26 December 2017

Why Israel is a Settler Colonial State - Colonisation did not stop in 1948

Despite its pretence that it is a Western democracy, Israel is the only active settler-colonial state in the world. It's not just that it has Administrative Detention (in Ireland this was known as Internment) i.e. indefinite imprisonment without trial, a permanent state of emergency, censorship and a system of segregated schools, employment and residential living areas, which replicate many of the features of Apartheid society.  

Zionism from its inception was clear that it didn’t want to share Palestine with its original inhabitants.  It intended eventually to transfer most if not all of them in order that it could form a Jewish majority state.  In the meantime it intended, behind the protection of British bayonets, to evict the Palestinians from the economy and create an apartheid Jewish economy.

Between 1904 and 1948 Zionist Organisations such as Keren Hayesod and the Jewish National Fund bought up land, primarily from absentee landlords and then evicted the peasants who had been working the land.  In this it was unique because it didn't reemploy that labour on the land as landless labour but sought to exclude it altogether.

The situation was best summed up in the 1930 Hope Simpson Report, which the British Government commissioned.  It describe the leases issued by the JNF:

" . . . . The lessee undertakes to execute all works connected with the cultivation of the holding only with Jewish labour. Failure to comply with this duty by the employment of non-Jewish labour shall render the lessee liable to the payment of a compensation of ten Palestinian pounds for each default. ... Where the lessee has contravened the provisions of this Article three times the Fund may apply the right of restitution of the holding, without paying any compensation whatever."

The lease also provides that the holding shall never be held by any but a Jew. If the holder, being a Jew, dies, leaving as his heir a non-Jew, the Fund shall obtain the right of restitution. .
Keren-Hayesod Agreements: Employment of labour.—In the agreement for the repayment of advances made by the Keren-Hayesod (Palestine Foundation Fund) to settlers in the colonies in the Maritime Plain the following provisions are included :—

Article 7.—The settler hereby undertakes that he will during the continuance of any of the said advances, reside upon the said agricultural holding and do all his farm work by himself or with the aid of his family, and that, if and whenever he may be obliged to hire help, he will hire Jewish workmen only."...

In the similar agreement for the Emek colonies there is a provision as follows : —

Article 11.—The settler undertakes to work the said holding personally, or with the aid of his family, and not to hire any outside labour except Jewish labourers."

Zionist policy in regard to Arabs in their colonies.—.... Attempts are constantly being made to establish the advantage which Jewish settlement has brought to the Arab. The most lofty sentiments are ventilated at public meetings and in Zionist propaganda. At the time of the Zionist Congress in 1921 a resolution was passed which “solemnly declared the desire of the Jewish people to live with the Arab people in relations of friendship and mutual respect, and, together with the Arab people, to develop the homeland common to both into a prosperous community which would ensure the growth of the peoples.” This resolution is frequently quoted in proof of the excellent sentiments which Zionism cherishes towards the people of Palestine. The provisions quoted above, which are included in legal documents binding on every settler in a Zionist colony, are not compatible with the sentiments publicly expressed.  (my emphasis)

... The effect of the Zionist colonisation policy on The Arab.— Actually the result of the purchase of land in Palestine by the Jewish National Fund has been that land has been extra-territorialised. It ceases to be land from which the Arab can gain any advantage either now or at any time in the future. Not only can he never hope to lease or to cultivate it, but, by the stringent provisions of the lease of the Jewish National Fund, he is deprived for ever from employment on that land. Nor can anyone help him by purchasing the land and restoring it to common use. The land is in mortmain and inalienable. It is for this reason that Arabs discount the professions of friendship and good will on the part of the Zionists in view of the policy which the Zionist Organisation deliberately adopted. 
Umm al-Hiran - a Bedouin village in the Negev demolished to make way for the Jewish town of Hiran
To this day the policy of all Israeli governments has been to deprive the Palestinians of any right to the land.  From 1948 onwards a series of land regulations and ordinances were passed, culminating in the 1950 Absentee Property Law which declared that Arabs who had stayed in Israel during the Nakba in 1948, even if they had taken shelter from the fighting a mile away from their home, were rendered landless.  The concept of a Present-Absentee was created.  You could be present and yet absent . 

A series of laws were passed from 1948 onwards with the sole intention of depriving of their right to land even the 15% of the Palestinians who weren’t expelled.  See Israeli land and property laws.  Some 93% of Israeli land is state land, managed either directly or indirectly by the Israeli Land Authority and JNF.  This is the basis of Israeli apartheid and the demolitions and dispossessions in the article below are a consequence of this policy, which is to reserve ‘national’ i.e. Jewish national land for Jews only.  Laws such as the Reception Committees Law allow hundreds of Jewish only communities to retain their Jewish only status (as well as to exclude Black Ethiopian Jews ).

It is this underlying Zionist policy which results in half Israel’s Arab villages being ‘unrecognised’ and the continual demolition of such villages such as Al Arakabh in order that Jewish settlements can be established in their place.  It is important to understand that this takes place in Israel proper not the Occupied Territories.

The reference below to 'Absentee Property' means land from which its original Arab inhabitants has been expelled.  In the Orwelllian terminology of the Zionists they are 'absentees', having gone missing

Tony Greenstein

Corruption does not begin with Netanyahu’s cigars or pink champagne. It begins with an ideological system that sees entire segments of the population as undesirable and unnecessary, and as temporary residents in their own homes.

A Bedouin woman after authorities demolished her village of Al Araqib, January 16, 2011 (Keren Manor/Activestills.org)
Last night, a striking episode in Amnon Levy’s documentary series, “The Real Faces,” aired on TV. The episode followed the residents of the Tel Kabir, Givat Amal, and HaArgazim neighborhoods, whom the government has designated as trespassers in their own homes. The government is now trying to evict them, to the benefit of real estate tycoons.

Yesterday, a court in Be’er Sheva convicted Sheikh Siakh A-Turi, 68, of trespassing, sentencing him to ten months in prison with a fine of 36,000 shekels. Sheikh Siakh, is a resident of the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib.
Caduri Halif stands among the rubble of his demolished house, Givat Amal neighborhood, Tel Aviv, September 18, 2014. A third eviction of families in the neighborhood left 20 residents homeless and without proper compensation or an alternative housing solution. (Activestills)
The residents of Givat Amal and Al-Araqib share the same tragic fate: they are among the most marginalized people in a country whose government has declared them trespassers on land on which they have lived for decades. In both instances, the government prevented them from formalizing their property ownership by a range of deceptive means. The government, in contrast, moved quickly to formalize and recognize the ownership of those citizens whom it actually values, in some cases spitting distance from where these “trespassers” live.

To truly believe these stories, you must hear them again and again. The Mizrahi residents of these Tel Aviv neighborhoods could not formalize their ownership of the land on which they have lived for 70 years because they “missed” a small announcement in the Davar newspaper in 1951, inviting “any person who de facto owns, without a deed, an apartment or business on absentee property” to submit a request to formalize their ownership. Like their Ashkenazi neighbors—Mapai supporters and employees of the Tel Aviv municipality and the Custodian for Absentee Property—they, too, settled on property that belonged to Palestinians before 1948.

However, unlike their Ashkenazi neighbors, the Mizrahi residents had no way of hearing about an announcement published once in the Mapai party newspaper, and which allowed for a short window of two weeks to formalize property ownership. Those who read the announcement got recognized as legal landowners. Those who didn’t, didn’t; they continued to live in their houses without knowing that eventually, when their land had become desirable real estate, they could be declared “trespassers” in their own homes.

At the same time as the Israeli government was defrauding the residents of Tel Aviv’s Mizrahi neighborhoods, it was expropriating vast tracts of land in the Negev—permitted under a 1953 law to allow the government to easily seize land to promote “development, settlement, and security.” Residents of Al-Araqib were expelled by the government from their land, despite the fact that the land has since gone untouched; the government expropriated the land seemingly for no reason.

When Al-Araqib residents attempted to appeal the expropriation in court, the government refused even to hold a hearing. As Michal Rotem writes, “according to the state and its representatives, not only do the native inhabitants of the Negev lack ownership of the land, they lack even have the right to pursue their claim in court.”

Over the years, the residents of Al-Araqib have attempted to maintain their connection to the land, working their crops, watching their flocks, and burying their dead there. While lone farms — for Jews only — continue to proliferate in the region, since 2010, the government has destroyed the village of Al-Araqib 120 times.
Police stand guard as bulldozers demolish Umm al Hiran
Sheikh Siakh, a man nearing his 70s, will be imprisoned because he dared to resist this injustice. Perhaps it should comfort him that he was not shot to death by police, like Yaqub Musa Abu Al-Qian, killed in Umm Al-Hiran — a man whose only crime was attempting to get away from his village before it was destroyed so that a Jews-only town, Hiran, could be built in its place.

For months, thousands of people have joined the weekly protests against government corruption in Petah Tikvah and now Tel Aviv. But government corruption does not begin with Netanyahu’s graft investigations, nor with his cigars and rosé champagne.

Government corruption begins with an ideological system that works to demographically design the country’s territory according to the criteria of ethnic and national origin. Government corruption begins with a way of seeing entire segments of the population as unnecessary and undesirable, as temporary residents in their own homes. Government corruption begins with the criminal violence of calling people trespassers in their own houses. If we want to fight this deep moral corruption, the place to look is not Rothschild Boulevard or the Attorney General’s house, but the line that that connects Givat Amal to Al-Araqib.

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