Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ellen Cantarow: Apologist for Land Theft

by Becky Johnson

November 11, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- A friend of mine passed on an article by Ellen Cantarow. "Heroism in a Vanishing Landscape" published on the notorious, anti-Israel website, on November 10, 2009. In the article, Cantarow blasts all parties (except the Palestinian families themselves) and gives a unique history of the eviction of two families from the E. Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah. One that is highly selective, and which discounts the actual court decisions made regarding the disposition of the property according to law.

You can read Cantarow's article with my imbedded comments here.


ELLEN CANTAROW: In 1948 Ghawe’s grandparents fled from Ein Sfarand near Lydda. Ein Sfarand was bulldozed into the ground along with over 450 other Arab villages.

BECKY: Actually, Israel set up a commission, The Guardian of Absentee Assets, which dealt with all abandoned properties. They distinguished between public land, privately-owned land, and re-repatriated many Arabs with their property when they returned and petitioned the commission. Lands belonging to Palestinian Arab villagers in the areas taken over by Israel in 1967 generally remain in Palestinian Arab hands. To determine that these lands do not belong to anyone, the state checks the land registries, aerial photographs showing the lands to be uncultivated and then when convinced that these lands have no ownership, advertises in Arabic in the Arab newspapers that the state has declared these lands as its own and anyone having any kind of legal deed to contest this is invited to do so. If any Arab is able to produce a land deed proving the land is theirs, then the state leaves the land to the Arab. If there are still any doubts, then the issue is taken to court". But Cantarow wants readers to believe that all Arab land was confiscated and bulldozed.

ELLEN CANTAROW: Pretty national parks and kibbutzim erased any trace of the traditional Arab architecture, agriculture and the rest of life which once characterized Palestine. Hebrew names – Lod, for example, for Lydda - replaced the Arabic ones. The Ghawes fled to East Jerusalem where UNWRA (The United Nations Works Relief Agency) housed them as refugees. In 1956 they returned their refugee cards and rented a house from a local Palestinian builder.


Anonymous said...

Many times I wonder,"what is it that causes the odd compulsion to tell lies about Israel and Israeli history?". It goes beyond simple ignorance, as the facts are easily available to anyone with sincere,legitimate interest. Some how we have people that not only don't know the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, but actually PREFER to pontificate to others on "non-history", that is to say,the colection of myths, fabrications, distortions and tall tales called the "Palestinan narrative." The compulsion to substitute myth for fact about Israel,and to then INSIST on it, cannot be explained by any reasonable, legitimate, motivation.

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Anonymous said...

You know I really didn't think this was an anti israel article. Ellen Cantarow is simply writing about an isolated incident wherein Israeli settlers are using Israeli courts to take away simple human rights from Palestinian families that A)were kicked out of Israel during the creation of the country B)are being once again kicked out illegally according to international law. If anything, regardless of what side you're on about the situation in Sheikh Jarrah you should definitely try and get all sides of this divisive story. Especially when the courts decision was based on what are said to be falsified Israeli documents which the higher courts won't recognize. Ironically the higher courts don't wish to get involved in the issue leaving it up to the municipality...again...interesting stuff if you're into International law, precedent, policy, politics.
Ahava to all...