UN probe must take West Bank out of Israeli hands
No UN investigative committee is needed to understand that the West Bank belongs to another people and its lands are not available to a Jewish and democratic state.
Not for nothing is the government going out of its way to thwart the UN Human Rights Council's decision to investigate the settlements.
The map of "available" land for settlements, revealed in Haaretz on Friday by Akiva Eldar, shows that while successive Israeli governments have trumpeted their desire to establish a sustainable Palestinian state alongside Israel, they have spared no economic effort or legal creativity to thwart this solution.
The map shows that for decades the Civil Administration has been seeking and mapping West Bank land that outdated Ottoman law defined as "state land." Much of this land has been used to set up settlements and even illegal outposts.
Some parcels of land have been named after settlements to be established in the future within certain local and regional councils in the West Bank - and beyond them. In some places, boundaries of "available" land spill beyond the separation fence, which Israel calls the security fence.
Most of the reservoir of land, including 569 sites covering 620,000 dunams, or 155,000 acres (about 10 percent of the West Bank ), is east of the separation fence and the "settlement blocs" that Israel wants to annex in a final-status agreement with the Palestinians. Since the interim Oslo 2 agreement, which gave the Palestinian Authority control over civilian affairs in areas A and B, the Civil Administration has mapped land while "legitimizing" outposts and neighborhoods only in Area C, which is under Israel's complete control.
The division into three areas was intended as a temporary arrangement. But successive Israeli governments have treated Area C - about 60 percent of the West Bank - as an inseparable part of Israel. The Civil Administration, the Israel Defense Forces and the State Prosecutor's Office are doing everything possible to restrict the Palestinians living in this area, and are too charitable toward infractions of the law by settlers, as in the case of Migron.
In any case, no UN investigative committee is needed to understand that the West Bank belongs to another people and its lands are not available to a Jewish and democratic state.