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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 07:35 PM


A Double Standard On Disputed Land For Settlers And Bedouin

When settlers defy orders from the Supreme Court, there is a public outcry. When Bedouin do the same, silence.

By Israel Harel | Jun.26, 2013 | 7:47 PM

Consider the following scenario: Several courts ruled over the years that settlers illegally annexed thousands of dunams of land. These lands must be restored to their owners, the courts ruled, and the structures on them must be demolished. The trespassers appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming that “state land” was the property of the Jewish people from time immemorial. The appeals were rejected. Squatting on state land is also illegal, the justices ruled.

Yet the settlers, who always see themselves as above the law, continued to seize control of more and more land. The army? The police? They wouldn’t dare start up with a population, some of it criminal, which has such political power and is backed by a biased and populist media.

And the government? As is often the case with weak governments that fear confronting powerful forces, it set up a committee to regulate the mass and years-long takeover of state lands. The committee, headed by a retired Supreme Court justice, confirmed that most of the lands had been seized illegally. Amazingly, the committee nonetheless decided that the looters could keep their booty. A small percentage of the land will be evacuated, but the government will pay the squatters there compensation. It will even build towns and villages for them at state expense.

Enlightened Israel objected furiously to the authorization of the settlers’ theft and contempt of court, especially of the Supreme Court. But the government, apathetic to the public’s anger, decided to submit a bill that would set the committee’s scandalous conclusions in law.



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