About Us

Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine
UK architects, planners and other construction industry professionals campaigning for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.


Voting 'Yes' for Theft : Haaretz Editorial

If the vote takes place, the majority of our lawmakers will raise their hands to approve a bill that will steal land from Palestinians.

Haaretz Editorial           6 February 2017
Netanyahu and Bennett
Netanyahu and Bennett: Photo  Haim Horenstein
Assuming that the Knesset vote takes place today as scheduled, the state legislature is going to stain itself dreadfully when it approves what’s been dubbed the “regularization law,” meant to retroactively legalize illegally built homes in the West Bank. The name of the bill is misleading, and not by coincidence. The bill doesn’t aim to “regularize” but to steal.
If the vote takes place, the majority of our lawmakers will raise their hands to approve a bill that will steal land from Palestinians. The theft will come after the fact; to accommodate settlements and outposts that were built on private land, the land will be expropriated from its owners, while the thieves living on it will be granted “the presumption of innocence.”
To grant this theft a veil of equitableness, Palestinians who can prove ownership will receive increased financial compensation.
The proud leader of this thievery is the Habayit Hayehudi party. As far as the members of this nationalist religious party are concerned, there is no area in the Land of Israel that belongs to non-Jews. That’s also why there’s no point in talking in terms of theft, stealing or expropriation; all we have here is a “misunderstanding” that needs to be “regularized.”
Heading this band of thieves is Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. The education minister tried to bow and scrape last week before the Amona evacuees, who complained about his inability to prevent their eviction, by promising that the expropriation law would be voted on today, thus “putting an end to the method of legal displacement.”
Bennett is not alone in his struggle against the “method of legal displacement.” He is backed by party colleague Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who won’t let trivialities stop the robbery convoy from barreling forward.
The fact that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit refuses to defend such theft if it gets challenged in court doesn’t deter her. Shaked has found a solution: a private attorney will represent the government.
So that’s how it is. To authorize land theft in the occupied territories the justice minister is prepared to smash the country’s legal norms with her own hands.
And as if to threaten the High Court of Justice, which will probably be asked to rule on this unconstitutional law, the woman meant to defend it delivered the following warning: “If the regularization law is invalidated, there is a series of administrative decisions that the attorney general has already made and stands behind that regularizes most of the settlements.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows that this bill is immoral, unconstitutional and will certainly do Israel great damage internationally. Netanyahu also knows that the law will be struck down by the High Court of Justice, which will then be smeared mercilessly by the settler right and its Knesset representatives.
Netanyahu is trapped; he knows that the good of the country requires that the bill be buried for good, but on the other hand, he hears MK Betzalel Smotrich declare that “if the regularization bill doesn’t come up [for a vote] on Monday, there will be no government.”
And if there’s one thing that Netanyahu’s long years at the helm have proven, it’s that when asked to choose between the good of the country and his political survival, the country will always come second.
Haaretz Editorial
Bill: Israeli Firms Would Be Required to Notify Customers if They Don't Provide Services to Settlements
Businesses that don't ship goods or provide after-sales service to settlements could face 10,000-shekel fine; regulations would make it easier to form blacklist of such companies.
Jonathan Lis Feb 05, 2017 7:04 PM
New homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
New homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.  Ilan Assayag
The government is looking to pass new regulations that will force Israeli businesses to place prominent signs in their premises if they don’t provide shipping or other services to settlers in the occupied territories.
Under the new regulations, a business owner who doesn’t display the sign could be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 shekels ($2,660).
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon outlined the move Sunday, as part of a law designed to prevent discrimination against those living in outlying areas and Arab villages, but it also specifically mentions assisting settlement residents.
Lawmaker Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) hinted that the move would allow settlers to draw up a “blacklist” that will permit a boycott of businesses that treat settlements differently to Israel proper. The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee will discuss approving the bill on Monday, prior to its second and third readings in the Knesset.
“It cannot be that residents of Judea and Samaria, for example, will purchase a product but never receive services or shipping for it because they live beyond the Green Line, or they will be required to pay a ‘special charge,’” said Moalem-Refaeli, referring to the West Bank and Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
“Businesses that choose to discriminate against consumers who live in Judea and Samaria, in outlying areas or in Arab communities will be obligated to inform their custo mers in advance. If they fear being put on customers’ blacklists, they should them treat all equally.”
According to the regulations, a business will need to place a sign “close to every cash register, in a prominent place, which sets out its shipping or service policy.”
The sign must be at least A4 size (210 x 297 millimeters, or 11.7 x 8.3 inches). The regulations also include specific instructions relating to the lettering: The words “Shipping Service Policy” or “Customer Service Policy” must appear at the top of the sign, underlined and no less than 65 pixels in size. The size of text within the actual announcement must be no less than 24 pixels.
According to the anti-discrimination bill, which has already passed its first reading in the Knesset, “Whoever offers a product or service to the public or operates a public place, will not discriminate in providing the product or public service at the place of the business, in allowing entrance to a public place or providing service in a public place due to the place of residence.”
In Clause 2 (A), it is written specifically that the law will apply to providing for “the area defined by emergency regulations (Judea and Samaria).”
The bill’s explanatory notes add: “The business will be prohibited from doing anything, in practice or by omission, in writing or verbally or any other way, including after the connection [was made] that is liable to mislead the consumer regarding the place to which the property or service will be provided, including stopping the asset or service in the area of Judea and Samaria.”
Jonathan Lis
Haaretz Correspondent