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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Amnesty International likes some illegal settlements

From Arutz-7, June 3:
The fledgling neighborhood of Maoz Esther, outside Kochav HaShachar, has been destroyed by government forces for the second time in one week. This time, police rounded up residents as the demolition took place at 10:00 a.m., and cut off water and electricity to the area before leaving.

From Amnesty International:
The soldiers also confiscated a water tank, a tractor and a trailer, which the villagers used to bring water from several kilometres away. They are not allowed access to local wells. The villagers are now without shelter and a source of water during a season of high temperatures.

Many of these families have had their homes destroyed multiple times in recent years and all of them face the prospect of further displacement.

House demolition, like the denial of access to land and water, has long been used by the Israeli army and authorities to force the local population off the land. After each demolition, the families rebuild their homes either in the same place or nearby, but they are now finding it increasingly difficult to survive in the area.
Wow...is Amnesty International concerned about people who lose their houses that they keep rebuilding illegally?

Not quite. The Amnesty article is not about Maoz Esther, but about houses built illegally by Arabs in Ras al-Ahmar in the West Bank.

Any way you look at it, the houses are illegal and the government in charge of the area has the right to destroy buildings built illegally. Israel is not demolishing any of the 98% of Palestinian Arab homes that are under PA rule - and no doubt a functioning PA would be doing the exact same thing to houses built without proper permits.

Somehow, I don't think we will be seeing any Amnesty articles about Jewish families being evicted from the homes they keep rebuilding against the wishes of the current Israeli government. On the contrary, Amnesty purposefully ignores them in saying "Successive Israeli governments from across the political spectrum have all backed construction and expansion of unlawful settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)" without even a footnote to mention the many Israeli communities destroyed by Israel in recent years.

Moreover, Amnesty writes
Though they are very isolated, the villagers are determined to remain in the area where they have lived since long before the Israeli army occupied the OPT in 1967.
Would Amnesty make the Jewish residents of East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria who lived there before 1948 sound so heroic for being determined to return to their homes?