Dec 4, 2012

My thoughts on the construction crisis

My thoughts, in no particular order, on the recent crisis regarding the announcement of new construction:

1. The announcement of construction plans has enraged the world in a way that nothing the Palestinians have ever done enraged them before. Not terror, not targeting civilians with rockets, not unilaterally taking the vote to the UN about upgrading the PA status... just construction of homes for Jews. The reaction was a "little" overblown - threats of pulling ambassadors, calling Israeli ambassadors in for a critical word, etc.considering the way the world reacts, and has reacted, in other disturbing situations.

2. I am in favor of Israel building what and where it needs to build. Anywhere in Israel. The |Disengagement has proven that settlements are not an obstacle to peace - if the PA should ever decide to sit down and negotiate with Israel, and accept any of the many offers that have been or will be on the table, the Disengagement has proven that settlements can be dismantled fairly easily and quickly. Settlements are not the obstacle to peace, and until we have that agreement, there is no reason Jews should not be able to live in any of the areas currently controlled by Israel.

3. I don't get why Israel only announces such building plans at the most inopportune moments, or else right before elections. For the past four years  Israel has only announced construction plans at the least opportune moments - when a foreign leader was in the midst of a process, or on his or her way for a visit, or like now right before elections. I know there is never a good time for Israel to make such an announcement, as the world would react horribly no matter when it was - but the only time Israel could find to do this is right before elections? Why werent these plans announced 6 months ago, or maybe 2.5 years ago? While I admire Netanyahu suddenly standing strong and saying we have the right to build, I would prefer that he would do so throughout his term as prime minister, and not just right before elections.

4. The reason the world reacts so strongly, I think, is because we have allowed them to. We have curtailed our construction due to the expected reaction of world leaders. We have given control over our country, our capital, our construction to foreign leaders. It might be good, it might be bad, but that is what it is. If we would have built when we wanted, or needed, to, and not minimized our level of construction due to concerns of foreign leaders, I don't think they would be so upset every time we then announce a construction project. Because we have given them control over when and where we build, now they are upset when we build without asking first or while ignoring what we know they would say.

5. I know the recent construction plans were announced in response to the unilateral move by the PA in the United Nations, but notice how that unilateral move was supported by most countries, but this unilateral move is criticized by some of our greatest allies.

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  1. Let's see if he'll build. I understand that this isn't real building, just promises.

  2. Why should the State be so enamored of declarations in the first place? Every time they grandstand in this way, they get flak and ultimately are made to back off. Far better just to do the right thing rapidly without fanfare. Politicians should all get some orientation on practicality before taking office and also check their egos at the door.

  3. RAM - The whole point of this exercise was the grandstanding. The logic is that the Arabs flagrantly violated the Oslo Accords, with full international support, so Israel is now proclaiming in the most in-your-face way possible that this perfidy will not go unpunished. I am very sure that Bibi anticipated this kind of reaction, and he must have been prepared to stand his ground, no matter what. Because if he backs down now, he will have lost all credibility.

    Personally I am happy he did this. I thought he should have gone further: officially announcing that Israel no longer sees itself as bound by the Oslo accords, annexing all Jewish towns in Yo"sh, and terminating all economic and security agreements with the PA. But that should have been the threat already months before they went to the vote.

  4. "Because if he backs down now, he will have lost all credibility."

    He has backed down before and lost credibility before. How is this time different?

    Is striking a pose such a hot idea now?

    1. "He has backed down before and lost credibility before."

      Interesting statement. My knee jerk response was to agree with it, but on second thoughts I'm not sure. What examples are you thinking of? The 9-month Yo"sh building freeze was not a back-down; it was a voluntary move, however much I may have disagreed with it. Same goes for the Bar Ilan speech: it was not a retreat; it was a calculated gambit. And while I disagreed vehemently with it, I do at least give Netanyahu credit for having a 180 IQ and having drawn with Natan Sharansky at chess, who in turn has beaten Garry Kasparov.

      Can you provide any examples of where Netanyahu took a public stand, and later backed down on it due to outside pressure?

  5. Replies
    1. Bycause!

      (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

      Please refresh my memory of how things played out at Wye. I couldn't find any useful contextual information on Wikipedia. What did Netanyahu stake out as a principled position, that he later backed down on?

    2. I'm sure there are more balanced accounts, but here is one that refers to Wye:

      Realistically, the weakness that had so often led to concessions is not so much in Netanyahu as in us as a group. How do we invoke HaShem's maximum protection when we treat a secular State as a "given" as opposed to a step along the way?

  6. A) These are just promises for the local elections and B)the Israeli media is the one who is making news up. Apparently, countries are actually denying these rumours about reprimanding our ambassadors.

    Beware the Israeli media that will come out against anything Netanyahu/Likud 50 days until the elections.


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