In the last few days, the settlers of ‘Amona began a PR campaign, trying to prevent the removal of their illegal outpost. Following Mark Twain’s famous dictum, that the lie has already moved the world while the truth was still trying to get a decent WIFI connection, they uploaded this graphically well-made video.
What’s that you say? Mark Twain said nothing about a web connection, seeing as he died in 1910? That’s OK, I was just using the settlers’ own methods. Let’s unpack this little nice fairy tale.
The settlers’ first claim is that out of 10 land plots under legal scrutiny – the legal battle began in 2008 – only four are actually in the outpost, and two of which are empty. The answer is quite simple: As ‘Amona is an illegal outpost, by its very nature it does not have a building plan. Therefore, we have not the foggiest idea what is considered to be a “part of the outpost.” We went to court because of plots on which there’s either illegal construction, or plots who are so near them that they’ve become unusable by their Palestinian owners. The settlers say six of the plots are not part of the outposts? Fine by us. We assume they have no objection to them being evacuated , then.
Oh, that’s not the case? Oops.
Let’s move on to the second claim: “Two of the plots are empty, nobody prevents the Arabs from using them.” In one word: Bullshit. The ability of Palestinians to reach lands which are within an outpost or a settlement is nil. Time after time, the IDF forbade Palestinians from reaching lands which are in or near outposts, saying it cannot protect the Palestinians. The settlers’ claim is an empty phrase, intended for people who are unfamiliar with reality on the ground in the West Bank.
The settlers’ last claim, that of “we need a peaceful resolution” is perhaps the most enraging. A group of bandits takes over land which it admits does not belong to it – note the settlers’ claim that they began purchasing lands after the legal process began – and when the demand that they return the stolen lands to their owners, suddenly it whines this “isn’t a peaceful resolution.” Perhaps you ought to think of that before settling on lands which do not belong to you.
But hold on. Who says the settlers actually own lands in ‘Amona. The settlers do. They’ve been saying that for years, but only now they speak of particular land purchases. On Sunday, the government told the court that Al Watan, a a subsidiary company of the Company for the Development of Mateh Binyamins, whose purpose is buying lands from Palestinians, has purchased lands in the area. And the government demanded, and received, a gag order on the details.
To be precise, Al Watan did not purchase the lands of ‘Amona. It purchased, or so it says, parts of four plots: 25% of the rights in one plot, one-eighth of the rights in a second, one-sixth of the rights in a third, and 40% of the rights in another. We are debating, again ten plots. We are not even sure if the plots are really in ‘Amona. Why? Because of the gag order.
Why is there a gag order? Oh, that’s a usual schtick. A gag orders makes checking out the details of a land purchase almost impossible, and Al Watan has reason for it. On three different occasions, it’s been proven that that Al Watan’s purchase claims were fabricated. The police didn’t find the forgers, but the forgery is beyond doubt. In all cases, the “purchase” was made a short time before the evacuation of an illegal outpost. In one of the cases – which is why I brought up a fake Twain quote – the man who allegedly sold Al Watan the lands was about 108 years old. Something which might have gladdened his heart, given that he passed away in 1969 (!).
So, this sudden purchase which also comes just before an evacuation – the HCJ decided ‘Amona is to be removed by July 15th, less than two weeks from now – ought to raise a few questions. First, was there even a purchase, or, as Al Watan history proves, this, too, is a forgery? We can’t answer the question, because of the gag order. What is Al Watan hiding? This question should be referred to the settlers of ‘Amona and their representatives.
A second question: Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the new claims of the settlers about a sudden land purchase are true. So what? They managed to buy a few fragments of the outpost. How does that render the vermin kosher?
And a final question: Again, we’ll assume that the land purchase did take place and is not a forgery. Can anyone seriously argue that this deal has two sides acting in true free will? A reminder: The landowners of ‘Amona have effectively lost their lands in 2000. They haven’t received access to it since 2000. The legal wrangle goes on since November 2008. Assuming a settler representative meets one of the small plot owners, and offers him a sum of money for land the man already considers to be lost. In what sense is that free, honest trade?
In the golden tongue of ‘Azriel Karlibach, half a century and more ago: “You are a Sabrah and you’re used to such things, for you it is natural that the world is divided in two: victors and vanquished, the man on top and the man underneath. But I – I am a Jew, I see there a clerk of the Kingdom of Spain sitting and writing on parchment ‘their belongings to be seized by the state’ to punish my ancestors because they did not believe in Queen Ysabella’s crucified god of justice; I see there a German clerk writing and stamping ‘All Jewish property appropriated legally in accordance with the law of acquisition from non-Aryans. . .’ Forgive me, my daughter, I have such eyes – and they are dizzy. They do not want to use the Jewish State in such a light, they strive against it with all their might…”
That’s what the settlers’ “peaceful resolution” looks like. That’s how you build the posts – and the settlements themselves. No Israeli with a sense of national pride can agree that this horse theft is something to be proud of or agree with. No honest man can look at this without turning his eyes away for shame. No person of self respect would willingly stand where the settlers of ‘Amona are so proud to stand. We in Yesh Din would proudly stand with Karlibach.