By JAN SOKOLOVSKY, ARI BRIGGS
Israeli & Palestinian negotiators have begun meeting in Washington, but the handshakes and conferences are just a theater, expertly acted by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as are his unilateral declarations at the UN.
Unfortunately, the reality is being played out on another channel, behind the scenes and not in the media.
While we have been distracted elsewhere, Abbas, the PA, with full consent of the EU, have been quietly implementing the Fayyad Plan, so called because the front man was former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad.
The PA’s July 2009 plan, to unilaterally create a de facto Palestinian state on the ground, is being implemented now at an accelerated rate, with our explicit consent or because of our fatal inaction, and with massive involvement of the international community specifically with funding from the European Union. This is a call for the Israel public to demand that our government exercise its authority over areas within our control, before we reach the point of no return.
Three major pillars support the PA’s Plan to create facts on the ground – structural reform of the central and local governments, restoring the PA security system, and building the economic and physical infrastructures necessary for a state. Deliberate emphasis was placed on establishing large parts of this national infrastructure in Area C, defined by the Oslo Accords as under full Israeli civil and security control, including authority over all building permits.
However, the intention of the PA and the EU, made crystal clear by the EU’s latest binding directive on all European countries, is to subvert our authority, to silently “annex” these areas, create corridors and contiguous territories in them, thereby establishing irreversible facts on the ground.
The gradual annexation method is being pursued simultaneously on two tracks. One requires coordinating with Israeli authorities by requesting their approval to construct projects of special significance. Usually, these are projects where international financing is dependent on our “stamp of approval” – Israeli consent.
Israel normally has no option but to consent to these projects because of the enormous pressure exerted by the funding countries.
The other track establishes facts on the ground – by widespread illegal construction and development activities, without coordination or approval from the Israeli authorities. In this track, one can absolutely detect a systematic and deliberate hand, an organizing logic which seeks to create contiguous Palestinian territories, while isolating and cutting off Israeli communities.
Three examples show how our blind cooperation with the PA, because of our desire to appear cooperative to the international organizations, will if unchecked create an irreversible reality. First, the approval of the new town of Nu’eima in the Jericho region, including an allocation of 500 acres of state land, much of which was illegally taken over by Palestinians over the past few years.
David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, says, “the… Palestinian criminals who settled on state lands surreptitiously are being rewarded, as they are now receiving hundreds of acres as a gift. This is a delusional and reckless plan that will choke our council’s communities.”
Second, the Civil Administration recently seriously considered a request by the PA to establish a security facility for their Preventive Security Service within Area C, where it would dominate Route 443, the road connecting Modi’in to Jerusalem. Is this not astounding? Fortunately, the request was rejected due to media attention and a public information campaign initiated by Regavim. But the fact that Israeli officials even considered such a request indicates their loss of moral compass and common sense.
Third, the Civil Administration is promoting the Ramon waste-collection landfill site in Area C in the Binyamin region, even though most of the waste will come from Areas A and B, and despite the fact that the PA has declared it will not be used for waste from Jewish communities.
Deutsche Bank is funding this site, never mind that landfill is considered the worst method of disposal, and is completely banned throughout Germany.
Despite the filing of over 100 objections, the Civil Administration continues to promote it, in part because of the pressure applied by the international community.
Simultaneously, the PA continues to build without our consent. Consider the illegal expansion of el-Bireh into Area C, which is intended to choke its Jewish neighbor Psagot. It is now only 100 meters from the fence of Psagot. Unauthorized development of infrastructure and road building, clearly intended to bypass Israeli checkpoints, continues unchallenged.
They especially construct buildings on dominating points to create a buffer in the hills between Psagot and Beit El.
Another example of this phenomenon is the Civil Administration retroactively approving the unauthorized construction of a soccer stadium in the area outside of el- Bireh. In 2009, construction began, near and visible to the Psagot community. Following Regavim’s application to the court, the Civil Administration issued a stop-work order, but work continued undeterred. In a further appeal to the Supreme Court, Regavim demanded that the law be enforced and the structure demolished. Yet in 2011, a building permit for the stadium was issued retroactively, allowing its construction and operation.
We believe that this was due to extreme pressure placed upon Israel by UEFA and the usual suspects – the EU. No imagination is required to evaluate the results of 15,000 fervent fans marching at the end of a game, with only a five-minute walk between the stadium to Psagot. Against the background of various popular uprising scenarios, which the IDF is preparing for, this is a scary thought.
Where have we been while this is going on? Watching another channel. We must put a stop to the PA’s plan by refusing to approve any more PA projects in Area C until all illegal building is stopped. This is especially true at this time where the EU has issued an open directive to boycott all Jewish activity in Judea & Samaria, East, North & South Jerusalem and the Golan. It’s time to tune into what is really going on in front of us, and demand that our Government act forcefully to enforce the law equally and protect our national interests.
Dr. Jan Sokolovsky is an attorney and serves as a policy adviser for Regavim. Ari Briggs is the international director of Regavim.
Regavim’s mission is to ensure the accountable, legal & environmentally friendly use of Israel’s national lands and the return of the rule of law to all areas and aspects of the land.
For more Israel analysis and articles from Ari Briggs visit Israpundit.