Bringing an End to Home Demolitions of Israeli Citizens

Jan. 27 2017

In Israel, a bitter controversy has been raging for several weeks over the government’s decision—finally executed last week—to destroy homes built illegally in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev. Moshe Arens draws some parallels to other happenings in Israel, recent and less recent, and calls for a rethink:

Just connect the dots, from the destruction of the homes of the settlers in Gush Katif more than eleven years ago [during the withdrawal from Gaza] to the destruction of the homes of the Bedouin in Umm al-Hiran last week: destruction that is carried out in the name of the law, and yet causes great human tragedies. You can pencil in a dot if you like for Amona, [a West Bank settlement built in contravention of Israeli law and] destined for destruction by a ruling of the High Court of Justice.

The forcible uprooting of many families from the homes they have lived in for many years causes immeasurable grief, suffering, and sometimes even bloodshed, as was the case in Umm al-Hiran. And all this in the name of the law or a decision of the High Court of Justice, a decision that is at once both verdict and sentence: the homes must be destroyed, regardless of the consequences. . . .

The scenes from Gush Katif may already have receded from our memories, but they were brought back to mind last week. It does not matter that in Gush Katif, Jewish families were being uprooted from their homes while in Umm al-Hiran, it was Bedouin families who were left homeless. In both cases the people affected were Israeli citizens, and the human tragedy is the same. Is there no way to prevent a recurrence of such tragedies?

Possibly the Knesset should consider passing a law that would prevent the destruction of homes that have been occupied by a large number of families for longer than a certain number of years, regardless of land-ownership claims by the state or by individuals, making it mandatory that recognized individual claimants be compensated. This would leave to the courts the decision on recognizing the validity of the claims and the size of the compensation.

Read more at Moshe Arens

More about: Bedouin, Gaza withdrawal, Israel & Zionism, Settlements, Supreme Court of Israel


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy