeping annexation
on the ground.
For example, settlers decry any suggestion
of a reduced commitment to their welfare
as a “freeze” on settlements. They need
not worry, explained Eitan Broshi, assistant
minister of defense for settlement affairs.
“There is no policy of ‘drying out’ the settlements.
There is a policy of caution with
regard to the use of broader discretion regarding
construction permits. Over the past
three months, the minister of defense approved
several construction matters in the
territories, and these will also be implemented
in coming months. Priority,” he explained,
“is being given to Jerusalem, the
Etzion bloc, and settlements located in settlements
blocs”—the latter defined by Israel
as those areas about which Pres. George W.
Bush, in a 2004 letter to then Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon, acknowledged Israel’s intent
to annex.
These are not empty words. Olmert has
specifically excluded the settlement neighborhoods
in East Jerusalem from any freeze.
The newspaper Qol Ha’Zeman reports that
“in the framework of efforts to expand construction,
the Jerusalem municipality is undertaking
intensive discussions with the
Israel Land Authority to ‘liberate’ public
land for the immediate construction of new
housing. In coming months, tenders for construction
of 750 apartments in Pisgat Ze’ev
. . . can be expected.” Since the November
2007 Annapolis conference, tenders for the
construction of 400 units in East Talpiot, 300
in Har Homa, and 50 in Gilo have already
been announced. Uri Lupiansky, mayor of
Jerusalem, recently said that the city is moving
forward with plans for the construction
of 10,000 housing units in East Jerusalem
Minister without Portfolio Haim Ramon,
who has established himself as Olmert’s
stalking horse on settlement policy and who
heads a committee charged with solving the
outposts issue, explained that his committee
sees its mandate not so much as removing
unauthorized settlements but rather facilitating
settlement construction wherever “it
is not politically significant.” Indeed, draft
recommendations by Israel’s Justice Ministry
will enable continuing construction
not only in recognized settlements but also
in unauthorized ones as well. Most problematic
are new settlements sited on what
Israel acknowledges to be private Palestinian
land. These number at least one third of 100
existing outposts.
Linking Elon Moreh to Migron
Begin’s decision to legalize Elon Moreh
was challenged by a 1979 High Court decision
voiding the creation of civilian Jewish
settlement on private Palestinian West Bank
land in the absence of a security justification.
The settlers of Elon Moreh simply moved to
a new location nearby—Keddumim, today a
settlement of 3,400. Elon Moreh itself was
reincarnated as a settlement of 1,300 on a
hilltop overlooking Nablus.
The Israeli court’s prohibition of this
type of land theft, however, did not stop the
practice of taking what even Israel recognizes
as private Palestinian land for Israeli
settlement, as today’s outpost phenomenon
demonstrates. Peace Now reports that almost
75 percent of the wildcat settlements
established since 1996 are built in part on
private, Palestinian-owned land that was
taken by settlers without any confiscation
The Legacy of Elon Moreh
A recent report by Israel’s civil administration
acknowledges that more than one
third of well-established West Bank settlements,
where tens of thousands of Israelis
reside, are built on private Palestinian land
that was “temporarily” seized by military
order for security purposes. According to
a report in Ha’Aretz, “a security source
termed this a ‘difficult statistic’ that is liable
to cause trouble for Israel both in
Washington and its own courts.” The article
notes that most of this land was privately
owned by Palestinians. In addition to
Ariel, Efrat, and Kiryat Arba—three of the
largest West Bank settlements—the list also
includes settlements in the West Bank heartland
favored by Sharon: Beit El, Elon Moreh,
Karnei Shomron, Keddumim, Ofra, Psagot,
and Shilo, and the Jordan Valley settlements
of Gitit and Mechora. At least 19 of the 44
settlements on the civil administration’s list
were established after 1979, violating at least
the spirit of the Elon Moreh decision and a
government policy that based settlement
expansion exclusively on “state land.”
Ha’Aretz noted that “the Israel Defense
Forces explained that its land seizure orders
are in force until they are canceled. In some
of these settlements, part or all of [the land]
was declared ‘state land’ at the same time,
but the seizure orders have not been canceled,
either partially or totally.” It added that
“in general, seizure orders have not been
used to build settlements since 1979,” but
“in the early 1980s, Nahal [an army unit] outposts
were still built on the basis of seizure
orders, and some later became settlements.
There were also isolated cases during those
years in which land was seized for roads or
buildings for existing settlements.”
A deal in the works between settlers
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will
trade the evacuation of some outposts
for increased settlement construction elsewhere.
Prominent among these is Migron,
a wildcat settlement of sixty families that
Olmert has promised to evacuate by August.
Ha’Aretz has reported that “a new neighborhood
comprising 27 trailers is currently
under construction at the settlement of Eli,
north of Ramallah, even though Olmert
vowed publicly after the Annapolis conference
that any such building would cease.”
These facts prompted a Ha’Aretz editorial
on 9 January 2008, declaring that “there is
no meaning to the Bush visit or to Olmert’s
talks with Mahmud Abbas as long as the
facts on the ground . . . clearly demonstrate
the lack of credibility of the government’s
declarations, and the cooperation that it
receives from the American government
with this policy.”
Olmert’s lofty sentiments highlighting
the need for a change in the status quo
pale against the continuing commitment of
Israel’s central security, legal, administrative,
and political institutions to the policy, now
almost four decades old, of creeping annexation.
The prime minister’s comments are as
yet little more than a public relations sedative
to mask Israel’s continuing commitment
to Greater Israel.
The full text of this Peace Now report,
published in March 2008, is available at
Since [Israeli PM Ehud] Olmert’s announcement
at the Annapolis summit regarding
the freeze on the settlements, dozens of
declarations have been published by ministers
in his government who have tried to
prevent the construction freeze and therefore
reduce it to the point of ineffectiveness,
until almost nothing is left of the promise
that Israel would freeze construction in the
The First Erosion
The freeze does not include projects
where construction has already begun.
Olmert’s announcement was not accompanied
by a halt on any project which already
existed, and the message was clear: There
is no true intention to freeze construction;
wherever construction had already begun
prior to the Annapolis summit, it would continue.
In contrast to Olmert, when Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin led the negotiations
with the Palestinians, he froze the settlements
and even stopped projects in the
middle. This meant allocating money to
compensate contractors who had already
begun construction on the basis of previous
approvals and agreements—but Israel’s
interest to promote the permanent arrangement
and the chances of a lasting peace took
precedence over business commitments—
the contractors were compensated and the
buildings stood unfinished for many years.
The Olmert-style freeze did not include
projects which had already been started,
a fact that easily led to the further erosion of
the freeze.
The Second Erosion: Taking East
Jerusalem out of the Freeze Formula
Less than one month after the Annapolis
Summit, the Ministry of Housing issued
a tender for the construction of 307 new
housing units in Har Homa in East Jerusalem.
Following harsh international criticism, government
elements tried to claim that the
“freeze” did not include construction in
East Jerusalem. Immediately thereafter, additional
tenders were issued for construction
in East Jerusalem and new plans were sponsored
and approved at a very rapid rate.
The Third Erosion: Taking
“Settlement Blocs” out of the
Freeze Formula
When there was criticism regarding continued
construction in the settlements outside
of Jerusalem, such as Ma’ale Adumim,
Beitar Ilit, and Givat Ze’ev, voices within the
government began to say that for construction
purposes, the settlements surrounding
Jerusalem are an essential part of Jerusalem
and in addition, that “the settlement blocs”
are not considered part of the freeze. A plan
for establishing an ultra-orthodox quarter
in Givat Ze’ev, northeast of Jerusalem, was
held up for several months, but ultimately, as
a result of pressure from political as well as
non-political elements, particularly the Shas
party—the prime minister also approved
new construction in Givat Ze’ev. One of the
ministers took this one step further when,
during a radio interview, he announced
that Giv’at Ze’ev is “the heart of Jerusalem”
(despite the fact that the planned quarter
is located 5 km away, as the crow flies,
from the municipal city limits of “unified
A building surge in the settlements and
in East Jerusalem: The facts show that
despite Olmert and his government’s declarations
and commitments, construction
continues everywhere it had already begun;
new plans and projects have been approved
(particularly in East Jerusalem and in “the
settlement blocs”); and finally, remote settlements,
beyond the separation fence, were
also given permits for construction and
From Settlement Report, March–April
This map illustrates the broader territorial
context of Israel’s settlement program in
the heart of East Jerusalem where land and
land use are the central instruments of containment,
control, and marginalization of the
Palestinian community. Large-scale residential
settlement, a key feature employed by
Israel elsewhere in East Jerusalem in its effort
to divide and contain the Palestinian community,
anchors both the targeted small-scale
settlement and the creation of open areas
around and within areas of Palestinian habitation
that are the key features of Israeli
policy in this critical and sensitive area.
In the north, the structural cohesion
of Palestinian neighborhoods like Shaykh
Jarrah and Wadi al-Juz is eroded by a variety
of means: the construction of Ma’alot
Dafna in what was formerly no-man’s land;
the placement of government offices and institutions;
the creation of open or “green”
spaces; the establishment of small civilian
settlement areas.
Isolation of this area from the Old City
is visible in efforts to employ similar instruments
along and within the northern
perimeter of the Old City.
East of the Old City, the creation of parks
and other civilian land uses effectively interrupts
the linkage to both Sawaneh and At
Tur, which are forced to look eastward for
potential growth.
Within the Old City itself, the relatively
large-scale re-creation of an enlarged Jewish
Quarter anchors the effort to establish small
but significant Jewish residential and institutional
centers whose isolation from one
another is in part answered by the creation of
passageways both under and above ground.
To the south, the expanding settlement
of Ma’ale HaZeitim, soon to include the site
of the nearby police station (which itself
is set to move to a new facility in the E-1
Proposed Settlement Scheme /
Residential - Non Residential
Palestinian Neighborhood
at Risk
Palestinian Properties Seized
by Israeli Settlers
Excavated Tunnel
Tunnel under Excavation
Rooftop Promenade
Thrust of Israeli Settlement
and Development
Palestinian Neighborhoods /
Areas Contained by
Settler Presence
Israeli Settlement
Neighborhoods /
Civil Facilities
Old City Palestinian
Land Excluded from
Palestinian Use
Green Line /
No Man’s land
Ha Tzadik
Containing Palestinian Neighborhoods
in and around Jerusalem’s Old City—2008
Har Zeitim
Slopes Park
of Law
Karm al
Wadi al-Juz
At Tur
Mt. Scopus
Ma’ale Adumim
Mt. Scopus Tunnel
El Bustan
al Amud
Map: © Jan de Jong
500 m
Mt. Zion
Al Aqsa
Nablus Rd.
S alah ad Din Str.
Ir David
Wall Plaza
area), creates a key settlement anchor next
to the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of
Olives. In Silwan, residential settlement and
archeological/touristic institutions create a
territorial bridge to the Western Wall, the
Temple Mount, complete with underground
This Peace Now report, detailing the
disparity in construction permits and demolition
orders granted to and against
West Bank Palestinians and settlers
from 2000 to 2007, was published in
February 2008 and is available in full
at www.peacenow.org.
[. . .] Recent data provided to Meretz MK
Chaim Oron by the Ministry of Defense in
response to a query he placed reflected that
within the territories under full Israeli control,
it is almost impossible for Palestinians to
receive permission to [build]; details show
that over 94 percent of building requests are
Those Palestinians that do build without
any permission face a rate of demolition
(on structures that demolition orders have
been issued) of 33 percent, as opposed to
the percentage of demolition orders that are
carried out against Israeli settlements, which
stands at 7 percent. [. . .]
Main Findings
From 2000 until September 2007:
For every construction permit granted
to a Palestinian by the Civil Administration,
18 other buildings are destroyed
and 55 demolition orders are issued.
More than 94 percent of requests submitted
by Palestinians were denied by
the Civil Administration.
33 percent of all demolition orders issued
against Palestinian structureswere
carried out as opposed to just 7 percent
against the settlements.
Only 91 construction permits were
granted to Palestinians, while in the
same time period 18,472 housing units
were constructed in the settlements.
(According to the Israeli Central Bureau
of Statistics, completed construction
in the settlements from 2000 till
September 2007.)
4,993 demolition orders were issued
against Palestinian construction, while
2,900 [were issued] against illegal construction
in the settlements.
1,663 Palestinian buildingswere demolished
in this time period, as opposed to
199 in the settlements.
Between the years 2000–4 only 3 to 6
building permits were issued per year
to Palestinians.
Palestinians Settlers
No. of Construction
Permits 91 18,472∗
No. of Demolition
Orders 4,993 900
No. of Demolitions 1,663 199
∗Number of housing units built
Permits, No—Demolition, Yes
[. . .]
In the last seven years, a third of demolition
orders issued were carried out for Palestinian
construction; in the same time period,
only 7 percent were carried out against the
settlements. [T]he system has consistently
denied issuing Palestinians permission to
build in area C. This area, which falls under
complete Israeli control and is home
to 70,000 Palestinians, includes around
3.3 million dunams of land, equal to 60 percent
of the West Bank. Palestinian residents
are unable to receive permission for even
the most basic construction purposes, such
as extensions to their own houses on their
own land.
Palestinians are therefore faced with two
choices: either to build with no permission
and face the possibility of demolition, or to
leave their home to live elsewhere where
they can receive permission to construct
(usually in such areas under Palestinian
In addition to private housing construction,
major infrastructure plans and development
projects are also refused permission.
Palestinian villages that need to repair their
road system, renewelectricity grids, connect
to water supplies, and [so on] may be able to
raise the funds to do so but are ultimately refused
permission by the Civil Administration
to go ahead with the projects.
The result of such [a] policy ensures
that many of the Palestinian localities suffer
from poor infrastructure. In addition, many
Palestinian villages may be in area B, but
their infrastructure grids are in area C, and
thus the Civil Administration also stunts their
The denial of permits for Palestinians on
such a large scale raises the fear that there
is a specific policy by the authorities to encourage
a “silent transfer” of the Palestinian
population from area C. [. . .]
In March 2008, the Israeli High Court
issued an interim decision to close Route
443, a portion of which runs through the
West Bank, to Palestinian traffic. Although
it was initially built expressly for the Palestinian
population, the road has been closed
to Palestinian traffic since 2000; the court’s
decision to legitimize the closure is the
first of its kind. This article by Akiva Eldar
appeared in Ha’Aretz on 19 March 2008.
The interim decision issued ten days ago
by the High Court of Justice on the use of
Route 443 marks the first time the justices
have issued a ruling to close a road traversing
occupied territory to Palestinian use for the
convenience of Israeli travelers.
The interim ruling on a petition by six
Palestinian villages adjacent to the highway,
which links the coastal plain to Jerusalem,
gave the state six months to report progress
on the construction of an alternative road
for Palestinian use.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
[ACRI], which submitted the petition on behalf
of Palestinians who have been injured
by the travel ban, noted that had the justices
sincerely sought to consider opening the
road to all, without regard to race or nationality,
they would not have requested details
on the building of an alternate route, which
entails the destruction of additional land and
costs tens of millions of shekels.
The decisionwas issued after both parties
argued their positions. According to ACRI,
the ruling marks a High Court precedent
in upholding a policy of separation and
discrimination with regard to movement
that has already earned the name “road
apartheid.” It violates international law, ACRI
holds, permitting the expropriation of land
from the local population for the protection
of the occupying power.
About 10 km of Route 443 was paved on
private Palestinian land in the early 1980s on
the grounds it was needed for theWest Bank
Palestinian population (and not for “security
purposes”). A large part of the expropriated
land had been earmarked for a housing
development for local teachers. In response
to a petition from a Palestinian whose land
was expropriated for the road, the High
Court ruled that the military government
cannot plan and build a road system in an
area held by its soldiers if the purpose is
solely for the creation of a “service road” for
the state. As a result, the state promised that
the road was to be open to all.
Shortly after the start of the second intifada,
after attacks on Israeli vehicles, the
army closed the road to Palestinians. MK
Ephraim Sneh, deputy defense minister at
the time, admitted in an interview that the
closure was not approved by the political
leadership. The closure cut off the villages
on either side of the road from their main
city, Ramallah, and the rest of theWest Bank.
In court, the Civil Administration offered
to issue travel permits for 80 vehicles, for
a population of about 30,000 villagers. The
villagers refused to cooperate with Israeli
authorities and continued their legal battle
for right to use the road on their lands.
ACRI claimed in court that the Israel Defense
Forces had recently begun frequent
raids on the six villages that included the use
of illumination bombs, pressure grenades,
rubber-tipped bullets and live rounds. The
IDF Spokesman’s Office said at the time that
thesewere routine operations in response to
the throwing or rocks on vehicles traveling
on Route 443.
ACRI officials say they fear the High Court
stamp of approval for the illegal and immoral
policy regarding Route 443 could be cited as
a precedent for additional human rights violations.
The petitioners protest what they
call a lack of judicial process, noting that
even though the decision was on an important
principle, it was issued without any
accompany explanation and with absolutely
no reference to the points raised by the
petitioners. In addition, they note, the alternative
road will not provide for the needs
of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in
areas bordering Route 443.
Israeli international law professor
David Kretzmer commented on the High
Court ruling regarding Route 443 in
Ha’Aretz on 24 January 2008.
How did a road which, according to
official declarations, was paved for the benefit
of the Palestinian population in the
West Bank become a road along which
that same population is forbidden to travel?
The case of Route 443 demonstrates the
“logic” of a judicial hypocrisy that has for
years characterized Israel’s reign over the
From the day the Israel Defense
Forces first entered the territories, Israeli
officials there have invoked the authority
of a military commander over occupied territory
as the basis for many acts, such as
seizing real estate, declaring local territory
to be state-owned land, and imposing severe
restrictions on the movement of the population.
On dozens of occasions, the [High
Court] has ruled that the legal framework
which applies in the territories is one of belligerent
occupation. Within this framework,
the military leader is supposed to base his
decisions on two considerations—and on
them alone: military needs and the welfare
of the local population.
As the [High Court] ruled in its instructive
precedent: “The considerations of the military
commander are to secure his own security
interests on the one hand, and to secure
the interests of the civilian population on the
other . . . The military commander may not
consider the national, economic or social interests
of his own country, unless they have
implications for his security interest or the
interests of the local population. Even the
needs of the military are its military needs
and not the needs of national security in its
broad sense . . . An area held under belligerent
occupation is not an open field for exploitation
for economic or other purposes.”
As any clear-minded person can see, these
words have nothing in common with the
manner in which Israel’s authorities actually
conduct themselves. Due to the limitations
of the legal framework of the High Court of
Justice (which relies on affidavits from both
sides and does not allow the questioning of
witnesses), and perhaps also out of a certain
willful blindness—only in rare cases is the
gap between the declared framework and
the reality on the ground exposed in court.
In the Elon Moreh case,∗ the discrepancy
was revealed when the court learned that,
contrary to the claims presented in the IDF
chief-of-staff’s original affidavit, the private
land on which the settlement was to be
built was seized for political, not military,
reasons. The same occurred in a case relating
to the separation fence, when it was proved
that, contrary to the affidavit submitted in a
previous petition, the route of the fence in a
∗In 1979 the High Court ruled that a civilian Jewish
settlement (Elon Moreh) could not be established on
private Palestinian land in the West Bank without a clear
security justification—Ed. note.
certain area was determined not by security
considerations, but according to an as-yetnot-
approved plan for the enlargement of a
nearby Jewish settlement.
There is no better example of the way
in which arguments are adapted to fit the
formal legal framework that might be called
“judicial hypocrisy” than the case of Route
443. In order to build part of the road, which
connects Jerusalem to the Ben Shemen interchange,
privately owned Palestinian land
was appropriated. The authorities knew
that they would not be able to defend this
move if they admitted that the road was
being built as part of the country’s highway
plan. Therefore, when the landowners
petitioned the High Court, the authorities
submitted an affidavit claiming that the existing
system of roads was outdated. The
Palestinian population in the area of Ramallah,
Bir Naballah, Judayra, Nabi Samuel, Bayt
Iksa, Bayt Hanina, Biddu, Rafat, and Bethlehem,
the affidavit claimed, was in need of
new roads; the plan was meant to address
that need. The court “bought” the argument
and ruled that “we have no doubt or hesitation
that Israel’s considerations and its civil
needs were not at the basis of the road plan
it is carrying out.”
Years pass, and the security situation
changes. IDF officials come to the conclusion
that Palestinians and Israelis cannot
both be allowed to travel along this same
road. In light of the affidavit submitted earlier
to the High Court, and in light of the
court’s own ruling, the unavoidable conclusion
is that, as unfortunate as this may be,
Israelis should not be allowed to travel on
the road that was built, let’s not forget, for
the benefit of the local population. But the
military government has, of course, decided
otherwise: Israelis will be allowed to travel
on the road, while Palestinians—for whom,
the court’s ruling says, the road was paved—
cannot use it, and access to the road from
local Palestinian villages will be blocked.
But there is a problem. Once again, there
is a petition to the High Court, and the
“judicial hypocrisy” maneuver needs to be
repeated. Not that the officials, God forbid,
will claim that they lied back then
when they declared that the road was built
for the benefit of the local population; instead,
they will rely on a comment saying
that the road plan “will serve not only the
local population, but also the inhabitants of
Israel and vehicles traveling between Judea
and Samaria and Israel.” Note that it said
“also,” not “only.”
Someday, when the history of the occupation
is written, Route 443 will be a
symbol and an example. It will represent
not only the tyranny of the Israeli occupation
over the simple Palestinian citizen
who wishes to enjoy freedom of movement
and other rights that we consider to be
self-evident, but also the hypocrisy that has
accompanied that regime since its very first
Palestinian workers construct new housing units in the Givat Ze’ev settlement
near Jerusalem, 10 March 2008. (Yehuda Raizner/AFP/Getty Images

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