Heads they lose, tails they lose; property tax trumps the law



Israeli settlers marched from the Kiryat Arba settlement to Hebron, protesting against the Israeli government’s refusal to allow them to enter two houses, Beit HaShalom and Beit HaMachpela, they allegedly bought in the disputed West Bank city. Photo János Chialá / Demoti, 15 January 2013.

Occupier’s justice: heads and tails you lose

Jonathan Cook, blog
January 23, 2015

Yesterday I had an idea for a short story to explain the unrelenting insanity of the occupation for ordinary Palestinians. Tell me what you think.

In my story, there is a Palestinian family, let’s call them the Jaabaris, and they live next to a Jewish settlement, let’s call it Kiryat Arba, close to Hebron deep in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

One day the settlers decide to build a synagogue on the family’s private land in an effort to force them off.

This family decide to stand their ground. Sadly, they have no way to stop the takeover of land that has been in their family for generations other than by appealing to the Israeli legal system. They petition the Israeli Supreme Court to order the synagogue demolished.

In the court room, the settlers argue that the land is not under Kiryat Arba’s control – it’s private Palestinian property – and therefore it is outside the court’s jurisdiction. The judges have no right to issue a ruling in this case, they claim.

The court disagrees and says the land is under Kiryat Arba’s control – ie the judges treat it as part of Israel – and therefore the court can issue a ruling. The judges’ verdict is a triumph for justice: the synagogue should be demolished.

However, now that the settlers have a piece of paper with the court’s decision stating that the land belongs to Kiryat Arba, they can bill the Palestinian family for years of arrears on property taxes amounting to $22,000 – more than the family earns in several years. If they don’t pay, the settlers will seize the land and sell it.

Heads the Jaabaris lose; tails they lose too. That’s Israeli occupiers’ justice.

What do you think? Have I gone a bit too far? Too crazy to be credible.

Or have I simply plagiarised this story from the Times of Israel, where exactly this just happened to the Jaabari family.

www.timesofisrael.com/settlers-build-synagogue-on-palestinian-land-bill-owner/

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