The request of the Israeli government for Israeli citizens to place a sticker on their car if they live in Judea was stated as a way to “ease the situation at the checkpoints”
The only problem is that the move does nothing to do so.
First of all, such a policy discriminates against two populations: the people who live in Judea who are not Israeli citizens, and the people who visit Judea.
The argument would have it that labeling this will differentiate the people who live in Judea from those who are potential terrorists.
Quite the opposite is actually true. Today, if you are an member of the Fatah party executive, which oversees the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades that have been firing mortars into the western Negev for the past several months and have taken credit for many attempted terror attacks over the past year, your car will probably be given diplomatic immunity, since you are part of a state-in-formation that is recognized, aided and encouraged by more than 100 nations around the world.
Yet when our news agency checked with the Israeli government about the status of the Fatah, the answer from the Prime Minister's Office was that the government regards Fatah as a terror group, as it has since March 1980. Well, at least that was reassuring.
Or, more correctly, it would have been reassuring, had a source at the Attorney General's Office not admitted that this decision is not enforced, since Fatah is in a formal peace process with Israel.
The situation overseas is even more absurd. Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas maintains a full scale diplomatic office in Washington and engages the services of Ed Abington, the former US Consul in Jerusalem as his ambassador, while the organization's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades remain on an official list of 40 terrorist organizations pursued by the US government.
In other words, even though Arafat couldn't get Fatah to agree to the 1993 "Declaration of Principles" or to denounce violence and to recognize Israel, and even though Fatah has never cancelled its covenant to destroy Israel, both the Israeli and American governments act as if there is a Fatah-Israel peace process.
Very reassuring. Especially to the hundreds of people murdered by Fatah members over the past few years.
From terror to traffic
So what is the connection to traffic patterns, checkpoints and labeling on the roads of Judea?
Very simple. A normal Palestinian Arab going about his business will therefore be stopped and searched at a checkpoint, and will sometimes not allowed to proceed, while an executive member of an organization whose stated and active purpose is to engage in terrorist activity will flash a VIP card and be allowed to proceed.
And who will be hated in the process? You guessed right: The Jews with labels on their cars who will be allowed to pass through. Can’t you see the CNN footage in the making?
And what will happen to guests to my daughter's Bat Mitzvah in Efrat in a few months? Will they require special Bat Mitzvah visas on their cars?
And what about the estimated 150,000 who come every year to celebrate the Jewish holidays at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron? Sounds absurd, no?
The logical recourse, therefore, for Israeli residents of Judea, therefore, would be to protest to that this “labeling” idea is discriminatory and, indeed, represents a fundamental violation of human rights and civil liberties.
Indeed, in a landmark decision on July 13, 2005, the Supreme Court declared the Sharon government's disengagement plan legal, even though it violated the human rights and civil liberties of Judean Samarian and Gazan Jews, since these rights simply do not apply to Israeli taxpayers and law-abiding citizens who live in these areas, since Israel has not yet annexed these areas.
The Supreme Court, therefore, declared that Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria have no human rights or civil liberties. And organizations like the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Anti-Defamation League went along with it.
In other words, the only place in the world where Jews have no “de jure” human rights and civil liberties is Judea, Samaria and (at the time) Gaza, despite the fact that 250,000 residents of 144 communities throughout this area carry Israeli ID cards that refer to these towns as "Efrat, Israel," or "Maaleh Rehavam, Israel."
This is not the first time that I have encountered such a notion.
On July 23rd, 1990, our news agency organized a dialogue between Israeli-American residents of Judea and then US Consul in Jerusalem, Mr. Phillip Wilcox. During that discussion, guests from Judea noted the sensitivity of the US government to the human rights and civil liberties of Palestinian Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and asked the about the human rights of Jews who live in the same areas.
US Consul Wilcox responded quickly and straightforwardly, and with no emotion: "If you live where you live, then you have no human rights and no civil liberties." He invoked the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids nations that conquer other lands in war to settle their citizens in those lands.
Wilcox, consistent with this position, now heads the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, which this week published a study on the feasibility of handing over the homes and property of those who live in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem to Palestinian Arabs.
Don’t let facts stand in the way
Conveniently, Wilcox ignored the San Remo Treaty, adopted by both the League of Nations and the United Nations, which protects the right of Jews to purchase land and to settle in the Jewish national homeland, defined as anywhere west of the Jordan River.
Now, 15 years later, Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz has adopted Wilcox's formula: Israelis in Judea, Samaria and Gaza have no human rights or civil liberties, even if they are law-abiding, tax-paying Israeli citizens.
Having lived in the Judean city of Efrat for 21 of my 36 years in Israel, I can attest to the fact that most people who live here did not grasp the loss of human rights and civil liberties until the government suggested that their cars be labeled for inspection.
The label would say “settler,” the most pejorative term for a non-person since Afro Americans removed the “n” word from the American lexicon.
David Bedein is bureau chief of the Israel Resource News Agency , in Jerusalem and a resident of the Judean town of Efrat