While all the attention, justifiably, is on the raid on the Free Gaza flotilla, Israel continues its policy of bureaucratic oppression.
Six miles south of Bethlehem is a farm owned by the Nasser family since 1916. During the last 20 years they’ve spent over $50,000 US on defending their title to the land against settler attempts to have them removed.
Last week they were served with demolition notices for structures they’ve built on their farm. Here is an extract from the letter sent by their solicitor:
“As you are aware all of your previous requests to obtain a license were rejected using the excuse that “there is no current zoning plan in your area”. Zoning plans are submitted by the authorities themselves. In your case the authorities did not conclude any zoning plans for your area – indeed they stopped all zoning plans when it became clear that the Supreme Court would not confirm the confiscation of your land. When your land was being confiscated and given to the Newe Daniel settlement plans to build hundreds of building units were being set in place by the authorities themselves.
When the confiscation was suspended and it became clear the land would not be given to the settlement, the zoning plans suddenly changed. In light of this fact you cannot under any circumstances obtain any license for any structure, building or renovation.
You have been given a “grace period” of five days before the demolition takes place.
The only action that can stop this is an injunction by the Supreme Court of Israel, which may or may not grant such an injunction under the circumstances. “
Israel, backed by UK, US & EU, claims to be the ‘only democracy in the region’. In many ways it is a reasonable claim. There is, i.e. far more local press criticism of Israel than in US or UK. Israel has a voting system of proportional representation which sounds attractively democratic. Unforunately it is weighted towards ensuring that minorities have far more influence than their popular vote would suggest, (which is why every government tends to be right wing).
But: how is it democratic that the Israeli Authorities – backed by their military – can control what happens in land that is designated for a future Palestinian State. The Palestinians don’t have a vote in Israel! The people of Gaza don’t have a vote in Israel, yet Israel controls the land, the sea, the air, the water, even the sewage.