Thursday, August 30, 2012

Arlene Kushner On Evacuation of Migron; Egypt Begins Withdrawal From Sinai

From Arlene Kushner
August 30, 2012

Not Pretty


Really ugly, if truth be told.  That's the situation in Migron.  The High Court released its decision yesterday:
The residents -- all of them, including the 17 who re-purchased the land on which their homes are sitting -- must be evacuated by next Tuesday.  By September 11, all buildings must be razed except for those on the plot of land that had been re-purchased.
Once again, if I am a bit vague on details it's not a reflection of insufficient effort on my part to secure information, so much as a function of garbled reports.  This is in particular with regard to those 17 families.  The court acknowledged that they did make the purchase legally, but chose anyway to deny them the right to live on that land that they own.  This apparently has something to do with this ownership not complying with the original plans for that area -- which sounds terribly like legal double talk to me.
In fact there seems some internal contradiction in the ruling with regard to whether the homes of those 17 families will be razed.
See Michael Freund in "Tyranny Begins in Migron," on the rights of these people.
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This ruling is an outrage of considerable proportions.  There are three aspects to it.
  • One has to do with the automatic assumption that the land on which the community was built is "Palestinian" land just because Peace Now came to court with an Arab making claims, even though the ownership by this Arab or his family has never been legally documented.

  • Two has to do with the re-purchase of some part of that land.  Even though the legality of that purchase was documented and acknowledged as legitimate by the court, it still denied the owners the right to reside on their land.

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    Understand this: An Arab says, this is mine. The government says, oh! then this must be Palestinian land the Jews built on, and the court rules in this regard without adjudication of the ownership of the land -- without seeing legal documentation of that Arab ownership. I am not making this up: The system works for the Arab who is represented by and coached by (and, I would venture to guess, may have been recruited as a representative of the local Arab community by) Peace Now.

    There are various categories of land in Judea and Samaria, which is not governed by the laws of Israel but rather by a Civil Administration appointed by the Ministry of Defense.  These rules -- some going back to Ottoman times -- are exceedingly complex.  What I will simply say here -- with full intention of returning with more later -- is that the ownership by the Arab should not have been blithely assumed, when neither that Arab nor his family had been farming or living on that land and there was no documentation.

    Compare how the Arab verbal claim was given credence with the fact that Jews who provided legal documentation of ownership were still prevented from remaining in their homes.

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  • The third aspect of the outrage has to do with the fact that the alternate site to which the residents are supposed to be moved next week -- Givat HaYakev, about two kilometers down the hill from Migron -- is not ready.  Some houses lack electricity, and some water. Public buildings such as the school, synagogue and medical clinic are not completed.

    And clean-up has not been done so that construction materials dangerous to young children have not been removed.

    Over 200 children, half of them aged five or less, are in the families to be moved to the new site.  Is this a place for little children to play?  In fact, it's even worse than clean-up not done, for railings to protect the children have not been installed either.

    The residents had implored the Court to allow sufficient time for the new site to be properly prepared.  Would something horrible have happened if they had been granted that time?
There is no place here for equanimity.  Outrage truly is the appropriate response.  And I shall return to this issue.
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On a different note, news that is more positive.  This is from an Egyptian site, with Google translation, provided by IMRA (emphasis added):
"Egyptian army forces began yesterday to withdraw its heavy equipment from the restricted area according to the peace agreement signed between Cairo and Tel Aviv in a move seen by observers as evidence of Cairo's response to Israeli and American pressure...

"The Egyptian army has operated in the area known as Zone C, which includes the cities of Rafah and Sheikh Zuwaid east of El Arish, in the wake of killing of 16 soldiers earlier this month, and began to implement a wide security operation to hunt down militants believed to be responsible for it.

"Security sources said they were withdrawing tanks not needed in operations in Sinai now in pursuit of jihadist elements, and they will be stationed near El Arish.

"Witnesses said that four tank carriers were seen carrying four Mi 65 American-made tanks departing from Sheikh Zuwaid toward El Arish, while additional eyewitnesses saw tank carriers arrive at Rafah to start transferring tanks out of the area . Israel has complained that Cairo did not coordinate the heavy equipment with Tel Aviv and also expressed surprise at the need of the Egyptian army for tanks to pursue the armed group."
Read: Egyptian army pulls tanks from Zone C in Sinai
As those of you who read my report on the operation in the Sinai know, tanks were never needed to go after the jihadists, as they are hiding in mountain caves where tanks cannot go.
This most certainly seems to be a backing down, and with this we can let out something of a sigh of relief. 
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From another, English, Egyptian site comes the information that in the operation against the terrorists, 23 suspects have been arrested now and 11 killed.
They may want this to sound like a major accomplishment, but as I have picked up reports about thousands of jihadists hiding in those mountain caves, this amounts to close to nothing.  Another indication, perhaps, that actually taking out the terrorists (as versus buying their quiet via their Bedouin protectors) is not the way that the Egyptians will proceed.
The report says that troops will be stationed throughout the Sinai until "all terrorist and criminal activity is quashed."

Read: Egyptian armed forces claim to have arrested 23 suspected terrorists and killed 11 in Sinai Peninsula
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In the wake of the statement by Egyptian President Morsi that the peace treaty would be honored, Foreign Minister Lieberman, discussing ways to solidify that peace treaty, said, "...we hope to see President Morsi receiving Israeli delegates. We want to see him give interviews in the Israeli media and we want to see him in Jerusalem as President Peres' guest."
The Brotherhood has already put out a statement indicating that this would not be possible.  Even Mubarak, they pointed out, only came to Israel once, for Rabin's funeral.  All the more so then....
Nice try but no surprise.
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© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
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