Sunday, May 20, 2012

Stealing Their Way to Statehood - Part III - by Gil Bringer

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2012

The Jordan River Valley

Middle East and Terrorism

by Gil Bringer

This is Part III of a meticulously researched article that describes in detail how Bedouins of the Jordan Valley are used by the Palestinian Authority to take over territory in Area C surreptitiously.

Read Part I here.
Read Part II here.

Fourth Stop: A Representative of the New Israel Fund

The ineffectiveness of the Israeli authorities in dealing with the Palestinian course of action, which does not hide the intention to seize every parcel of land that remains in area C, has become an accepted fact. And despite the fact that this openly declared Palestinian strategy is contrary to the policy of Israel, law enforcement agencies drag their feet.

An obvious example of this is the petitions regarding the settlement in Masua. In the year 2002, Bedouins began squatting in private areas of the farming community Masua, which is situated in the foothills of Mount Sartava. Masua was established as the fourth outpost of the "nachal" program in the Jordan valley in the beginning of the seventies and was defined as part of the "The continuous defensive wall of the Hebrew settlement". The infiltration into Masua is another fresh crack in the wall of Israeli sovereignty . The Bedouin families set up just next to the hothouses of the community and began working the land parallel to the Israeli hothouses.

Every time the Bedouins widened their infiltration into Masua, the civil administration came out with a new demolition order on the section where illegal building was added. And every time the Bedouins requested from Attorney Tawfiq Jibran a restraining order to prevent the destruction . Every time, their request was granted.

Contrary to the Bedouin tribe which infiltrated the territory of Masua, Jibran, a graduate of the Legal Program of the New Israel Fund, did not come out of nowhere. The Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat al_Jedida (The Modern Life) published an interview with Marwan Tubasi, governor of Tubas, at the end of last January (2012) in which he remarked, "The Palestinians will continue to cling to their land and will ensure that all the Israeli plans to Judaize the Jordan Valley will fail, because the concerned parties that are responsible for the activities of the the district and the Office of Matters dealing with the Wall and [Jewish] Settlements have begun to work energetically to obtain injunctions to prevent the demolition of buildings ". The work is done, remarked Tubasi, "In cooperation with Attorney Tawfiq Jibran on behalf of the Palestinian Authority in order to monitor the destruction of buildings and to represent the citizens in the Israeli courts."

Later he proudly told Tubasi that the PA had established a fund of hundreds of thousands of dollars to compensate the Bedouins in case buildings were, nevertheless, destroyed. It is not always possible to depend on Jibran to deliver the goods - so it's good to have something on the side. The Palestinian package that is given for the Bedouin settlement is paid for. It includes equipment for water, buildings, legal support and compensatory funds.

The four requests for temporary injunctions that were served by Jibran were all accepted by Israel's Supreme Court. In contrast, the only request that the community [Masua] served, which was to consolidate files in order to deal with the whole subject at once and put an end to the delays, was rejected. And so, the issue is suspended, and has been stagnant for ten years, during which time the Bedouin outpost continues to develop, and the residents of Masua, watch with astonishment the painfully slow process of the prosecutor's office in dealing with the squatters.

The endless dragging out of the procedures sends to the PA the undeniable message - Israel does not really intend to fight their squatting. Gone are the days when the settlement in the Jordan Valley was seen as a "Hebrew Wall". It is no wonder that recently, on Israeli land, in the territory of Masua, the PA put up a sign of the Palestinian Agricultural Office. On this sign is written, "Successful restoration" - in English and Arabic. Another project to the glory of the emerging Palestinian state.

Incidentally, in order to acquire water for agriculture the Bedouin squatters didn't even have to steal from the pipes or use water trailers. They can drill into the ground illegally and get water on the spot. In the absence of proper oversight, the Bedouins have established an outpost outside of Masua that enjoys the support of the Palestinian Agricultural Office, and they have begun to drill within the territory of Masua.

Fifth Stop: The Apathetic Prosecutor

Again and again Israel refuses to deal with the well-orchestrated Palestinian process. And even when the administration does issue demolition orders, something in the conduct of the prosecutor's office goes awry. Their is no hint of the diligence and effectiveness that it shows when dealing with the Jewish settlements in Migron and Amona. And even in the rare cases that it fulfills its obligations, the courts obstruct the process.

For example, in the town of Abu-Hindi, which sprouted up within seven days just beyond the fence of the Jewish Kedar community, the civil administration decided to demolish the buildings and issued a demolition order. As mentioned above, the Jihalin tribe immediately served a request for an interim injunction that was prepared along with the trucks and the equipment far ahead of time. They should have encountered in the court a state prosecutor who would have fought to reject the request for the interim injunction and to carry out the demolition injunction in the most urgent manner.

It should have been a simple and easy matter for the prosecutor. Because although attorney Shlomo Lakar, who represented the Bedouins, claimed that they lived in the location from time immemorial and that the buildings that were brought about one year ago to the wadi only improved their living conditions in the area, aerial photographs prove that this claim is totally unfounded. A comparison between the aerial photographs of this precise area in wadi Abu-Hindi clearly proves - the new buildings were brought to the location in the year 2011.

However it was here that a most pleasant surprise awaited the Jihalin. During the entire last year the prosecutor's office requested again and again to postpone its response on the subject. The prosecutor served no less than five requests for a postponement to respond to the request to issue an interim injunction.

Judge Danziger, who was handling the case, commented that "It must be assumed that the buildings will not be destroyed before a discussion on the temporary injunction." The administration interpreted the judge's speculation as a binding ruling according to which it must not dare to carry out the demolition orders in the new city, despite the fact that the interim injunction had never come into effect. The prosecutor's office drags out the time more and more to the point that lately, the court threatened that it might not allow the prosecutor to make a claim against the interim injunction that will prevent the destruction of the buildings because of "lack of activity in the case". Until now the prosecutor has still not given any initial response on the subject.

Although it is egregious enough that the prosecutor's office has requested a delay without doing anything in the case five times, that is not a "record" in matters concerned with settlements vs Bedouins in the area. For example, in one case - High Court of Justice 1828/06 - the administration requested to demolish illegal sheds that the Jihalin tribe had built. No fewer than 17 decisions were taken in this case - all of them requesting extensions of time by the prosecutor's office, of these, there were 13 decisions in which the court determined that the prosecution was conducted with "lack of activity". As of today the prosecutor's office has still not delivered the state's position on the merits of the case.

Next installment - Sixth Stop: Individual Initiative
Gil Bringer is an attorney who serves as the legal consultant to the Jewish Home faction in the Knesset and co-editor of the "Tzedek" legal supplement to the Makor Rishon Hebrew weekly newspaper. Among other things, he deals with the areas of overlap between law and politics, Zionism and good governance. He can be contacted at
Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav

Source: Source: Makor Rishon weekly Hebrew newspaper;

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.