Monday, May 29, 2006
Olmert will crush Bethlehem without Negotiation
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 2:37 PM
Olmert's disengagement won't save Bethlehem. It will crush it.

If you read the wide selection of articles being published in the press about the 'new hope for peace' that is Prime Minister Olmert; you could be forgiven for thinking that this ghastly nightmare is almost over. Recent speeches about 'bold moves' could lead one to believe that the days of the colonial regime operating in the West Bank are thoroughly numbered. As is often the case with people who analyze the actions behind the words, I find myself saying 'if only it was true.'

For the people of Bethlehem city, colonial strangulation - in the form of the settlements and their infrastructure – is only now really being implemented to the fullest.

Below is a point by point analysis of the map of Bethlehem. Before reading on, I would like remind our Readers that colonizing territory which has been conquered in strictly forbidden under international law.

YELLOW LINE – Is the internationally recognized border between Israel and Palestine. The state of Israel is built on 78% of historic Palestine. The 22% which remains is marked by this line. The two-state solution follows the idea that this 22% should be given to the Palestinians as it is the area recognized as 'Palestine' under international law. All forms of Israeli presence in this area are illegal by default. In this map, the Palestinian 'West Bank' territory is the area to the right hand side of the yellow line.

DARK BLUE AREAS - Represent Israeli settlements within Palestinian territory. The process of establishing these illegal settlements on confiscated land (after the remaining 22% of Palestine was occupied in 1967) was the main cause of tension which led to the first Palestinian revolt – the first Intifada. Having already witnessed 78% of their homeland being dismantled to create the Israeli state, the population of the West Bank feared that these settlers were slowly going to replace them. This is understandable, as much of the population of the West Bank are refugees from modern Israel, or the 78% of historic Palestine, which has been colonized beyond retrieval.

DARK ORANGE AREAS – Are Palestinian built up areas. As the Palestinian people are mostly still an agricultural people, each village and town is directly dependent upon the lands which lie directly next to the village area. The result is that the economic resources of Bethlehem all lie within an area three times the size of the city, spreading out into the countryside. Much of this land has been illegally confiscated for the settlements.

THE BLACK LINE – Is the Wall. Everything between the Wall and the Yellow line will be illegally annexed by Olmerts plan the 'solidify the main settlement blocks.' Note how the route of the Wall around Bethlehem city lies within a few hundred meters of the built up areas. This isolates the city from its vital agricultural lands, crippling the economy. The Wall also isolates Bethlehem from the Old city of Jerusalem (Palestinian under international law) as well as several of its farming villages to the West. Over time these villages will disappear as they will be physically separated from the mother city.

So this is Olmert's plan for peace? Lets use realistic language here, this is theft by anyone's measure. If one country occupies another, settles its own people on lands stolen from the natives, and then accuses the natives of electing a 'terrorist' government because they refuse to recognize THE ILLEGAL OCCUPIER then there is no other word for it than theft.

Address to Israelis – how can the Palestinian government recognize your states existence when you constantly break international law and believe that large areas of Palestinian land are yours? If the government recognized Israel, they would also be recognizing this theft – pure and simply. Take the example of a farmer from Bethlehem whose lands are now behind the wall. If he chooses to recognize Israel, then he chooses to recognize that the land which he legally owns are no longer his! How can anyone recognize a country with no borders!

Before the election of Hamas, the Palestinians recognized your existence time and time again, according to the definition of Israel held by international law - Israel is the 78% to the West of the line - This was recognized as unfair but reality. Even Barak's 'generous offer' still involved the Palestinians giving up part of the 22% which they have managed to preserve. This is not about Hamas refusing to recognize Israel, this is about Israel slowly stealing from the Palestinians one piece of land at a time. Any Palestinian government who recognized this state of affairs would last five minuets with the people. Could you imagine an Israeli government recognizing that Tel Aviv is actually the Palestinian city of Yaffa? Would they be re-elected?

I personally do not agree with the bombings. However, next time something like that happens, ask yourself these questions if you wish to understand why they happen;
- How many Israeli cities have been turned into economically devastated ghettoes by Palestinian settlements?
- How many Israeli villages have been ethnically cleansed by Palestinian forces?
- How many Israeli citizens are being held without trial in Palestinian jails?
- How many Israeli farmers have had to watch whilst their Olive groves are torn to pieces to build a road for people who have stolen their land?
- How many new born Israeli children have died because their mothers were forced to give birth at military checkpoints?

(Just in case anyone missed the sarcastic tone of the above questions, the answer to all of them is 'NONE' - all of these crimes have been committed by the Israeli State against Palestinians - i was just trying to get Israelis to imagine what its like to suffer these things.)