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  Print view: Israel's New Land Grab Master Plan

Israel's New Land Grab Master Plan

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 24 July 2010
The new Jerusalem Master Plan calls for expanding Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, "a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property," meaning Palestinians will be removed to accommodate them.

The new plan updates older ones, going back to the first, what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe documented in his 2006 book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," on David Ben-Gurion's Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), his final master plan following Plans A, B and C, what Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe, commemorated annually to never forget.

By bombarding and besieging villages and population centers, destroying communities, and expelling or killing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, it planned an exclusive Jewish state, excluding Arabs by any means, including mass-murder, dispossession, and persecution, ongoing to this day, what Palestinians heroically resist.

It took six months to complete, expelling or slaughtering about 800,000 people, and destroying 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities. It was barbarous ethnic cleansing, Palestinians shown no mercy, including women and children, yet it was just the beginning, much more yet to come, including new ethnic cleaning plans.

Old and New Master Plans

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is an Israeli policy research organization, its president Dore Gold, a notorious right-wing extremist, hostile to democratic principles and Palestinian rights.

It's recent report is titled "PDF graphic Demography, Geopolitics, and the Future of Israel's Capital: Jerusalem's Proposed Master Plan," explaining that on October 7, 2008, the District Planning and Construction Commission for the Jerusalem region proposed one, approved by Mayor Nir Barkat, then revised "to create and preserve a stable Jewish majority in the unified capital," assure the city always stays unified, and follows Ben-Gurion's idea:

to "bring Jews to eastern Jerusalem at any cost. We must settle tens of thousands of Jews in a brief time. Jews will agree to settle in eastern Jerusalem even in shacks. We cannot await the construction of orderly neighborhoods. The essential thing is that Jews will be there."

In large numbers they're displacing Palestinians, destroying their homes, seizing their land, and fulfilling Ben-Gurion's dream to make Israel exclusively Jewish, Jerusalem its capital.

The city's 1968 Master Plan recommended accelerated Jewish population growth. In 1973, Prime Minister Golda Meir planned to increase it by 3.7% by 1982. Various other plans followed.

Master Plan 2000 aimed to preserve a Jewish majority, its planners apprehensive about Arab population growth. As a result, they proposed "intervention tools" to counter it by:

"a sufficient supply of housing by building new neighborhoods and reinforcing and increasing the density of veteran Jewish (ones), as well as adding places of employment and services on a quantitative and qualitative basis."

The June 2009 Arbel Report proposed annexing part of Ramat Rahel, located on a hilltop halfway between Jerusalem's Old City and Bethlehem, to accommodate a growing Jewish population.

A July 2009 Master Plan for Transportation in Jerusalem revealed 13,300 newly approved housing units and another 15,000 at other stages of planning, suggesting an urgency to complete them and add more based on population growth forecasts.

Planned land seizures weren't mentioned. However, Jerusalem's Master Plan 2000 said the following:

"The most severe problem in eastern Jerusalem is the absence of a system to resolve land ownership. This problem, in combination with a deliberate policy by both nationalist and criminal elements, has led to a huge volume of illegal construction (without required permits) on lands that were intended for public purposes and a takeover of privately owned lands....In order to solve the problem, a special judicial system should be established in the municipality to regulate the registration of land ownership" to assure Jews are preferentially treated.

Jerusalem Master Plan 2010

On June 28, Haaretz writers Akiva Eldar and Nir Hasson headlined, "Jerusalem master plan: Expansion of Jewish enclaves across the city," saying it calls for expanding Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, "a move largely based on construction on privately owned Arab property," meaning Palestinians will be removed to accommodate them.

On July 10, Haaretz writer Don Futterman headlined, "The Jerusalem Master Plan for destruction," saying it plans "to relocate as many Arabs as possible to the margins of the municipal boundaries; to promote overcrowding (in their areas) in the hope (they) will leave the city of their own accord," develop their own neighborhoods, encouraged by "accelerate(d) evictions and house demolitions."

"The plan plays into both the settler-led campaign to (de-Arabize) the Old City, and the government's efforts to make sure Jerusalem will never be the capital of a Palestinian state...." Will it work? Before he died, Edward Said said the following:

"There is no way for Israel to get rid of Palestinians. (They) shar(e) the land that has thrust (them) together (and must do it jointly) in a truly democratic way, with equal rights for (all) citizen(s)," Jews, Arabs, Christians, and others. No master plan will prevent it,

Yet Israel's new one includes accelerated home demolitions and land seizures, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein telling the High Court that the government plans to apply the 1950 Absentees' Property Law (ABL), authorizing the state to seize abandoned properties. At risk are thousands of acres worth billions of dollars, land legally held by Arabs.

Haaretz writer Akiva Eldar said:

"The state intends to assume control over properties of people who moved to 'enemy states' during the War of Independence (now refugees denied the right of return), as well as structures in East Jerusalem," belonging to West Bank and Gaza residents.

They'll be used for new Jewish developments besides others underway or planned, sparking protests met with attacks and arrests, a recent Silwan one assaulted with live fire, tear gas, and percussion grenades. One Palestinian lost an eye. A woman miscarriaged from tear gas, another also after her home was invaded.

Five Palestinians were arrested, including a 12-year old child. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of al-Mubadara Palestinian National Initiative, accused Israel of attempting to Judaize East Jerusalem with "bulldozers, the expansion of the settlement units, (and) changing the demographic composition of the city to favor" Jews over Arabs, the final plan to make Jerusalem exclusively Jewish by any means.

Israel acts ruthlessly, does what it pleases with no regard for the law, internal or external pressure, or the rights and needs of indigenous Palestinians, being systematically removed for Jewish expansion, a Palestinian official saying it's to "decapitate" East Jerusalem's Arab identity by building thousands of Jewish-only apartments and homes on Arab-owned land.

They're being squeezed into narrower spaces, currently confined to about 13% of the city, the rest seized since 1967 when East Jerusalem was occupied. Palestinian Authority (PA) official Ghassan Al-Khatib called it "more than a provocation. It is actually a decapitation of the peace process. (It won't) withstand the reported plan to expand Jewish settlements in Jerusalem." Others say it's a prescription for resistance and violence. A recently released blueprint calling for expanding Jewish neighborhoods on privately owned Palestinian land assures it, especially if as widespread as envisioned to Judaize the entire city.

On July 20, the International Middle East Media Center's Brian Ennis headlined, "Palestinians in East Jerusalem Feeling Abandoned," given the "specter of more housing demolition and (Judaization) of East Jerusalem," the international community doing nothing to prevent it, or help Israeli Arabs - Israel's Blacks and Latinos, lawlessly persecuted, shamelessly denied their rights.

Targeting Israeli Arabs

On July 20, London Observer writer Harriet Sherwood headlined, "Jaffa's Arab haven of coexistence resists influx of Israeli hardliners," saying:

Its Ajami neighborhood, south of Tel-Aviv, has seen "every stone and blade of grass" bitterly contested, now "the centre of a struggle that touches on social, religious, nationalist, economic and legal questions and which - whatever the outcome - will inevitably result in further strife."

Until recently, it was one of Israel's few areas where Jews and Muslims coexisted for decades, though never easily. However, destabilization and strife threatens to erupt if a 20-apartment development is approved, an Israeli High Court ruling imminent, the result of a case brought by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), claiming it discriminates against Arabs and non-religious Jews in favor of Zionist extremists demanding it go ahead to create "a religious community free from non-Jewish and secular influences," their own exclusive gated community.

Historian Sami Abu Shehadeh said if they succeed, "the (neighborhood) will be polarized. (People who) say Jaffa is a model of coexistence will be silenced." Judaization will assure it and encourage more in Israel, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He called the whole neighborhood "a construction site. We - the Arabs - are being forced out again, but we have nowhere else to go." Building permits aren't granted, and locals say 500 families have been issued eviction or demolition orders. Others got huge fines. The entire Arab population faces an uncertain future, like other Israeli Arabs, not wanted, denied their rights, and being systematically pressured to make way for Jews.

Another way is a proposed measure requiring they pledge loyalty to a "Jewish and Democratic state," mainly Palestinian men and women who marry Israeli citizens (an estimated 25,000), then seek citizenship on the basis of family reunification, the latter already denied without Interior Ministry approval, for most impossible to get.

On July 19, Jerusalem Post writer Herb Keinon said the measure hadn't yet passed, contrary to other accounts. He called it a way to "deter Palestinians from asking for citizenship." The government said it's only for "illegal residents," not Israeli Arabs, but if extremist Yisrael Beitneinu party officials prevail, including David Rotem, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution and Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, all Israeli Arabs will have to pledge loyalty to a "Jewish, Zionist, and democratic State," its emblems and values, and perform military or equivalent service as a condition for a national ID card signifying citizenship and right to stay in the country legally.

Final Comments

Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have reason to worry, Haaretz writer Amira Hass providing more evidence in her July 21 article headlined, "IDF destroys West Bank village after declaring it a military zone," saying:

The army demolished an entire Jordan Valley village after declaring it within a closed military zone, 55 structures and 120 farmers, workers, and their families left without homes in Farasiya. Earlier the Civil Administration cut off their water, and before that the military destroyed a distribution pipe from a nearby stream, what residents built for irrigation.

Last year, they were prohibited from connecting to wells belonging to Mekorot, Israel's National Water Company, forcing them to use saltwater for their livestock and buy expensive private water for themselves, what most can't afford.

B'Tselem photographer Atef Abu, arriving hours after the demolition, said "mattresses, pipes and broken furniture were lying on the ground in the debris."

On July 18, 10 Bardala village families (north of Farasiya) also got demolition orders, a farmer with 300 sheep "told to leave in 24 hours or his herd would be confiscated."

In Israel and throughout the Territories, millions of Palestinians are endangered, their lives and livelihoods threatened by Israel's longstanding plan to Judaize all "Eretz Yisrael," no matter that indigenous Arabs lived there for centuries and have legal right to their homes and property.

No wonder Haaretz writer Gideon Levy sees Israel "sinking into a strident, nationalistic atmosphere and darkness is beginning to cover everything, (evidenced by) jingoism, ruthlessness and vengeance, (its extremist voices) now expressing its heart," Palestinians feeling the affects, collectively punished for being Muslims under Jewish domination - racist, lawless and merciless, for Levy, a "sign of how we have lost our senses and humanity," for historians, a prescription for self-destruction.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on July 24, 2010.
 

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