A total of 4,000 housing units at the heart of Samaria, bulldozers working day and night, construction companies and contractors gaining profits, Palestinian laborers and Jewish architects, and warm support from Obama, Qatar’s government, and Tel Aviv too – this is no dream, ladies and gentleman; this is the city of Rawabi, a Palestinian vision that is turning into reality.
Focus on Settlements
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Here, there are no construction freezes, no crises vis-à-vis the White House, and no enraged op-eds by people who usually enjoy making dire predictions in respect to the construction of homes in occupied areas.
Among the parties involved in this enterprise we find businesspeople, Palestinian leaders Abbas and Fayyad, officials in Washington, and of course us Israelis, who for years now had been longing for some settlement activity without provoking the world’s wrath. And so, even the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an organization whose officially declared goal is to “salvage Eretz Israel land for the benefit of the Jews” ends up planting tree in the territories, but not for the benefit of Jews, but rather in support of the Palestinian vision.
I am not envious of the new Palestinian town, or the $700 million being invested there, or of the replacement of empty hills with modern homes. I’m not even jealous of their vision vis-à-vis our vacuum. People, whether Palestinian or Jewish, need homes, communities, and cities, regardless of which ethnic group or religion they belong to.
Used to being guilty
Yet I am bothered when I see the attitude of the very same people who support Rawabi and its residents to their future neighbors, those natives who the world refers to as settlers. While monitoring the construction of balconies in the settlements has turned into a noble sport among Europeans and on the White House lawns, the members of other religions are allowed and encouraged to build in the area.
We got used to the world referring to the war against Palestinian terrorism as apartheid, we got so used to being guilty, to the point of failing to notice that the construction apartheid is happening to be directed against us. The Arabs are allowed to buy homes anywhere, while the Jews are not. The Arabs are allowed to build, expand, and engage in family-reunification. The Jews are forbidden.
What we have here is not an American attempt to decipher the depth of Israel’s willingness to compromise, as nobody over there no longer believes in a solution. All we have here are the narrow interests of a different Administration, issues of image vis-à-vis the Arab world, and the desire of a president who is indifferent to Israel to reject the Jewish settlement enterprise (at this time, in Judea, Samaria, and in Jerusalem, and if necessary, tomorrow it will expand to the Galilee and Negev.)
Indeed, in this game, there is no room for the JNF and the other remnants of Zionism