Guardian

Israel’s latest cruel, oppressive & shocking violation of international law per Harriet Sherwood: Quarry Mining!


Sometimes it seems as if pro-Palestinian activists would prefer that all economic activity in “East” Jerusalem and the West Bank cease until the day (however many years from now) a final status agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

Back in August, Jerusalem’s new Light Rail project – which insidiously serves both Arab and Jewish neighborhoods – was characterized in a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood as “illegal”.

Here’s the money quote from that Sherwood piece.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian who supports boycotts and sanctions against Israel, said the purpose of the railway was “to make the colonial settlements far more attractive by cutting travel time to the city centre”. Providing such transport services to the settlements was, he said, illegal under international law.

So, as an occasional rider of the colonialist transport system, which I typically share with Israeli Arabs (and Arab residents of East Jerusalem), I’m, no doubt (along with my fellow transportation conspirators), an accessory to a violation of international law.

Sherwood’s latest, “Israeli companies can profit from West Bank resources court says“, Jan. 3, contains this opening passage which truly made me laugh – perhaps informed my increasing gallows humor in the face of such consistently surreal criticism of every conceivable Israeli act.

“Israeli companies are [now] entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain…”

Imagine that: Utilizing natural resources for economic gain! Which state, other than Israel, could even conceive of such a sinister scheme?

The report continues:

The supreme court rejected a petition brought by an Israeli human rights organisation against the quarrying of stone by Israeli companies in the West Bank. Yesh Din claimed that the quarrying was illegal under international law…

The promiscuous charge employed by Israel’s critics, regarding violations of international law, was addressed in my earlier post on the alleged “illegality” of every Jewish home built across the green line.  But, beyond the specious legal arguments, it often seems as if such accusers don’t even take into account the lives of actual Palestinians when suggesting that even the most fruitful economic activity should cease.

Indeed, the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling noted that “Israel’s long-term occupation of the area meant it had a duty to maintain quarry infrastructure and that ceasing operations could harm the economic interests of the local population…[Israel] has a responsibility to maintain normal living conditions in the region, including in terms of economic relations.”

The mine in question is near the community of Kochav HaShachar, in Area C , which, according to the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel assumes full security and civil control. Further, all of the 8 Israeli-operated quarries in Area C were established on state land (land not privately owned by Palestinians).

As the Jerusalem Post noted,

“Significantly, the High Court also accepted the state’s argument that Israel’s continued operation of quarries in Area C territories had been agreed with the Palestinians in the 1995 Agreement…Area C quarries employ around 200 Palestinian workers, while the number of Palestinians employed in activities related to the quarries is still higher.”

Evidently, to Yesh Din, and ‘journavists’ like Harriet Sherwood, it’s far better to close quarry mines (and similar industrial ‘instruments of oppression’), leaving hundreds of Palestinians unemployed – and, presumably, to suspend all Israeli social, economic and commercial life beyond the green line – than to legitimize, in any way, Jewish presence in “East” Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

15 replies »

  1. Omar Bargouthi has a great “knowledge” where it comes to transport in Jerusalem, he prefers to go back to the 14 century where he knows that the best transport in ME is camels and donkeys, he knows it was legal than.

    • M. Levick says he shares the tramway with Palestinians… he seems unaware that the tramway goes directly from West Jerusalem to settlements built in violation of international law in East Jerusalem, withotu ever stopping at Arab neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi Joz or Beit hanina, even though they’re all on the way. it’s a bit strange, why would a public transport system not stop in these neighborhoods?

  2. Imagine that: Utilizing natural resources for economic gain! Which state, other than Israel, could even conceive of such a sinister scheme?

    Except that the West Bank is not part of Israel.

    Or do you think it is?

    • Pretz. You miss the point. As explained in the article, it has been agreed between Israel and the Palestinians that these quarries not only can, but should, remain open and therefore provide work and income for many on both sides.

      The Palestinians’ problem (and it appears yours too) is that they have effectively put their hands over their ears and gone la la la for the last 45 years in the hope that if they pretend the 1967 war never happened, the Israelis will just go away.

      Israel, on the other hand, has tried to deal with the reality of the situation, and as tries to normalise life for all residents of the West Bank (and the rest of Israel). It’s such a shame (not least for the Arab people there) that these efforts to provide peace, stability and prosperity are resisted by the Palestinian leaders who, like children, whine “it’s not fair” over and over again rather than make the best of their situation.

      • Israel is free to carry out operations in quarries located in Israel, but not in quarries located abroad, such as quarries in the West Bank or in Egypt. The USA carry out operations in quarries located in the USA, not in Canada.

  3. East Bank West Bank all part of Israel……..Before there was an East Bank or a West Bank.

    There was Judea and Samaria……

  4. I think the issue is simpler. In 1920 the League of Nations decided to give land that formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire (who had already given up land, for example to the Greeks, and then lost WWI and dissapeared forever) to the Jewish people. This land included Judea and Samaria. This was the last legal and binding document regarding the posession of that piece of land (Judea and Samaria). It was the whole legal basis of the presence of the British Empire in that section of land from 1920 to 1948.
    When Israel captured that land in a defensive war (though if it had been an aggressive war started by Israel it would not have made a difference, legally), she was liberating that territory, not occupying it, since Jordan’s presence there was illegal from the beggining.
    When the UN and Israel recognized Jordan as a country beyond the Jordan river, that was the end of the legal claim of the Jewish people to what is now Jordan.
    But the legal claim to Judea and Samaria by the Jewish people never expired. And please be aware that I have not quoted the Bible even once in this argument.
    The only thing that prevented Israel from annexing Judea and Samaria and therefore actualizing her legal claim over that section of land was the presence of a significant Arab population there, and the refusal of Israel to expel them from her land. Had the 1967 war dragged on for longer than six days, however, the danger of battles near inhabited towns would have emptied the Arab population from Judea and Samaria naturally, the way it happened in 1948 with territories inside Israel and the way 1 million Israelis left the north of the country by their own means when Hezbollah attacked with missiles in 2006. What we call Palestinians today would have simply remained outside Israel Hashlema (Israel plus Judea and Samaria) nursing their wounds in refugee camps or finally integrating themselves in the Arab countries with the rest of the Arab peoples.

    All this of course cannot in any way deny Israel legally valid claim to Judea and Samaria. And given that TODAY there are enough Arabs in those territories to make them a demographic problem for Israel if it decided to annex the territories, a compromise between the parts (Israel and the Palestinians) is needed in which Israel will cede parts of Judea and Samaria for a Palestinian state. This is why we had a peace process. Israel gives part of her land and Palestinians in return give peace to Israel.

    However, should war start again between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or a regional war occur that made Judea and Samaria a military danger for Israel, you can expect that this time Arab-Palestinians will leave Judea and Samaria, of their own free will or expelled, and Israel will take final control and annex those territories. It all depends on the behavior of the Palestinians actually.

    • “In 1920 the League of Nations decided to give land that formerly belonged to the Ottoman Empire (who had already given up land, for example to the Greeks, and then lost WWI and dissapeared forever) to the Jewish people.”

      If you are talking about the San Remo Resolution then you are seriously mistaken. The Palestine Mandate was given to Great Britain with the understanding that the Balfour Declaration promising “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine would be honoured. This is not the same at all as “(giving) the land …. to the Jewish people”.

      • I am sorry, but the Balfour Declaration was annexed to the Mandate for Palestine with a map of the territory. If that is not giving land to the Jewish people, then you won’t find anything clearer.

        And nobody was fooled that what Britain did when it carved the Jewish National Home to create Transjordan was nothing else than a breach of the Mandate.

        • I’d suggest that it would have been a lot clearer if the Resolution had said Palestine was being given to the Jews. It says nothing of the kind.

          Incidentally neither the League nor Gt Britain had the legal right to dispose of Palestine in the way you state, even had they wished to do so.

          • “Incidentally neither the League nor Gt Britain had the legal right to dispose of Palestine in the way you state, even had they wished to do so.”

            Then who did have that legal right? The Ottoman Empire was dismantled. The Arab residents of Palestine didn’t even consider themselves a separate nation, let alone possess any political sovereignty to manage the allocation of land.

            At the end of the year 1918, the political sovereignty over Palestine was passed to Britain via the League of Nations, and the only national claimant to Palestine in particular (as opposed to Greater Syria back then, until the British and the French split it between themselves in 1920) was the Jewish nation.

            As the Ottoman Empire is no more, and as the Arabs only developed a particularly Palestinian narrative as an afterthought, a consolation prize following the shattering of the Greater Syria dream, the legal right to a national homeland in Palestine is possessed only by the Jewish nation. Opposition to this legal right is imperialist aggression.

          • sencar, you have decided that you are the judge and jury where it comes to Palestine and Israel?well well according to you Nation of League and Gt.Britain should have asked yours opinion? really?who are you to say in this case what’s legal or not? Get a life!!

  5. Besides, lets remember that the Partition Plan was a non binding resolution by the General Assembly which the Arabs moreover rejected.

    And that SC Res. 242 speaks of “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;” something that Israel has already fulfilled when she returned the Sinai to Egypt.