The National (Editorial)
April 12, 2010 - 12:00am

Outrage is the only appropriate reaction. The revelation that thousands of Palestinians could face forced eviction, separation from their families, and imprisonment – and be expected to foot the bill for it all – beggars belief. If approved, two military orders would broaden who is termed a so-called infiltrator into the Palestinian territories. This cannot be allowed to happen, nor can the international community, and particularly the Arab world, remain silent on the issue.

If Israel follows through with this ludicrous change of policy, then the response must be unambiguous. Israel will have made clear what the Palestinians and their Arab allies have been asserting for some time. Israel does not want peace; it wishes only to get rid of the Palestinians.

That said, Israel must realise how this would look. Its pundits frequently highlight the country’s declining international standing. The prime minister’s rocky relationship with the US is no secret. Implementing this order would achieve little on these fronts. Meanwhile the deportation of thousands of Palestinians would inflame and galvanise international opinion and risks igniting violence in the Palestinian territories.

It is just as likely that this is a response to the intention of some Palestinian officials to unilaterally declare Palestinian statehood by 2011. It is a rhetorical broadside, a thuggish way of saying: “You can declare whatever you like but we have ultimate control over how and where you live.”

Israel likes to have it both ways. It likes to pretend that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for governing the territories without relinquishing the control on the ground necessary to do so. It is a convenient illusion that a unilateral declaration of statehood might shatter. Thus, it is probably briefly pulling back the curtains to remind the Palestinians of who is ultimately in charge.

Granted, Israel has thumbed its nose at international opinion and ignored the detrimental effects of its actions before. It is also obvious that Israel possesses a callous disregard for the concerns and desires of the Palestinians under its occupation. No one should be particularly surprised if they evict the Palestinians from their land. They have been doing that for decades.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017