“Rabbi Yohanan said: When a person robs his fellow even the value of a perutah [penny], it is as though he had taken his life away from him, as it is said, ‘So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain, which takes away the life of the owners thereof‘ (Proverbs 1:19)” (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma 119a). The Torah instructs us not to steal or deal dishonestly (Leviticus 19:35-36).
This is the opening paragraph of the article “Jews and Stealing -The ways we justify theft cannot free us of its corrupting influence.” By Rabbi Michael Strassfeld speaking on ethics and theft on the site myjewishlearning see original here
I started this post today thinking I would merely repost the Haaretz news article of the 31st August that I was linked to via a tweeter I follow. The article is titled “Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land” with the subheading ‘Takeover from five Palestinian villages is biggest West Bank land appropriation in 30 years, says Peace Now; settlers laud Netanyahu, Ya’alon, government.’ see full article here.
Then, as I usually like to I was writing a brief intro to the Haaretz article link I re-read the article’s first paragraph. (By the way if you’re wondering if I am Jewish because of my references on this post the answer would be” I dont think so”, after all who knows with most of us what genes make their home in our pot pouri of human genomes. So read on or not as your preferences and prejudices incline you to do.)
….”Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot.
The announcement follows the cabinet’s decision last week to take over the land in response to the June kidnapping and killing of three teenage Jewish boys by Hamas militants in the area.”
Noting the potential political significance of the kidnapping/killing connection I also wondered what the English meaning was of the Hebrew word Gvaot, chosen to rename this piece of Palestine. Thinking it must be pretty big deal if it’s worth stealing so much land for.
Gvaot means …..well plenty of articles were thrown up but no meanings so I found myself here…
…a Media Brief from the PLO dated September 2014. This is much more informative about the ‘new settlement’.
I continued to look for a meaning for gvaot……..Translation Babylon.com, a translator I often use gave the translation as Hebrew- gvaot, English- Gvaot. Interesting, it is already a proper noun! How did that happen? And still, what does the word mean?
Thanks Wikipaedia…….. regularly updated by Zionists- (actually updated to include this latest land theft)
“Gvaot is in the westernmost area of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. It is “named for the hills (gva’ot) from which Balaam spoke” …….As of August 2014, there were 10 families living in Gva’ot.
Gvaot means hills….
Then on the same page under history….
….”In late August 2014, the IDF, under political instructions, announced it was confiscating 1,000 acres, on part of which Gva’ot is built, from its Palestinian proprietors, reportedly as a response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers. The land belongs to the five Palestinian villages of ,Jab’a Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. The move was hailed by the Gush Etzion settlements council as an opportunity to built up Gva’ot, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land. The United States responded to the announcement by rebuking Israel for taking measures that were ‘counter-productive’ to the two-state solution in peace talks. The expropriation was also condemned by the United Kingdom, United Nations and Palestine Liberation Organization.”
The issue geographically if not politically at this point, relates to the kidnapping of the three Jewish settler teenagers who were apparently abducted from a hitchhiking point in Gush Etzion.
The PLO statement raises settler violence against Palestinians and OCHA supports this claim with OCHA figures stating that the annual rate of settler attacks (2,100 attacks in 8 years) has almost quadrupled between 2006 and 2014. The fact that Palestinian police are forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers adds to the problem. See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settler_violence
The PLO statement also names the landgrab for what it is- ILLEGAL and highlights that moves like this from Israel “are emboldened by the culture of impunity granted to Israel by the international community.”
It names 10 Palestinian villages effected (The Haaretz report names 5 in the area of appropriated land, Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. ) stating in the Western Bethlehem area there are…..
“10 Palestinian villages the largest of these are Al Wallaja, Battir, Husan, Nahhalin and Wadi Fukin, which are home to over 20,000 people. The area is known as the bread basket of Bethlehem (formerly of Jerusalem) and is known for its ancient agricultural terraces, olive groves and irrigation systems. Last June, the Battir Area (including the Makhrour Valley in Beit Jala and Al Khader) was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by the State of Palestine at UNESCO. According to Israeli plans, all this area will be separated from the rest of Bethlehem after the annexation Wall is completed, obstructing Palestinian access to its lands, jobs, hospitals, schools, universities, heritage and religious sites, as well as to commerce
and provides a map of the area showing the 1967 boundary, planned and constructed wall and illegal settlements and other restrictive movement impositions on local Palestinians.
Israel’s actions over the years have shown (and this small map of their incursions visually explains) they care not one iota for what the ‘International Community’ thinks of their actions. They now have extensive tentacle networks into the upper echelons and governments of the US and other Western countries. Amidst calls to the UN to investigate Israel’s continued flagrant criminality and in the face of mounting International criticism the Knesset continues to feign deafness. The mediocre response from the UN, with US backing provides a context of ‘silent consent’ for continued violent aggression as witnessed in their outrageous and atrociously disproportionate bombing and invasion of Gaza over the past weeks.
On this current issue there is this US unofficial response…..
The Huffington Post reported from a Reuters report that a US State Department official as saying on 31st August See original article
“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” said the State Department official, who declined to be identified. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians,” the official said.
and this from Ban Ki Moon in the Jerusalem Post today 2.8.2014
“The Secretary-General is alarmed by yesterday’s announcement by Israeli authorities to declare as so-called ‘state land’ nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank,” the UN chief’s office said in a statement.
“The seizure of such a large swathe of land risks paving the way for further settlement activity, which – as the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions – is illegal under international law and runs totally counter to the pursuit of a two-state solution.” “The Secretary-General calls on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to refrain from settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the Quartet road map.”
It is worth looking more closely at what the Israeli intention is here. It is undertaken as a “military order confiscation”. It is ‘get it while you can’ expansionism when day by day more is taken from Palestine.
The PLO statement provides insight into the Israeli created term, “settlement bloc” which they say refers to…..
“a fixed area unilaterally defined by Israel, representing all the illegal settlements in that area and the land and infrastructure in between. The use of this terminology is deliberate, and is meant to facilitate the colonization of more land and to thwart the emergence of a genuinely independent and contiguous Palestinian state, making a negotiated outcome implausible.”
We continuously witness policy savvy Zionist introductions of ‘infrastructure support’ for illegal settlements and ‘defence rationale’ cover up for premeditated murder and dispossession of Palestinians. These smokescreens should be called for what they are – there is no rationalisation for theft of peoples land livlihood and culture. There is no rationalisation for Israeli aggression. The Bibi Bully has again flagrantly trampled over the rights of the Palestinian people.
Gvaot means ‘hills’
Two photo’s above from vice.com post (The post is well worth a read)
This whole thing makes sense to me now.
Some time ago I posted see here on the Australian government’s refusal to use of the term ‘Occupied’ to describe the Palestinian Territories
At the time Wyatt Roy’s (Liberal MP) responses were full of diatribe about hills, rockets, rifles and land swaps for a two state solution. They made little sense to me other than to say he had minimal understanding of the situation and carried the dominant neocon view about Israeli land grabbing. Here is a sample….
Interviewer: There is a very clear line on the map, its the line on the map acknowledged by the UN security Council, the US … the International Court of Justice, and its the 1967 border. Everything across that line is according to them is Israeli ‘Occupied”……… Isn’t that a very clear line?
Wyatt Roy: No, because what I would say that in a negotiated two state solution there is the potential ah for areas er ..beyond that line to be part of Israel ..eh and other parts of that are currently part of whats considered Israel even in that time period could become part of Palestine. because you might very well see and this is part of the peace process that they were negotiating the idea of land swaps…so if you have a high hill in that part of East Jerusalem where you could potentially shoot a rocket or a rifle, part of the negotiation process was trading off part of that land for another part of what has and always has been considered part of Israel. So there is the potential for that to not be the case, now whether that eventuates or not is up to politicians in Israel and Palestine to determine and I hope that they can determine that because both states could benefit from a proper two state solution.
Then the response to a question about if he thought the term -‘Illegal’ was unuseful in describing Israeli settlements in Palestine….
Wyatt Roy: I do think so…. I think that is unuseful…. some of those settlements have been there for a very very long time.. and as I said in that negotiating process ah part of those settlements may end up as part of Israel and other parts of Israel will end up as part of Palestine because in many cases as I’ve said their up on a high hill and you could shoot a rocket or a rifle directly into your neighbour’s home effectively which might be in another country if we have a two state solution ..So eh..it is I do think that that language is often very unhelpful and it doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground, and it doesn’t actually reflect what the negotiation process is between the two sides but as I said this is something that politicians on the other side of the world will have to negotiate it will have to be a political negotiation on where that line on the map will have to be…..
Maybe Wyatt Roy was on the right track with his ‘high hill’ thing and he really understands the Israeli Bloc idea. The untanglement of Israeli activities of land appropriation is made all the more difficult and the real reason, expansion, obfuscated by claims of ‘look at all the infrastructure’, the ‘impossibility of dismantlement’, the inflation of the threat of attack and the ‘need to defend what we have.’
There are already Israeli wineries in the area and perhaps its appropriate to go back to the beginning of this post and to Rabi Michael Strassfield’s post, he takes the road of theft as a “slippery slope” and an old Jewish tale about wine.
…….once you begin to steal you are on a slippery slope. The tradition therefore teaches that there is no justification for stealing, not even to right a wrong. Thus:
“Once, four hundred jars of wine belonging to Rav Huna turned sour. The sages came to visit him and said, ‘Let the master examine his [past] actions.’ He asked them, ‘Am I suspect in your eyes?’ They replied, ‘Is the Holy One suspect of imposing judgment without justice?’ He said to them, ‘If anyone has heard something against me, let him speak up.’ They replied, ‘We have heard that the master does not give his tenant his [lawful share of] vine shoots.’ Rav Huna replied, ‘Does he leave any of them for me? He steals them all!’ They said to him, ‘That is exactly what the proverb says: ‘Even if you steal [what is your own] from a thief, you are also a bit of a thief.’ He said to them, ‘From now on, I pledge myself to give them to him.’ Some say that then and there the vinegar turned back into wine” (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 5b).
Maybe the Rabbi was speaking metaphorically of Israel’s theft of occuppied Palestinian Territory?
And of course if you believe the Zionist hasbara about how they have improved the land of Palestine……
“It wasn’t always like this. One hundred years ago, when my grandfathers came here, Israel (sic) was a land of sand, swamps, barchash flies, malaria, trachoma and typhus. Infant mortality rates were staggering. Almost everyone was poor.”
See what they have done to the backward land of donkeys and backward people! (Quote compliments of Zionist site)
It’s not about Israel’s ‘right to exist’
The hills are alive with the sound of thievery
In the face of this recent Zionist expansion………its about Zionism’s end game, that’s NOT a two State solution.
This end game is really no different to that being purported as the ISIS…ISIL….IS endgame.
It’s not more civilised, not more acceptable.
Taking your time to murder and dispossess a people is no more moral or ethical than doing it quickly, It could be argued that it’s much worse.
It is a ludicrous, historically unsubstantiated, pseudo religious claim of ‘entitlement’ to excuse colonisation of another’s land whether its for a Jewish State or an Islamist Caliphate.
Smashing dissent to invasion whether invaders are a state Army such as the IDF (defense or attack force?) or a disparate group of ‘true believers’ with black flags and Hummers is not legal or ‘civilised’. A single politically distorted view based loosely on a religion (Zionism or Islamism) will dominate the lives those who live under those regimes. And the cry “If you don’t like it- CONVERT, LEAVE, OR DIE” rings out across both.
We have seen the results of both their plans.