Robbing East Jerusalem


Robbing East Jerusalem

Thou shalt not stealExodus 20:15




“Jerusalem of gold, and of copper, and of light… to your songs I am violin”

Governments adore lies. No parliament legislates laws forbidding governments to tell them. George W. Bush wasn’t requested to resign for telling WMD lies; the same is true for Tony Blair. Israel Police was not shy of admitting in Court that lies and tricks are its main entrapment tools.

In a smaller scale, Governments promote lies as discrediting tools. In recent days, I was approached by readers asking me to fix one issue in several of my articles; they repeated a popular lie silently promoted by a given government. That government is formally silent, its agent is noisy.

If one fells into such a trap, which at first looks as working against that government, then immediately the historical truth, which can be confirmed with external sources, is brought out and the entrapment victim is discredited. Thank you, Zion, but you taught me better than to fall into this trap. Thus, even if some readers love that lie on the Hebrew language, a tongue which predates Zion, it won’t be mentioned here.

A softer way of institutional lies relies on creating confusion with respect to symbols; down this path, ugly manipulations can be performed. Israel is annexing East Jerusalem by means of confusion, lies, and violent gangs of criminals, lawyers, and judges.

Jerusalem of Copper Gun Digest 2013

Pello Joxepe means “Foolish Joseph” in the Basque language. Neither I nor most of my readers would have had any chance of finding that out without Naomi Shemer’s Jerusalem of Gold. The melody of this song is based on that Basque lullaby; most foreigners know the song as the closing theme of the movie Schindler’s List. In Israel, the song was replaced by “Eli, Eli” (“My God, My God”) after the first Israeli viewers laughed at the use of a militaristic song from 1967 while dealing with the Holocaust. Written just before the 1967 War, the song describes the longing for a return to Jerusalem.

After the war, a verse alluding to the Israeli brutal conquest was added. In an intensely poetic language, and making allusion to the Bible, the song has a violent undertone; probably this is why it became so popular with Israelis, much more than the questionable Hatikva National Anthem. Paraphrasing its violence, Jerusalem of Copper and of Light is nowadays violin to a violent expropriation of its Palestinian denizens.

To them “its name burns the lips,” surrounding it “In the mountain’s caves, winds howl.” “The city which alone sits, and in her heart a wall,” is kicking out its lawful owners.

“Mountain air clear as wine and pine’s scent are carried on twilight’s breeze with the sound of bells”

Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem Besieged

Following the 1967 War, Israel annexed East Jerusalem; this was formalized with the 1980 Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel. The world opposed this law; the UN Security Council Resolution 478, adopted by fourteen votes to none, with the abstention of the United States of America, declared that the law was “null and void” and “must be rescinded.” Yet, in 2013, Israel speaks not only of annexing Eastern Jerusalem, but the entire West Bank. In the current situation, Palestinians living in Eastern Jerusalem are considered “residents” and live under Israeli law, unlike their neighbors in Bethlehem or Ramallah.

This has facilitated the theft of lands. The current situation is the result of the British to simplify the land ownership registration system used by the Ottoman Empire. Their intentions may have been good, but they never finished the process. After the city was split between Jordan and Israel in 1948, each country continued the British-designed regularization process. After the conquest of Eastern Jerusalem, Israel’s Attorney General decided to freeze the process there.

Due to the legal freeze, denizens cannot deal formally with their properties, they are forced to use “Power of Attorney” documents, and cannot easily divide properties. In year 2000, rumors claiming that Israel would deny residentship from those living outside the city, brought back thousands that were attempting to settle elsewhere. Since then, East Jerusalem had become overpopulated. The odd legal situation has created a fertile ground for land-crimes.

East Jerusalem

Attorney Samich Bashir The Memoirs of a Refugee

Attorney Samich Bashir, a Palestinian resident of the French Hill in East Jerusalem, gave on March 16, 2013, an extraordinary interview to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in which he described how the organized crime, which includes civil servants, is systematically robbing properties. The process begins when a person approaches  court with false papers proving land ownership. The paper may be Ottoman, British, Jordanian or even Israeli; it doesn’t matter. Since registration is frozen, they cannot get full ownership on the land, but the court issues papers giving the crooks rights on the land.
To increase their probabilities, they give to the court papers related to several parcels at once; in such a way they increase the chances to get at least one favorable ruling. “They wait to see what they will fish. Sometimes is a shoe, other times it is a fish. But even a thin fish can be worth hundreds of thousands, even millions of shekels,” the lawyer said. Sometimes, the land-robbers begin constructing on the land before the court rules.
This is impossible in Israel without the cooperation of the municipal authorities, the police and the courts.Rani, an American Palestinian is a good example of the situation. His father left East Jerusalem in the early 1960s. In Colombia, he established a textile company and later on moved to the USA, where Rani was born. During all these years, the family didn’t sell its parcels in East Jerusalem and visited them from time to time. About a decade ago, the father died and was buried in Jerusalem. Rani went to check out the situation of his properties and discover a new building in one of them.
The people living there showed him a false paper showing the land had been purchased in 1967 from his father, who hadn’t been there that year and had never mentioned the event. In the date stated in the document, he had been in Colombia. He went to the police, but they refused to help. Following a Sherlock Holmes-like affair, he found that over 10 lawsuits have been presented serially to the court until one of them resulted in the award of the land to the crooks. During his lengthy research, he was beaten and threatened with guns. After spending over $100,000 in the process, the Israeli court recommended him to go to an external negotiation process (he is expected by Court to compromise).

Rani pointing at his land The Memoirs of a Refugee
Attorney Bashir claims that people like Rani are typical victims, other targetted segments are poor people, and parcels which are listed under many names, thing that complicates the legal defense. Faking the documents is easy. A low level fake is prepared; few people can tell how a “kosher” British ownership looks. Yet, even this difficulty is bypassed. The document is formally translated into Hebrew, and the translation is given to the court, which greedily accepts them as real. Often, a series of ownerships is faked, to add credibility to the lie.

An additional tool hints that the courts are well aware of the illegitimacy of their deeds, “Non-Publishing Orders” are almost always issued by the court so that the victims cannot find that they are being violated by an unholy alliance between the State and criminals. To this last trick, a brilliant touch is added by the court: the sessions are conducted behind closed doors. Thus, the victim is denied the right to defend himself, and the court rules evil.

It makes no sense

The interview went on and on, describing the smallest details of this institutional lie. Its being published by Haaretz, the unofficial Voice of the Shin Beth secret police made it even stranger. “It makes no sense,” an innocent would exclaim and dismiss the interview. Another attorney working in East Jerusalem, Elias Hori, agreed with Bashir and added that local media is scared to death to publish the institutional theft. What is going on here? Why would the Israeli Court collaborate with land-robbers? Why would Haaretz publish the corruption of the Hebrew courts?

Luckily, we know better. A few days ago, a hideous ruling of an Israeli judge reminded us that evil runs deep. Israel is shaped as a Westphalian-State (what passes as “Western-Democracies”), with separation of powers into legislature, executive, and judiciary. The latter is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the unholy state. In such states, judges are elected by the executive and legislative powers (there are small variations among the countries) and are under their payroll. Judges are not impartial; they work for the State.

Here is where everything comes together. According to the published descriptions, the documents accepted by the court are clear fakes. They are being accepted, and the legal owners of the lands are thrown away. Israel is creating mayhem so that in the future there would be no way of assessing who the real owners are. People like Rani were pushed out; those who stole the lands may be sued by the State and their lands confiscated on the grounds that they used fake documents. The article is creating the public justification for that. Parcel by parcel, Israel is robbing East Jerusalem. “The people which alone sit, and in their heart a wall,” should Jerusalem of Gold have said.


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Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards. In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.