Saturday, December 12, 2009

They haven't gotten a thing

Yesterday a mosque was partially burned in Yasuf, the West Bank, in an arson attack that destroyed carpets and religious books. Rightwing Jewish settlers are widely believed to be behind the attack.

The damaged mosque in Yasuf

In fact, as Haaretz reported,

Investigation into the incident points to the likelihood that settlers from nearby Tapuah are behind the attack, police said, but the vandals have not yet been caught.

Although an attack on a house of prayer is a particularly outrageous act of terrorism, it's not the only one in the present wave of violence. Last week the Israeli police was reported to believe that settlers were also responsible for the torching of a house and two vehicles, belonging to private Palestinian citizens, in the West Bank village of Ain Abous.

The Israelis are "investigating" both incidents. Good luck -- both to them and to those who are confident that someone will be jailed as a result.

The attacks are presumably part of the "price tag" policy currently being implemented by the settlers. The Times described it thus:

On a hilltop, blankets, pots and broken chairs are strewn where the Israeli army tried to demolish an illegal Jewish settlement outpost. In the fields opposite, 70 olive trees are scorched and blackened after the settlers took revenge — not on the army, but on the local Palestinians.

It is a new and effective settler tactic known as the “price tag”: if the Government sends police or soldiers to dismantle an outpost that is being built, the settlers make the Palestinian population pay the price.
And why are they stepping up their "price tagging" right now? Very simple: the Israeli government has declared a 10-month freeze on settlement construction in legal settlements -- as opposed to their previous sporadic crackdowns on illegal outposts only. This has been too much for the Jewish fanatics in the West Bank and they have declared war on the Palestinians.

Stupid settlers; they haven't gotten a thing.

Whenever a landmark High Court ruling, painful concession, breakthrough, or watershed is announced by Israel, the first thing you must look for is the caveat. And in this case the caveats are multiple:

  • Construction in East Jerusalem won't be frozen.
  • Construction already under way (i.e. the foundations of which have already been laid) won't be frozen. This includes more than 3,000 apartments currently being built.
  • Construction of schools, synagogues and other public buildings won't be frozen.
  • Exceptions may be granted under special conditions.
The idea is that construction will continue unabated. No new permits will be granted, but there's no clause in the freeze stating that the construction rate in the buildings already under way can't be stepped up. Meanwhile, Netanyahu will invite Palestinians to negotiate under outrageous conditions: 1) that they recognize the state religion of Israel (never in history has this been demanded of a party to a negotiation); 2) that they accept a state without an army; 3) that they accept Israeli control of all their borders, including that with Jordan; 4) that they accept wedges of settlements cutting deep into the West Bank, etc.

On month ten plus one day, Netanyahu will declare, in faux exasperation, that he made a painful concession and got nothing from the Palestinians, and the Ziosphere will be a festival of quotes from Golda Meir as to how they hate more than they love and they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. On that precise day, thousands of new permits will be asked for -- and granted.

So that settlers have nothing to worry about. They can focus on building more quickly the apartments that are already going up, or on building more in East Jerusalem. But I understand them; they want to build in their own settlements. In that case, there are still a few options available:

  1. Build boarding schools. Each student's bedroom will be quite large and equipped with a kitchen, a lounge, and one or two "auxiliary rooms" -- i.e., very similar to an apartment.
  2. Hire Palestinians to start building new apartments on Saturday, when the freeze enforcers won't drop by. The next time the inspectors show up, the foundations for the buildings will already have been laid, and much to its regret Israel will have to grant them permits. (Don't congratulate me on this idea; I borrowed it from a rabbi.)
  3. Declare a settlement part of Jerusalem and sue the State. While the case reaches the High Court, start construction of new buildings, which won't be stopped by the State, since it's not clear that the settlement is not part of Jerusalem. When the High Court decides it's not, the foundations will already have been laid.

I'm sure the creative settlers will find other ways around the freeze. So what are they warring about?

I have a conspiracy theory. The freeze was a deal between the government and the settlers. The settlers accepted the symbolic measure in exchange for being allowed to make a lot of trouble so as to give the impression of painfulness (even if the actual pain is being felt by the Palestinians). This might explain the construction spree that preceded the freeze, which would indicate that settlers had prior knowledge of the measure.

Be that as it may, it's clear that the building rate will not diminish during the freeze, and will probably reach unprecedented levels in ten months' time.


Gert said...

Oeerrr, 'ere we go again, the Busted Hasbeen at his most anti-Semitic. Take a leaf out of Tom Gross' book: 'es been there and 'e saw full Palestinian restaurants in Nablus and Hebron, and Israelis planting trees in new Palestinian town: Building Peace Without Obama's Interference - A promising, independent Palestine is quietly being developed, with Israeli assistance, stick that in yer pipe and smoke it, buddy!

A lying Pali has a rare moment of candour:

"In June, the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl related how Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had told him why he had turned down Ehud Olmert's offer last year to create a Palestinian state on 97% of the West Bank (with 3% of pre-1967 Israeli land being added to make up the shortfall). "In the West Bank we have a good reality," Abbas told Diehl. "The people are living a normal life," he added in a rare moment of candor to a Western journalist."

And who needs 'The One':

"The truth is that an independent Palestine is now quietly being built, with Israeli assistance. So long as the Obama administration and European politicians don't clumsily meddle as they have in the past and make unrealistic demands for the process to be completed more quickly than it can be, I am confident the outcome will be a positive one."

'Es absolutely right, that squire from The Sunday Telegraf: positive for Israel and that's ALL that matters...

Besides, the whole thing's just a border dispute: a bit of neighbourly tiff, nowt more:

"Israelis and Palestinians may never agree on borders that will satisfy everyone. But that doesn't mean they won't live in peace. Not all Germans and French agree who should control Alsace Lorraine. Poles and Russians, Slovenes and Croats, Britons and Irish, and peoples all over the world, have border disputes. But that doesn't keep them from coexisting with one another."

And if any Palis disagree with Tom, they've just forfeited any rights to any more of these painful concessions Israel is constantly making. Ungrateful brats...

[Irony OFF]

Anonymous said...

Why is it "pain" for mohammedans when Jews to move into the neighborhood?

In general, you better get over it dude - Jews make up a majority of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The Jihad lost.

(And these Jews are not socialist appeasers, either. Remember Baruch Goldstein? The mohammedan minority in Jerusalem and area better start learning how to play real nice real fast; you're not dealing with pacifist Soviet-allied socialist Zionists out there any more.)

Peace out, dude