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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

September's War?



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Mifgash HaBik’aa

Bik’aa Meeting Point | Just south of The Cross of Bethlehem

Jerusalem is trembling and bracing its dingy foundations for what is already being called the “Black September.” This is the name usually given to September 1970, when King Hussein of Jordan crashed Palestinian organizations in Jordan. Thousands of Palestinians died until next July, when the PLO was expulsed to Lebanon. It was the first public – though quietly so – cooperation between Jordan and Israel. The IDF and the Jordanian army created a corridor along the Jordan Valley through which the Palestinians were allowed to move northwards to Lebanon. Now, the term is being used for September 2011, the month in which Palestine would probably declare independence with the support of the Middle East Quartet – the UN, the EU, the USA and Russia. Israel knows it has lost this battle, which shouldn’t have existed at all since the UN – the body that gave Israel conditional sovereignty – conditioned the foundation of Israel on the foundation of a Palestinian state.

September 2011 is reaching us; all signs show it would bring winds of change, its wafts warming up people’s hearts before what would probably be a long and violent winter. In that month, Palestine would probably declare independence at the United Nations General Assembly with the support of the Middle East Quartet – the UN, the EU, the USA and Russia. The talk in Jerusalem is which terms the American President would pose for an American vote in favor of Palestinian independence; the bets are on 1967 borders, renounce to return rights and recognition of Israel. The chances the USA would use its veto force in the Security Council – the formal step before the decision is brought to the General Assembly – against a massive support of the decision by the overwhelming majority of the world are slim; America’s karma is already bad enough. Post-Mubarak Egypt already recognized de facto the independence of Gaza strip. The IMF already recognized the capability of the Palestinian Authority to function as a state. Thus the event at the General Assembly would be mainly festive, Palestine is already a reality.

The diplomatic efforts of Israel are pitiable; they include topics as intelligence help to Caribbean island-states in exchange for their votes at the General Assembly. The blockade and disruption of the Second Freedom Flotilla, especially in its inwards front, shows Israeli leadership is so weak that in its despair it even stops events void of even tactical value. What about the military front? Is Israel planning violence toward Palestine if its independence was to be formally declared?

Military plans are difficult to assess from outside. In The Cross of Bethlehem I describe how during Operation Defensive Shield, even IDF officers (I was among them; the event led to my becoming a refugee later on) were cheated by the IDF’s high command. Yet, the apparition of certain documents prepared by the IDF Civil Administration in recent days doesn’t seem as a complete disinformation attempt by Israel, since it just confirms – again – the IDF implemented policies since 1967.

Lt. Col. Zvi Cohen, Head of the Civil Administration's Infrastructures Department, published last January a document in which he recommended the IDF Civil Administration to increase state-ownership of West Bank lands. The policy enables increased construction around settlement blocs like Ariel, Ma'aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, and also in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea. On the same day, he signed a procedure stipulating that the custodian of government property is authorized to take possession of lands whose ownership is undefined. This is a way of bypassing the illegitimate construction of settlements on private Palestinian lands, as it was generally done until now. The inclusion of the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea and area surrounding Ariel in the settlement blocs being advanced would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity. Moreover, it would block almost completely a connection between Palestine and Jordan; creating in fact an island-state within Israel. The disturbing document was passed on to the Rabbis for Human Rights under the Freedom of Information law, and from there reached the press

Among the areas defined in this document, the Jordan Valley is by far the most strategic one, it comprises almost 30% of the West Bank (the parts within the Green Line are not considered in the following data). 44% of the Jordan Valley is controlled by closed military zones and 50% by the 37 illegal settlements. The Palestinians control a mere 6% of their land. Around 7000 illegal Israeli settlers and 50 thousand Palestinians live there. Yet, if travelling along Israel’s Road 90, almost no Palestinian towns would be seen, unless looking at hidden nooks on the steep slopes of this very narrow valley. Here, Israel still denies Palestinians existence in a very visual fashion. A more careful look would disclose that any person working in the area is not a Jew, but a Palestinian or a foreign worker brought by the Jews from a variety of chosen locations. Israel was built by Palestinians, not by the “halutzim.” The control of this area would be crucial during any future armed conflict.

It is important to understand timeframes in the West Bank are not defined by civilian standards. Most aspects of life there are ruled by the IDF Civil Administration, created by Military Decree #947, issued by the 1967 military government of the West Bank and Gaza. The Civil Administration is a part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit in the Defense Ministry of Israel. We are talking about a military unit under the direct control of the Ministry of Defense. They can legislate laws and rules as per their own wretched wishes, without even being restricted by the untrustworthy Israeli law; a state within a state. As such, the document issued by Lt. Col. Zvi Cohen can be implemented in no time at all. Fencing, excavations, and construction can be started immediately and create in no time military obstacles and forts to be used by the IDF in the case a violent struggle begins shortly after the Palestinian independence declaration. As such, Cohen’s plan seems as a preparation to the upcoming conflict. Israel foresees war.

Jerusalem is trembling and bracing itself for “Black September;” humanity will pay the price for the crimes to be committed then – again – by the Zionists.

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