Harvest in Sinjil. 29.10.2012. photo: Rabbi Yehiel Grienimann
Many people claim that the Palestinian olive harvest is used as a cover for promoting terrorist activities. We have summarized a clear answer to these statements
There is a confusion between cause and effect here: In Israel within the 1948 borders there are Palestinian and Jewish settlements which live as neighbours without a fence, with no limitations on the farmers’ access to their olive orchards, with no terrorist attacks and no cutting down of trees and vandalism as a widespread phenomenon with a nationalist background. In Israel within the 1948 borders, there is perhaps civil discrimination between Israeli and Palestinian citizens but there is no discriminatory military regime established which applies only to Palestinians, owing to their ethnic origin.
The Palestinians on both sides of the green Line have a similar ethnic and religious identification, but their attitude towards the Jewish settlements alongside them is totally different: Within the 1948 borders, terrorist activity has plummeted, in the territories it is a real risk. It seems that the discriminatory military regime set up in the territories raises the security risk because it is an outrageous policy that motivates, on the margins, the extremist Palestinian who employ terrorist actions [to which we are completely opposed] and, because of these Palestinian reactions, the discriminatory regime requires a radicalization of the Israeli side to protect and sustain itself. The responses on the part of the Israeli security forces are carried out by forceful means which are seen as security measures but all of which are means of oppression and discrimination, because the regime in the territories – which encourages terrorism – is based on unjustified oppression and discrimination.
It should be stressed out that the discriminatory military regime in place in the territories has nothing to do with security risks: All the Palestinians living in the territories are under military rule – including Christian Palestinians, atheists, liberals, peace advocates, religious moderates and those who have no interest in politics,[ and they are the majority]; these Palestinians are also humiliated and lack civil status, such as is given to Jews in the territories and to Palestinian citizens of Israel within the 1948 boundaries. On the other hand, Jews living in the territories who are convicted of terrorism still have the privileged civilian status as opposed to the Palestinians [for example, members of the Jewish underground who – in spite of being convicted of crimes connected to murder – were freed after some years in an unbelievable pardon.] So the reason for the denial of civil status to the Palestinians in the territories is not terror, but ethnicity. If this is not discrimination which has nothing to do with security, then our view of the facts is incorrect.
The solution for this situation can be of different kinds, according to political inclination [we are not entering into this argument] but whatever solution is chosen must be in line with basic human rights. Otherwise, every issue such as access of Palestinian farmers to their land or security for Jews cannot be resolved. And we want both these things and promote both of them.
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