Memorandum submitted by Jews for Justice
A. JEWS FOR
1. Jews for Justice for Palestinians is
a group of British Jews who are principally concerned with the
human, economic and political rights of Palestinians. We believe
that the Palestinians have the right to their own state in the
areas currently occupied by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza and
East Jerusalem, no less than Israel has the right to a secure
existence within the 6 June 1967 borders. Accordingly we believe
that Israel should negotiate in good faith to withdraw to the
1967 borders. We do not prescribe the conditions for a just peace,
but look to a solution that both parties are prepared to accept.
Thus an equitable land swap to accommodate some of the settlements
adjacent to the Green Line may be acceptable.
2. We abhor terrorism in all its forms and
believe it cannot be condoned, regardless of who perpetrates it.
This applies equally to Palestinian attacks on civilians, and
to Israeli "targeted killings" which inevitably kill
and maim bystanders and which can be called state terrorism. We
believe, however, that the cycle of terror and counter terror
is caused by the long occupation, by Israel's obvious intention
to use the settlement projectand now the Separation Wallto
annexe large swathes of the occupied land, and from the many punitive
measures it takes against the Palestinian population.
3. We are the largest Jewish peace group
in the U.K, with nearly 750 signatories. We believe that we and
the other Jewish peace groups in the UK represent the views of
a significant part of the UK's Jewish population, whose voice
is rarely heard. We travel regularly to the Middle East and are
in touch with all the main Israeli and Palestinian Peace organisations
4. We believe that the Israeli population
are not told the full ramifications of the settlement project
or of the deprivations faced by Palestinians, and the Jewish media
in Great Britain also acts to sanitise the situation. In particular
the separation wall is accepted as a temporary security measure.
We very much welcome the concern this committee has expressed
and hope that your conclusions will be discussed with the leaders
of the Jewish community and reported in the Jewish press in this
B.1(3) The impact of the separation wall
on Palestinian farmers and for employment, movement of people
and delivery of humanitarian assistance.
a. The western section of the wall is being
built on a meandering route which often extends deep inside the
West Bank in order to incorporate settlements on its "Israeli"
side. There is also a planned eastern section which will go down
the Jordan Valley well to the west of the Jordanian border. If
completed, the Wall will - literally - create two Palestinian
ghettos completely surrounded by Israel and/or Israeli-controlled
territory. The settlements in the Jordan Valley, as well as those
adjacent to Israel, will thus be incorporated into the annexed
b. This massive project would annexe 62%
of the West Bank. It would also take more than 2/3 of the water
wells used from drinking and agriculture. Israel would control
the borders of the ghettos and would also ration the water used
in them. These results can hardly be unintended.
c. The separation barrier is bordered on
each side by a barbed wire fence, a trench and sometimes other
"depth barriers". There are also three paths on its
western side: a trace road, a patrol road and an armoured vehicle
road. The average total width of the system is 60 metres. The
barrier itself has confiscated tens of thousands of acres of farmland.
Much of the West Bank's best farmland, notably around Qalqilya
and Tulkarem, has been confiscated in this way.
d. 16 villages are being confiscated and
210,000 Palestinians in 67 villages are being harmed.
e. Farmers in dozens of villages are being
separated from their lands by the western wall. This occurs either
when a village is inside the wall area and its fields outside,
or vice versa. In principle there are gates to allow farmers to
access their fields, but in practice they are not manned so as
to allow passage when the farmers require it. Nor are they allowed
to take vehicles through and there are instances of farmers being
refused access with their donkeys. Experience has shown that Palestinian
farmers trying to use the few gates built so far have been regularly
beaten, abused, arrested or even shot. Palestinians are also being
separated from their places of employment in nearby towns and
f. Between 10,000 and 15,000 Palestinians
live between the Green Line and the western section of the Wall.
They will be restricted to five enclaves separated from the rest
of the West Bank and from Israel. Israel is already creating a
pass system to control the movement of Palestinians out of and
into the enclaves. This is open to the interpretation that it
is intended to "encourage" them to move into the ghettos
or further afield.
g. The proposed line of the separation wall
through East Jerusalem includes a double wall now being built
around the town of a-Ram, north of Jerusalem. It has 60 thousand
inhabitants, of which 40 thousand have Jerusalem IDs and Israeli
license plates on their cars. The double wall will cut the town
off, both from Jerusalem and the West Bank. The only passage out
of this pocket will be the infamous Kalandia checkpoint. Normal
life will become impossible and commercial life will be exceptionally
difficult. Pupils will have to get up at 5 am in order to reach
their schools in adjoining neighbourhoods on the other side of
the wall. Sick people and pregnant women will have to travel for
hours before they reach the hospitals in Jerusalem or Ramallah.
B.1(4) The control that the network of settlements
in the occupied Palestinian territories . . . environmental impacts.
a. Within two weeks of Israel's victory in
the 1967 war, it formally annexed East Jerusalem and the adjacent
West Bank areas to the north and south, and commenced the settlement
project. In the words of Benny Morris, "Within two to three
years a gigantic settlement venture was afoot.", enjoying
major government infrastructure and financial support at a cost
of billions. In 1977, the first Likud government systematised
and expanded the settlement project. Between 1993 and 2000years
of Labour-led governmentsthe number of settlers in the
West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) increased by almost 100%.
b. By February 2002, there were 158 Israeli
settlements containing about 400,000 settlers in the Occupied
Territories (The West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza). The Palestinian
population in these areas is 3.1 million. Despite comprising only
about 11% of the total population of these areas, the Israeli
settlements, reserved lands, connecting roads and other Israeli
Army controlled land take up about 56 % of the land area.
c. CBS has reported that 3,650 new homes
are under now construction in the West Bank and Gaza. Between
January and October 2003, tenders for 1,700 further new units
d. The settlement project violates the rights
of the indigenous Palestinians under international law. Among
the rights violated are: self-determination, equality under the
law, property, an adequate standard of living and freedom of movement.
e. Israel uses a complex legal and bureaucratic
system to control land use for the benefit of the settlers and
to the detriment of the Palestinians. The core of the system is
the planning process. Israel changed the composition of the planning
institutions by transferring numerous planning powers from the
pre-existing Palestinian authorities to the new Jewish regional
and local authorities. The system has separate Israeli and Palestinian
tracks. The Israeli track authorises and facilitates settlement
construction and expansion, and construction of the by-pass roads
which are for exclusive Israeli use. The Palestinian track obliges
Palestinians to apply to the Jewish local authorities, which routinely
reject requests for building permits.
f. After the signing of the interim Oslo
accords in 1993, Israel transferred planning powers in the Palestinian
controlled areasAreas A and Bto the Palestinian
Authority. While the vast majority of the Palestinian population
lives in these areas, the vacant land available for construction
in dozens of villages and towns in the West Bank is on the margins
of the communities, in areas defined by Israel as Area C. Therefore
the Israeli planning authorities continue to control expansion
and development of these communities.
g. Almost 2 m. dunams of land seized by
Israel over the years, mainly by means of its declaration as "state
and", has been included in the jurisdiction of six Jewish
regional councils but not attached to any particular settlement.
Some of this land, especially in the Jordan valley, is farmed
by settlers or used by the IDF for training. However, the great
bulk of it is empty, and thus constitutes reserves for future
expansion of settlements and establishment of industrial or tourism
h. The network of by-pass roads, which are
reserved for Israeli use, and the checkpoints impose major restrictions
on Palestinian movement. Often journeys which should take half-an
hour in fact require hours. This severely impedes Palestinians
in conducting commerce, selling produce and conducting their personal
business. Long delays at checkpointsoften unexplainedexacerbate
these problems and frequently cause medical emergencies.
The manifold economic and movement difficulties
created by the Separation Wall and the settlement infrastructure
could easily make conditions for Palestinians so difficult that
they move out of the West Bank altogether. This has been referred
to in Israeli political circles for some time as "quiet transfer".
The material summarised in section B comes from
four published sources: Behind the Barrier (B'tselem),
Land Grab: Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank (B'tselem),
Report on Israeli settlement in the Occupied Territories (Foundation
for Middle East Peace), and Gush Shalom. The full reports
can be found on the websites of these organisations.