Why I Support Bibi
Posted on December 3rd, 2009
I acknowledge ahead of time that many of my neighbors will disagree with me. But the fact is, public opinion among “settlers” is not and has never been represented by one or two shrill voices. So while many are gearing up to fight the settlement freeze temporary lull in initiating certain residential construction, I think the energy could be put to better use.
I don’t feel this way because I think that a slight delay in building Jewish homes is either just or will bring about peace. No, it is clear to everyone (except maybe the White House) that the lack of peace in the Middle East has nothing to do with settlements and everything to do with Arab intransigence. And that’s the point.
Bibi skillfully turned a demand to freeze all Jewish construction in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria into a ten month lull that only applies to residential units in which work has not started.
Not only did he manage to gain U.S. acceptance of a plan whose overall impact will have little practical significance, but he received international praise for the move. He has shifted all the pressure off of Israel and squarely onto the shoulders of the Palestinians. I am sure they will not disappoint us by giving every reason to start massive construction within a year.
Why will it have little tangible impact? Because it effects a small handful of people.
Right now construction can continue on synagogues, commercial buildings, and schools. Parks and playgrounds may be built. Homes already under construction may be built. Planning for homes not yet started may continue. And Jerusalem — as defined by Israel — will continue to grow by thousands of Jewish homes.
No homes are being destroyed. There is no “expulsion.” Even outposts which the Supreme Court have ordered to be dismantled are spared.
True, there are some people who have will have their new homes delayed for a few months. Every Yishuv probably has two or three families that were ready to start construction but now must wait.
But there are always delays when you build, this one is just a few months longer than most. But it’s only a delay. We have no refugees living in tents desperately waiting for a shelter to be built. No one will starve because they have to wait a few months to build a home.
In the end, after ten months nothing will have changed. If we are smart, we will use this period to make sure that come October 1, 2010 we are ready to renew construction at 12:01. Architectural plans will have been completed, contractors hired, and materials delivered.
In return for abiding by the lull, Israel will gain enormously. Once more, it will be clear to the world that we are a law-abiding nation interested in true peace.
The only ones that will really suffer due to the construction lull are all the Palestinians who work on the building projects. They are the ones being asked to go ten months without work. I have no idea how they will support their families. But that’s not my primary concern.
The popular image of settlers within Israel is that we are out of control extremists who accept government benefits but ignore policies with which we disagree. This is not a great public profile to have if we need the support of the majority of regular Israelis.
So I am proud to be a Judean Hills resident who supports the Prime Minister and will not fight the construction lull. Instead I look forward to hearing the sounds of construction next Fall.
Shabbat Shalom from our Blessed Nation.
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