Look over there! All eyes on Iran as Israel quietly devours Area C

Israel/Palestine
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This 12 minute interview with economist Shir Hever of the Alternative Information Center starts at 12:45. I recommend it in its entirety. At 21:39 in the video, he says:

“Military government in the West Bank, the Israeli military government, is not interested in creating infrastructure for the Palestinians which would allow them to live in comfort and peace on their own land. They have an interest to try to make it harder for Palestinians to survive in this area so that they would be convinced to emigrate.

And in fact the recent report [on “forced transfer” of Palestinians] by the European Union showed that in one area of the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, the population in 1967, right prior to the Israeli occupation, was 300,000 people. Today 45 years later the population is half, 150,000 people. Half of the Palestinians were deported from their lands and had to leave this area one way or another and if you account for the natural growth of the population thru births it’s actually much more than half.”

This gets at the reason that Europeans are enraged over the demolition of their solar project in Area C– and it isn’t just the obvious one. Hang in with me for a minute  because the long and winding road in this convoluted story demonstrates how Israel is making plans to annex Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank.

“It is not just the Germans that were slapped in the face but the whole EU,” said Tsafrir Cohen, a spokesman for Medico International, one of the partner organisations behind the project. “That was their answer to the Area C report.”

EU diplomats say that more generally, Israeli settlement activity and house demolitions in Area C are increasing at an unprecedented speed ..”

Now throw in the annexation legislation for ‘Judea and Samaria’ Area C lands being pushed by rightwing member of Knesset Danny Danon. He blames the Palestinians for their alleged refusal to negotiate— which could, he says excitedly, “bear fruit for the Zionist enterprise.”

In the Jerusalem Post coverage of his bill to annex “Judea and Samaria,” Danon pushes the lie that Palestinians have refused to negotiate and says this alleged refusal justifies the annexation of another 60% of the West Bank in which Israel would offer 48,000 Palestinian residents citizenship, although 150,000 currently live there.

Netanyahu opened the door for this kind of proposal already two years ago, when he threatened Israeli unilateral actions in response to the Palestinians’ unilateral pursuit of statehood, Danon said.

Israel “has to seize this opportunity with both hands,” he said.

[A]t the end of January, the Palestinians walked away from the fledgling talks in Amman, and no date has been set to continue them. The largely frozen peace process has fed a growing movement among right-wing lawmakers to end military rule in Area C of the West Bank, where the Israeli settlements are located, and fully apply Israeli law there.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) has threatened to amend every Knesset law so they apply to Area C, thereby de facto annexing it. More than half of the Likud’s 27 MKs have endorsed the idea, including Ministers Gilad Erdan, Yisrael Katz, Moshe Kahlon and Yuli Edelstein.

Separate from Danon’s work on the issue, Naftali Bennett, the co-founder of the right-wing NGO My Israel, has circulated a plan to annex Judea and Samaria…..Unlike Danon’s plan, Bennett said he would annex all of Area C. He would offer Israeli citizenship to the 48,000 Palestinians who live in Area C.

Granting citizenship to these Palestinians would eliminate all talk of Israel as an apartheid state, he said. But he added that Palestinian refugees who live outside of Area C would not be able to move there.

Under his plan, he said, the Palestinian Authority would remain in control of Areas A and B, where there are no Jewish communities. “I realize that the world won’t recognize it, but they have not recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights or the Western Wall,” he said.

Anyone who’s visited Area C can see an active policy of Israelis pushing Palestinians off these lands. The independent media network dedicated to European Union policies, Eurasia Review reports:

Area C is a canton under full Israeli control, comprising some 60% of the West Bank and – beyond the West Bank Wall – all of Israel’s settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

Palestinians need permits to build in this region, but a study by the Israeli group Peace Now found that between 2000 and 2007, 94% of their applications were turned down.

EU sources say that the permitting regime seems aimed at encouraging Palestinian migration to Area’s A and B. “That is what everyone tells you when you go there,” one said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It seems obvious but politically speaking, it is very sensitive.”

The region, spanning the Dead Sea, Judean Desert and Jordan Valley, is under-developed and the German Foreign Office provided around €300,000 for the six hybrid wind and solar energy projects, which serve poor villages in the South Hebron Hills.

The last of the energy projects was completed in September 2011, but in January, Israel’s Civil Liaison Administration, which oversees the occupied territories, announced that they had to stop work as they did not have the correct permits.

Some EU diplomats – and many non-governmental groups – see a link in the timing with a confidential report by the EU’s top regional diplomats into settlement building and house demolitions in Area C. It called on the Commission to draft legislation “to prevent/discourage financial transactions in support of settlement activity.”

Phil Weiss observed this recently when he visited a tiny Palestinian village in Area C being crushed like a nut between the jaws of Carmel and Ma’on settlements. The village has a solar project, funded by the German government, but the Israeli civil administration came in last week and destroyed a sheep shelter, a house, and a cistern, killing several sheep in the process.

“Area C is the most important political issue in Palestine at the moment,” Elad Orian of Comet said. “It’s becoming clear from both the Palestinian Authority side and the European Union that they do not accept Israeli policies any more [against Palestinian building in the West Bank]. This issue is at the forefront of international politics.”

The Palestine Papers revealed that in 2008 the Palestinian negotiators presented maps for resolving the settlements obstacle while preserving full Palestinian rights and leaving more than 60 percent of the settlers in place (i.e., the 1.9 % land swap). Israel turned even that offer down. Lately, Palestinians met the deadline to turn in their proposal to the Quartet for security and borders. Israel did not.

Don’t forget East Jerusalem. Last December in Nada, zilch, finito– the media snowjob of mass proportions and  Israel prepares to transfer 70,000 Jerusalem Palestinians to West Bank i.d.’s we reported on the complete annexation of East Jerusalem:

[T]he stripping of Jerusalem IDs coincides with the opening of a massive new checkpoint in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, and the re-emergence of construction on a settler road connecting Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim. Finishing the construction, combined with the new checkpoint, would all but cut the West Bank in half– and complete the physical annexation of East Jerusalem.

No East Jeruslaem, no Area C and what is our mainstream media, our politicians and our public focused on? Iran.

So, this is the ethnic cleansing scam of the century and we’re are being lulled into another horrid war. A war in which, in all likelihood, Israel would use the distraction to effect territorial expansion and expulsion of Palestinians….just as they did when we were told that the road to Jerusalem lay through Baghdad and we went into Iraq and Palestinians watched unprecedented illegal settlement growth, bringing tens of  thousands of illegal settlers to the West Bank.

There is no conceivable way anyone can build a state with whatever piddly crumbs will be left over after Israel finishes eating this pie. And after that, will it still be hungry?

(Hat tip Seemin Dallenbach)

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