Saturday, August 25, 2012
EU's strategic mistake
Op-ed: Jewish communities in West Bank will continue to grow with or without the business, blessing of the EU
Thanks to the European Union, the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria has grown by 10% this week. Modi'in, Maccabim and Re'ut are three Jewish communities on the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. In 2003, the three neighbor communities merged to form a joint municipality, and were organized by Israel's Ministry of Interior into a city, known as Modi’in. The new city’s population numbers over 80,000 residents.
Last week, the European Union issued a statement declaring this city a “West Bank settlement,” and as such, products manufactured there will be hit with a special tax, if imported and sold in the EU. This action falls under the European effort to discourage its citizens from supporting what they consider “illegitimate Jewish settlement activity” in the areas captured by Israel from Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967.
The EU ignores the fact that a boycott of products from Judea and Samaria hurts local Arab workers who are getting Israeli salaries and work benefits for their ability to work in industries in the Jewish communities. They don't bother asking themselves where the billions of Euro they have been supplying to the Palestinian Authority have disappeared to, or why the PA has not used that international aid to develop workplaces for the people those funds were meant to assist. But now, the EU is adding additional workplaces to the list of those to be boycotted.
Hasty population growth
The bright side of this policy statement by the EU is a very quick growth of the Jewish population in Judea and Samaria. If, the day before, we knew that there were 750,000 Jews living beyond the pre-1967 lines in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, that number has now risen to 830,000. Population growth of a little more than 10% in one day is amazing, by any standard.
Why is this significant? Population counts are very important to all who work for the future of this region. The purpose behind the EU's statement is to somehow remove the Jewish residents of the region, to make way for a Palestinian country free of Jews, like they now have in Gaza and most other Arab states.
The agenda of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is to ensure the permanence of the communities of this region forever. Residents here take pride in being the fastest growing area in all of Israel. The Shomron boasts 10% natural growth annually, even without the help of the European Union.
Those who visit here are impressed with our university, homes, playgrounds, schools and industries. Even those who believe that we are the problem have no choice but to agree that our intention is permanent. The truth is that we will continue to grow with or without the business and the blessing of the EU.
In regard to Modi'in, the EU actually made a strategic mistake by adding this community to their settlement list. For one, it does enable advocates for Judea and Samaria to count the residents of Modi'in as part of our population. We are now coming much closer to a million; a much larger percent of the Jewish population of Israel has just unintentionally crossed the Green Line and joined us as “settlers.” They have also now forced many more industrialists and interested parties into the coalition which must fight the boycott agenda.
I thank all of the hard working anti-Israel activists in the EU who have once again granted Israel a blessing. Had they had good intentions, they might have been blessed in return. In this case, I doubt that will .
David Ha’ivri is the director of the Shomron Liaison Office. He and his wife Mollie live in Kfar Tapuach, Shomron with their eight children. You can follow him on Twitter @haivri