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Preventing Terror

Amira Hass
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Right-wing protesters demonstrate against a sign placed by the left-wing "Peace Now" group at the Giv'at Hamatos settlement in the West Bank, November 15, 2020.
Right-wing protesters demonstrate against a sign placed by the left-wing "Peace Now" group at the Giv'at Hamatos settlement in the West Bank, November 15, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Amira Hass

It’s not only Givat Hamatos: Israel is constantly planning and implementing infrastructure and large-scale construction activities in East Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, all designed to sabotage the possibility of a Palestinian state. But to our delight this tender, for the construction of residential units on the land reserves of Beit Safafa and Bethlehem, is making some noise, because it is being interpreted as an underhanded maneuver before President-elect Joe Biden enters the White House.

Yesterday European diplomats visited the site of the settlement. The condemnations, or to be more precise the reservations to the tender, will probably be published soon by the foreign ministries of the EU and several European states. The UN Special Coordinator Nickolay Mladenov has already expressed his concern. He mentioned for the millionth time that the construction of settlements violates international law.

Not only U.S. President Donald Trump encouraged the Israeli land theft project. During two decades of negotiations with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ritual expressions of regret and the condemnations by the European Union and its member countries taught Israel that it has nothing to fear. If those countries, which support the path of the Oslo Accords more than anyone else, don’t take concrete steps against Israel’s serial criminality, why should it worry? It can continue to rob and trample, and when necessary to pull out the weapon of “antisemitism” and “Holocaust,” to curb any initiative to stop the Israeli real estate-dispossession spree.

So please. “Givat Hamatos” is an opportunity for those countries to convert the ritual into genuine actions, which they can and must adopt. First of all, they must publish the following clarifications:

• Building settlements in occupied territory is forbidden by international law.

• Apartheid is a crime for which its authors, executors and those consciously participating in it must be punished.

• A declaration of “state land” backed up by weapons and military orders, and the transfer of this land to one ethnic group at the expense of the other, is a practice of terror.

• Building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory grows out of the worldview and practices of an apartheid regime that considers Jews superior, and therefore might once again carry out acts of mass expulsion of Palestinians.

Based on these clarifications, the countries opposed to state terror and apartheid will publish the following warnings:

• Any contractor participating in the Givat Hamatos tender will not be allowed to participate in projects in which European companies are involved, and its owners and managers will not be allowed to enter Europe.

• If the owners and managers are European citizens, they will be prosecuted in their countries for participating in the crime of apartheid.

• The ban on entry and doing business, and the prosecution of offenders, also applies to the planners and architects.

• All the above applies to the senior executives of the Israel Land Authority.

• All the above applies to buyers of those residential units.

• Owners and managers of companies operating in Europe who transact business with those subcontractors and architects will be prosecuted for abetting the perpetration of a crime.

• Just as the bank accounts of those suspected of involvement in terror are confiscated, the bank accounts of all those mentioned above will be confiscated.

• The sale of residences to Palestinians as a “fig leaf” will not render the project legal, unless Palestinians who are West Bank residents live there too.

This will be the start. Later the same warnings will apply to other, less publicized construction plans – and to existing settlements. Don’t call it “delusional” if you oppose apartheid, and if you realize that its planners and beneficiaries are willing and able to expel more Palestinians from their homeland.

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