Security or Confiscation [en]

The implantation of Jewish colonies and towns accompanied the process of land alienation At first these colonies masqueraded as military or paramilitary outposts in uninhibited areas set up for “security” reasons or even as archaeological excavation camps. But emboldened principally by the acquiescence of the united States and its funding of the colonization process, successive Israeli governments proceeded to establish colonies and towns in the midst of thickly inhabited Palestinian areas in the name of the biblical right of return to all parts of Eretz Israel. By 1983colonists were living in about 140 colonies and towns all over Palestinian Occupied Territories. To be sure, a tiny proportion of the confiscated land (30,000 out of the 2.15 million dunams*) had been owned by Jews in these territories before 1948; however, the restoration of property to its pre-1948 owners was exclusively restricted to Jews and did not apply to Palestinian-owned property in West Jerusalem and Israel proper.

The Palestinians and the PLO leadership in the diaspora saw with horror their compatriots in East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank facing dispossession by slow strangulation – a fate even worse than that endured by their fathers and mothers in the period culminating in 1948

The PLO answered the historic delegitimization of the Palestinians by Zionism with counter delegitimization, and Israel terror with Palestinian terror active the PLO the more steadfast the Palestinians were under occupation, and the more steadfast the Palestinians under occupation the more resolved the Israelis were to extirpate the roots of autonomous Palestinian decision-making i.e., the civilian and military institutions of the PLO. Hence the Israeli devastation of the Jordan Valley (across which the PLO operated from Jordan) in the period from 1968 to 1970. Hence also the Israeli devastation of southern Lebanon and the suburbs of Beirut (the PLO’s base of operation after 1971), culminating in the siege and bombardment of the Lebanese capital and the massacre at Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

The distinctive lot of the Palestinians now (whether in the suburbs of Beirut, the Old City of Jerusalem, or elsewhere) is that their suffering, be it physical or mental, has little chance of fading into a distant memory: The wounds of yesterday fester alongside those of today.


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