Fisk: Israel’s ‘land for lives’ is theft. Pure and simple

World View: Israel takes land, Palestine loses land; that’s the way it works

Robert Fisk

So a bit more of Palestine has slidden down the plughole. A thousand more acres of Palestinian land stolen by the Israeli government —for “appropriation” is theft, is it not? — and the world has made the usual excuses. The Americans found it “counter-productive” to peace, which is probably a bit less forceful than its reaction would be if Mexico were to bite off a 1,000-acre chunk of Texas and decided to build homes there for its illegal immigrants in the US.

But this is “Palestine” (inverted commas more necessary than ever) and Israel has been getting away with theft, albeit not on quite this scale — it is the biggest land heist in 30 years — ever since it signed up to the Oslo agreement in 1993.

The Rabin-Arafat handshake, the promises and handovers of territory and military withdrawals, and the determination to leave everything important (Jerusalem, refugees, the right of return) to the end, until everyone trusted each other so much that the whole thing would be a doddle — no wonder the world bestowed its financial generosity upon the pair.

But this latest land-grab not only reduces “Palestine” but continues the circle of concrete around Jerusalem to cut Palestinians off from both the capital they are supposed to share with Israelis and from Bethlehem.

It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June. “The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced. “Our response is to strengthen settlement.”

This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds — or on God’s personal authority — but out of revenge.

Read more