Monday, July 27, 2009

The costs of evacuation,2506,L-3751319,00.html
Destroying Jewish homes accomplishes nothing, strikes at Zionism’s roots
Moshe Dann

Blinded by intense pressure to prevent Jews from building anywhere in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem and to destroy Jewish homes built in communities there, Israel's government seems unaware – or worse, unconcerned – about the economic consequences of such actions. Still reeling from the failures of withdrawal from Gush Katif and unwilling and unable to compensate the victims, that bill is still due. Billions were wasted for nothing; military advantages were squandered and economic benefits to both Jews and Arabs were destroyed. The sheer human tragedy on all sides is difficult to evaluate.

As is now clear to everyone except those who defend their mistakes, the "Disengagement" (its preparation, execution and aftermath) from Gaza distracted the Israeli government from the threat of Iranian nuclear development, Hamas and Hezbollah. The world, and especially Israel, is now paying the human and economic cost of this obsession. Such compulsions still plague us.

Destroying Jewish homes built, albeit, without official government permission – since obtaining permits is impossible – accomplishes nothing, costs precious resources and strikes at the roots of Zionism and Israeli ethos. What purpose does such destruction serve?

Lacking affordable housing, young families living on "hilltops" have no alternatives. Where will they go? And why do a few shacks on a barren hilltop bother anyone?

These families are productive, contributing to the economy as teachers, owners of small businesses, craftspeople, working in agriculture and husbandry. Why destroy their homes and livelihood? What "peace process" do they impede?

World will hardly be appeased
From a purely economic point of view, destroying these communities means a loss of taxable incomes and taxable property. The amount of land in question is infinitesimal and doesn't legally belong to anyone. Why not allow its use?

Evacuations create more suffering, alienation and frustration among Jews, antagonize Israelis who support settlements, and politicize basic institutions, like the IDF.

So what will be gained? And why can't the government at least adequately justify what it does?

If the purpose is to "uphold the rule of law," there are far more important ways to defend this principle; first would be a fair application of law. And what about a cabinet decision, at least?

The international community will hardly be appeased, and the Arabs will not be swayed from their demands, incitement and terrorism.

In simple economic terms, for the cost of evacuations, mass transit, education and health care can be improved. What's more important?

The author, a former assistant professor of History, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem
Guest Comment: No one in Israel has taken responsibility for the Gush Katif disengagement and its real consequences and there are still those who defend their miserable mistakes. The world, especially Israel, is now paying the human and economic cost of this obsession and such compulsions still plagues. What "peace process" do young and productive families living on "hilltops" impede? No peace process! Stop the lies; begin acting responsible!
Thanks Nurit

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