The Illegal Settlements
The Illegal Settlements
Many people in the world may wonder why Palestinians talk about politics all the time. I, myself, wonder sometimes how our stories are received in places like the United States, Europe and even Israel. But being confined to stay at home for 76 days, not allowed to go to work, not allowed to provide for my family, not allowed to take my children for walks in the streets to get the blood properly circulated through their veins, and not allowed to breathe fresh air from my own windows. That leaves me with little to do that is productive: watch the news, read the papers (if they arrive, otherwise from the net), talk or play with my children, or help around the house.
Many people in the world are sick and tired of hearing about the Israeli settlements, the fights over them, the clips of farmers standing before bulldozers and tanks to stop them from moving further, and the erecting or dismantling of some remote settlements. They may be sick and tired of Palestinians talking about settlements, new and old ones and about the confiscating of the lands for the benefit of the settlements. They may also be sick and tired of Israelis talking about their homes in the settlements and how they lived under constant fear of being attacked, shot at or bombed.
Without getting too much into history or who has the right to the land and who doesnâ€™t in depth (we would need books not articles to get into that), I will use my own language to explain how a land is turned into a settlement. Few independent reporters were sometimes allowed to visit settlements or publish their findings in the press. Many news networks and agencies have just ignored the findings or refused to publish them in fear of exposing the matter.
Imagine finding a place thatâ€™s peaceful and romantic, where the scenery is stunning; cool breeze, nice Mediterranean weather all year long, and clean, fresh air in the middle of high mountains overlooking green lands, olive trees in beautiful lines and rows. Imagine finding this place and having the capabilities to take it to yourself, all by yourself. In the law, you can buy a place like this if you can afford to. The richer you are, the more lands you can afford to buy. But the lands we are talking about are not for sale. They are not deserted or ignored. They are Palestinian lands that belong to Palestinians who inherited them from their fathers and great grandfathers.
Some Jews who had originated from all around the world except here come to those lands; they like what they see and promptly express their wishes to their government to take those lands and, just like the dreams, it is theirs, illegally of course. (Most settlement lands are still registered in names of the original Palestinian owners).
The original owners would be thrown out of the lands they farmed, harvested, cropped and irrigated, and become strangers in their own place. They would take the matter to local and high courts â€“ if they fought forcefully, theyâ€™d be called terrorists â€“ and eventually they would loose the case, the land and sole source of income they lived by all their lives, to turn into laborers working for their enemy, the land thieves. Some of them would be jobless and become dependant on other people, some would leave the country to find work elsewhere to support their families, and others would join the first resistance movement against Israeli as long as it fights their enemies. But all of them would spend the rest of their lives being resentful at the world for their ignorance, blindness and human rights they claim for everyone but grant to only few.
As soon as the land is stolen, Israeli bulldozers would make a coursed lane in neighboring lands all the way to the nearest â€“ or most far - main road depending on how convenient it is for settlers. Telecom companies would be requested to erect posts and lines giving excuses like expanding the original network (in more lands of course). And army patrols would be assigned for protection of the invaders.
Settlements that start with a few caravans would soon after start expanding. New neighborhoods get constructed, infrastructures planned and implemented, proper water and sewage networks built. All the while taking more of the neighboring lands until the settlement is joined with another built the same ways using the same techniques.
According to an article for Aye's Barmilamid, one settlement, Naghihout, very close to Hebron, consists of four caravans. One caravan inhabited by one family, two caravans belong to two families that arrive only on weekends and the fourth caravan belongs to the army thatâ€™s there to protect that one family all week long and the two others on weekends.
Soon after the settlements are built, occupants start demanding the army to drive off the close Palestinian neighbors. A setter house wife was speaking on CNN a few months ago demanded the removal of her Palestinian neighbors because they were getting closer to her for safety, she claimed. She arrived only few months earlier while her â€œgetting closeâ€ neighbors have been there for years.
The choices for original owners are very limited: surrender or fight. Since the Israeli law does not protect their rights, a simple alternative is available, the Intifada.
Today, the American administration is demanding the change of Palestinian leadership because they did not surrender to the Israeli demands while Israel is using American funds to build those settlements. Funds paid by American tax payers.
Settlements are only one of the Israeli ways to oppress Palestinians. Curfew is another. It has been enforced on Nablus for SEVENTY SIX days. The world is watching, yet has done little.