The "Spiegel settlement database" is already creating waves in Israel. Israeli NGO Yesh Din has announced they will use the database to help Palestinians sue Israel for reparations and the removal of settlements from privately owned land.
To help get the word out, Mondo reader Jamie Dyer has used the information in the translated excerpts of the database to create this google map. "Making the map helped me to see the strategic placement of these
settlements. The hilltops are being systematically taken in a sort of
inversion of the topography of justice," Dyer writes. Click on the blue donkeytails to get a report on each landgrab:
The map will continue to get updated as more parts of database are made public.
While the Spiegel database is important, as Yesh Din's work attests to, it is also important to remember that in the end the database is telling us what we already know. Israel separates out the settlements into "legal" and "illegal" categories, and creates their own "legal" processes for zoning and building settlements in the West Bank, but under international law all Israeli settlement in the occupied territories is illegal. Period.
The Spiegel report is interesting in that it demonstrates Israeli government support for activity "illegal" under Israeli law, but this has been known, if not officially acknowledged, for a long time. For a good discussion of this, head over to jews sans frontieres. Money quote:
Hence, what the new leaked database reveals is that, in addition to
taking control of all the public land that belongs to the Palestinian
people and using it for Jews only, in addition to the million of dunums
confiscated "legally" from private Palestinian owners, Israeli
authorities also took some land from a few dozen owners without
attention to legal niceties.
This is like discovering that a bank teller was pickpocketed during a bank robbery.