THE FABRICATION OF ISRAEL
About the Usurpation and Destruction of Palestine through Zionist Spatial Planning
A Unique Planning Issue
Viktoria Waltz - Herausgeberin - Dortmund 2010 - Eigenverlag
Planning in Israel – from Fostering the Jewish Character of Israel to an Ethnocratic Planning SystemConclusion from the last part (2) (look at Blog Archive Okt. 2010) :
It took the Zionist Movement 40 years and a war from the First Zionist Congress in Basle to reach the international ‘ok’ for establishing the Jewish State in big parts of Palestine. The disaster in Europe helped. Planning tools like town planning, master plans, development plans and property laws in addition to money and international policies helped the Zionists to extend the spatial vision of Herzl as far as possible until 1948. The process was planned; land purchases were done strategically and purposefully. Part of the Jewish world and the British Mandate supported it since the end of the Ottoman Empire. Sophisticated regional and local planning policy and strategic thinking made the fabrication of a Jewish state in Palestine possible. It was done first of all by grabbing Palestinian property through planning measures, but also using force. However, the fabrication of Israel was a colonial project from the beginning of the idea – and a settler state by reality, according to what Rodinson stated (Rodinson 1967).
The proclamation of the state on 15th May 1948 did not complete the original plan, it was not established on the whole Mandate area promised to them by Balfour. Only 6-7% of Jewish land ownership existed on around 70% of the Palestinian land on that day. The Jewish population settled mainly at the coast. About 150.000 Palestinians living in about 100 villages and small cities were still existent within Israel’s ‘borders’– a challenge for a state, which declared itself to be (solely) ‘Jewish’. Consequently Israel never defined its borders, the ‘provisional state’ existed in ‘armistice lines’ after agreements with Jordan and Egypt. Jerusalem, especially the Old City, was under Jordan governance. Stabilisation of Israel’s Jewish society in the achieved borders was the issue of the next period before looking to new horizons.
III Planning in Israel – from Fostering the Jewish Character of Israel to an Ethnocratic Planning System
With regard to territorial shifts, Israel was established on about 20,000 km2 –i.e., more than 70% - of the Mandatory Palestine, while the remaining West Bank including East, Arab Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip had been governed by two neighbouring Arab states Jordan and Egypt.
When the 1947-1949 war ended 156,000 Palestinians, about 18% of the total population lived still as citizens in Israel. According to Israel's Declaration of Independence (which is not a constitution) ((Isr.) Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2009, Moyal 1998), all social groups in Israel were guaranteed social and political equality. By contrast Palestinian Arabs democratic rights in the Jewish state have remained precarious. (Coon 1992) The judaisation of the country through planning, land regulations and laws marginalised them in many terms.
The Palestinian citizens of Israel can be viewed as a national (Palestinian), ethnic (Arab), and linguistic (Arabic) community. According to official Israeli statistics in 2009, they number about 1.7 million, comprising 20.6% of the total population of Israel that is about 7.4 million. According to a research published by Soffer (2001), the Arab population of Israel could reach 23% in 2020, and 31% in 2050. The common terms used by Israelis to describe the Palestinian minority are “Israeli Arabs,” “the Arab Sector,” “Arab citizens of Israel,” or “Arabs or Palestinians inside the green line.”
The Palestinian community in Israel identifies itself as an integral part of the state of Israel and they have full Israeli citizenship. Nonetheless, they are not accorded the same rights as Jewish citizens of the state. “Institutionalised inequality, discriminatory policies, and informal prejudice all combine to prevent Palestinian citizens in Israel from attaining [spatial], social and economic equality” (Ittijah, 1998). A report published by the International Crisis Group (2004) indicates that Palestinian citizens are largely cut off from the geographical, cultural, economic and political mainstream of the state.
Successive Israeli governments have regarded the Palestinian community as a hostile and alienated element in a foreign country, especially after the entry of most right wing Knesset members like Avigor Lieberman in the election of 2009. Furthermore, 'Arab' citizens are often perceived as a security and demographic threat to the state of Israel. Accordingly, they feel themselves neglected and discriminated by the state, particularly on issues of land ownership, education, housing, employment, social services, resource allocation and political representation. For instance, is fact that between 1975 and 2000, public housing units built for the Palestinian Arab population were only 0.3% of the total public housing in the state. With regard to socio-economic aspects, 'Arabs in Israel' have the lowest socio-economic status of all groups in the state. Sikkuy, the ‘Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality’ in Israel, in its annual report on equality between Jewish and Arab citizens in 2008 reported that the Arab population receives only 49 percent of the benefits they are entitled to. The state of Israel invests NIS 508 in every Jewish citizen on average, while only NIS 348 is invested in Arab citizens. Nearly 65.7 percent of Arab children are living below the poverty line however 31.4 percent of Jewish children (Sikkuy 2008). In 2008 around 20 percent of all Israelis were suffering from poverty and about 35% of them were Arabs. Moreover, 60 percent of all 'Arab' families lived below the poverty line. (CBS 2009)
The geographic and demographic reverse in Israel - from a 6-7% control over Palestinian land to an usurpation of more than 90% and transfer into Jewish national property on the one hand and the establishing of a Jewish majority in most of the Israeli regions and the systematic usurpation planning behind it is the issue of this section.
The first chapter of this section (Waltz) aims to understand the continuity of this process from prior 1947 until 1967. Hence this article will light up the rapid change of the geo map from some Jewish spots in a historically and well composed Palestinian habitat to a judaised country with 'western' style environment, emptied as much from Palestinian footprint. The next chapters (Egbaria) aim to illustrate the actual and after 1967 spatial expropriation and discrimination of the Palestinians within Israel: the first will go into principles of Israeli planning; in fact there are two spatial systems in one land; the second shows in detail how ethnic discriminating system affects the housing conditions of Palestinians in Israel on the example of Tayibe city and the third tackles the situation of the Bedouins in Israel, as one example of 'unrecognised' people in 'unrecognised' localities, again Palestinian localities.
Egbaria regards the problem of discrimination and alienation against the Palestinian citizens in Israel as deep and not easily to be resolved because it goes to the heart of Israel's self-definition as both a Jewish and a democratic state. Palestinians enjoy greater political rights in Israel than in other states in the region but they suffer from an unequal allocation of three basic components of a democratic society: resources, rights and representation. It is argued that the relationship of the urban needs of the 'Arab' citizens and the state is mainly a result of constant political pressure. Therefore, in order to face the challenge of systemic inequities that are facing Palestinian or 'Arab' Israelis, there should be an inclusive and comprehensive framework to define the needs of this segment of population, otherwise prospects for internal conflicts and instability and beyond of all underdevelopment will remain high – and this is fact until today, Egbaria argues.
Coon, Anthonoy (1992) Town Planning under Occupation: An examination of the Law and Practice of Town Planning in the Occupied West Bank, Al-Haq, Ramallah
Central Bureau of Statistics (2008) Statistical Abstracts of Israel No. 59, Jerusalem
International Crisis Group ICG (2004) Identity Crisis: Israel and its Arab Citizens,
(Israel) Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2009 in: wewewe.mfa.gov.il 2. December 2009 Middle East Report No. 25. Amman/Brussels
Ittiyah (1998) The unique Status and development needs of the Arab community in Israel, Union of Arab Community Based Organizations, Haifa, Israel
Moyal, Yoram (1998) Israel: Verfassungsverständnis und Verfassungsgerichtsbarkeit im internationalen Vergleich, Seminarbericht, Universität Trier, WS 1996/97
Sikkuy The Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality (2008) The Equality Index of Jewish and Arab Citizens in Israel, Jerusalem
Soffer, Arnon (2001) Israel, Demography 2000-2020, Haifa, Israel
III 1. The Usurpation of Palestinian Land in Israel – steps until 1967
At first after 15th May 1948 Zionist planners wanted to change the unbalanced settlement of Jews in some mainly urban spots into a fully covering Jewish presence, where Jewish structures and Jewish population dominate. This would foster more occupation of Palestinian land, radical expropriation and a strategic immigration policy. Despite the refugee disaster at the end of the British Mandate in some areas Palestinians still formed majorities - while the Jewish population, nearly 80% of them, lived compact in the coastal towns. These facts show clearly that the Zionist plan was not yet completed and Israel in Mandate size not achieved as proclaimed. In addition, the country was even not yet 'Jewish' (see map 1). ....