build, baby, build

Excellent. When slapped, slap back and that is just what our government did. In the face of the Palestinians eschewing peace negotiations and making their little meaningless U.N. bid, the government has approved 3,000 new housing units in our capital city of Jerusalem, as well in as in the areas around it in Judea and Samaria. They are all in communities that are not up for negotiation and that we will retain if at some point the Palestinians, probably in the far distant future, come to their senses and decide to negotiate and negotiate in good faith. They’ve not managed to do that in more than 60 years and I’ve my doubts as to whether they will in another 60.

We should be, and should have been, focusing on building in the E-1 corridor to connect Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem. It is not even a quarter of a mile wide but leaves Ma’ale Adumim cut off as a little island city. Cut the red tape, people, and get the projects that have been sitting there on hold for more than 10 years into motion. Build the police station that has long had its foundation dug but nothing else. Let contractors know that the moratorium on the area has been lifted and then fast-track the proposals for residential units that would come flooding in.

We’ve tried the pull people out of their homes and trade that land for peace and have gotten anything but peace in return. We’ve had better luck with putting people into homes in strategic spots and that is the policy we should return to.

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21 responses to “build, baby, build”

  1. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Building in all Israel is, of course, is perfectly normal. But there are so many issues remaining that need addressed fully with very hard decisions for Israel to take. In one word: expulsion of all the Muslims living in Gaza and the West Bank. No other solution will bring peace LONG-TERM.

    For example, Israel had to build a wall inside Israel (the West Bank wall I could call it) just to protect its citizens!! Unbelievable!! I believe Israel had also to build a few roads only for Israeli Jews to avoid having them being killed!!
    These examples demonstrate that Israel has not had the courage to take drastic actions against evil (Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza) but instead has created these monstrosities that no other countries would have accepted even thinking about them, let alone creating them!!

    So what would have been the solution to these problems in Israel that I have given as examples? Again, only the expulsion of the Muslims in the West Bank and Gaza will bring peace, a wall will not help in any way, nor any special roads for Israeli Jews, nor even a Palestinian state, nor a (bogus) peace treaty with the Palestinians.
    Why I hear a few of you ask? It is quite simple. The goal of a Palestinian State is to create a better Trojan Horse than Gaza currently is, allowing an easier way to invade and then eliminate Israel, killing at the same time the Israeli Jews living in Israel and protecting the life of the Muslims in Israel!! No peace of any kind with the Palestinians will change this goal, the transformation of the State of Israel into a Muslim state a la Hamas! That is why the only solution is the expulsion of all the Muslims living in Israel. Well, horrible a few of you might think? Think again because that is exactly what the majority of the Muslim countries did at the creation of the State of Israel by expulsing all their Jewish inhabitants who had lived in these Muslim countries for centuries.

  2. Mike says :

    Okay, before I disagree with Yaeli, I’m going to say what we can all agree on. Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership isn’t interested in peace. So my comments aren’t about Israel killing the hopes for peace with settlements because those hopes died a long time ago.

    Instead, this is about war. War comes in many forms and one is the diplomatic and media war, and here Israel is loosing badly. We can’t keep doing the same things that have brought us defeat in this part of the war and expect a different outcome.

    The reality is most of the world does not accept Israeli settlements. The UN vote was a way of saying that. I don’t want to argue about Israelis right to build or anything like that. It’s irrelevant. I talk to people a lot about Israel and it’s one aspect of Israeli policy that even strong supporters, especially non-Jews, disagree with. I can argue Israeli positions on the settlements until I’m blue in the face and people will not accept them as valid. Please believe this.

    Settlements, more than any other issue have the potential to erode public support for Israel in the US. I’m not saying that Israel can’t live without US support, but I think we can all agree that life will be much more difficult and much less pleasant.

    The Palestinians have figured this out. It’s the Israeli weak point and they are pushing on it. Building is just helping the Palestinians win and eventually, they will look to turn their diplomatic and PR victories into military victories. They may fail at that, but not before killing a lot of people.

    If the settlement issue gets into the international courts, Israel will loose. It doesn’t matter that the ruling will be wrong since there’s not really an such thing as international law. It’s politics and because of that we all know you could convict a ham sandwich as long as you convince the court it’s Jewish.

    Think of changing settlement policy as a strategic shift. Please, this will not end well for us.

    • WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

      Mike, I respect your point of view. But how could we have reached a point where countries ask another country (Israel) to stop building in their own country?!!! How can any country accept this crazy, irrational, illogical request?!!!

      The only reason why they ask Israel to stop building in the West Bank (Gaza is already Judenrein!!) is to create a new Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza!
      BUT they already did the same with Jordan that was fully part of the Palestine of the British Mandate that was planned to be ONLY the State of Israel until Great Britain imposed unilaterally to the Jews of Israel to stop settling in Jordan, asked Muslims to move into Jordan and then created a completely bogus state in Jordan with ALL (99%) of its population imported from surrounding countries because Jordan was nearly empty of inhabitants!!

      Is Israel going to allow the same repeat that occurred in Jordan with the West Bank?!!! Gaza is already gone (funny, it is an Israeli territory by the way according to the UN!!) until an expulsion is, will be carried out by Israel in Gaza after the last launch of rockets into Israel! When will this expulsion of Gaza occurs? It could take decades for the Israeli politicians to open their eyes but it will inevitably happen for the simple reason that Hamas and company are bent on the final solution concerning Israel and therefore one day Israel will be forced to take drastic actions with the inhabitants of Gaza!!

  3. Sylvia says :

    And not just build.
    Plant. Olive trees, orange trees, carob trees, quinces, pomegranates, fig trees, grape-vines, and the type of pine that produces edible pine nuts. Plants to provide food and build soil and hold it and help water – filtered through leaves, leafmould, humus – soak in to recharge groundwater. Every new apartment block should have a roof-garden, and a garden/ orchard allotment/ terrace, and provision for catching rainwater to water the garden/s.

  4. israeliminx says :

    Mike, the international community calls Jerusalem a settlement. We’ve got half a million people living in so-called settlements that are not going anywhere. There are about 70,000 in small communities that could be dismantled if a two-state agreement is ever reached but the major cities over the green line are not going anywhere. We are not going to pull back to the Auschwitz borders.

    The international community would be quite happy to sit back and watch our country get wiped off the face of the earth.

    The more people we have in the established communities that are not up for negotiation, the better.

  5. 300yrs in America says :

    The problem is REVISIONIST HISTORY.people have been taught lies not history.Fact:ALL muslim countries are occupied territory they were conquered by muslim armies.even arabia.muslims will not return any place theyve conquered.Fact:the muslim nations expelled the Jews living there.some had lived there 3000yrs.Fact:muslims have lost EVERY war they have fought against Yisrael.Fact:the muslims will NEVER make peace,nor do they want peace.they want EVERY Jew on planet earth exterminated.Fact:the Jews are the oracle of the Living God.every word of the Tenach and B’rit HaChadashah was written by a Jew.(Lukes mother was a Jew).Fact:the problem with muslims is islam.Fact:Jews have lived in Yisrael since Yehoshua led the Tribes into the Land.Fact:NO other people have ANY claim to the land except the children of Yisrael.Fact:Jordan was given to the displaced arabs.Fact:HaShem promised when He brings Yisrael back they will NEVER be driven out.BUILD BABY BUILD.you have HaShem backing you up.Dont let anyone stop you.

    • Lynne says :

      Excellent point. I cannot think of ANY COUNTRY on Earth that has given back land taken in conquest…maybe there are some, perhaps in the course of time in Europe…but it is unusual. There is only one explanation for the international community’s treatment of Israel ( trying to make Israel a special case, the focus on tiny Israel, while ignoring the terrible plight of Palestinians who are mistreated and kept in “camps” in other Arab countries, etc.)and that is a continuation of the vile, evil anti-Semitism that has infected Europe for centuries, culminating in the Nazi regime with support from so many collaborators in Europe—-and now the same Nazi philosophy expressed by the news media and far too many leaders in Europe and in the US. It’s just SICK.
      I believe that the leaders in Israel should do all that is possible to treat the Palestinian people well, to provide avenues for peace and to publish those attempts widely (the media usually won’t do that, so find other ways) and to work for peace… but as long as the stated goal of the Islamists is the destruction of Israel, there can be no resolution.

  6. Mike says :

    Yaeli, I don’t really disagree with some of your main points, but I do hope you and Sylvia will think about what Israel gains and loses through its actions right now. (I don’t want this comment to sound like lecturing, but I do want to spell out the thoughts behind my first comment. I think we are all good enough friends here we can have real discussion without anybody being defensive.)

    I’m not sure what, if anything Israel gains. Certainly, there’s no threat that the Palestinians will lay siege to Ma’ale Adumim anytime in the near future, so it won’t do anything to help their security situation in the near term.

    Also, Israel’s not going to have to give up any territory because the Palestinians have no intention of negotiating a peace deal. So again, for right now, there’s no threat of evacuation, so Israel again gains nothing.

    But it loses a lot. Yes, the deck is stacked against Israel and always will be, but Israel has a lot of support too, especially in the U.S. While no single Israeli action is enough to erode support, there is a cumulative effect and the Palestinians will force more and more actions on the Israelis that will erode this support. That’s their plan.

    Why help them by acting on an issue that gives so little in return? I think it is better to save the good will for when Israel will really need it.

    Also, if you look at comments made even by countries that voted for the resolution, they urged an immediate return to negotiations. The Palestinians don’t want to negotiate. This move gives Abbas another excuse for not negotiating. Israel needs to take away excuses, not provide them, because people need to be reminded again and again that the Palestinians don’t want peace. No, this will never change the minds of certain people in the chattering class, but even though many Americans support Israel, the conflict isn’t that important to them and attention spans are short. They needed to be reminded over and over who the bad guys really are.

    Also, I think a lot of countries see the resolution as a sign of their displeasure with Israel. Yes, many of these countries are and will always be anti-Israel, but I think there is a matter of degrees in their anti-Israelness. By ignoring the message they think they sent, you push them to be more anti-Israel than they might have been otherwise and make it easier for them to take harsher actions like divestment that will isolate Israel. (Really, without the threat of a US veto, how long do you think it would take for the UN to impose Iran-like sanctions on Israel.)

    I could go on and on. But what I’m getting at is that this action has a lot of negatives and not many benefits. Also, Israel can always build in the future if the situation demands or the calculations change, but negative opinions once generated are very hard to change.

    I hope this wasn’t too long.

  7. SirJohn says :

    I agree both with Yael and Mike. Build – but know the consequences and be prepared first. Let’s look at the current reality: The ‘two states solution’ is dead. It will never be, at least not anywhere within the 1967 borders. You have two peoples who still are growing, so they both will need land to expand – a conflict that will get hotter in the future.

    You have an international situation that can be summarized as this: There are quite a lot of countries in the world, mostly in Asia, who could care less what will happen in that part of the world. Yes, they will vote with the other idiots in the UNO, but all they really want is earn money – they will be willing to do business with Israel, as long as nobody tells about this.

    Then you have the known suspects who hate Israel and want it eliminated: iran, turkey, egypt and most other muslim countries.

    Last, you have the so called friends of Israel, who haven’t been friends for quite a while: europe, the most treacherous ones, and the U.S., Canada and a few others. The europeans more and more figured out they can get away with thrashing Israel and yet doing brisk business. However, public opinion in europe is clearly and viciously anti Israel. In Germany for example a good majority of the people wants to boycott Israel, even though the business interest still tries to keep things the way they were. England already is a step further, France will follow as soon as they find someone else to do business with. An aggressive settlement policy and annexiation might tip things into a full fledged boycott.

    The US currently has a very anti-Israel administration which probably is there to stay for many more years. Public support, while still strong, is weakening very fast. Americans sadly tend to fall for the sob-stories coming from Pallywood. It is not inconceivable that at some point the US might actually try to pressure Israel by threatening an arms boycott or similar.

    Canada is very similar. The rest of the countries have no weight.

    What does that mean: Israel needs to finally make a point: it needs to end this untenable situation she has been living in for the past 20 years. She has to annex all the land she needs.

    But she has to prepare first: get off the American trough. Find business partners in other parts of the world. Find partners who will share technology to build weapons as good as any the Americans might have supplied. Develop markets for Israeli products (especially the oil and gas that might soon be tapped) which are independent from boycott-prone regions like europe. Become truly independent and then go and do what needs to be done!

    • Lynne says :

      Sir John, yes, you are absolutely right. 100%

    • Mike says :

      SJ, It’s good to see you back and I respect your opinion a great deal. I can talk at all about the situation in Europe but I assume it’s bad. As for the US, I don’t think the situation is nearly as dire as you paint it and I do a lot of Israel advocacy work. Obama is bad but Israel has strong bi-partisan support and I think that will keep him from going too far off the rails because Dems running for office don’t want to be tarred with whatever Obama might come up with on his own.

      I’lll post later n what I see as the real trouble in the US later — I about to get my kids to school.

      • Lynne says :

        Mike, looking forward to your next comment! I worry about the Democrats after the attempt at the convention to shift their position on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I was stunned. And, I read comments on CNN and CBS, etc. which express the greatest hatred of Israel (and a total lack of knowledge of the issues and history). Worrisome, indeed.

  8. Mike says :

    Before I go on about the situation in the US, I do want to say one quick thing about settlement announcements, one word actually — Iran. While the world is talking about Jews building houses, Iran is enriching uranium. This is making it easier for the world to avoid doing what’s hard — dealing with Iran — while making it even easier to do what is always easy — blaming Israel for everything.

    Now on to the U.S., where Israel will need as much support and good will as it can get to do whatever it needs to do with Iran. Israel is popular in the U.S. Polls show support running between 60 and 70 percent. Support for the Palestinians runs between 6 and 14 percent and has never been higher than 18 percent. Support for Israel has been as low as 50 percent in past decades, but it has risen steadily.

    So despite Obama, Israel has strong support, and strong bi-partisan support, in the U.S. and you can hardly call the majority anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian. (And I would point point out that the Canadians have been fantastic and PM Harper is very popular in Canada.) The reason the U.S. is so pro-Israel is that we tend to see the conflict the same way as Israelis do — not a conflict over borders but one over Israel’s very existence and we overwhelmingly believe Israel has the right to exist.

    This view gives Israel some leeway to make mistakes and retain support. But these same Americans who support Israel are also very patriotic, so there is a limit to their tolerance of a country seen as sticking it to the U.S. So support is broad, but there’s a limit to its depth and I’m afraid Israel runs the risk with this settlement policy of pushing those limits. And again, I don’t see much of an upside and see big downsides.

    Israel also has less support among the college educated and among the young and Democrats, although in all these cases it’s still around 50 percent and again, the Palestinians have high negatives in these groups too. They are not terror lovers, they don’t want to see Israel eliminated but they have bought into the conventional wisdom of the “experts” that this is now all about the occupation. We can try to change this but it’s going to be a long slog and Israel will need to take actions that show over and over the Palestinians don’t want peace. Building settlements and giving Abbas excuses to avoid negotiations won’t do it.

    There is, however, a contingent on the hard left, that 6 percent, that is pro-Palestinian. These people typically don’t vote Democratic in national elections — they usually either don’t vote or vote for third-party candidates.

    The problem is they do vote in local and state elections and there they vote Democratic. So what you have is Democratic politicians working their way up the ranks, who while they don’t share a lot of opinions of this anti-Israel fringe, have needed their votes in an important part of their career.

    Like all politicians, these Democrats try to alienate as few voters as possible. So while they often disagree with the the fringe anti-Israel sentiments, these Democratic politicians are not willing to speak out against what these people say or do. Even when they can see that the anti-Israel rhetoric is antisemitic, they won’t speak out. If these politicians make it to national office, they often vote for Israel but also try to keep their old local coalitions in tact so they remain silent.

    And that’s real problem with the Democrats right now. They won’t stand, be the adults and call BS on the anti-Israel crowd (this excludes Obama who’s a special case). This silence then gives the anti-Israel crowd license to say pretty much whatever they want and because their arguments against Israel run on the rails of antisemitism and are surround by the incredible silence of people who know better, those voices sound loud indeed to us.

    I didn’t vote a straight republican ticket this year because I think all Democrats are anti-Semites, but because I’m tired of Democratic politicians not being leaders and speaking out when something is wrong.

    I could go on, especially about American Jews, but this has gotten long. I will post again on American Jews if people want, but otherwise won’t.

    Regardless of or positions on settlements, these will be long and trying days for Israel. I have no doubt she will come through them.

    • israeliminx says :

      Post post please!!. Will comment on above when I get home tonight!

    • SirJohn says :

      I agree. The problem with public opinion in the US, especially among the young and among democrats, they don’t view themselves as “pro palestinian” when they support pro-palestinian policies. They will always claim to be “for Israel” and it is not even a lie, they simply don’t understand that what they want will hurt Israel. They feel Israel should give up more appease the palestinians to finally reach “peace.” They believe the sob stories in the media that show palestinians as poor downtrodden people who love nothing but peace. They have a pretty simple view of the world: if only the stronger party, here Israel, would reach out then the others will come and make peace. By supporting appeasement, these people very much feel they support Israel.

  9. Lynne says :

    Frankly, I think that Israel should as a sign of goodwill, to take the focus off settlements (stop the settlements, too, for now), build something in Ramallah or in the West Bank for Palestinians. It’s time that the Israeli government stopped giving anti-Semites something to bash them with. Be smart and turn this around is my thought. Get the focus on Iran by not giving them anything to focus on in Israel. Let it be seen that Abbas is working with Israel to gain some benefits for the Palestinian people. This will help Abbas and Israel.

    • TDDPirate says :

      I do not think that signs of goodwill will be helpful. They only would be interpreted as sign of weakness from our side.

      I hope that all reprimanded Israeli ambassadors had an answer similar to the following.
      You did nothing (or did not do enough) to stop the bombardment of rockets on Israeli areas bordering Gaza Strip. You did nothing (or did not do enough) to stop the Iranian nuclear program. You did nothing (or did not do enough) to stop the Palestinians from glorifying their Shahids and striving for destruction of Israel.
      So now shut up.

      • Lynne says :

        Pirate, good point. I still believe that there are many other actions that Israel can take other than the settlements. For one thing, Stratfor points out, and it is clear to anyone watching Obama’s words and actions now and over the past four years, that he is disengaging from Israel, and that it is not inconceivable that the US will abandon Israel significantly, if not completely. Israel needs allies. Israel is faced with virulent anti-Semitism from Europe now. Other alliances should be explored, because Obama is no friend of Israel and he can do a great deal of damage in four more years. The actions of European leaders and the Obama Administration cannot be explained in any rational way other than duplicity and double-talk. The vile, evil Hilary Clinton speaks out forcefully against the settlements, yet she was silent or made some weak statements about the terrorism against Israel in the past four years. The UN is a corrupt organization that is against Israel. The options of the Israeli leaders are limited, it seems.

  10. Mike says :

    Well, since the queen of the blog wants me to post, I suppose I have to post on some of my observations on the American Jewish community.

    During the Gaza fighting last month, about a half dozen of us held a rally to counter one by our local anti-Israel group. I’ve never stood out on a street and protested for or against anything in my life, so this was new. Other than the anti-Israel people trying to bait us into a confrontation and some expletives murmured at me by one of their members, it was a really positive experience for me and I’ve heard this from others who were there too.

    We got a lot of honks and waves from people driving by, many more than the other side. A woman passing by talked to us and said how much she supported us. She also said she was glad to see us out making ourselves heard. I think that’s when it dawned on me why going out was a good idea.

    It’s wasn’t so we could inform people because we didn’t talk about Israel with most passersby. We tried to make jokes and seem pleasant and polite. So it was something else. Eventually, I realized that if we aren’t willing to stand up for ourselves, we can’t expect others, even if they support us and agree with us, to stand up for us.

    I know this thought might seem a little far removed from a post on American Jews, but I if you stay with me I think you will see where I’m going.

    If we look at polls we see that about 70 percent to 80 percent of U.S. Jews support Israel, about 15 percent don’t care and about 5 percent hate Israel. These figures have been stable over about 10 years and while there are some questions about younger Jews, other polls show younger Jews more attached to Israel than middle-aged Jews.

    Of the 15 percent that don’t care, some assimilate out and some, as they get older and start having families reconnect with their Jewishness. Of the five percent who are anti-Israel, I think they are hard to define but I suspect for many of them, the only connection they have left to a Jewish identity is their hatred of Israel. SO in strange way Israel is helping them hold onto some shred of who they are and where that exists, there’s always the hope of return even if it’s rare and they do incredible damage to the Jewish people in the mean time.

    But I want to mostly talk about that 70 to 80 percent who support Israel in some way or form. Some of these people will also assimilate out, some won’t. (We know assimilation rates run around 50 percent, so support of Israel alone isn’t enough to keep people from leaving, although it clearly helps.)

    I’m a big tent kind of guy both in my Judaism and my Zionism, and I think most of these 80 percent are Zionists even if many wouldn’t identify themselves that way. SO far it’s hard to see the downside to this, but unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of this 80 percent is particularly well informed on issues relating to Israel (I have no idea on percentages, because I’ve never see polling data on it).

    I suspect some members of the unquantified group of poorly informed Jews overlaps with another group, who while they support Israel, also see Israeli intransigence on issues like settlements as the reason for the conflict. Think Thomas Freidman at the Times. In the 1990s I suspect a lot of Jews, even in Israel held views like this but events caused us to shift our views. Unfortunately, some people remain stuck in the 90s as opposed to the anti-Israel Jews who seem more stuck in the 60s.

    Some in this lost in the 90s crowd (I suppose it’s better than being lost in the 70s and having to wear bell bottoms and listen to disco) are prominent like Freidman, others aren’t. Regardless of status, I suspect that when these Jews talk publicly about Israel, whether in the NYT or to their friends, they rarely if ever utter a positive word about or even try to explain the Israeli point of view, this even though they support the continued existence of Israel and have some connection to the state.

    And here’s where we come back to my little protest epiphany I talked about at the beginning of this long post. Just as standing up for ourselves empowers others to stand up for us, constant criticism of Israel by us gives other license to criticize Israel too.

    “Certainly if my Jewish neighbor says such things about Israel I can too,” is what I assume some people think. I don’t think most of the non-Jews who think this way are anti-Semites, but because so much of the criticism of Israel runs on the rails of antisemitism, it’s inevitable that the comments drift into antisemitism.

    Let me give you an example of what I mean. You often heard Israel’s criticism of West Bank road restrictions. They started out complaining about Jewish only road but eventually they had to admit they were Israeli only roads. The road restrictions are a valid point of comment and you can criticize them without being antisemitic.

    But to do that you need to know the context for the restrictions. They were put in place after Palestinian terrorist shot a woman and her five children driving in the West Bank at point blank range (is this right Yaeli?).

    When the anti-Israel crowd talks about roads, they leave out this context and use the restrictions to show Israel is some type of Jewish supremacist state. This works because our society has a built-in prejudice that Jews are clannish, keep to themselves and think they are better than everybody else (chosen). Even people who aren’t anti-Semitic are libel to unconsciously hold or be influenced by some of these prejudices.

    Critical Jews spark the action and the anti-Israel crowd then takes advantage of the situation. That’s why I would never have the kind of conversation we are having here with non-Jews. It’s different. I might say I disagree with a specific policy, but then I try to at least give an Israeli reference point so people can understand.

    Anyway, blame Yaeli if this post is too long and of course you are free to disagree.

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