‘Housing crisis?’ Israel will build 930 more units in occupied East Jerusalem

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 14 Comments

Well, that’s one way to address the housing crisis in Israel today: build 930 new houses . . . in East Jerusalem!

I can just see PM Netanyahu saying to a Cabinet minister: “Housing crisis? I have just the thing!”

Absolutely brilliant (no, really, it is – well, kind of, at least in that ultimately self-defeating way we’ve come to know and love from Netanyahu and friends).

The sooner you get the settler protesters out of their tents ( the cry of “To your tents, O Israel!” has never boded well for Jewish rulers) and back to the Occupied Territories, the less chance there is that they might turn on you in elections and – Herzl forbid – vote for Labour or something crazy like that. Class solidarity is a terrifying thing for a government built on a different kind of solidarity altogether.

Although it would be a really ungrateful thing for said settlers to do that when right and center-right dominated governments have spent twice as much on the average settler in the Occupied Territories as they do on the average Israeli citizen living in, say, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Haifa or Acre.

Building new settlements (in Har Homa, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem) to resolve the housing crisis brings to mind the image of an Ouroboros, aka, the serpent that eats it’s own tail (one worth US$17 billion, to be precise). And, truthfully, it’s just more of the same. It’s not a new tactic, but it’s a tried and true one for garnering support (and building “facts on the ground” for legitimizing the settlements, which are illegal under international law).

As two +972 Magazine bloggers writing in the NYT have noted, the roots of this housing crisis lie in decisions made during the 1990s (back when Israeli governments said they were seriously considering giving the Palestinians their own “state”) to increase government subsidies for settlement housing over public housing projects within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. This encouraged Israelis – ardent Zionists and otherwise – to move to East Jerusalem and other destinations in the Occupied Territories (so that de facto annexation would precede – and justify – eventual de jure annexation).

We really don’t praise Bibi’s genius enough here. He has made more housing available (though only a certain number of demonstrators would probably want to live in them) and made East Jerusalem even more “fundamentally” part of Israel. What more could the Israeli right ask for?

(Well, a few things, but you get the idea.)

Saeb Erekat, Fatah spokesman and a leading negotiator with Israel over the settlements, had this to say (from Haaretz):

“Israel makes clear its intention to turn this occupation into an effective annexation . . . . Israel is armed with the impunity brought on by decades of international leniency and lack of consequences to its illegal actions. It is now the responsibility of the international community to make clear that it will no longer tolerate this impunity and destructive consequences.”

14 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    August 6, 2011, 11:22 am

    Figured those recent Israeli protest would be used to push for more illegal housing.
    How many times do we need to hear former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer, Zbigniew Brezinski (sp), Queen Noor, Kind of Jordan, General James Jones, former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, 9/11 Commission report tell us one of the major reasons people in that part of the world are so pissed off with Americans is the unbridled support for Israel no matter how many international agreements and how much land they steal. How many times do we have to hear about how negatively and destrructively this effects US National Security? As well as being just wrong!

    Call your Reps often. Keep contacting them

    • PissedOffAmerican
      August 6, 2011, 12:15 pm

      “Figured those recent Israeli protest would be used to push for more illegal housing”

      “Push”????
      Against whom? Who stands in the way? The United States??? The Knesset? The people of Israel? The Israeli peace groups that are demonized as anti-semitic, self hating, and are getting legislated against?????

      Fact is, no “push”, or additional incentive, excuse, justification, or rationale is needed. There is no cost to expansion. We veto at the UN. We continue to send the checks. We continue to promise support and homage. The whores in Congress, as well as those in high cabinet positions continue to swear their oaths of fealty. Our military swears allegiance.

      And quite frankly, as far as Israel is concerned, the rest of the global community can fuck itself. Israel has nothing but disdain for international law, UN resolutions, or human rights.

      Kathleen, Israel needs no excuse.

      • Kathleen
        August 6, 2011, 1:18 pm

        good points as usual. You are right Israel does not need to or make excuses. Motto “do as we say not as we do” Sickening and illegal

      • ToivoS
        August 6, 2011, 8:44 pm

        Perpetually POed opines: There is no cost to expansion.

        Actually in this case there is. The rightwing Israeli government just made a serious political error. They are telling the Tel Aviv tent dwellers in no uncertain terms that if you want cheap housing then move to the WB. These are sophisticated middle class people, no way do they want to live with the settler fanatics and other riff raff. They are cosmopolitans that prefer Tel Aviv. Now they will clearly see the cost of WB expansion. It will no longer be possible to ignore the price they are paying for the annexation. It just may provoke them to demand those building funds be diverted back to Israel proper. It just may teach those people that colonialism has a cost. It just may move them to consider genuine peace with their Palestinian neighbors.

        These are all questions that can’t be good for the right wing extremists. Showing yet again that they are not acting rationally, but are simply reacting in an extreme fashion to one crises after another. I think this is positive news, it is further confirmation that Bibi has no strategic plan.

    • Andre
      August 6, 2011, 4:57 pm

      Kathleen wote:”Call your Reps often. Keep contacting them”.

      As much as I appreciate your comments here, Kathleen, contacting your Reps just isn’t going to work, I’m afraid.

      • Kathleen
        August 9, 2011, 8:14 am

        I totally disagree. While it may not change their votes and yet who knows. They need to be aware that the decades long building tide is moving the debate towards the facts.

        I stand by my comment encouraging action. Call your Reps weekly. Let them hear from you..the I lobby does. Follow their lead…it works

  2. PissedOffAmerican
    August 6, 2011, 11:31 am

    I don’t get it. Below here, we see a one state/two state debate. On another thread, I see this pie in the sky proposal of fighting AIPAC if Obama gets a second term. Here, this author offers this “Gee they’re building more units”, and ties the additional units to the housing crisis.

    One, two state?? Aren’t you paying attention? There will be neither. The Palestinians are unwanted, as nieghbors to Israel, or as citizens of Israel. Israel will run out the clock, however long it takes. If the international pressure becomes too hot, then they will invent a way to speed up the process to arrive at a final solution.

    Fight AIPAC after this cowardly posturing fraud Obama gets into a second term??? You gotta be shittin’ me. Have you been asleep during his first term?

    So, Netanyahu needs housing shortage protests to continue to expand??? HUH???? Of course, Mutter was being tongue in cheek, but why jerk ourselves off over this issue? Netanyahu is expanding setllements, period. And as he is doing so he is making a complete and utter ASS out of the President of The United States, this Administration, and particularly the State Department.

    Heres the deal: Israel is not saying “NO” to one state. Israel is not saying”NO” to two states. Israel is saying “NO” to the Palestinian people having EITHER option. Israel is ERASING the Palestinians, slowly, methodically, and long term. And if pressure comes to bear, they will just speed up the process.

    • Kathleen
      August 9, 2011, 8:21 am

      Israel is and has been saying no to both options via their actions. But national and international pressure has the potential to change that.

      What the hell are we doing here and elsewhere POA? Are you saying just roll over, give up, it is as it is. Not sure what you are saying.

      Folks might want to think about handing out information from the If Americans Knew website. Allison Weir and team are doing a bang up job with making the facts easily digestible.

      One thing Allison suggested is having a small group of advocates buy inserts in your local newspaper…you know like Wal Mart. She claims not much money to do so. A great way to get the facts out. As well as handing out If Americans Knew factual brochures.

      Pass them out or leave them at your churches, synagogues, mosques, universities, everywhere you go. Leave a few of the facts for people to read
      link to ifamericansknew.org

  3. annie
    August 6, 2011, 12:53 pm

    both hostage and i just linked to this informative article over on james’s thread. No housing shortage over the Green Line from globes, israel’s business news source. published on the 28th of july.

  4. Kathleen
    August 6, 2011, 1:20 pm

    In Mearsheimers book “The Israel Lobby” I think they said that Truman, Kennedy, Daddy Bush were the only three Presidents who tried to link US aid to Israel to not expanding illegal settlements. Does that sound right?

    I know I had read long ago that Kennedy was the only Pres to demand that they open up to international inspections of their nuke program

    • American
      August 7, 2011, 2:48 am

      I has always been ‘official policy” that no US aid be used for Israelis settlements….but the above are the only ones who tried to enforce it.
      Don’t know when that was inserted or made a condition but it was.
      Someone here probably knows the exact details of that and how it came about.

      • PissedOffAmerican
        August 7, 2011, 11:14 am

        “I has always been ‘official policy” that no US aid be used for Israelis settlements”

        Well, I’m pretty sure, that, actually, the Symington Amendment makes aid to the Israelis illegal anyway, settlements or not. What, you think these whores in DC give a shit?

  5. gingershot
    August 7, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Where is there any sign of condemnation from Hillary, Ross, and Obama of this latest Israeli move?

    Ashton of the EU condemned it – what of the rest of the Quartet?

    Absolutely breathtaking silence …

  6. PissedOffAmerican
    August 7, 2011, 11:38 pm

    “Where is there any sign of condemnation from Hillary, Ross, and Obama…..”

    Well, Hillary is chuckling under the covers, delighted at what a jackass Netyanyahu has made of Obama. She ran fresh out out of condemnation when she dropped the “unhelpful” bomb.

    Ross put his condemnation inventory up for sale along time ago, and Israel was the high bidder.

    Obama dropped his condemnation about four inches north of his sphincter muscle, as he was experimenting about how far he could stuff his head up his own ass.

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