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Supreme service on behalf of the Occupation

The ruling by the Supreme Court justices attests to a fake reality masking a truth that is morally and legally repugnant
Palestinian protesters chant slogans and confront Israeli forces on September 14, 2018, as they demonstrate against the blocking of the road leading to the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)
Palestinian protesters chant slogans and confront Israeli forces on September 14, 2018, as they demonstrate against the blocking of the road leading to the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the West Bank. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

Just weeks ago, as they allowed the state to demolish the makeshift homes of the Palestinian community Khan al-Ahmar, the Supreme Court justices attempted to cover the war crime they have sanctioned in a cloak of legality. But a crime is a crime, and the forced transfer of protected persons in occupied territory constitutes a grave violation of international law. As they attempted to justify this crime — to themselves or to the world — the justices created in their ruling an imaginary world: a Narnia in the West Bank. In their fantasy world, there exists a planning system that attends to — or at least takes into consideration — the needs of the Palestinians. It is unfortunate that the biased justices did not even go to the trouble of traveling a few kilometers from their courtroom to Khan al-Ahmar in order to see how Palestinian communities live in the territories where Israel has assumed all the planning powers, and — by way of contrast — how the settlers live there.

Who has water and who doesn’t? Who has a road and who uses dirt tracks? Whose homes are connected to sewage and whose are not? Who has electricity and who must make do without? Who is free to build, seize land, and usurp — and who is not even able to obtain a building permit? After 51 years, it takes a fertile imagination, insensitivity, and moral blindness not to see the facts. And yet justices whose cognitive abilities are beyond question managed to produce a ruling that is nothing more than fake reality masking a truth that is morally and legally repugnant.

Israel has always sought to seize control of Palestinian land and to expel its residents. By courtesy of the Supreme Court, it has managed to create a legal cover that adds a façade of decency to its prohibited intentions. To that effect, the pre-occupation Jordanian planning law was amended by military order, to ensure that there will be no Palestinians in any of the planning committees and that their interests and rights will not be represented in the planning and building system. And a parallel, separate, and entirely Israeli planning system was established to serve the settlers.

The justices have fallen into line with this injustice. In order not to see what was placed in front of their eyes, they rolled their eyes piously to the heavens, quoting every possible procedural, bureaucratic, and officious argument. Needless to say, they also paid the conventional lip service by devoting a few sentences to a recommendation that the war crime be committed “peacefully,” in a pleasant and consensual manner.

This shameful ruling by the Supreme Court justices proves — to those who still had doubts — that those under occupation cannot seek justice in the occupier’s court. The trampling of justice paves the way for the crime, and the justices who sit in the Supreme Court will bear liability for the war crime of the demolition of the community of Khan al-Ahmar, if indeed this crime goes ahead.

About the Author
Hagai El-Ad is Executive Director of B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
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