Sunday, July 26, 2009

The "Big Lie" mutates further

"A grave injustice is being committed against the Palestinian people -- perhaps among the greatest in their history. Thousands are being systematically robbed of their citizenship, made stateless once more by a hard-hearted government that pays lip service to peace and the two-state solution, but which seems determined to undermine both". Thus commences an article published in the American Thinker recently,

Are we "bashing Isarael again? No -- the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which has had a long and uneasy relationship with its Palestinian majority. Now, it is cynically claiming that it has the Palestinians' best interests at heart, the regime of King Abdullah II has begun removing the citizenship of Palestinians with roots in the West Bank. There have been no discussion with the Palestinians involved.

Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

And the world once again, has been silent; that includes the world's leading human rights organizations. The front page of Amnesty International's
website features an appeal for Israel to cooperate with the UN's "independent" fact-finding mission on Gaza, but nothing on Jordan. Human Rights Watch, which recently bashed Israel for the benefit of donors in Saudi Arabia, has yet to react.

Hypocracy continues, the morality of the world degenerates further. The "Big Lie" continues to be propagated in mutated forms.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Land Laws in Judea and Samaria

With the pressure on the settlements issue increasing, it is amazing to read some the "expert opinions" expressed that obviously bear no relation to the facts of land law on the ground. the following information was provided by a Professor of Law from Yale, Gerald Adler.

After the Six Days War in 1967 until December 2000, Israel operated a legal regime in the West Bank designed to maintain public order ‘while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force within the territory immediately prior to the occupation’. (Hague Regulations (“Hague”) Article 43 and 4th Geneva Convention (“Geneva IV”) Article 6 (2)). Those obligations require Israel, acting under Hague, Article 55(2) to safeguard the capital of State properties and enjoy the right of use - as administrator.

Israel did not initiate the process by which an Occupying Power takes possession of land as a result of war and transfers the management of it to the Custodian. It was first initiated in
a) 1919 by the British Mandate Government in respect of captured Ottoman territory, and
b) then adopted in 1948 by the Jordanian Government in respect of previously owned Mandate government lands and Jewish owned real estate property located in the West Bank which Jordan captured during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.

Following the 1967 Six Day War, the Israeli Military Commander continued to follow the same procedure in respect of all State property formerly owned, controlled and managed by Jordan.

Taken together, the Land Laws in effect prior to its capture, regulate the acquisition, utilisation, disposition and registration of all types of land including State Owned land capable of cultivation - classified as Miri; stony and broken land being neither under cultivation nor capable of it - termed Mewat; and, land used for public or general use of the inhabitants of a village designated as Metrukeh.

The law had three main objectives: (i) to bring into productive use, vacant and uncultivated land in order to accommodate population growth and create employment, (ii) to strengthen the government tax base; and (iii) to enable easy and secure transfer of land so as to encourage capital investment in agricultural, residential and commercial development on land appropriate for the purpose.

All these objectives were and still remain paramount today in territory poor in natural resources and lacking investment capital.

The Ottoman Land Code provided that farmers could acquire title to Miri land by uninterrupted possession for ten years. On the other hand, if it ceased to be cultivated for three or more years without lawful excuse, the rights of occupation could be repossessed by the State and resold by public auction, again subject to the same restriction.

However, this notwithstanding, the prevalence of large unregistered tracts of non-urban land in the West Bank and in Jordan discouraged its development. To stimulate economic change, the Jordanian parliament enacted “First Registration of Land Law.” This legislation laid down an administrative process whereby the land was identified, surveyed for delineation, physically inspected and examined for quality prior to registration, subject to the hearing of objections and their administrative disposition. These can be appealed to a three-man quasi-judicial technical committee whose decision is final.

Such was the legal position in respect of Government owned land when Israel took control of the West Bank in 1967. In accordance with the 1907 Hague Regulations (‘Hague’) and the 4th Geneva Convention (‘Geneva IV’), Israel has retained the pre-existing civil law in effect and applies it in those areas where Israel exercises the functions of government.

Israel continues to apply the 1964 First Registration of Land Law and has appointed officials from its own administration who have an official status or professional qualification parallel to those of the Jordanian administrators and who act in accordance with the Jordanian Law.

Aerial surveys of West Bank lands showing those parcels under cultivation or otherwise so as to enable the Israeli Administration to recover jurisdiction over State lands uncultivated for a period in excess of three years.

It should be noted that aerial surveys were not initiated by Israel. In 1945, the Palestine Mandatory Administration undertook a full aerial survey as the foundation of its longitudinal study on efficient utilisation of land under its jurisdiction. During its nineteen years of occupation, Jordan allowed the survey to lapse. Only after the Six Days War did Israel resume the survey on a regular basis for its initial purpose, and is updated regularly.

The State’s right to recover uncultivated land strictly in accordance with the law is not enforced automatically against the Arab farmers. The army's policy is flexible. Until either the State or the occupier/farmer initiates some concrete intention to develop, Palestinians are permitted to resume cultivation after ceasing to do so for a number of years well in excess of the three year limitation period.

Although Israel has placed the burden of proof on the farmer to show continuous use of State land that has, in good faith, been certified by the Custodian to be unoccupied or unworked, such farmer can discharge this burden relatively easily by witness testimony and the aerial surveys referred to earlier.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summertime continued

The grandchildren are out of school, some have lots to do, some are “bored”. The telephone rings, “Can you help out with my children?”. Yes, summer is around for a looong time!!

One of the grandchildren took the opportunity to complete the advanced course with the ambulance service Magen David Adom (he did the elementary course last year) so is now volunteering to go out with the team in an ambulance when there is a call. Unfortunately with the quality of driving, there are too many accidents, so there is not too much free time.

This week, prior to celebrating the barmitzvah of a Jerusalem grandchild at the Western wall in the old city, we invested the previous day to take 3 of them on a tour. (Not easy with temperatures in the 30’s C , 90’s F)

We bought tickets to walk on the ramparts around the old city and managed to cover the Christian, Armenian and Jewish quarters. As interesting as the walk was, what caught the attention of the grandchildren, was an incident in the streets below where the police were dealing with a suspicious object that had been left on the pavement. As is normal, the streets were closed to traffic, and the use of a robot to detonate the “suspicious object” created quite a strong shock wave that we felt as high up as we were. What was in the bag was not an explosive device; someone almost certainly put their bag down and forgot to pick it up. Nevertheless it created a talking point as we continued on our way.

After lunch, we then proceeded for a guided tour of the Western Wall Tunnels an unbelievable experience. The actual part of the Western Wall that most visitors see from the Plaza is about 70 meters long. Underground there is another 470 metres to discover. It is a most fascinating experience. One of the stones in the wall underground is so huge that it alone weighs approx 6000 tonnes. Just how was that moved into place during the building of the temple?

After nearly 6 hours of walking around, we all returned home exhausted but returned the following morning for the actual barmitzvah ceremony.

Yes, summertime is exhausting

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summertime and the Living is Easy?

Summertime and the living is easy, goes the words of Gershwin’s song in Porgy and Bess. I suppose in the fantasy world of the theater, anything goes! Nothing could be further from the truth for our family after a hectic week last week (and I am supposed to take it easy!!)

Following a party at the beginning of last week for the barmitzvah of yet another of our Grandsons, we made our way back home on Monday to a) deliver the barmitzvah cake, at least the half that was left, to a shelter for battered women b) to organize a stone setting for an elderly friend who passed away and had no children and finally c) drove to Zichron Yaacov for a performance of Broadway songs at the local theater.

The next day was my routine visit to the Cardiologist, who was happy with my progress and told me there was no problem to my starting to “lightly” exercise again. This was a welcome comment since we had planned to go to the Galilee and Golan with the family for a couple of days to do some trekking and continue the barmitzvah celebration.

The Galilee/Golan outing started in temperatures of 37 -38° C, the whole trip planned by the children. We arrived at Ein Tina, a river with a pool close to the parking area for the young children whilst some of the “elder” community walked via the river bed towards the waterfall.. Yes in spite of the dry winter, there was still water flowing.

Having enjoyed 3 hours there, we then all moved North on to the Golan Heights (seeing quite clearly how prior to 1967, the Syrians were able to fire on the farmers working in the fields in Israel) where we arrived at our “sleeping quarters” for the night – bamboo huts, with the “luxury” of mattresses provided, one electric bulb and a single socket. The huts were all in line like town houses so noises traveled down the line quite effectively.

We all settled down to a BBQ, enjoyed by all, it just seemed strange that we were there as “invited guests” and not involved in the planning or implementation.

The next morning, we set off for the
Banias river and its waterfall. From Kibbutz Snir we followed the nature trail towards Moshav Sha’ar Yishuv. The scenery was exquisite, the waterfall amazing and the grandchildren (and some of their parents) enjoyed the dips in the river at those points were the flow was not dangerous. After three hours we arrived at our destination and our cars with relief. The weather although not at the previous days temperatures was still around 30° C.

We then traveled south, near to Bet She’an to a kibbutz Tirat Zvi where everyone enjoyed a relaxing time over the Shabbat before returning home.

Thankfully I had no after effects, so the “ticker” must have been working well. However, it was a pleasure to sleep that night in my own bed!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Israel Helping the Real World

Today, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs opened a symposium being conducted by MASHAV, the Foreign Ministry's Center for International Cooperation and Israel's national agency for international development cooperation, for the staff of its training centers.

It is incredible to visit this center to see how so many in the real world relates to Israel in such a positive waqy. The work of MASHAV does not attract the attention of the world media since it disturbs their agenda concerning Israel. The Deputy FM said, "MASHAV is an important tool of the Israel Foreign Ministry to cope with the growing Iranian presence in Latin America."

Against the backdrop of talks on Israel's accession to the OECD, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, he stressed that "Israel is committed to meeting the challenges of development. MASHAV is a very important element in Israel's foreign policy - morally, politically and economically."

MASHAV conducts an extensive training program both in Israel and abroad in a wide variety of fields, such as agriculture, health, the empowerment of women, socio-economic development and more. The work is carried out at professional training centers, in cooperation with relevant government ministries. To date, over the course of over 50 years, MASHAV has provided hands-on instruction to over a quarter of a million trainees in Israel and abroad.

MASHAV experts translate Israel's desire to share experience and expertise with other countries into action. "The knowledge that we share with the nations of the world helps improve life in many countries while strengthening our ties with them," said the Deputy Foreign Minister