Thursday, April 12, 2007

Paying for your gassing with your own gold teeth

There is a Palestinian farmer named Mohammed Abdel Aziz Sabatin who faces daily harassment from Israeli settlers from Bettar Illit.  He has already lost much of his land due to the fact that it was confiscated to build the illegal settlement.  Now, the settlers spend much of their time engaging in traditional Jewish cultural activities, like burning down his olive trees.  The last time they tried it, the fire got out of hand, and the settlement itself had to send firefighters to put out the blaze.  Needless to say, they have sent him a bill for their ‘services’, a bill too large for him to pay.  Also, needless to say, the alternative to paying is the confiscation by the settlement of the rest of his land.

Gary Fields, who wrote about this (in an American newspaper!; the editors are brave!), wonders who the real terrorists are (article found via jews sans frontieres):

“In truth, Sabatin is the personification of a much bigger campaign that has been going on since 1947-48 when Palestinians owned about 90 percent of the land in historic Palestine. Now Palestinians own about 12 percent of the land in their historic homeland and this amount continues to decrease as land policies, including the activities of settlements, continue to encroach on, and confiscate, Palestinian land and property while transferring Palestinians into ever-smaller territorial spaces. Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel and the architect of the settlement policy, described this campaign as a policy of taking Palestinian land ‘dunum by dunum.’

These policies raise questions about the real purveyors of terror and its victims. The occupation of Palestine by Israel has removed all rights of Palestinians to land and has undermined their capacity to make a living where they have existed for centuries. Palestinians have no security when their land and livelihood can be taken at any time. Until the occupier recognizes these rights, the tragedy of Mohammed Sabatin will continue – and the conflict will not rest.”