Examination of Witness (Questions 100-119)|
11 NOVEMBER 2003
Q100 Mr Walter: I am fascinated by
this concept that this civil authority assumes powers even in
the West Bank. I wonder if I could develop your relationship with
the civil authority and, in particular, with CoGAT, as to whether
or not you have an effective relationship with CoGAT and whether
or not you see it as a means of communication between those who
are the occupiers and those who are occupied?
Mr Halper: We are a political
organisation. We oppose the occupation, period. Therefore, we
do not normallyin some cases, as in the case of this House,
a few cases, we do negotiatemix humanitarian work and political
work, which I think is also very important. If we are trying to
approach things in a humanitarian way, first of all, there is
no end to it and we simply do not have the resources for that,
but in addition it dulls the political, because what often happens,
and it has happened to us in the past, is that when there is a
demolition we come out and we help the family, and it all comes
out with the media and public opinion that we are the good guys
because we are the ones that came to help the family. The Palestinians
turn out to be victims, like victims of an earthquake, and the
whole political dimension is lost. So we resist the occupation;
we do not normally come into contact with the civil administration.
There are organisationsfor example, there is a group called
Bim Kom, which is an organisation of Israeli planners and architects
for human rights, that help Palestinian families acquire building
permits. They help develop master plans for communities. We do
not engage in that. Essentially, we say "The occupation has
to end"; that is our focus. Any attempt on our part to negotiate
with the authorities simply legitimises the occupation, so we
simply say that Palestinian civil society will develop housing,
and solutions will be reached, only when the occupation ends.
As long as the occupation is in existence there is no way to liberalise
or humanise the occupation. It simply has to end and it has to
always, always, always be exposed for what it is, which is oppression.
Q101 Mr Walter: I am conscious of
the time, can I therefore ask you a political question? As an
Israeli, do you see Israeli support for the two state solution?
Mr Halper: The answer is yes.
I do not think the Israelis really care about the solution. What
Israelis want is peace and quiet, so whatever works works. If
Sharon could, in fact, guarantee peace and quiet to Israelis they
would be very happy to let them continue building settlements,
or whatever. That has not worked. I think what the Israelis want
is the wall. They want separation, they want to cut their losses,
they do not care about Palestinians, they want peace and quiet.
That is the answer. They do not have a political answer to that
question; it is, from their point of view, I think, irrelevant
what happens to the Palestinians. "Whatever brings us peace
and quiet we will support."
Q102 Chairman: Thank you very much.
Mr Halper: I also have this I
would like to submit to the Committee
Thank you for inviting me.
Chairman: Mr Halper, thank you for coming
and giving evidence.
1 Obstacles to Peace. A Critical Tour of the Jerusalem/West
Bank Interface, by Jeff Halper, ICAHD. Back