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Another point

Reader comment on item: Ariel Sharon's Folly

Submitted by Yuri Guri (United States), Apr 5, 2005 at 19:49

In addition to the point made by the previous commenters that the exercise of the principle of eminent domain exists in every developed democracy, there is the small point of who actually owns land in Israel. Private landowning is actually extraordinarily rare (arabs are the exception). More often, a person wishing to build a home will 'lease' the property from the Lands Administration for 49 years with the option of another 49, but the Israeli government is still the rightful owner. This is particularly the case in the settlements where much of the land is 'reclaimed' (or in the palestinian lexicon 'stolen') by the state, before being leased to the settlers. In this case, the settlers might be evicted like any lease holder subject to the constraints of the original contract.

Also, regarding the transfer of Israeli citizens from one part of Israel to another, although I admit that there is a moral question here, it would not be unprecedented. If you recall, during the more kinetic operations in the disputed territories the Supreme Court ruled that the Military Commander of Judea and Samaria could transfer Palestinians from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, even if they were not themselves members of terrorist groupings, if he deemed it necessary for security. If the Army can move Arabs (or for that matter destroy the homes of Arabs) at the issuance of a military order, why would this be impossible for settlers?

For another thing, it is important to remember that the Civil Administration (Military Government) still exists in the areas of the West Bank not attached to the Palestinian Authority, so the final law is military not civilian. If at the end of the day, the withdrawal raises questions about democratic process in Israel, this may be due in large part to the fact that the Government of Israel has never extended the writ of democracy across all the administered territories and all the inhabitants therein.

Perhaps I am missing something here, but I would be interested in hearing Dr. Pipes elaborate on what he considers the legal objections to evacuation to be.

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