Israel’s latest cruel, oppressive & shocking violation of international law per Harriet Sherwood: Quarry Mining!

Sometimes it seems as if pro-Palestinian activists would prefer that all economic activity in “East” Jerusalem and the West Bank cease until the day (however many years from now) a final status agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.

Back in August, Jerusalem’s new Light Rail project – which insidiously serves both Arab and Jewish neighborhoods – was characterized in a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood as “illegal”.

Here’s the money quote from that Sherwood piece.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian who supports boycotts and sanctions against Israel, said the purpose of the railway was “to make the colonial settlements far more attractive by cutting travel time to the city centre”. Providing such transport services to the settlements was, he said, illegal under international law.

So, as an occasional rider of the colonialist transport system, which I typically share with Israeli Arabs (and Arab residents of East Jerusalem), I’m, no doubt (along with my fellow transportation conspirators), an accessory to a violation of international law.

Sherwood’s latest, “Israeli companies can profit from West Bank resources court says“, Jan. 3, contains this opening passage which truly made me laugh – perhaps informed my increasing gallows humor in the face of such consistently surreal criticism of every conceivable Israeli act.

“Israeli companies are [now] entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain…”

Imagine that: Utilizing natural resources for economic gain! Which state, other than Israel, could even conceive of such a sinister scheme?

The report continues:

The supreme court rejected a petition brought by an Israeli human rights organisation against the quarrying of stone by Israeli companies in the West Bank. Yesh Din claimed that the quarrying was illegal under international law…

The promiscuous charge employed by Israel’s critics, regarding violations of international law, was addressed in my earlier post on the alleged “illegality” of every Jewish home built across the green line.  But, beyond the specious legal arguments, it often seems as if such accusers don’t even take into account the lives of actual Palestinians when suggesting that even the most fruitful economic activity should cease.

Indeed, the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling noted that “Israel’s long-term occupation of the area meant it had a duty to maintain quarry infrastructure and that ceasing operations could harm the economic interests of the local population…[Israel] has a responsibility to maintain normal living conditions in the region, including in terms of economic relations.”

The mine in question is near the community of Kochav HaShachar, in Area C , which, according to the 1995 Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel assumes full security and civil control. Further, all of the 8 Israeli-operated quarries in Area C were established on state land (land not privately owned by Palestinians).

As the Jerusalem Post noted,

“Significantly, the High Court also accepted the state’s argument that Israel’s continued operation of quarries in Area C territories had been agreed with the Palestinians in the 1995 Agreement…Area C quarries employ around 200 Palestinian workers, while the number of Palestinians employed in activities related to the quarries is still higher.”

Evidently, to Yesh Din, and ‘journavists’ like Harriet Sherwood, it’s far better to close quarry mines (and similar industrial ‘instruments of oppression’), leaving hundreds of Palestinians unemployed – and, presumably, to suspend all Israeli social, economic and commercial life beyond the green line – than to legitimize, in any way, Jewish presence in “East” Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

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