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Arab “Settler-Colonialism” in the Land of Israel

Sept. 6 2017

In contemporary academic circles, “settler-colonialism” has come to be considered among the gravest of sins. The term—which refers to one country taking control of another and sending some of its inhabitants to live there—is applied with particular frequency, and venom, to Israel, although the U.S., Australia, and others also qualify as culprits. But, writes Alex Joffe, it is not Jews but Palestinians whom this term best describes:

The settler-colonialism argument against Israel posits that Zionism was an imperial tool of Britain (or, alternatively, that Zionism manipulated the British empire); that Jews represent an alien population implanted into Palestine to usurp the land and displace the people; and that Israel has subjected Palestinians to “genocide”—real, figurative, and cultural. According to this argument, Israel’s “settler colonialism” is a “structure, not an event,” and is accompanied by a “legacy of foundational violence” that extends back to the First Zionist Congress in 1897 or even before. With Zionism thus imbued with two forms of ineradicable original sin, violent opposition to Israel is legitimized and any forms of compromise, even negotiation, are “misguided and disingenuous.” . . .

The idea of Jews as “settler-colonialists” is easily disproved. A wealth of evidence demonstrates that Jews are the indigenous population of the southern Levant. . . . As for imperial support, the Zionist movement began during the Ottoman empire, which was at best [ambivalent] toward Jews and uncomfortable with the idea of Jewish sovereignty. . . .

Ironically, the same cannot be said for the Palestinian Arabs. . . . [M]odern Palestinians are, in fact, [descended] from two primary groups: converts from indigenous pre-[Islamic] Jews and Christians who submitted to Islam, and Arab tribes originating across the Middle East who migrated to the southern Levant between late antiquity and the 1940s. . . .

[None of this means] that Ottoman Palestine was “empty” when the Zionist movement began. It was indeed populated, albeit unevenly, but those populations had immigrated into the land over the previous centuries, a process that accelerated precisely because of the Zionist movement and the British Mandate. Palestinian settler-colonialism took place, ironically, under the aegis of both a Muslim and a Christian empire.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: British Mandate, Israel & Zionism, Ottoman Empire, Palestinians

 

The EU Violates International Law, Steals Palestinian Land, and Then Demands Compensation from Israel

Nov. 17 2017

Last month, the eight European countries that make up the West Bank Protection Consortium sent a formal letter demanding €30,000 in compensation for two classrooms with solar panels that Israel dismantled in August. The letter, as Ruthie Blum explains, ignores the fact that the structures, located in part of the West Bank called Area C, were built in violation of international law:

[The 1995 agreement known as] Oslo II, which created the Palestinian Authority (PA), divides the West Bank into three geographical sections—Areas A, B, and C—and specifies which government controls each. Area C is under the military and civil jurisdiction of Israel alone. . . . Yet, for years, there has been non-stop building in Area C, . . . in a transparent effort to populate Area C with Palestinians. . . .

[The] Middle East analyst Bassam Tawil [has] noted massive “behind-the-scenes” Palestinian construction, the goal of which is “to create irreversible facts on the ground” and completely encircle Jerusalem. He points out that while Israel is condemned for any and every attempt to build housing in the West Bank and Jerusalem [which it never does in Area A, assigned by Oslo to the sole jurisdiction of the Ramallah], the Palestinian Authority has been undertaking, with impunity, a “colossal” construction project that is “illegal in every respect.” . . .

On a recent tour of the area, [another] Arab affairs expert, Khaled Abu Toameh, explained that this ongoing construction, funded mainly by the EU and Qatar, is made possible through the “confiscation” of privately owned tracts of Palestinian land by unlicensed contractors whose interest is solely financial. . . All they want, he said, is to line their pockets at the expense of helpless landowners, who are told that they must sacrifice their property to help the Palestinian Authority populate the area for political gain against Israel. . . .

It takes particular gall for European Union representatives to express “humanitarian” outrage at Israel for razing illegal structures in the West Bank—while the EU is in league with Palestinian criminals who have been brazenly stealing Arab-owned land.

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Europe and Israel, European Union, Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, West Bank