Wednesday, July 4, 2007
There are no kosher settlements
You know, back in my (political) Zionist youth, I put down two thousand bucks to join a non-profit organization called, "Reishit Geulah". By doing that I was helping support the creation of a new town on the West Bank, right outside of Jerusalem, called "Efrat". The year must have been 1978 or something. I remember going to hear Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, then rabbi of the Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City, make the sales pitch for a model Torah community. At one point, after showing plans for the villas, apartments, shul, etc., a skeptical woman raised her hand and said, "But Rabbi -- isn't Efrat over the Green Line?" To which Rabbi Riskin replied "Efrat is in the consensus -- nobody wants to give it back. It's part of the Etzion bloc. And anyway, we will have good relations with our Arab neighbors." About a month later, I withdrew from Reishit Geulah and got my two thousand dollars back. They were very prompt about the refund. The town of Efrat -- arguably the most immoral settlement that Israel has ever constructed on the West Bank (but it's a close race) -- will be the subject of a separate post. Here I just want to see how Efrat maintains its neighborly relations. Please watch the following video (you have to navigate to the site) http://mishtara.org/blog/?p=214#more-214 You see in the video a group of Palestinians and Jews protesting the fact that route of the Separation Fence now entails a new path for Efrat's sewage. And the cheapest path is through a grove of apricot trees -- well, what were once apricot trees, until they were cut down. This will destroy the livelihood of the Palestinians who have worked there for generations. No amount of compensation will make up for destroying their livelihood and their way of life. Note the reasonableness of the Palestinian, and the patent unfairness of the setup. Important! Keep watching the video. You will then see the destruction of the apricot trees to make way for the sewage of Efrat, to the soundtrack of Ana be-khoah. Now take a few minutes to look at yourself at the mirror and ask yourself, in what way was I responsible for the destruction of the livelihood of an entire village? Now you will say that this happens all the time in any society. Doesn't the government have the right of eminent domain, which allows it to expropriate land for the common good? The answer is yes, it does, provided certain conditions are fulfilled: a) the government has the consent of the governed and is not an occupying force; b) the public good is not the only the good of the occupier or its own population; c) proper compensation is given. All three of these conditions were fulfilled in the evacuation of the Gush Katif. Not one of them is fulfilled in the current case. This is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of injustices that you will never read about in the press. Since you won't read about it, you will think that it does not exist. Remember, when an Israeli's rights are violated, he can appeal to the Israeli police, the Israeli courts, and to one of the most powerful armies in the world, the Israel Defence Force. But when a Palestinian's rights are violated, to whom can he appeal? To the same Israeli police, the same Israeli courts, and the same Israel Defence Force -- none of which bodies represents him or his interests.