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January 25, 2005

Double Standards and Property Confiscation

In response to Zimbabwe's decision to confiscate the land of former white colonialists, world leaders, including the Bush administration, have condemned the country's leadership and imposed sanctions, from travel to financial restrictions.

Yet when Israel conducts massive land confiscation from Palestinians, the US does not treat it as a human rights violation. Having imposed restrictions that prevent many Palestinians from coming back to Jerusalem, the Israel government now ironically wants to declare them "absentee landlords" because of their enforced absence:

The Israeli government secretly approved a measure last summer that says it can seize land in East Jerusalem owned by Palestinians who live elsewhere, the government and a lawyer for the Palestinians said Monday.
This just follows the ongoing land confiscations that have happened since the 1948 war:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government approved the confiscation measure in July as a clarification of the Absentee Property Law, which has been on the books since 1950. Israel has invoked the law to seize thousands of homes and parcels of land that belonged to Palestinians who fled or were driven out during the 1948 war over the founding of the state of Israel.
This double standard between Zimbabwe and Israel just reflects the long-time US government view that dispossession of the homes of black or asian people around the world is an often regrettable necessity, but the dispossession of the property of a white person or corporation is a human rights abuse of the first order.

Posted by Nathan at January 25, 2005 06:44 AM