Wednesday, March 09, 2005


From the BBC:
Israeli state bodies have been secretly diverting millions of dollars to build illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, an official report has revealed.

Former state prosecutor Talia Sasson has recommended criminal investigations against those alleged to be involved.

Israel is meant to remove unauthorised outposts on Palestinian land under the US-backed roadmap peace plan.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Nasser Al -Kidwa said there would be "no peace" while settlement building continued.

Anti-settlement groups say more than 100 outposts have sprung up, normally consisting of small groups of mobile homes stationed close to existing settlements.

The report details how officials in the ministries of defence and housing and the settlement division of the World Zionist Organisation spent millions of dollars from state budgets to support the illegal outposts.

The New York Times:
The report describes almost a state within a state devoted to promoting illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

"No one seriously intends to enforce the law," says the report, written by Talia Sasson, a former chief state prosecutor. "It seems as if the violation of the law has become institutional and institutionalized."

"There is blatant violation of the law by certain state authorities, public authorities, regional councils" in the West Bank "and the settlers," Ms. Sasson wrote, according to excerpts published Tuesday by the Israeli daily Maariv. "Everything is done for appearance' sake, as if a regulated institutional establishment were acting within the confines of the law."

Sharon has been demanding that the Palestinians stop committing acts of terrorism while at the same time his government has been increasing the very activities which incite Palestinian terrorism. This is what's known as "Israeli politics as usual." Here's how it works: Despite solemn promises to the contrary, Israel continues to annex Palestinian land for illegal Jewish settlements. Then, when it's time to negotiate, Israel offers to return some small percentage of this stolen land as a "compromise." The Palestinians point out that this is a rotten deal, considering all of the stolen land rightly belongs to them, and is occupied illegally by settlers. Then the Israelis throw up their hands and declare that the Palestinians just don't want peace. Then the negotiations stall, giving Israel more time to annex more Palestinian land. Repeat.

Meanwhile, teenage Mustafa has just watched the house his family has lived in for generations bulldozed to make way for a new swimming pool for settler children (settlers in the West Bank use 75 gallons of water for every 25 used by Palestinians. Have I mentioned that water is scarce over there?) The cries of his mother, grandmother, and sisters echo in his ears, and the image of his father standing there, broken, pathetic, and helpless in the face of Israeli aggression is seared into his memory. This is the image that will finally motivate him to make a bomb of himself. "I am not helpless," is the last thought that goes through his head as he sits on a bus in Jerusalem. KABOOM. A couple days later, Charles Krauthammer writes in a column that this kid was obviously motivated purely by hatred of Jews.


Israel's policy of settlement in the West Bank and Gaza must be understood as what it is: a form of war against the Palestinians. Attacks by Jewish settlers against Palestinian civilians are a regular occurrence, often taking place under the averted eyes of Israeli soldiers. Here's a charming bunch who decided to poison their Palestinian neighbors' water supply. Shalom, indeed. (Why is it that the wingnuts are always blowing their catheters out over Palestinian attacks on Israelis, but we don't hear a peep from any of them when Jewish terrorists attempt to poison an entire Palestinian village?)

It is outrageous that Israel is paying for its illegal and deeply inhumane colonization of the Palestinian West Bank with U.S. taxpayer dollars. Israel receives nearly one third of the total U.S. aid to foreign countries, to the tune of $13.7 million per day. I have to ask: In what way has this staggering transfer of wealth helped the United States?

And now there is proof (not that anyone familiar with Israeli politics is surprised) that elements in Sharon's government were supporting the expansion of outposts (which even Sharon concedes are illegal) even as Sharon was talking out the back of his neck about making "painful concessions." It is preposterous to suppose that Sharon had no idea that this was going on, given his history as the settler movement's most vocal and strident political patron. But will we hear a word of condemnation from the useful Likudnik idiots who regularly used to condemn Arafat as "two faced"? Doubtful.

I anxiously await Bush's routine mild rebuke of Sharon (he'll call Israeli actions "unhelpful" or some such), after which Sharon will smile, shrug his shoulders, and then go back to stealing Palestinian land for Israel, as has been the focus of his political life.

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