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Bennett says Israel takes half its water from West Bank, as argument for annexation

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Societies get the leaders they deserve, right? Here is an astoundingly slick ad by Naftali Bennett, the rising radical-right star of Israel’s Jewish Home party, laying out his “stability initiative” to annex most of the West Bank, and thereby “do what Zionism has always done”– take land with as few non-Jews as possible on it.

Notice that Bennett is afraid of the BDS movement (at 1:30), which is painting the West Bank as an apartheid situation, and repeatedly describes Palestinians as a “demographic” threat to the Jewish state. The admission that Israel sucks up Palestinian water is at :35 or so:

Secondly water reserves in Judea and Samaria provide 50 % of the drinking water in Israel

Is this stability– to steal people’s land and water and then fence them off? Is it right?

Haaretz has landed on Bennett’s misrepresentation of Palestinian numbers in Area C. Bennett says that 48,000 Palestinians live there so that when the area is annexed, these non-Jewish citizens will make up only a fraction of the Israeli population, but Haaretz says it’s far more (excuse me while I take a bath).

To stave off accusations of apartheid, Bennett proposes giving Israeli citizenship to nearly 50,000 Palestinians living in the annexed territories. That would supposedly expand Israel’s borders at a negligible demographic cost.

But is Bennett correct in saying that only 50,000 Arabs live in Area C?… In fact, a significant portion of Bennett’s plan, as outlined in “The Israel Stability Initiative: A Practical Program for Managing the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” is based on a table that was copied – in its entirety – from the Bimkom report, titled “The Prohibited Zone.”

But the name that Bennett applies to this table does not reflect the data it contains. The table includes only those Palestinian villages whose entire built-up area falls inside Area C. But there are some 200 villages that are partly in Area C and partly in Areas A or B of the West Bank. When the Oslo Accords were signed, the Palestinian cities of the West Bank were within Area B, but since then some of them have expanded into Area C. Including the population in these areas would add around 100,000 people to the 47,360 cited in Bennett’s table.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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29 Responses

  1. seafoid on January 18, 2013, 10:52 am

    “But is Bennett correct in saying that only 50,000 Arabs live in Area C?… ”

    It depends how many are ethnically cleansed, doesn’t it ?

    • annie on January 18, 2013, 11:07 am

      yes,they have been ethnically cleansing area c for decades in preparation for this. this is not a new idea. i recommend this video.

      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.

      • seafoid on January 18, 2013, 11:11 am

        Someone from Meretz was quoted in the FT regarding Bennett. There is no right wing solution to the Palestinian justice issue.

        Jews are just deluding themselves if they think an IT whizz can turn the turd of apartheid into a new Facebook.

        “”This election will likely mark an acceleration of Israel’s long-predicted … journey toward a hegemonic nationalism resembling apartheid-era South Africa,” wrote Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and north Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, in Foreign Policy this week.”

  2. American on January 18, 2013, 11:47 am

    Water in Palestine


    West Bank Water Usage

    Of the water available from West Bank aquifers, Israel uses 73%, West Bank Palestinians use 17%, and illegal Jewish settlers use 10%.

    While 10-14% of Palestine’s GDP is agricultural, 90% of them must rely on rain-fed farming methods. Israel’s agriculture is only 3% of their GDP, but Israel irrigates more than 50% of its land.

    Three million West Bank Palestinians use only 250 million cubic meters per year (83 cubic meters per Palestinian per year) while six million Israelis enjoy the use of 1,954 million cubic meters (333 cubic meters per Israeli per year), which means that each Israeli consumes as much water as four Palestinians.

    Israeli settlers are allocated 1,450 cubic meters of water per person per year.
    Israel consumes the vast majority of the water from the Jordan River despite only 3% of the river falling within its pre-1967 borders. Israel now diverts one quarter of its total water consumption through its National Water Carrier from the Jordan River, whereas Palestinians have no access to it whatsoever due to Israeli closures.

    International Law

    Under international law it is illegal for Israel to expropriate the water of the Occupied Palestinian Territories for use by its own citizens, and doubly illegal to expropriate it for use by illegal Israeli settlers [2].
    Also under international law, Israel owes Palestinians reparations for past and continuing use of water resources. This should include interest due to loss of earnings from farming.

    Israeli Actions

    Israel does not allow new wells to be drilled by Palestinians and has confiscated many wells for Israeli use. Israel sets quotas on how much water can be drawn by Palestinians from existing wells.

    Israeli settlers have no restrictions on water use.

    When supplies of water are low in the summer months, the Israeli water company Mekorot closes the valves which supply Palestinian towns and villages so as not to affect Israeli supplies. This means that illegal Israeli settlers can have their swimming pools topped up and lawns watered while Palestinians living next to them, on whose land the settlements are situated, do not have enough water for drinking and cooking.

    Israel often sells the water it steals from the West Bank back to the Palestinians at inflated prices.

    During the war of 1967, 140 Palestinian wells in the Jordan Valley were destroyed to divert water through Israel’s National Water Carrier. Palestinians were allowed to dig only 13 wells between 1967 and 1996, less than the number of wells which dried up during the same period due to Israel’s refusal to deepen or rehabilitate existing wells.

    The Gaza strip relies predominately on wells that are being increasingly infiltrated by salty sea water because Israel is over-pumping the groundwater. UN scientists estimate that Gaza will have no drinkable water within fifteen years.

    * In addition illegal settlers control all 56 natural water springs in the WB.

    Water Genocide

    Article 6
    For the purpose of this Statute, “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Article 7

    Crimes against humanity

    1. For the purpose of this Statute, “crime against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

    (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

    2. For the purpose of paragraph 1:

    (b) “Extermination” includes the intentional infliction of *conditions of life*, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;

    Someone give me a good reason why we should not apply the same cure to Israel we applied to the Nazis.

    • James Canning on January 20, 2013, 1:33 pm

      Great post. And the US Congress continues to encourage Israel to steal most of the water in the occupied West Bank.

  3. seanmcbride on January 18, 2013, 12:08 pm

    If Palestinians are a demographic threat to Israel, are Jews a demographic threat to the United States and Europe?

    Which groups around the world get to play the ethnic nationalist and “demographic threat” game, according to Jewish Israelis and Jewish pro-Israel activists — Jews only?

    Haven’t Jewish nationalists (Zionists) lost the intellectual and moral authority to object to the expression of ethnic nationalism by all other ethnic groups? Have they thought through the full implications of their politics?

    How are David Duke, Kevin MacDonald and Pat Buchanan any more objectionable than Benjamin Netanyahu, Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett?

    What are the objections, if any, to this line of argument?

    White nationalists in Europe have done the political math: they see in Zionism a superb opportunity to reopen the door to the expression of white nationalism in Europe — and they have already found quite a few Jewish Zionist allies who would be quite happy to force all European Jews to move to Eretz Yisrael.

  4. eGuard on January 18, 2013, 12:33 pm

    Finally, we know the difference between Zionists and liberal Zionists.

    Roger Cohen in the NYT wants no Right of Return for Israel, and Bennett denies it for the whole West Bank too.

  5. Woody Tanaka on January 18, 2013, 2:09 pm

    “Here is an astoundingly slick ad by Naftali Bennett, the rising radical-right star of Israel’s Jewish Home party, laying out his ‘stability initiative’ to annex most of the West Bank, and thereby ‘do what Zionism has always done’– take land with as few non-Jews as possible on it.”

    Absolutely inhuman these people are. Absolutely despicable and without any redeeming feature.

    • seafoid on January 19, 2013, 2:17 pm

      Bennett belives in Jewish self determination which means certain Jews determine themselves that the Palestinians can have no rights whatsoever.

      • annie on January 19, 2013, 3:07 pm

        yes, and bennett also believes it’s a ‘tragedy’.

      • seafoid on January 19, 2013, 3:31 pm

        It is a tragedy for Zionism that this palestinian rights thing keeps popping up. There was no mention of same in 48. Bennett is young and cool in a nihilistic sort of way but he is nuts . He is without the baggage of bibi and has no history of broken promises-the classic opposition pol -but power is about reality and zionism has not functioned in reality mode for over a generation .

  6. pabelmont on January 18, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Israel plays the game called, “Let’s see what the world will let us get away with.” As long as the world does nothing (beyond making “noises” such as banging hands on tables and saying “human rights”, “international law”, and other such blather), Israel will continue raising the ante and the world will (if past is prologue) continue making empty noises.

    The Palestinians and their friends have two jobs: expand the pressure that BDS exerts until Israel hurts badly enough to reverse course, and make sure that the goal of this pressure is to roll things back to the situation of June 1, 1967, not allowing Israel to make ANY claim of a right to any post-1967 status quo.

    The Palestinian plan, for today, must be to forgive Israel all its crimes (“peace” implies a sort of forgiveness) but not to allow it to retain anything stolen. If the international pressure on Israel ever grows enough to cause any Israeli pullback (probably after really, really outrageous Israel actions — i.e., even more outrageous than already seen, as the Bennett’s of Israel seem determined to achieve), the forced Israeli pullback could be made even greater, but that’s a bridge for another day.

    • seafoid on January 19, 2013, 2:19 pm

      I thought it was interesting. They don’t actually know what to do next . 46 years and over 100 bn shekels and they never planned what to do after they put all those settlers in place.

      And they still depend on the world turning a blind eye.
      And Netanyahu says Israel can make its own decisions. Laughable.

  7. James Canning on January 18, 2013, 3:06 pm

    Bravo! Sadly, a very small percentage of the American public is even aware of the grotesque theft of Palestinian water that has gone on now for decades. Perhaps I should say “monstrous theft”?

  8. seafoid on January 19, 2013, 1:54 am

    Sassy enough ad with nice graphics and a logical flow of material that has been around for years but there were 3 elements that show that Israel is worried and wouldn’t have been in a presentation about YESHA 30 years ago. :

    BDS got a mention
    Apartheid was noted
    At the end they say “the goys don’t approve of East Jerusalem and the Golan so Area C will be the same”

    Israel is very fragile, really. It’s a historical contingency and the history is changing.

  9. seafoid on January 19, 2013, 2:44 am

    Bennett’s shtick is that the Arab Israeli conflict cannot be solved. “But we can live with it.”

    The alternative view is that YESHA is a cancer. And that it can’t be cured. But one can live with it. Until it kills its host.

  10. clubroma on January 19, 2013, 5:08 am

    I like Bennett, because I think he represents what 70 years of appeasement has produced. He knows that he can ‘do’ and ‘say’ what ever he likes and, the western media and western governments will let it pass.
    He’s sort of a 1920’s Hitler. The ‘fact’ that this guy will have some sort of say in a future Isreali government is a warning signal to Jews around the world. Your either going to make a stand – or let history run its course.And history says that country’s like Isreal do not last long. Its good that some sections of the western media are starting to print the facts but its not ‘main-stream’. Its time for Jews around the world to make a stand. You need to ‘hit-the-streets’. You can talk about it as much as you like on ‘blogs’ but that is not going to change the situation.
    Otherwise, don’t winged and complain when ‘history comes knocking on your door’ because what happens in Isreal will have effects on world-wide jewry.

  11. talknic on January 19, 2013, 8:01 am

    The video is quite pathetic in its omissions … expected

    the Israeli occupation (UNSC Res 1860), acquisition of territory by war (UNSC res 242), illegal annexation (UNSC res 252), illegal facts on the ground / illegal Israeli settlers (UNSC res 446)

    The Jewish state, a permanent state of denial.

  12. FreddyV on January 19, 2013, 8:51 am

    I particularly like it’s openness in the way it treats the Arab population like cattle. ‘We’ll take this and offer them citizenship’ without asking the population.

  13. piotr on January 19, 2013, 12:32 pm

    I read an op-ed containing discussion of the evolution of right wing Zionism with “different strands”, contrasting Likud with Jewish Home. Closer reading shows that we are dealing with Likud with flavors: vanilla, cherry, rum-filling etc. Of course, Kadima and now Hatnua are the products of Sharon schism. Israel Beitenu and Jewish Home are/were both created by party staffers working directly with Netanyahu who left to operate somewhat independently, but in actuality in coalition. Bennet’s departure from Likud was attributed quite non-ideologically to his conflict with Mrs. Netanyahu.

    Some people stress the difference between the immigrants from former Soviet Union and older immigration from … East/Central Europe (and the distance is 0 miles!). We are talking about the contrast between taking an inspiration from Mussolini and Putin (and Lukashenka).

    The ideological distinctions between right wing parties are much smaller than between Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney (at different stages of his carrier). They represent very homogenous and clear ideology which can be deciphered as follow:

    1. Although reasonable Jews may differ on the point of existence of God, all agree that He gave the entire Holy land, from Suez Canal to Lebanese mountains to Jews, irrevocably, i.e. forever. This defines what is Good (Israeli control, removing “trespassers and interlopers”) and what is Bad (surrendering Israeli control).

    2. It is patriotic and sacred duty to pursue the Good to the extend that Israel can get away with. Which means that expansion of settlements etc. will continue until Israel will be subjected to some real sanctions.

    Any talk on “peace process”, “honest brokers” (since when brokers are reputed to be honest? USA as an impartial honest used car salesman?), bilateral talks etc., not to mention “steadfast support for Israel” is furthering the maximalist agenda toward annexation, ethnic cleansing and internal authoritarianism. Which is where American establishment (including liberal Zionists) are now, and where they hopefully do not want to be.

    By the way, the most telling issue in the Jewish Home add is not the “water” but “Palestinian initiatives”. Palestinians should not be allowed to have any unsupervised initiatives, period.

    • philweiss on January 19, 2013, 2:09 pm

      Thanks Piotr, helpful intervention

    • annie on January 19, 2013, 4:41 pm

      1. Although reasonable Jews may differ on the point of existence of God, all agree that He gave the entire Holy land, from Suez Canal to Lebanese mountains to Jews, irrevocably, i.e. forever.

      but there’s nothing reasonable about biblical literalism piotr. determining borders as some gift from god is fanaticism. so how can this be regarded as ‘reasonable.’

      more here:

      And what pray tell is this fanaticism–this biblical literalist religious extremism– couched as? “More Jewish,” to quote Bennett. He explains that his message is a “centrist” appeal to a country that gets “more Jewish” all the time

      • piotr on January 19, 2013, 8:34 pm

        I made a succinct summary of “Likud ideology” which is widely followed in Israel, and ACCORDING to that ideology we can define what is “reasonable” and “good”.

        If you find nothing reasonable in “Likud-reasonable” then I suspect that you do not follow that ideology, and like me, you find all their vocabulary perversely twisted.

        Concerning the “Biblical literalism to determine the borders”, no Zionist pays much attention to any passages in the Bible that suggests that some parts of the contemporary Israel were not promised in the Covenant, like Negev and the coastal plain (controlled by the Philistine cities), or how large was Biblical Jerusalem — how large the “indivisible city” should be (should it fit on one hill?). And atheists being “fanatical literalists” are a bit strange.

      • annie on January 19, 2013, 8:49 pm

        ACCORDING to that ideology we can define what is “reasonable” and “good”.

        well that clears that up. ;)

    • RoHa on January 19, 2013, 7:51 pm

      “Although reasonable Jews may differ on the point of existence of God, all agree that He gave the entire Holy land, from Suez Canal to Lebanese mountains to Jews, ”

      So some Jews say “God doesn’t exist, but even so he gave the Holy Land to Jews, and everyone should acknowledge this as binding”?

      And these are reasonable Jews?

      • piotr on January 19, 2013, 9:30 pm

        One of the humorous elements of the situation is the persistent complaint of the Israelis that Iranian leaders are “irrational”. The weird thing is that Zionist atheists seem more insane than religious fundamentalists, namely, they got some obsession about attacking Iran, while the religious fundamentalists of Shas advocate much more sensible approach: there is no reason to do anything rash, it is much better to study the Torah, pray, improve religious observances, and then if the situation is as bad as Netanyahu claims, there is always the Messiah.

        As far as I can decipher, Iran war plan is more or less the same as Shas.

      • James Canning on January 20, 2013, 1:28 pm

        To what extent do Israeli leaders intentionally try to deceive the American public, by claiming Iran is “irrational”?
        Was Iran “irrational” when it tacitly accepted the 2002 Saudi peace plan?

  14. Sumud on January 19, 2013, 6:19 pm

    Bennett’s achilles heel, his plan in contingent on the continuing complicity of the PA – dissolve the PA and there are no areas A, B, or C.

  15. Sumud on January 19, 2013, 6:35 pm

    …I shouldn’t say “his plan” because it is just a variation on what Netanyahu himself has spoken about (as revealed in the wikileaks cables): imposition of Gaza-like conditions on the West Bank and calling that a Palestinian state.

    Note the specific reference in Bennett’s ad to”even tighter border control” and keeping Palestinian refugees out of the West Bank.

    “Stability initiative” is marketing, not a workable solution.

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