Opinion

Israel Just Created a New Type of Terrorism

On the Knesset website appears a new category of terrorism, ‘construction terror.’ Those convicted in advance include the Palestinian Authority, the Bedouin — and the European Union.

A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walking in his encampment near Ma’aleh Adumim, seen in the background, June 2012.
Reuters

Consistency requires that during their trip to Brussels this week, Israeli envoys present EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with a summons for questioning at Ma’aleh Adumim police station on suspicion of terrorist activity.

With one hand the Israeli representatives, by way of their Palestinian subcontractor, will receive a fat check from the EU to compensate for Donald Trump’s axe blow to funding for the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA. (See under: “The cut to PA funding undermines security coordination.”) With the other hand they will hand over the summons for questioning on suspicion of terrorism and aid to terrorism.

European High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini welcomes Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Brussels, Belgium, January 22, 2018.
REUTERS/Yves Herman

Because of Auschwitz, or because of the scientific-defense ties with Israel, the European representatives will accept the summons with a smile. “We always knew the Jews had a highly developed sense of humor,” they’ll say.

But they’re wrong. This is no joke. It’s preparation for another expulsion. On the Knesset website there appears a new category of terrorism, “construction terror.” Those convicted in advance include the PA, the Bedouin and the European Union. The prosecutor, judge and executor is MK Moti Yogev of Habayit Hayehudi, who is also the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on expelling Palestinians, also known as the subcommittee for civilian and security affairs in Judea and Samaria.

He has declared that Palestinian construction in the West Bank is “terrorism” when it takes place in the area that Israeli cunning has turned into another rock of our existence – Area C, in which every tent, animal pen and water pipe needs an Israeli building permit, which is never granted. Anyone wanting to house the young couple in a room of their own, or replace a worn out, leaking tent, or build a preschool classroom is forced to violate the master’s laws.

Last Thursday, the expulsion subcommittee was dancing for joy: In 2017 there had been progress in the demolition of Palestinian structures in Area C, some of which were built with European funding. In the committee hearings, MKs never tired of pointing out Europe’s chutzpah in financing the structures. Creating an imaginary reality with their terminology, they called the structures “caravillas.” The Palestinian communities were called “outposts” and their existence in this place for decades, a “takeover.” The occupied territory is called “state land.”

We invented the term “popular terrorism” to describe demonstrations by civilians against our armed soldiers. We criminalized BDS as terrorism even though boycotts are the oldest tool in the book of nonviolent struggle against oppressive regimes. We screamed “lawfare” when Palestinians dared to take their case to international courts. Now we have also convicted anyone who builds a school or a latrine of terrorism. Soon we will convict them of terrorism for their stubborn insistence on breathing.

Last Thursday’s meeting focused on the Jahalin community, which built a school out of old tires in an area where they’ve lived for decades, but which the settlement of Kfar Adumim covets. The Civil Administration is determined to move the community forcibly to an area allotted to them in Abu Dis, against Abu Dis’ will.

Israeli construction in Ma'aleh Adumim, in 2016.
Olivier Fitoussi

The most daring speaker at the meeting was probably Ma’aleh Adumim Deputy Mayor Guy Yifrah. For the sake of expanding his settlement in the 1990s, amid the Oslo negotiations, our soldiers and bureaucrats expelled hundreds of members of the Jahalin tribe from lands they had lived on since they were expelled from the Negev after 1948.

They were dumped on land near the Abu Dis garbage dump. Now, the deputy mayor said, giving even more land in the same area to another clan of the same tribe would be a mistake. “It could lead the Jahalin near Ma’aleh Adumim to think the state has reconciled with their being there.”

What was he saying, exactly? That in fact, the state hasn’t reconciled itself to their being even in Abu Dis. Mr. Yifrah is telling us that the planned forced expulsion has to be a step on the way to the final expulsion to a location unknown.