It's just as tough in Ofra

Op-ed: New national priority map merely compensates a few settlements for their problematic security situation

As strange as it may sound to leftist ears, the laws of nature apply in the West Bank as well. The Jewish communities there have to carry the burden of the "settlement" title, but many of them are, for all intents and purposes, part of Israel's periphery. Meaning, they are located far from the center just as peripheral communities that are located within Israel's sovereign territories are. The distance is not debatable – it is a geographical fact.


By the way, the economic laws also apply beyond the Green Line. As opposed to the traditional image of the settlers, who are seen as being financially sound and even affluent, many of them experience economic hardships just like their brothers in the Galilee and Negev do. Daily life in Kiryat Arba, for example, is just as difficult as it is in Kiryat Gat. Kiryat Gat is Savyon compared to Elon Moreh.


Settlers have not been receiving tax breaks for many years now. Cottage cheese sold in a grocery store in Ofra costs the same as cottage cheese sold in Hadera. Nothing is given for free or half-free east of Qassem Junction. Housing prices are skyrocketing on both sides of the Green Line.


The government's recent approval of a new national priority map merely compensates a small number of settlements for their problematic security situation and the difficulties stemming from their geographical isolation. Their inclusion in the priority list will result mainly in minimal aid for funding housing infrastructure. This policy reflects the will of the Israeli voter.


We must keep in mind that in the last elections the majority of people voted for the camp that believes in the settlement idea, so naturally they also voted in favor of funding this idea. The number of settler representatives in the coalition is significantly higher than the number Peace Now representatives. Orit Strock and Uri Ariel did not force their way into the coalition by force, they were voted in.


Minister Amir Peretz, representing the Left in the coalition, decried the removal of Kiryat Gat from the national priority list and the addition of settlements. He only forgot to mention that the residents of Kiryat Gat are eligible for generous tax benefits in accordance with the Negev Law and politicians all over the country enjoy a full exemption for demagogy.






פרסום ראשון: 08.07.13, 10:39
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