ZOA: Why Does Israel Govt. End Support To Jewish Outposts While Giving Support To Illegal Arab Homes?
November 4, 2008


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is seeking to ascertain why the Israeli government has decided to cut off all support to Jewish unauthorized outposts in Judea and Samaria, be it any and all forms of funding or the provision of infrastructure, while at the same time acquiescing in illegal Arab construction in and around Jerusalem by connecting some 160,000 such houses to the municipal water system. The ZOA is also calling for firm Israeli government action to deal with the surge of illegal Arab housing construction (Jonathan Lis, ‘Illegally built Arab homes in E. Jerusalem to get water service,’ Haaretz, November 4, 2008; Roni Sofer, ‘Gov’t withdraws support from all settler outposts,’ Yediot Ahronot, November 2, 2008).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We cannot understand how the Israeli government can turn a blind eye to unauthorized Arab construction in Jerusalem, then acquiesce in it by integrating such houses into the municipal water system, while at the same time cutting off essential services to unauthorized Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.


“It has been said that such measures against Jewish outposts are a response to violence conducted by Jews from these and other communities in Judea and Samaria against recent demolition of Jewish housing but, if so, these measures are simply collective punishment. Those individuals guilty of violence are the only legitimate targets of government response, not whole communities of people, most if not all of whom may have had literally nothing to do with such incidents of violence.


“We hear incessantly, especially from hostile Arab governments, that Israel is ‘Judaizing’ Jerusalem and crowding Arabs out of the city, but the truth is that the Jewish proportion of the Jerusalem population has in fact fallen since 1967. Moreover, there has been no Israeli policy to restrict the growth of the Arab sector in the city or to force it through various pressures into leaving the city. As Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer with the Jerusalem Center or Public Affairs, makes clear in his study, Illegal Construction in Jerusalem (2003), Israel at no time has refused to connect Arab houses to the water network or refused residency rights to those who decline Israeli citizenship.


“So this is not a case of poor Arabs lacking money or resources to seek permits. Rather, real estate has been bought up, with encouragement of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA), by wealthy Arab sources, especially in Saudi Arabia, who build illegally in order to subvert the law by creating facts on the ground. Not only does this result in administrative headaches and costs that Israel has to bear, but it helps bolster illicit Palestinian efforts to divide the city.


“It is often highlighted in the international media that Jews have been building without authorization in various places in Judea and Samaria, but we hear little if anything about much more widespread, illicit building in Arab Jerusalem which carries serious security and infrastructure ramifications for Israel. Why then does the Israeli government act on unauthorized Jewish construction when doing so little to prevent the far more widespread illicit Arab construction? Collective measures against Jewish communities should be repudiated by the Israeli government. It is also past time for it to confront the issue of illegal Arab construction that carries serious ramifications for Israel‘s security situation and profoundly affects the future of Jerusalem.”


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