Why not leg­is­late to help Pales­tini­ans, asks set­tler

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

IF IS­RAEL PASSES the bill next Mon­day to pre­vent an­other evac­u­a­tion like that seen at Amona, there will be cel­e­bra­tions in the West Bank’s Jewish com­mu­ni­ties. But one set­tler leader, Eliaz Co­hen, will be dis­mayed.

He has con­demned the bill as “racist” in an ar­ti­cle on the re­li­gious He­brew-lan­guage web­site Kipa. Asked about his view on Wed­nes­day, as TV screens across Is­rael were show­ing scenes from the Amona evac­u­a­tion, he said that the main­stream set­tler lead­er­ship had for­got­ten about Jewish ethics in a scram­ble to control the max­i­mum pos­si­ble land.

“For the mitz­vah of set­tling in the land of Is­rael they for­got the moral ba­sics,” said Mr Co­hen, a well-known poet and mem­ber of the man­age­ment com­mit­tee at the West Bank kib­butz Kfar Etzion.

He called the leg­is­la­tion “aw­ful”. It will force Pales­tini­ans who own plots built on by set­tlers to ac­cept com­pen­sa­tion and give up their claims to the land.

For Mr Co­hen, this amounted to “blind­ness” . He said: “When you check how the state of Is­rael deals with Pales­tini­ans who build with­out per­mis­sion [even] on their own prop­erty, we don’t make ar­range­ments for this with a law.” He noted that homes at a Be­douin vil­lage in Is­rael, Umm alHi­ran, were de­mol­ished last month, and that leg­is­la­tion was not passed to help res­i­dents avoid that out­come.

To him, the fact the bill fo­cuses on keep­ing Jewish set­tlers in their homes with­out ad­dress­ing other groups makes it dis­crim­i­na­tory.

Mr Co­hen said no­body should have to leave their homes, and that when­ever it is dis­cov­ered that build­ing has taken place with­out per­mis­sion — Jewish, Pales­tinian or Is­raeli-Arab — ef­forts should be made to forge deals with landown­ers or au­thor­i­ties. But peo­ple should be pre­pared to leave if a so­lu­tion can­not be found.

Would he be pre­pared to leave his home if — as some set­tlers have — he dis­cov­ered it was con­structed on pri­vately-owned Pales­tinian land? He said yes. It is a sim­ple mat­ter of ap­ply­ing bib­li­cal ideals of jus­tice, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.