by Makram Khoury-Machool, published on Al-Mayadeen, November 19, 2021
In this article, the continuous history of land theft by Israel from the indigenous Palestinian population over the long years is laid out by a Palestinian from a leading family of Orthodox Priests in Jerusalem, now living in exile in London.
If this reality disturbs you, please encourage your organization to sign this petition today: Joint Statement for Endorsement: New Land Registration Policy in Jerusalem, Accelerates Israel’s Annexation and Land Grab Scroll down past the various languages to find the form. Stay tuned for a posting of the petition for individuals to sign. [jb]
The very fact that Netanyahu, the former head of the occupying State didn’t announce in a staged managed press conference that the third armed land theft will be happening in early July 2020 was only a mere deception. For, in reality, Palestinian land theft started with the occupation of Western Palestine in 1948, finished off with the occupation of historical Palestine when it occupied Eastern Palestine in 1967. Since then, the military occupation has been viciously handling internal final land-grabbing including the plans and practices to stifle al-Quds, Salfit, and al-Khalil to mention but a few. The long colonial Zionist thread can be easily identified since colonial powers (and in particular the British Empire) has ‘given’ Palestine to one of its ‘daughters’, the Zionist regime, at the turn of the 20th century and is being extended until now with the plan of the commemoration of the 105th ‘anniversary’ of the Balfour Declaration. A closer detailed look at the chronological sequence will provide a clearer image of not only what the occupying power is perpetrating under the ‘nose’ of the Quartet (UN, EU, USA & Russia), but also how the Quartet is directly or indirectly a party to these unprecedented crimes against humanity in Palestine until this very moment.
1. He, James Balfour, the British Colonial Foreign Minister decided in a letter issued on November 02, 1917 (known as the “Balfour Declaration”), to grant to those who had no right (the Zionist Movement) a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine which is inhabited by its indigenous people (the Palestinian Arabs).
2. The Zionist lobby worked to escalate its influence and impact on the British mandate in Palestine to intensify Jewish immigration to Palestine and to purchase lands during the next three decades (1917-1947), until a resolution was issued in the United Nations to divide Palestine (Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947) and establish two states, an Arab state on an area of 42.3% of original Palestine and a Jewish state on 57.7%.
3. The “the British Mandate” decided to withdraw from Palestine, leaving it to the Zionist terrorist gangs to occupy the first part of Palestine during the 1948 Nakba and to declare a “state” on May 14, 1948, so as to enable a broad international recognition of this regime. In this section (if you look at maps or imagine), which I call ‘West Palestine’, about 800,000 Palestinians were deported from their homeland (now their number is about six million) and about two hundred thousand Palestinians remained in it, which I call ‘the Nakba Rescues’ (now their number is less than two million Palestinians).
4. The second (eastern) part of Palestine was occupied in 1967 (the so-called “Naksa,” [or Setback]), which, in addition to the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, is called, more broadly, the “West Bank,” which constitutes 21.2% of original Palestine (I believe that the use of the term “historic Palestine” is wrong, given that the Palestinian cause is still alive and vibrant as it constitutes a raging political, legal and military conflict throughout the last century and to this day).
5. In accordance with the two Oslo Accords signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Rabin and Peres government (1993-1994), it was agreed that a self-governing authority would emerge from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for a transitional period until 1999 and until a settlement is reached in accordance with Security Council Resolutions 242 of 1967 and 338 of 1973. After the first phase of “Gaza and Jericho First”, the occupied “West Bank” was divided into three areas: A, B, and C, although only a small part of it was handed over to the Palestinian Authority.
6. Hence, it should be noted that Area A (in the West Bank), which constitutes 18% of the West Bank (which is 21.2% of the original area of Palestine), is under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, and to a limited extent in terms of internal security. This ‘internal security’ is elastic according to the mood of military repression, as it is subject to the mercy of the Occupation. When Sharon wanted to, he stormed the headquarters of the ‘zone’ in Ramallah and besieged Yasser Arafat, the first Palestinian leader in contemporary history, but that led to his martyrdom. As of this writing, Arafat’s successor, current President Mahmoud Abbas (who opposes the use of Palestinian armed struggle, unlike Arafat) cannot leave the zone without the escort, follow-up, and supervision of the occupation and its orders. In reality, the occupation is currently being applied to all of “original Palestine”!
7. Area B of the West Bank constitutes 21% of the West Bank (and to clarify, I repeat, that is, of all the land of the West Bank, which constitutes 21.2% of the original area of Palestine) as the Palestinian Authority is in charge of its civil administration only. As for the security/military side, it is occupied and subject to Israeli occupation.
8. As for Area C, which constitutes 61% of the occupied West Bank, it is completely under Israeli civil, economic, and military occupation. The two areas (B&C) constitute 82% of the West Bank and are under direct and complete military control of the occupation.
9. While Area A constitutes 18% of the occupied West Bank, Areas B (21%) and C (61%); the three regions together make up 100%.
10. If, at the beginning of July 2020 (or later, because the land plundering project is ongoing and escalating and has nothing to do with electoral events and the announcement of dates), Netanyahu plundered 30% of the area of the B & C zones (i.e. from the 82% of the occupied West Bank, which according to the plan, will also include the Jordan Valley), which he promised to impose “sovereignty” on, in his propaganda, before the September 2019 elections, the occupied West Bank area that is supposed to be designated for the establishment of a future Palestinian state (according to United Nations resolutions) would shrink from the 21.2% of the original area of Palestine (i.e. the borders of June 4, 1967) to less than 16% of the original area of Palestine (during the 1948 Nakba).
11. Thus, the area of control that is supposed to be in the two-state solution in the West Bank will decrease to about a third, i.e. from 75.4 to 21.2%. (I say a third, not a quarter, because we have not heard that the looting will nibble from area A of the occupied West Bank, i.e. from the 18%).
12. According to these data, the Palestinian side, in principle, which is currently administering zone A and/or will administer after the looting the same area administratively and militarily (I mean internal security…and even this, is at the mercy of the occupation as we mentioned) – that makes the 18% of the occupied West Bank which is equal to less than 4%, and specifically 3.8% of the total area of “original Palestine” (the 100%) before the Nakba.
13. In addition to the above points, the Occupation’s issuance of the so-called “Basic Law: Israel – The Nation-State of the Jewish People” ratified on July 19, 2018, produces a well-defined and implicit outcome with a clear goal: to finish off Palestine and its Arabness entirely.
Split between supporters and opponents, various types of observers across the globe have been suggesting and weighing the pros and cons; possibilities, and impossibilities of a two-state and one-state solution to the conflict that resulted after the occupation of Palestine. The latter was negatively alluded to in an interview with the former head of the Israeli Occupation’s head of Shabak (ShinBeit – security service) Yoram Cohen (on June 2, 2020) who said that he supports the annexation of the occupied West Bank lands to the ‘State of Israel’ as a geographical principle, but he disagrees with Netanyahu’s method of implementation quantitatively and qualitatively. Cohen added that the:
“Annexation may lead to one state and threaten the identity of the Jewish state… I fear that we will in fact deteriorate into the option of forming a de facto one state – which I see as a disaster for the Jewish state and democracy. We must not deteriorate to the great annexation that may take us to a one-state solution… A situation where they will be inside us… Like the skin of a giraffe… Separated and scattered, they will assimilate with us.”
Following the most recent war against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip in May 2021, which followed the planned house-grabbing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, the Israeli Security services, having noticed the unprecedented solidarity of their Palestinian brothers in Western Palestine (“Israeli Citizens”) decided to particularly allocate huge funds in the security services amongst “its own citizens” who already lived between the 1948 Nakba population, and late 1966 (just 6 months before this was extended to the newly occupied Eastern Palestine) under direct military rule in addition to the adopted Mandatory Defence Emergency Regulations, which are still being renewed until this very moment.
Encourage your organization to sign this petition supporting the Palestinians who remain in Jerusalem and those who own land there to keep their homes and property: Joint Statement for Endorsement: New Land Registration Policy in Jerusalem, Accelerates Israel’s Annexation and Land Grab
Nonetheless, there has been a third smoldering ‘solution’, which has not been noticed by the so-called “International Community”. This is the old suggestion made in the aftermath of the 1967 occupation by Meir Kahane (who now is being represented in the Knesset), which is the “Transfer Option”; the expulsion of a large number of Palestinians from all areas of historical Palestine (any part of), so that Arab-Palestinian demography would be under control; and the other two ‘solution’ options, would remain abstract toying between ideas in the various ivory towers. In the meantime, Naftali Bennett, the current head of the Israeli government hasn’t spoken about Netanyahu’s plan, nonetheless, his decisions to add new colonies and pile Jewish colonialists in them, this is a de-facto annexation and “sovereignty” over 30% of the West Bank land occupied in 1967 (10% of them are settlements and 20% is the so-called square of the Jordan Valley), which Netanyahu intended to announce the annexation.
Makram Khoury-Machool is a Palestinian-British academician specializing in International Relations and Political Communication; Director of the European Centre for the study of Extremism in Cambridge, UK.