US politician urges Americans to move to settlements in violation of international law 18Nov09 November 19, 2009

IMEMC -  18 November 2009

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A Democratic State Assemblyman from New York is leading a mission of 50 US citizens through Israeli settlements in the West Bank, encouraging the US citizens to move to the settlements in violation of international law.

Dov Hikind, who represents the 48th District of Brooklyn, told Israeli media, “Our goal is to send a clear message to Washington and President Obama that Jews will continue to live in Judea and Samaria and the ultimate commitment American Jews can make is to actually come and buy property in these areas as this will ensure these communities’ security and growth.”

He added, “For now, if a Jew wants to buy something in the Land of Israel there shouldn’t be anything that says you can’t buy in a particular area because Jews should not live there because that area has to be segregated.” But he failed to mention that Israel has created the segregation system, in which over 50 laws discriminate openly against non-Jews, and Palestinians indigenous to the land are prevented from living in 78% of what was once their own land.

Hikind also failed to mention where the ‘land of Israel’ to which he refers begins and ends, a trait which is common among right-wing Israeli settlers who hope to continue the expansion of the ‘land of Israel’ by never openly defining the borders of the state. Since its creation in 1948, Israel has refused to define its own borders, instead continually expanding further and further onto Palestinian loand in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international law.

The New York Congressman said that he himself plans to buy a house in a new settlement called Nof Zion, where he plans to participate in a ‘cornerstone-laying ceremony’ on Wednesday. According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, the 44 dunams of land where Nof Zion is situated are owned by Palestinian families, but were confiscated by occupying troops in 1967. In 2005 the families submitted an appeal to the Israeli high court of justice to prevent construction on their land, but it was rejected.

Hikind said that the idea of a settlement freeze as a precondition for peace talks is “ridiculous and outrageous”, and criticized the idea that US President Barack Obama had taken such a position, even for a short while, earlier this year.

But the indigenous Palestinians whose land has been seized for the construction of these settlements say that there is no way to negotiate when the occupying army has complete control over every aspect of their lives, including control over Palestinian air, land and sea borders, internal control over their travel, vehicles, IDs, birth and death records, and land. Palestinians whose land is seized have no recourse in the Israeli court system, which does not recognize their right to the land as the indigenous inhabitants, even when the Palestinian owners present titles and deeds to the land in question.


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