Land-Grabbing Again

No one could ever accuse me of condemning actions which our government deemed necessary for the security of our territory and population. All my life I have been faithful to the principles of Jabotinsky and Begin, a voting member for Herut and now for the Likud.

But I am disturbed by the recent announcement of the proposed expropriation of Palestinian farmland in the luxurious Jordan Valley. 370 acres south of Jericho are being grabbed for Israeli expansion and new settlements…the largest land appropriation since 2014.

Israel was always determined to hold on to the Jordan Valley citing its importance for defense and referring claims back to an 1858 Ottoman Turkish law which states that if land lies barren for several years or decades, it reverts to the government and would be considered government property.

Apparently 370 acres near the ancient city of Jericho can be considered a valid point in the Ottoman law and the land which Palestinian farmers have treasured can be expropriated by the Israeli government.

I am not a student of the law, certainly not of antiquated Turkish law from an empire which ceased to exist in 1918, but land-grabbing seems to offend me.

More so, we have been condemned by the entire 28 members of the European Union, the United Nations, the United States, and several other non-EU member states. In short, the whole world is condemning this action. And we need to hear their voices.

There is a rumor that some European countries are considering down-grading diplomatic relations with us as a sign of protest. Their ambassadors may be recalled and their embassies in Tel-Aviv would be represented by a charge d’affaires or other lower grade members of the embassy staff.

This is absolutely something that at this time we do not need. It is a precarious situation which our government has brought upon itself.

More rational minds are needed. We need more friends and fewer enemies. Such expropriation by Israel kills all chances of reaching an eventual compromise and is the demise of the so-called two-state solution.

Clearer-thinking heads are needed to convince our Prime Minister of this folly. We are quickly losing our call to be an or la goyim…a light unto the nations… and instead we are becoming a pariah among the nations.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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