Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Things You Can Do With a Shiny New Coalition

A recent dust-up in Israel comes in response to a Supreme Court decision demanding the evacuation of settlers in the Ulpina neighborhood, who built their homes on private Palestinian land. The settlers, of course, don't want to go, and there have been murmurings that the Israeli government would vote to retroactively legalize the settlement (which would put it on a collision course with the Supreme Court).

It seems like Netanyahu just put his foot down on that though: he's saying that any minister in his government who votes to legalize Ulpina will be fired. Two ministers (including one from Likud) have stated their intent to vote for it anyway, and I can't say I'll shed a tear if they depart.

So that's a good start to having a flexible, broad-based coalition. How about following up by evacuating some of the far-flung settlements that Israel knows it cannot keep?


PG said...

"who built their homes on private Palestinian land."

This aspect of the Israel-Palestine dispute always seems particularly bizarre to me. Do people who do stuff like this just not recognize the concept of private property, or is there some underlying legal dispute about the true ownership, such that the settlers are convinced they have been sold/leased/gifted the land on which they're building?

David Schraub said...

I think usually the latter is in play. I'm pretty sure it is illegal for Palestinians to sell land in the West Bank to Israelis, which means that titles are often gotten through underhanded means (sham purchasers acting as middlemen). These people are, as you might imagine, not the most scrupulous, so I can imagine them conveying titles they don't actually possess (as well as situations where Palestinians did convey the property but now claim deceit). And that doesn't even go into to conflicting title claims stemming from folks who had to flee during the War of Independence (the infamous Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is an example).

PG said...

OK, so to refer to it as "private Palestinian land" is taking one side over the other in a dispute over who holds legitimate title?

David Schraub said...

Well, here the Supreme Court ruled that the Palestinians did have proper title.

More to the point, I think there is a fair bit of motivated cognition on the part of the settlers in these transactions. They want to be able to believe the title is legal more than they care about it actually being legal, if you know what I mean.

PG said...

Whose law would control the transaction? Do both Israel and Palestine require things like title searches? (I have to do one for a bar admission. I'm curious to see if this goes back to "And it all began when we killed some Injuns.")