SOMETHING ABOUT the evidence of the eye contradicts the sales pitch on the printed page and the computer screen.
The eye that visits the West Bank sees this: Building. Jewish building. Arab building. Building all around.
The sales pitch in many media says this: Jews build on the West Bank. Thats it. Settlements. Jews are grabbing Palestinian land on the West Bank.
Eye vs. screen.
Evidence vs. sales pitch.
The truth is, not only do Jews settle land in the West Bank, but Palestinians grab land on the West Bank.
Wait a minute, you say, Palestinians cant grab land. Its their land.
Not so simple.
Under the Oslo Accords remember the handshake between the PLOs Yasir Arafat and Israels Yitzhak Rabin? the West Bank was divided into three areas.
Emphasis: By mutual agreement, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization together divided up the West Bank.
Area A and Area B were designed for Palestinian control under the Palestinian Authority, created under the Oslo Accords.
Area C was designated for Israeli control, since it contained Israels major settlement blocs, which no one realistically expects will ever be part of a Palestinian state.
Palestinians were free to build in Areas A and B.
Palestinians were forbidden to build in Area C.
Again, this was by mutual agreement.
Which means, by definition, that any Palestinian building in Area C is a land grab. A Palestinian land grab.
And its happening.
Before one gets out the maps and the statistics, one need only consult the evidence of the eye. Travel to Area C on the West Bank. Palestinians are building there.
Keep this in mind: These areas are not neatly sliced blocs of land. They wiggle and twist, they expand and narrow, they are shaped every which way, sometimes as narrow as a mere road with a different area on either side of the road.
The reason the areas are shaped like this is because they correspond, as much as possible, to the pre-Oslo, pre-1993 pattern of both Israeli and Palestinian settlement on the West Bank.
Still, two of the areas are Palestinian. One is Israeli. One, that is, is land that the Palestinians are not supposed to build on.
Pardon me, but again: This is by mutual agreement.
Then, the European Union comes along and finances Palestinian building in Area C.
Palestinian settlements, if you will.
Then there are the outposts.
Various Israeli outposts have been torn down by the Israeli army when they were built in Areas A and B.
Not a single Palestinian outpost in Area C has ever been torn down by Israel or by anyone else.
A double standard, you could say.
REGAVIM IS an Israeli non-profit dedicated to bringing the evidence of the eye to international attention.
It shows that a big chunk of the West Bank reality is the opposite of the popular image. That image has Israel grabbing Palestinian land. In fact, Palestinians are grabbing Israeli-controlled land in what Regavim calls a silent conquest. Acre by acre. Small plot by small plot. House by house.
In Area C.
Oh, and I almost forgot.
This is happening not only on the West Bank. It is happening on land that even the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UN consider to be Israeli land: land within the green line; that is, within the pre-June 5, 1967 borders; that is, not on the West Bank.
That is, on Israeli land in the Galilee, in the Negev, in the Mt. Hermon Nature Reserve, for example.
In Israel itself by all definitions,
Palestinians, other Arabs, Bedouin and others squat on the land and take it.
This is not shown on the medias printed page, television and computer screen.
By the way, apart from the political implications, this kind of land grab often degrades the environment.
The main degradation, however, is of the truth.
One more example: Certain Bedouin villages are claimed to be indigenous. However, freeze-frame photographs from 1945 and 2012, for example show indigenous villages sitting on land that was empty in 1945 and built up in 2012.
So much for indigenous.
The land of Israel, visitors readily see, is tiny. Its getting tinier.
Via the land grabs.
See for yourself. Visit the land.
Or visit Regavim at www.regavim.org.
Copyright © 2015 by the Intermountain Jewish News