Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Freeze? What Freeze?

In this particular part of the world, things are always more complicated than you think. And whenever you're convinced you've finally got a handle on stuff... poof! They come along and complicate matters again. Thus the settlement freeze which Israel just ended: that was pretty clear, wasn't it? They stopped building them for a while, which made everyone happy except the settlers,and now they're building them again, which makes everyone sad except the settlers. There, that was easy enough, wasn't it?

Well, no. My friend Dror Etkes, whose entire career is built around settlements (sorry for the pun), explains in Haaretz that there never was a freeze to begin with, and the whole thing was a charade. Of course, this raises the question, if it's true what are the Palestinian negotiators all agog about? If the situation is the same this week as last?

Anyway, just as we begin to reconcile ourselves to Dror's narrative about the construction of settlements that never abated, we notice this item, likewise in Haaretz, that tells the opposite story: the contractors and workers doing the construction are Palestinian, and they've been unemployed for ten months, but are now pleased to be returning to work, since the freeze is over. Hello? Haaretz? Anybody home?


Anonymous said...

probably both of Haaretz' news are true - building continued in some places where for example something had to be covered up before the rains or whatever came and others stalled.

sadly judging from my morning survey of the news the thing isn't a charade when it comes to assigning blame, Jeffrey Goldberg being to my taste especially facetious about it hoping for the replacement of Lieberman by Livni as a consequence of extension of the freeze.

If I were an ordinary citizen hostile to Israel I would hoot with triumph over having made my enemy's government crack up and gotten my concession to boot, unless of course I made an honest living as a construction worker. Then I might still hate Israel but mind the settlement freeze at the same time. With us ordinary folks conflicting feelings like these exist peacefully side by side. These either/or views are for tenured think tanksters to make a living from.


NormanF said...

Ya'acov, the worst racists in the world are not the revananters... but the Israeli Left.

Those darling friends of the Palestinian Arabs would throw Arabs out of work for an objective that's not very clear. Why starve them to death on behalf of a racist, anti-Semitic ideology?

Keep Arabs gainfully employed is good for Jews and good for peace. No matter what the Israeli Left thinks is good for the Arabs.

AKUS said...

Front page picture on the Washington Post blog is of a Palestinian praying in front of a bulldozer. I do not think any irony was intended.

Scott Smythe said...

Does Dror Etkes favor Olmerts proposal for international trusteeship (ie reverting Jlem to pre 1967) status? Does he favor a binational state or BDS?

Anonymous said...

This really is not that hard to understand, I am a bit puzzled as to why you're confused.

The Palestinian negotiators, like the Israelis, have domestic politics to worry about. While everyone knows the freeze was a joke, they cannot be seen sitting down while the Israelis are ADMITTING that they are building settlements. Especially this Palestinian government, who has little to no legitimacy among its constituents...much less the wider Arab and Islamic world. And yes, the issue becomes more important for them because it was a commitment they made not to negotiate while settlements are being built.

To really understand, compare Israel's position on direct negotiations during waves of terror and rocket attacks - of course they will negotiate behind the scenes, but no Israeli leader would sit down with Mahmud Abbas, much less Yasir Arafat when he was live, if rockets were simultaneously raining down on Sderot or if hovshim were picking up limbs in Mahane Yehuda.

And if anyone thinks the comparison between violence against civilians and West Bank settlements is crass or in poor taste, they do not adequately understand this conflict.

Anonymous said...

who said he/she was confused?