‘Without Consideration for the Palestinian Population’

The lawbreakers and their spiritual forefathers in the Israeli right wing, which is becoming increasingly extreme, want to erase the Palestinian existence from reality.

Amira Hass
Amira Hass
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 A religious Jewish family walks past Palestinian Muslim worshipers near the al-Ibrahimi mosque, or the Tomb of the Patriarch, in Hebron, October 4, 2014.
A religious Jewish family walks past Palestinian Muslim worshipers near the al-Ibrahimi mosque, or the Tomb of the Patriarch, in Hebron, October 4, 2014. Credit: AFP
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

This is not the most outrageous thing you can say about the Israel Police in general, and the Judea and Samaria District police in particular: At the Israeli police station in Hebron/Kiryat Arba there is an official map hung on the wall of the “Hebron region” from which the names of over 200 Palestinian communities have been erased.

The settlement of Negohot, for example, is on the map. The villages to the west of it, such as Beit Mirsam and Beit Awwa, don’t exist. Betar Ilit is of course on the map, but the villages of Wadi Fukhin and Nahalin, that the large settlement is swallowing their lands with a hearty appetite, are erased.

Let me say up front: The map in itself does not erase reality. The people exist and are planted deep in their communities, their history and society, and do not need confirmation from the Israel Police or an Israeli journalist of their existence. In other words, the map does not testify to the situation of the Palestinians but to the Israeli situation.

The knowledge that the police has been negligent in locating and arresting the Jewish rioters who attack Palestinians, and does not deter others, is much more infuriating than the doctored map. (The police shares with the IDF, the Shin Bet security service and the State Prosecutor’s Office the title of negligence and indirect encouragement of the Jewish hooligans.) But it turns out that when the population that is being harmed is erased from the map the police see day in, day out, it is easier to ignore the attacks on them.

Attorney Yehudit Karp wrote about the non-enforcement of the law against Jews in the West Bank in 1982. In 1994, the Shamgar committee investigating the mass murder carried out by Dr. Baruch Goldstein against Muslim worshippers was shocked by the lack of coordination between the various law enforcement bodies.

Today organizations such as Al-Haq, B’Tselem and Yesh Din are documenting and investigating this inaction. Negligence and the seeming helplessness, which have been going on for half a century, are not evidence of a lack of professionalism but of deliberate intention.

Israeli governments have tempted their citizens to break international law and settle. The lawbreakers – whose goal is to scare and remove people from their land – complement the work of the Civil Administration. When it steals more and more land from Palestinians and declares it “state land,” it follows the orders of those above it. The police in their negligence also act in the spirit of their superiors in the government.

Israel is a democratic and Jewish state. The supreme commanders are elected to do what is good for the Jews. That is the sociological-political background behind the map.

The map indeed left in the names of Bethlehem, Halhul and Hebron, but their residents have been erased from the table of information in the background. The map notes that 81,000 residents live in the region (about 99.6 percent of whom are Jews), and an asterisk refers us to the footnote: “Without taking into consideration the Palestinian population.” This literal honesty that arises directly from the unconscious is impressive. After all, they could have just written “not including some 800,000 Palestinians.” But the author chose the extremely precise “without consideration for.”

The map of the Hebron region minus the Arabs is not the personal creation of the person who is signed on it, police Maj. Gen. Daniel Hen, commander of the police’s planning branch. It is a collective Israeli creation that reflects the colonialist genius of the Oslo Accords. The Oslo negotiations and their continuations in the “temporary” agreements, which have since become eternal and holy, have left Israel with the majority of the territory and its natural resources, without taking the residents into consideration. They threw the people and the responsibility for them on the Palestinian leadership, lacking real resources and authority. In other words, they relieved Israel from its responsibilities as an occupying force, which it was and remains.

The lawbreakers and their spiritual forefathers in the Israeli right wing, which is becoming increasingly extreme, want to erase the Palestinian existence from reality too, not just from the map. And here lies the danger of the map. It reflects the Israeli unconscious and undeclared, which aspires to make the Palestinians disappear and in doing so creates and strengthens the impression that the Palestinians, in practice, do not exist.

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