The most bizarre retaliation doctrine was uttered this week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his condolences visit with the Fogel relatives. They murder and we build, Netanyahu told the 12-year-old Tamar Fogel, who asked him: “What would happen if you do something; would America do something to you?”
“They murder and we build?” What exactly does it mean? That murder is equivalent to construction, and that we shall be building in response to any murder on their part? And what about the second part of the equation – will they murder us for every home we construct?
Besides, what’s this price tag of 500 apartments? Is this the appropriate price for the life of an entire family? Some 150 apartments for the blood of an adult and some 50 apartments for every child? And what will happen if the Palestinians extradite the murderers – will we demolish the homes we built?
There is no doubt about it: Netanyahu is a slogan-producing factory. He has a slogan for any occasion. One cannot avoid thinking that what motivates his declarations is the desire to appease the people he’s with at that given moment. He would never utter such statement had he visited a mourning family in a kibbutz rather than in Itamar.
The words uttered at the home of the parents of Ruth Fogel, may she rest in peace, were not policy. It was a something Bibi came up with on the spot. It appears that after Netanyahu became the first prime minister to freeze construction in exchange for negotiations, he is also the first PM to declare that settlement construction is a punishment for the Palestinians; or in other words, that the settlement enterprise is a response to terror.
So is there any wonder that after declaring this, the global empathy immediately turned into condemnation, while this disaster gave off an unpleasant scent of trading in blood? This was not only the feeling among the international community, but also among Israel’s rightist camp.
It was an insult, Yesha Council officials said this week. Linking construction to this murder is simply insulting. It felt like the PM was offering us a deal: Here, you deserve 500 housing units for this murder. And even that figure quickly turned into 400 homes. And then we discovered that some 200 of those are apartments already approved a month ago and earmarked for young haredi couples in Beitar Ilit. And so, with great cynicism PM Netanyahu also used this occasion to solve a disturbing political problem.
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