Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Fruits of Military Administration Without Representation in the West Bank

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel, established in 1972, deals with rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. ACRI's mission statement makes a commitment "to promoting the universality of human rights and defending the human rights and civil liberties of all, regardless of religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background."

+972 Magazine draws our attention to a new ACRI report (October 2014) which explains in great detail the dual and discriminatory legal systems that apply in the West Bank. Based on this report, these people do good work.

Here they are on discrimination in free speech:
The basic right to freedom of expression is of utmost importance to Palestinians: lacking representation within the sovereign body that rules over them (the military commander) and without an opportunity to influence the decisions that determine their daily reality, voicing their protest is a central channel for them to realize their autonomy, as well as numerous other rights. However, from a legal and practical perspective, the freedom of expression of Palestinians in the West Bank is virtually nonexistent. Military laws define Palestinian vigils and demonstrations as illegal assemblies, army and police forces treat them as a threat, and the vast majority are violently dispersed by security forces, sometimes resulting in fatal consequences. On the other hand, the authorities' attitude toward demonstrations organized by Israelis in the territories exhibits an extensive acknowledgment of their freedom of expression and right to protest. Aside from the right to protest, military legislation further prohibits and restricts various other forms of expression that are permitted under Israeli law.
... and on planning and building:
In the realm of planning and building, there is a legislative and institutional separation between the planning systems for Israelis and Palestinians. This separation enables a policy that encourages construction in settlements while freezing it in Palestinian towns and villages. Israelis enjoy a significant representation of their interests in planning institutions, and they are full partners in planning procedures pertaining to them. The majority of West Bank settlements have detailed and updated outline plans, which facilitate the expansion of settlements and the issuance of building permits. By contrast, Palestinians are completely left out of the planning process and have no influence over planning procedures. Construction in most Palestinian villages is restricted by means of freezing the planning situation that was in place more than four decades ago, in a manner that does not enable building or development. The policy guiding planning enforcement and demolition of structures constructed without a permit is also far stricter with regards to the Palestinian population than the Israeli population.
... and on freedom of movement:
Freedom of movement, which is strictly protected in Israeli law, is an essential condition for the realization of most basic rights. In the West Bank, a person's ability to move freely is derived from this person's nationality. For more than a decade, movement restrictions have been imposed upon Palestinians residents through checkpoints, roadblocks, the Separation Barrier and movement prohibitions. These restrictions hinder their movement between different areas of the West Bank and within each area. Contrary to that, the movement of Israelis is permitted with almost no restrictions in most of the West Bank. Indeed, due to the significant improvement in the security situation, the situation of Palestinians in the West Bank has been alleviated in terms of freedom of movement in the past few years; yet their movement is still considerably restricted as compared to Israelis. Moreover, restrictions on passage between Gaza and the West Bank and on relocating to the West Bank violate the right of Palestinians to choose their place of residence and to realize their right to family life.
+972 also directs us to a short video that highlights some of the problems that result from a military administration without representation.  The last segment concerns Wadi Qana where 250 Palestinian families own land.  The military authorities declared the Wadi an environmentally protected zone and prohibit the planting of vegetables or olive trees.  It appears this was not accompanied by just compensation for taking of the land, and that the order is enforced in an effort to deny a livelihood to Palestinians, and enable nearby settlement.  But motives aside, the fact that the  the local Palestinians have no political representation in the military regime that established the environmental reserve--for 47 years now--is at the root of the problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment