‘What is mine is mine, and what is yours will be mine’ – opinion


Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently announced his intention to approve plans to build 2,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria, as well as approve plans for 800 housing units in Arab villages in Zone C.
In a parallel development, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett prefaced his recent visit to the White House with an interview with the New York Times in which he stated that “Israel will continue the standard policy of [allowing construction to accommodate] Natural [population] growth ”in Jewish communities.

As these statements swept through the Israeli and international media, staff from the Civil Administration, the authority responsible for implementing government policy in Area C, announced a labor dispute and suspended all committee hearings. , proving that as far as the wonders of our bureaucracy are concerned, there is no doubt that Israeli “sovereignty” runs deep in Area C.

Beyond that, however, it’s worth taking a moment to bring the larger image into focus – and to clearly understand what’s wrong with that image, so to speak. The facts indicate that Gantz and Bennett’s recent statements are nothing more than a smokescreen.

Since the ratification of the Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority has controlled areas A and B; this includes the power to grant building permits as it sees fit. At the time of this writing, 70% of the territory under the jurisdiction of the PA remains completely empty. The Palestinian Authority has the right, the obligation and the means to plan and build, to use this territory as it sees fit, without any Israeli involvement, and without any expectation of proportional approval of Jewish construction in the areas A and B administered by the Palestinian Authority – which are judenrein.

The fact that the PA chooses not to build in areas under its own jurisdiction, and instead invest all of its resources in illegal construction in Area C, is a choice – with very clear motives. This very simple fact makes the current government’s surrender to the Biden administration’s demand for “construction parity” a dangerous precedent.

Just as Americans do not expect the PA to associate every building permit issued in areas under PA jurisdiction with proportional approval for Jewish construction, so there can be no justification. demand that every construction project approved by the State of Israel for Jewish residents of areas under Israeli jurisdiction be associated with projects for Arabs.

To make matters worse, the asymmetry extends beyond the question of demography, into the realm of geography. The area occupied by residential structures in the Jewish sector, with around half a million inhabitants (again, limited to Area C) represents only 3.5% of the total area under Israeli jurisdiction, while the area occupied by Arab colonization in Area C, which has around 200,000 people according to recent estimates, currently occupies more than double that area.

Rather than counting the number of housing units approved for Jewish residents versus Arab residents in Zone C, the question we should be asking about new construction projects is how many additional square meters this will add? it to the area occupied by Jewish settlements compared to the area that will be ceded to Arab colonization in area C?

If these new projects do not add any area for Jewish settlement, we are fooled. And so it is: all projects that have been approved for the Jewish sector are within the municipal boundaries of existing communities – in other words, land that has already been included in the calculation of Jewish settlement, land that have already been planned for the expansion of existing communities, and not an inch of real growth in the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. The majority of projects involve urban-style construction – multi-storey units that conserve land resources.

On the other hand, projects for the Arab sector, almost without exception, involve land that will be removed from Israeli jurisdiction and placed under the control of the Palestinian Authority, adding new territories to the already disproportionate tally of Arab colonization. .

Another point to consider: plans for the Arab sector are based on the “legalization” of existing illegal structures, coupled with plans to double or even triple the current “footprint”. Compare this with the “standard policy of allowing natural growth” in the tiny areas designated by law for Jewish settlement.

It’s time to call a spade a spade: the plans under discussion are a wholesale laundering of illegal Arab outposts. If the dangerous equation between construction plans in the Jewish and Arab sectors is to be established, it should at the very least be a real and precise equation: if the Israeli government intends to launch a new policy of massive legalization of Arab outposts, it should treat illegal Israeli outposts with the same generosity.

The writer is the director of political and parliamentary affairs for Regavim, an Israeli non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Israel’s land resources.


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