A Vote to Buy Time

A Palestinian waves a flag next to an Israeli police vehicle during a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel, in West Bank the village of Kafr Malik on September 13, 2019.

Whatever the results of today’s election, they won’t stop the Israeli colonial project, which is speeding ahead like an express train, in broad daylight, not in the shadows as was the case in the 1990s amid all the blah-blah about peace. Even if Benny Gantz ends up in the conductor’s seat, the direction won’t change. (For the latest election polls – click here)

On the other hand, the Palestinians – who for all their weakness and flaws, refuse to be silenced, to disappear or to submit – act like a large and heavy cargo ship, navigated by obsolete written agreements, promises of a Palestinian state by a traitorous world, international law and justice. Every move made by the captains of the Palestinian ship is always very late and so maddeningly slow that they are irrelevant by the time they’re carried out, because the train has arrived first.

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The Israeli appetite for more Palestinian land is dictated by the settlements, aka Yeshastan and the bureaucracy that answers to them – the Civil Administration, the jurists in government ministries and the legal system, as well as planners and architects seeking contracts. The bureaucracy itself is full of settlement representatives and their relatives and brethren from the hesder yeshivot, or those who learned that one must submit to them, their messianic-real estate visions and their pockets as well as the pockets of their many rich Jewish supporters in the sated Diaspora.

Thus, we learned over the past few days that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit doesn’t rule out the annexation of the Jordan Valley under certain diplomatic circumstances, and that legal advisers in the defense establishment now say, for the first time, that individual Jews should be allowed to buy land in the West Bank. Practically speaking, that doesn’t change much; the founding fathers of the settlement enterprise always found ways to transform Palestinian land, whether privately or publicly owned, into land for Jews only. What’s important is the lack of shame of another apartheid characteristic; after all, there are endless numbers of tricks to block Palestinians from the West Bank or abroad from buying land in Israel.

There’s no need for leaks or for an official announcement that another outpost has been legalized to know where the train is heading. The Israeli media doesn’t bother to report on what the bureaucracy of destruction does every day. Luckily, B’tselem researchers diligently document it and send reports by WhatsApp. Here’s a sample from the past few days:

On September 11, the envoys of the democracy for Jews only once again demolished residential structures (a tent, cement buildings and mobile homes housing 27 people, including 13 children); destroyed and blocked access roads, and destroyed pipes and cisterns in the Palestinian villages of Khalat al-Dabe, Mafakara and Shab el-Butum in the South Hebron Hills. This was on top of searches conducted in the meager homes and the confiscation of a vehicle belonging to the local council of Masafer Yatta. This is a region that’s been declared a “firing zone” to prevent the development of these long-standing Palestinian villages, to facilitate the expulsion of their residents and to transfer their lands to kosher Jews.

On the same day, at 4 A.M., the forces also demolished two uninhabited buildings in the town of Al-Azariya, adjacent to the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, part of which is built on lands stolen from Al-Azariya.

On September 12, Civil Administration forces destroyed seven Palestinian water tanks and uprooted some 250 olives trees belonging to five families from the town of Tamoun in the northwest Jordan Valley.

On Monday, Jerusalem municipality representatives completed the demolition of a second floor in a home in al-Walaja, in which 11 relatives lived, two agricultural warehouses, a cement fence and an access road in the village.

The needed change to save us from ourselves will not come from among us; to achieve it we have to buy some more time until someone in the world sobers up. That’s why we should vote today for the Joint List, and, if not, then for the two other parties that at least see the Palestinians. We should vote if only for the chance to slow the speed of the engine, which is running on Jewish power toward the vision of the Palestinians’ final expulsion.