Daylight robbery

Members of the Israeli security forces fire a tear gas canister from the top of Isreal's controversial separation barrier during clashes with Palestinians demonstrators in the village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah following a march in support of the resistance in the Gaza Strip on August 29, 2014.AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI

The usual bout of Western finger-wagging has begun after Israel’s decision to undertake its “biggest” land grab in 30 years, as some activists and monitors are calling it.

The Israeli authorities have unilaterally decided, yet again, that they have the right to appropriate more land from the Palestinians. It’s part of Tel Aviv’s long-standing policy of recognizing a Palestinian Authority, while rejecting the concept of Palestinian territory.

Officials from the U.S. and the U.K. have weighed in, effectively calling the move counterproductive, instead of recognizing that Israel itself is counterproductive. Perhaps the land grab is a response to the growing number of voices that are talking about the Israeli government’s defeat at the hands of Hamas and its allies in the recently halted round of violence in Gaza.

Whatever the case, there is nothing new under the sun: Israel defies international law, seizes the land of others, overcomes any tepid protest by the international community, and then Palestinian anger and resentment build until there is another violent explosion.

Israel provokes such hostilities by engaging in what is a hostile act. After it brazenly seizes the land of others, a whole series of actions follow: the land is cleared, buffer zones are created, Palestinians are banned from approaching and a network of special roads and “security measures” are established, until a piece of Palestine disappears.

All of this takes place with the connivance of leading international powers, while the U.N. remains powerless to do anything but string together a few sentences of denunciation, or issue a report.

Israel’s latest land grab is a war crime, pure and simple, because it’s the kind of act that will lead to the next outbreak of hostilities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 02, 2014, on page 7.




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