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The Cross of Bethlehem

The Cross of Bethlehem II

Settlers Give False Testimony to Supreme Court

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.—Exodus 20:16

 

 

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False Testimony

Mocking the false testimony topic of this article, the Hebrew and English headlines of Haaretz on January 7, 2013, did not match. The English headline was "Leading Israeli rabbi blasts anti-abortion group Efrat for 'irresponsible' slogans;" serious reports claim that most readers fell asleep immediately after reading it. In contrast, the semi-secret Hebrew headline read, "Gush Etzion Council gave false testimony to the Supreme Court* to avoid evacuation of outpost." Israel's version of the Chinese Great Wall is called "Hebrew Language."

The news was related to an outpost** named Sde Boaz, near Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion, not far from Bethlehem (see map below). The name means "Boaz Field," ironically referring to the Book of Ruth, in which Moabite Ruth is accepted by the people of Israel ("Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God" Ruth 1:16). The outpost was founded in 2002, when settler Hananel Shear-Yashuv placed a shipping container atop a hill and declared the area as belonging to him. Unexpectedly, Israeli law forbids such behavior; since then the issue is in the Courts.

Sde Boaz

Sde Boaz
Punishing a Nation: Israeli Human Rights Violations During the Palestinian Uprising, December 1987-December 1988

Gush Etzion Illegal Settlements

Gush Etzion Illegal Settlements | Sde Boaz marked with arrow

The current event relates to four buildings being constructed by settlers on lands belonging to Palestinians from the nearby town of al-Khadr. In December, they asked the Supreme Court to order the destruction of the road connecting the outpost with the buildings, to destroy the buildings that had not been authorized by the Civil Administration, and to order the stopping of all work by settlers on their private lands. On the first days of January, Akiva Silvetzky, a lawyer representing the Gush Etzion*** Regional Council, gave a formal answer to the Court. In it, Mr. Silvetzky claimed that the lands are State Lands that "had not yet been declared." In other words, the eminent lawyer, seer of the future and oracle of Israel, claimed that the land would be confiscated from its owners by the State at some future date and thus building on them is already legal. Of course, this has happened many times; settlers build on lands belonging to others and later on Israel confiscates these lands from the legitimate owners due to "security concerns." Until now, this is just a variant of the usual settlers' land-robbing scheme. This time, it featured also a false testimony to the court.

Mr. Dov Barak, Land Secretary of the abovementioned regional council, gave a formal declaration to the court, in which he stated that the four buildings were already occupied by settlers. This is a key issue. The Supreme Court can issue a temporary order requesting all work to stop, but such an order depends on the condition of the buildings; if the structures are occupied, such an order is much more difficult to achieve. Dror Atkas, one of the lawyers who had approached the Supreme Court visited the place on January 6, and found workers carrying out early-construction labor. There were no signs that the buildings had been ever occupied . The lawyer placed charges with the police and updated the Supreme Court, which immediately issued an order stopping the illegal work on the site. Another lawyer representing the Palestinians, Jihat Nasser, told Haaretz, "We know how they manage these affairs. They take advantage of the Justices' reaction-time to create facts on the ground. We took pictures of the buildings, including the non-connected electric wires. We hope that the police will treat the charges seriously."

Stolen Earth

Stolen Earth
The Case Against Israel (Counterpunch)

Sheer Crimes

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the State and the settlers are on the same side of a complex charade. It is difficult to believe that the Justices did not understand that the declaration of Mr. Barak was false. The fact is that after openly giving false testimony to the State's Supreme Court, there are no signs that he is about to be detained. In other words, the Justices accept his behavior as legitimate. On the week this was published, Haaretz added several disturbing news about state-sanctioned crimes by settlers. One can be seen on the picture next to this paragraph. A truck is downloading earth in the settlement of Ofra. The earth was taken by the settlers from Palestinian-owned ground which is enclosed by the settlement and is thus inaccessible to its legal owners. There are at least ten similar sites in the West Bank.

On January 3, 2013, 5,000 dunam of Palestinian lands in the Jordan Valley were confiscated by the Civil Administration, which justified its crime on IDF Order 151, issued on 1967, shortly after the area was conquered by Israel. The order defines all the areas between the Jordan River and the nearby fence placed by Israel as "closed military area." In certain places, the distance between the fence and the river reaches over a mile. In the current event, such an area was formally confiscated and given to settlers. This is a clear proof that the confiscation had no military reasons; it will be dedicated to agriculture. The Israeli government, its army, its Courts and its settlers cooperate in these criminal schemes. However, anyone who dares to confront them and request justice becomes a target. In Israel to Legalize Settlements’ Outposts I analyzed the Israeli attempts to legalize the Ulpana outpost, near Beit El. In a demonstration of rare courage, the Palestinians owning the land, the Yassin family from Dura al-Qar', refused any deal, except for the complete restoration of their belongings. At 3AM of September 9, 2012, the family was awakened by the noise of shattering glass. A Molotov bottle had been thrown into their house, the method of action fits the Jewish terror organization known as Price Tag. As in many similar cases, the culprits were not caught.

Israel, you cannot claim to be a tribe and behave like a state. Israel, you cannot claim to be a state and behave like a tribe. Above all, regardless of what you consider yourself, you don't have the right to violate other people. You don't have the right to nullify human rights; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights became international law in 1994. By violating the rest of humanity, you render yourself illegitimate, regardless what your partial Courts may claim, regardless what your partial laws may invent.

*Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice usually operates as the highest appellate court in the country, but it features also a special operational mode as a court of first instance, called in Hebrew bagatz (acronym for High Court for Justice, not to be confounded with the formal name of the court: The High Court). In this instance, everybody under the jurisdiction of the Court can initiate a process against the State of Israel if he feels one of his rights has been legitimately oppressed by the State; in this case this refers to the robbed Palestinians.

**Settlements and outposts are both illegal under international law; however, under Israeli law settlements are legal and outposts are illegal.

***Gush Etzion is a cluster of Jewish settlements south of Jerusalem (see map). With 70,000 settlers living in 22 settlements, this is the largest Jewish occupied area in the West Bank and is considered by many Israelis as a symbol of revival. Simply, several of its villages were founded between 1940 and 1947, and were destroyed during the 1948-1949 War. Following the conquest of the West Bank, Israel decided to settle the area against international law. The new stretch of Highway 60 will allow these settlers to avoid all Palestinian villages on their way to Jerusalem.

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