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Palestine: Australian political interference dressed up as humanitarian aid

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Attempts by Australia and other foreign Governments and international aid agencies to politically influence the outcome of negotiations begun under the Oslo Accords in 1993 - now seriously threaten the total abandonment of those Accords.

The battleground for such foreign interference is Susiya village - located in Area C which comprises about 60% of the West Bank - but where only 5% of the current West Bank Arab population live.

Area C has remained under the total administrative and security control of Israel for the last 45 years.

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All the Jewish towns and villages in the West Bank have been established in Area C.

Allocation of sovereignty in Area C was to be determined in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap of 2002.

Those negotiations have hit a brick wall with the continuing refusal of the Palestinian Authority to resume such negotiations unless Israel places a total ban on further building in the West Bank for the duration of those negotiations.

The Governor of Hebron - Kamel Hamid - has highlighted Susiya’s problems in an open letter - stating

I would like to draw your attention to the intention of the Israeli authorities to demolish Khirbet Susiya, located south of the town of Yatta in Hebron Governorate. The so-called Israeli "Civil Administration" has distributed final demolition orders on June 12, 2012, to 51 structures in the Khirbet while giving the population only 3 days to object to the decision. The demolition will devastate the lives of at least 160 Palestinians including 60 children. The lawyers of the Palestinian residents of the Khirbet, Rabbis for Human Rights, managed to get a freeze on the demolition for a period of 14 days from the Civil Administration only to find the decision reversed on June 17, 2012.

Susiya has been the subject of many court cases before Israel’s High Court of Justice.

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A brief - but incomplete - summary was presented to the Senate of the Australian Parliament by Senator Lee Rhiannon on 26 June 2012:

Since 1990 there have been a series of demolitions in Susiya and the Israeli authorities have never approved a master plan for Susiya, leaving residents unable to obtain permits for construction. In 2001 all structures were demolished and the residents were forcibly evicted. The residents' appeal to the High Court of Justice against the action of the Israeli authorities was successful, allowing them to return to their land. In 2011 Susiya had four waves of demolition and, in 2012, the Israeli administration issued a new round of demolition orders.

Surprisingly both the Hebron Governor and Senator Rhiannon fail to mention the current proceedings before the High Court of Justice relating to Susiya and the Court’s decision on 7 June 2012 in relation to the future conduct of those proceedings.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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