Israel's 'Agricultural Apartheid'

According to Israeli law it is possible to evict someone who has entered an area that is not their own for 30 days after the fact. Jews can be evicted from land they have cultivated for as long as three years.

Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria can be broken down into a number of periods - the settlement period, during which dozens of communities were established (mostly under the Labor Party, and much of it due to President Shimon Peres ); the agricultural period, during which settlers took over land, cleared stones, planted and sowed; and the period of tourism, during which wineries, bed and breakfasts, restaurants and tourist attractions were built under every tree.

The agricultural period began some 15 years ago and has continued to this day. Some of the settlements described as agricultural, like Ofra, Carmel and those in the Jordan Valley, started their relationship with the land about 35 years ago. However, there are good people in the military advocate general's office who do not look favorably upon Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria and are doing their best to remove Jewish presence from the area. Agricultural apartheid. One of the most important and creative means is the "directive for disruptive usage."

According to Israeli law it is possible to evict someone who has entered an area that is not their own for 30 days after the fact. However, the directive for disruptive usage states that Jews can be evicted from land they have cultivated for as long as three years, and later this period of time was extended to five years. This applies even if the land has never been cultivated before, even if for years no single Arab has claimed ownership of the land, and even if there is no proof of another person's ownership.

This directive discriminates against Jews. It is a racist directive. The head of the Civil Administration, Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz, recognized the fundamental problem and has so far avoided implementing it. This act, or more precisely the avoidance of taking action, has angered the legal advisers at Central Command and especially Col. Eli Bar On, who wrote a sharply worded letter to the Civil Administration head, reminding him of his role and of who runs things. He apparently forgot that he is a legal adviser. His role is to advise, and only when he is asked.

In the letter Bar On tries to explain the reasons why the directive should be implemented - an absence of court proceedings, a lack of legal tools and an inability to access a land registry. Of course these are ridiculous claims and are fundamentally exaggerated. The courts are full of Palestinians submitting complaints all the time. And they have a fleet of top-ranking lawyers from the most moonstruck of the left-wingers.

The fourth argument in Bar On's letter is that it is necessary to "minimize the number of conflicts and their intensity." In other words, the honored brigadier general says it is possible to prevent Palestinian violence if the Jewish side surrenders in advance, instead of holding a fair trial as is accepted throughout the world.

Sometimes an appeal against implementation of the directive is filed with the military appeals committee. In some cases the appeals committee accepts the appeal but the state evicts the Jewish farmer nonetheless. Why should we bother with trivialities since we are in the business of justice?

The directive of disruptive usage embroils the Civil Administration in civilian land disputes. This is not its role but the role of the courts. If someone has a claim and proof, then he should turn to the authorized organ for a decision. There is no way this directive would be accepted through proper legal proceedings. It would not pass legal evaluation at an earlier stage since it contradicts the fundamental principles of human rights.

I think Bar On has become confused on a number of levels: a. The head of the Civil Administration should not intervene in civil land disputes; b. A legal adviser should not forcefully intervene in the decisions of the head of the executive authority on the ground; c. He apparently has forgotten that this is a Zionist state.