With Help from the EU, the Palestinian Authority Builds Illegal Settlements in the West Bank

According to the Oslo Accords, the portion of the West Bank designated as Area C—which includes all of the Israeli settlements—is to remain under the control of Israel’s government until the parties reach a final agreement. Yet the Palestinian Authority (PA), backed by EU funds, has been systematically constructing illegal settlements there—mostly small Bedouin outposts—in an attempt to interfere with Israeli claims to the territory. Josh Hasten writes:

[A] lengthy 2009 policy paper by then-Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad [argued] that by creating substantial “facts on the ground,” the PA [could] lay claim to those areas, and demand that they be part of “Palestine” in any future negotiations with Israel. And that’s where the EU comes in—to serve as the key financier of the project. Over 1,000 illegal structures, . . . with more being erected nearly daily throughout Judea and Samaria, now proudly bear the EU flag. The EU’s false claim is that it is involved in these building endeavors for “humanitarian purposes,” to provide for the Bedouin in these areas.

[Tellingly], the EU symbol can be seen on structures only in Area C; no houses displaying it can be found in areas A or B, nor can they be found in Bedouin communities throughout the rest of the Middle East. . . .

It’s important to note that despite the illegal PA/EU activity carried out by the Bedouin squatting around [the Jerusalem suburb of] Maaleh Adumim and the surrounding villages, [all of which would inevitably remain in Israel in the event of a peace deal], Israel’s government has repeatedly gone out of its way to offer permanent housing solutions for these families.

Blueprints for the establishment of a legal town [for these Bedouin] near Jericho, to be called Ramat Nueimah, were drawn up, but that plan has been shelved for the time being. This was a result of the PA leadership (and the EU) refusing to accept a practical solution that would enhance the Bedouin’s lives but would also lessen their grip on that strategic corridor.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

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

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security