Thursday, February 09, 2006


News Item:

Outpost residents respect law, want respect

Tamar Asaraf home in Hayovel is six months old ... Though Asaraf said her home is on public land that her family properly leased from the state, Peace Now claims the permanent homes here, as well as some of the caravans, are built at least partly on Palestinian land.

The organization has petitioned the High Court to force the government to carry out demolition orders on the permanent structures here and in Haresha, a community northwest of Ramallah. The two communities thus have the unwanted distinction of being the next two illegal outposts where forced evacuations and demolitions could occur.

Though Hayovel sits atop a mostly baron hill studded with shrubs, where cold winds penetrate even thick clothes on a winter's day, the spirit of the place drew Asaraf to move here eight years ago, she said. Nevertheless, if the police do come to demolish her home, Asaraf would not protest violently, nor passively, as did many in Gush Qatif, to spare her children the experience. She said that few people here, if anyone, would react like the protesters at Amona, an assertion backed up by Shlomo Bushan, 26, a former resident of Neveh Deqalim who came here after the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

"We don't support what the people in Amona did; the people here aren't like that," Bushan said. "We don't intend to struggle. It would probably be the same as it was in Gush Qatif."

The attack on Jewish homesteaders in Judea and Samaria is nonsense. Neither the Arabs nor the State of Israel have any justification for expelling Jews from homes built on unoccupied hilltops.

First of all, Arab claims to property on barren, unused hilltops are simply spurious.

How do the Arabs think that they acquired title to the land? Do they think that they may claim title merely because their ancestors once grazed sheep on it? Or did they actually build something there, cultivate it, or fence it in? If so, where is the evidence?

Perhaps they claim that their grandfathers were Arab notables who once received land grants from the Ottoman Empire -- like William Penn who received "rights" to all of Pennsylvania from King James? But, this claim rest upon the assumption that the king is the sole owner of all the land in his kingdom, and that he may transfer ownership of large tracts as he sees fit.

The "law and order" fanatics us accuse the settlers of the "crime" of building on "state land." But how did the land become "state land"? Simple: the Israeli government unilaterally gave itself title after the Six Day War. But, this is merely a modern version of the "divine right of kings to be the sole owners of all land in the realm" doctorine above. This doctorine, when applied to royalty, is utterly rejected today by the entire civilized world -- including Judaism (correct me if I'm wrong). But, when we resurrect this false belief and couch it in modern terms -- replacing the king with "the majority" or "the people" -- the concept of "state land" begins to sound reasonable to us.

In truth, neither nomads' grazing habits, nor imperial Ottoman land grants nor the State of Israel's land-grabs can establish justifiable property rights. The fact is that UNUSED, UNALTERED land is UNOWNED land; and Jewish homesteaders have every right to settle it.

So, why are the people of Hayovel so opposed to fighting for their rights? It seem to me that their pacifism it is the result of two basic errors:

  1. They accept the state's "right" to do whatever it likes with the land; and
  2. they harbor a sneaking suspicion that they really have stolen "Arab land" that once belonged to rustic bedouin shepherds.

Our task is to educate the homeowners of Judea and the Shomron. They must know that they are 100% justified in building where they did, and that the government is 100% wrong in trying to expell them. Without a firm belief in the justice of their cause, the settlers will continue to shy away from active resistance; and the government will continue unhindered along its wicked path of expelling Jews willy-nilly from their land.

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