“Juden Raus!” says Israel
Israel’s High Court of Justice orders demolition of West Bank outpost
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At first, Beit El looks similar to any other settlement in the West Bank. A religiously observant town located next to a large Palestinian city (al-Bireh), and belonging to the extremist Mateh Binyamin Regional Council (see Mattot Arim and the Jewish Extremists Clockwork). Yet, two of its statistics draw immediate attention. It was founded in 1977, meaning it is one of the oldest Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Then, it has a population of over 1,200 families; it is the closest thing the settlements have to a megacity. Checking a bit deeper, one finds that this is a key settlement in the Religious Zionist Movement. The State of Israel wouldn’t have been possible without an alliance between the secular Zionists and the religious Haredim (see Netanyahu’s Mule: On an Unholy Alliance); the result is what outside Israel is known as Religious Zionist Movement, and in Israel it is generalized as “kippot srugot,” the “hand-woven kippas”, after the distinctively hand-woven headcovers used by its men.
Beit El is home to various prominent persons. Rabbi Binyamin "Benny" Elon is a former member of the Knesset for the Moledet party and lives in Beit El. His father Menachem Elon was the former Deputy Chief Justice of Israel, and his brother Rabbi Mordechai Elon, is a prominent figure in the Religious Zionist Movement. His wife, Emuna, is an author and journalist who spent a significant period of her life in New York; this is a reminder that most settlers in the West Bank are American Jews. Also living in Beit El is Ya’akov Dov "Katzele" Katz, the leader of the National Union party. Beyond being a Knesset legislator, he is also the Executive Director of Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions and Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio which operates out of studios in Beit El and Petah Tikva. This shortlist is enough to convince anyone that Beit El is not Migron; it cannot be moved to the nearest hill in the middle of the night. It is linked directly to the parliament, the government, and the media. In Netanyahu buys Justice, I described how it is also indirectly linked to the Supreme Court. How dare the High Court of Justice to evict them? (Note for non-Israeli readers; Israel lacks a Constitution, its Supreme Court can operate as High Court of Justice-Bagatz-to which any person can approach, bypassing lower courts).
Unlawfulness in the West Bank has various layers. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. The international community considers Israeli settlements a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory. Thus, they are illegal under international law. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of West Bank settlements are in between these definitions; they are considered illegal by the entire world, but legal by the Israeli government. However, sometimes they are considered unlawful even by the Israeli government.
This usually happens when there are disputes regarding the purchase of the land upon which the settlement was built. For example, in the abovementioned Migron, most of the land occupied by the outpost belongs to several Palestinian families living in the nearby villages of Burqa and Deir Dibwan. The Associated Press discovered in 2008, that Abd Allatif Hassan Sumarin, who supposedly sold a plot of land to the Binyamin Regional Council owned Al Wattan Ltd in 2004, had been dead since 1961. In Nabi Saleh and other locations, settlements occupy lands unlawfully confiscated by the Israeli government. The Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El was established in 1999 on similarly problematic lands, which belong to people from the nearby Dura al-Qar village. In a lawsuit before the High Court of Israel, the state notified the court that the company developing the Ulpana neighborhood, Gush Emunim’s Amana Company, was aware that the seller of the land, a 7-year old Palestinian child, was not its legal owner at the time. Therefore, even the State of Israel defines Ulpana as illegitimate, thus the eviction order issued on May 7, 2012, by the High Court of Justice. Supreme Court President Asher Grunis along with Justice Uzi Fogelman and Justice Salim Joubran rejected an appeal from the state requesting it to reconsider its earlier ruling to evacuate the Ulpana neighborhood, despite the favt that the state itself recognized the unlawfulness. Please let me clarify the situation. The State of Israel led a legal battle in its courts against its own laws.
"Juden Raus!" says Israel.
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