By: Fadi Zanayed (written Sept., 2010)
The Palestinian Authority has reaffirmed the death penalty for any Palestinian found guilty of selling land to Israelis. Such a law by any other legislative body would cause an outrage and I would be hard pressed to support it if not for the special circumstances and other factors.
Palestinian legislatures have much to fear from the sale of Palestinian land to Israelis. As has been quite evident in the past week, nothing has deterred Israel and its citizens from confiscating more and more Palestinian land in the West Bank. To overcome their illegitimate confiscations, Israelis would like nothing more than to legitimize their hold on Palestinian land by paying monetary compensation to Palestinians.
The law prohibiting Palestinians from selling land to Israelis was enacted under the reality that land confiscation by the Israeli government to build illegal Israeli settlements and outposts has exceeded 50 percent of the West Bank. The illegal apartheid wall that Israel has constructed on Palestinian lands has taken another ten percent.
The fact that these settlements are illegal under international law and have been called an obstacle to the Middle East peace process by succeeding US administrations has not deterred Israel from continuing this international state sponsored criminal activity. Even the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not stopped the illegal land confiscations. Israelis will stop at nothing, including monetary consideration, to confiscate more and more of Palestinian land.
This past Sunday, September 26, 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could not rein in his hardline right wing members of his coalition and did not continue the 10 month moratorium on settlement building. Pressure from US President Barrack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Quartet members could not persuade Netanyahu otherwise.
When Ehud Barak was Prime Minister he reassured then Palestinian President Yasser Arafat that no new settlements would be built during his administration. In the first ten months of the Barak government, however, settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip had proceeded on an unprecedented scale, outpacing not only the previous Netanyahu government, but also the hard-line Shamir government of the 1980s.
The establishment of the settlements leads to the violation of the rights of the Palestinians as enshrined in international human rights law. Among other violations, the settlements infringe on the rights to self-determination, equality, property, an adequate standard of living, and freedom of movement.
With the foregoing in mind, how can any Palestinian government allow the sale of Palestinian owned land to Israelis? If Palestinians allowed the sale of land in Ramallah, Nablus, or any other Palestinian town to Israelis, will Jewish settlements be built in the very heart of Palestinian cities as it is in Hebron?
The fear of vast sums of outside monies from right wing Jewish supporters of Israel to purchase all of the West Bank is very real. There have been reports in the American press that right wing American Jews are being courted to purchase homes in these illegal settlements. Allowing Palestinian landowners to sell Palestinian land to Israelis would be an automatic card blanch sale of all of Palestine. Israel and its supporters would love to purchase the West Bank and do away with the Palestinians.
I am sure that supporters of Israel will raise the anti-Semitic argument in their attacks against this law. Yet when a Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem cannot live in this Holy City while a Brooklyn born American Jew can obtain Israeli citizenship just by asking, nothing is said of this discriminatory Israeli law enacted since the birth of Israel.Given these set of circumstances and factors, the Palestinian Authority is justified in enacting a law that prevents the “monetary” expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. It is a matter of national survival.
( © Copyright, Fadi Zanayed. Publication or distribution of this material is allowed provided its content is not altered and the source and its author are cited.)