Thursday, April 12, 2007

1982-1992 What is Hateful to You, Do to the Palestinians

Today is Day 14,243 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The Babylonian Talmud (tractate Shabbat 31a) tells the story that a gentile said he would convert to Judaism if he could be taught the whole Torah in the time he could stand on one foot. Rabbi Hillel the Elder converted the gentile by telling him, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and study it."

Israel’s rout of Arafat’s PLO forces in Lebanon lead the PLO to withdrew to Tunisia. Into the leadership vacuum caused by the Israel invasion and the resulting deaths and injuries of the Palestinian refugees came a newly formed resistance organization in Lebanon - Hezbollah.

“Meanwhile Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza began to demand self-determination, and claimed that their real representative was the exiled PLO. When Israel ignored the repeated appeals for democratic self-determination, the Palestininan people began a spontaneous uprising called the Intifada (1) in 1988, a war of stones against the bullets of the occupying armies and the Jewish settlers. ….. The response of the Israeli government ranged from that of IDF general and then defense chief Yitzhak Rabin who ordered his forces to “break the bones” of the teenagers throwing rocks, to that of Ariel Sharon who used his new position as housing minister in the coalition government (he had previously been forced to resign for his role in the massacre of hundreds of civilians in Lebanon) to provide massive assistance to Israelis who would agree to buy an apartment in West Bank settlements.” Healing Israel/Palestine: A Path to Peace and Reconciliation, Rabbi Michael Lerner Tikkun Books 2003

As I noted previously, in 1980 there were 53 settlements with approximately 12,500 Jewish Israeli squatters.

As the Israeli government continued to support the continuance of the occupation and encourage the illegal transfer of its citizens to the West Bank, consider the housing situation of the Palestinians living under the control of the Israeli government. A United Nations Report of the Secretary General, Economic and Social Council dated June 14, 1985, entitled “ Living Conditions of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestine territories" included the following findings:

“65. The participants noted that the poor state of housing in the occupied territories was a consequence of many years of neglect and an absence of planning. The situation had been aggravated by the occupation. The following two indicators were recognized as useful in measuring the extent of the housing shortage in the occupied Palestinian territories:(a) Density per room; and (b) Availability of domestic facilities in the existing units. About 40 per cent of the families lived in houses with a density that exceeded three persons per room. By international standards that was considered to be unacceptably high. The size of the Palestinian household was increasing over time owing to the need to accommodate newly formed families. As regards domestic facilities, over 50 per cent of the housing units in the West Bank did not have running water, and close to 50 per cent had no bathroom. Also, the supply of electricity in the West Bank was inadequate, about half of the units having no electricity. Furthermore, one quarter of the units had no kitchen.
”66. The supply of houses in the occupied territories was less than the rate of family formation and the need for replacement of dilapidated units… (O)ver a 15-year period of occupation (from 1967 to 1982) 45,310 residential units were constructed, against a net increase of 38,589 households. In other words, during that period roughly 6,700 additional units were constructed against an estimated stock of 140,000 substandard or dilapidated units. (T)here had been no residential construction by the public sector in the West Bank since 1968 and in-the Gaza Strip since 1978.
67. It was further noted that there was a marked discrepancy in the housing conditions of Israeli settlers and those of the indigenous Palestinian population, the Israeli settlers' housing being far superior to that of the Palestinians. In addition to establishing settlements in unpopulated areas, Israeli settlements were being created within the densely populated areas of Palestinian towns. That new phenomenon, besides bringing the unequal housing conditions of the Palestinians and the Israeli settlers into closer proximity, burdened the already densely populated urban areas and diminished the area available for urban development to alleviate the housing shortage of the indigenous population.”

One of the many recommendations of the report was that the Israeli government cease demolishing houses of Palestinians. In a later article we will discuss the destruction by the Israeli government of homes constructed by Palestinians in the West Bank not for security reasons but because the owners built the houses without a permit (reacting to the routine denial by the Israeli government agency of permits to Palestinians.)

By 1988 when the Intifata (1) began, there were 110 settlements with 63,500 Jewish Israeli squatters.

By 1992, four years later, the efforts of Ariel Sharon supported by the Israeli government resulted in there being 120 settlements with approximately 100,500 Jewish Israeli squatters living in them.

In 25 years the Israeli government had increased the number of settlements from 2 to 120 and the number of Jewish Israeli squatters from 80 to 100,500. All of these settlements were interspersed throughout the West Bank. All required the protection of IDF forces including checkpoints and road closures. All required financial support to build and maintain. All the while the Israeli government ignored and did almost nothing to alleviate the suffering and the deplorable living conditions of the Palestinians.

The Israeli government continued to pursue injustice and failed to heed the words of Hillel. What was so hateful to them, living in indecent, unsafe and unsanitary housing, (so much so that they spent millions of dollars to build housing for Jewish Israelis in the West Bank)- they allowed to be the fate of the Palestinians.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

Sharon fit the battle of Lebanon
Lebanon, Lebanon
Sharon fit the battle of Lebanon
And Hezbollah came a rising up.

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