The Dutch Gamble – Israel Destroys Solar Panels Because Electricity Might Encourage The Palestinians to Stay on Their Land

The Dutch Gamble – Israel Destroys Solar Panels Because Electricity Might Encourage The Palestinians to Stay on Their Land

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The destruction of solar panels that the Dutch government funded in the
village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, is but a small example of the cruelty and
ingrained racism of the Israeli military occupation.
Israel’s pretext is that the villagers didn’t have a permit.  Why you might ask should there be a need for
a permit for electricity anyway?  The
settlers don’t need permits.  On the
contrary every illegal outpost is connected to the mains grid.
The real reason is that village is in Area C, an area which Israel hopes
to depopulate prior to annexation.  It
doesn’t want Palestinians living there and therefore it follows a consistent
policy of destroying buildings, schools, development projects etc.  It is a way of ‘encouraging’ the Palestinians
to leave the area.
Of course the Palestinians who live here have lived here for centuries,
unlike the Jewish settlers.  The
difference is, of course, that the settlers are acting with the authority of
the Israeli government.  Permits are
therefore routinely denied to Palestinians whereas Jewish settlers receive them
as a matter of course.
Just one more example of Israel’s racist occupation, which is otherwise
known as the ‘most moral occupation’ in the world!
Tony Greenstein
Dutch
Protest Israeli Seizure of Palestinian
Solar Panels They Funded in West Bank
Netherlands’
Foreign Ministry requested Israel return equipment it confiscated, valued at
over 40,000 euro; Israel failed to hand out demolition orders in advance
  
Amira Hass
Jul 05, 2017 1:15 AM
Palestinian solar panels confiscated by Israel in West Bank village of Jubbet Adh-Dhib, June 2017. Comet-ME
The Dutch
officials who signed off on a contribution of half a million euros ($590,000)
for the Israeli-Palestinian organization Comet-ME for an ecological electricity
project in Palestinian villages (in the West Bank’s Area C) knew that the
project was being carried out without a permit from the Israeli occupation
authorities.
They decided
to take a risk on the assumption that their country has a gentleman’s agreement
with Israel: We, the Dutch, won’t bug you about your methodical breaches of
international law and the settlements; we might wag our finger but we’ll
continue our excellent economic, cultural, scientific and social ties with you.
In exchange for our unending patience, you’ll close your eyes in a friendly way
and allow us to finance a humanitarian project.
Most of the
Dutch contribution, 350,000 euros, was invested in the village of Jubbet
Adh-Dhib, east of Bethlehem. The village has been asking to be connected to the
electricity grid since 1988. The Civil Administration refused. Since November
2016, when Comet-ME completed installation of a micro-grid, the village – with
its 31 homes and 160 residents, a kindergarten, a mosque, five small businesses
and a mobile clinic that arrives once a week – has enjoyed electricity.
For eight
months, the Dutch officials could conclude that their gamble had paid off.
Reports from the village were encouraging: Health and hygiene improved thanks
to refrigeration to store food and medicines, a sense of security and safety
was provided by night lighting, people could be more active during the day,
especially children doing their homework; their school achievements improved
thanks to computers that worked, women could work less hard thanks to
electrical appliances.
Instead of
noisy, polluting, costly generators that the people of Jubbet Adh-Dhib had been
operating until then, which only provided electricity for three hours out of
24, an environmentally- and user-friendly solution had been found.
Nobody could
be against this, the Dutch thought. But it turned out that somebody was. The
heroes of the Civil Administration, the obedient executors of Israeli policy,
could not abide electricity in a Palestinian kindergarten. They raided the
village last Wednesday and confiscated the solar panels and other equipment and
damaged the apparatus. In just an hour, they destroyed equipment that had taken
five months to install, made the refrigerators and the computers superfluous,
darkened the village and brought back the despair and the polluting generators.
And all around them, the lights of settlements and outposts twinkled.
What allows
Israel to spit on the money of Dutch taxpayers and thumb its nose at the good
intentions of one of the governments friendliest to Israel? Here are a few
theories: Because of that same Dutch and European patience with Israel and the
way it ignores basic principles of fairness; because Israel thinks Europe is
preoccupied with its own problems and won’t take any real steps against it;
because Israel has already destroyed humanitarian equipment funded by European
countries and, other than protests and declarations, nothing happened; because
Israel is a Jewish-democratic country.
The great
majority of Israel’s Jewish citizens do not oppose the destruction of a source
of energy to a Palestinian village, or see it as a disaster or injustice. This
lack of opposition encourages more of the same. Israelis also think foreign
countries should not interfere in our business; after all, it’s clearly our
private affair whether Jubbet Adh-Dhib has electricity or not.
Why is it
our business? Quite a few young people have left the village and moved to Area
A or Area B because they couldn’t stand the conditions, without building
permits and without electricity. If everyone leaves, there will be more land
available for us, the Jewish citizens of the Jewish democratic country. That’s
simple arithmetic and typical Israeli long-term thinking.
Let’s hope
that this time, the Dutch protest won’t stop at words.
Amira Hass
Israeli authorities confiscated 96
solar panels from Jubbet Adh-Dhib for lacking “proper permits”.
Updated July
4, 2017 16:28 BST
On 28 June, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), the body governing Area C in the West Bank, confiscated 96 panels and electronic equipment from Jubbet Adh-Dhib’s electric system, arguing that they had been built without proper permitsComet-ME
The Netherlands has filed a complaint with the
Israeli government after it confiscated Dutch solar panels donated to Jubbet
al-Dhib, a village in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel.
The equipment was given as part of a Dutch-funded
€500,000 ($567,612; £439,175) project to electrify areas of the West Bank. Of
this, €350,000 funded the electrification of Jubbet Adh-Dhib.
However, on 28 June the Israeli Civil
Administration (ICA), the body governing Area C in the West Bank, confiscated
96 panels and electronic equipment – worth €40,000 – from Jubbet Adh-Dhib’s
electric system, arguing that they had been built without proper permits, local
media reported.
The Netherlands’ foreign ministry demanded Israel
return the seized equipment to the village and it is “currently assessing
what next steps can be taken,” I
sraeli news site Haaretz reported.
An unnamed source close to Dutch diplomats in the
West Bank told the news site there was anger brewing in the Netherlands
government following the seizure.
The electric system in Jubbet Adh-Dhib was built in
2016 by Israeli-Palestinian NGO Comet-ME, which provides sustainable energy and
clean water to disenfranchised communities. The organisation said in a
statement on its website that the equipment was seized “without prior
warning and without having issued stop-work orders beforehand”.
The organisation continued: “ICA workers also
caused considerable damage, both to the solar panels and to the electricity
room – breaking some of the panels, cutting many electricity and communication
cables, and ripping the components off the walls of the electricity room – with
the clear intention of preventing the future use of the system.”
Michael Sfard, Comet-ME’s legal
adviser, told IBTimes
UK
 the confiscation constituted
“a violation of international law”.
“International Humanitarian law and especially
international laws of occupation, impose a duty on the occupying power – Israel
– to supply the occupied communities with their humanitarian needs,”
he said.
“Electricity is considered today by all legal
experts a humanitarian need. It allows refrigeration of food and medicine, it
provides light and energy for medical treatment and it allows the maintenance
of social life. The installment of a renewable energy system in the village is
an act of provision of humanitarian relief. As such, Israel has a legal
obligation to allow it and assist its carrying out.
By raiding the village, seizing the solar
panel and damaging the system, Israel has further breached another principle of
international law: the prohibition on damaging humanitarian objects. This is a
grave violation and has no possible justification,”
Sfard concluded.
The Israeli embassy in London has not
responded to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for the Coordination
of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement sent to
IBTimes UK: “On 28th June 2017, illegal solar and electric
panels were detected in Jubb al-Thib, which were established without the
necessary permits. Also, constriction freeze warrants were given to and illegal
electricity room at the village and to the panels stands. We emphasize that the
village has other electricity sources.”
However, Comet-ME rejected the claims.
“The solar micro-grid that has
powered the community since November 2016 was the first time in its history
that the community had a reliable and consistent – not to mention clean and
safe – source of electricity,”
a spokesperson for the organisation
told IBTimes
UK
.
Citing a 2010
report by Human Rights Watch
, the spokesperson said residents in
Jubbet adh-Dhib have applied for a “connection to the Israeli
electricity”
numerous times since 1988, but all requests have been
refused.

 

 

 

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