July 21, 2009

In case you thought Netanyahu was telling the truth

I know, I know, I've done some good headlines in the past but some are clunky and this one is just plain insulting to the intelligence. But Netanyahu recently said that Arabs from east Jerusalem can buy land in west Jerusalem. A lot of people must have fallen for that because he is Prime Minister of a key ally of the US and there might be some idiots who actually thought that he wouldn't lie about something so easy to check because the western media would expose him. But it's to the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, we must turn for exposure of the fact that, typically, Bibi was lying.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed this week that Jerusalem is an "open city" that permits all its inhabitants, Jewish and Palestinian, to purchase homes in both its eastern and western parts. "Our policy is that Jerusalem residents can purchase apartments anywhere in the city. There is no ban on Arabs buying apartments in the west of the city, and there is no ban on Jews building or buying in the city's east," Netanyahu said in response to the U.S. request to halt a Jewish construction project in East Jerusalem.

An examination by Haaretz, however, presented a rather different situation on the ground. According to Israel Lands Administration rules, residents of East Jerusalem cannot take ownership of the vast majority of Jerusalem homes.

When an Israeli citizen purchases an apartment or house, ownership of the land remains with the ILA, which leases it to the purchaser for a period of 49 years, enabling the registration of the home ("tabu"). Article 19 of the ILA lease specifies that a foreign national cannot lease - much less own - ILA land.
Attorney Yael Azoulay, of Zeev and Naomi Weil Lawyers and Notary Office, explains that if a foreign national purchases an apartment they must show the ILA proof of eligibility to immigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return. Non-Jewish foreigners cannot purchase apartments. This group includes Palestinians from the east of the city, who have Israeli identity cards but are residents rather than citizens of Israel.
Of course this doesn't merely expose a lie by Netanyahu, it goes to the heart of Israel's racist state structure. See how the would be buyer has to demonstrate their "eligibility to immigrate to Israel in accordance with the Law of Return". That means they have to show how Jewish they or their partner is. They must be Jewish, have a Jewish parent or a Jewish grandparent or have a partner who is or has one of these people in their lives. Coming from Jerusalem or anywhere else in Palestine is a positive disadvantage when it comes to the right to live or even the right to life in any part of Jerusalem or Palestine.

Zionists are fond of likening Israel's citizenship laws to those of Greece and of Ireland. They tend not to discuss the racist land laws except with each other. In Greece, if you have a parent from Greece you are eligible for citizenship. In Ireland, if you have a grandparent from Ireland you are eligible for citizenship. In Israel, if you have a grandparent or parent who is from there, you could be barred from the country or from 93% of its surface area.

So, what have we learned? Bibi is a liar and Israel is a racist state (yawn). Why didn't I just write "no news today"?

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