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)

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.


Anonymous said...

When I flush my toilet later on, I will keep you in mind...

by the way, I have the video of the trees being replanted. Sorry you left it out. Its not so exciting anyway.

Jerry Haber said...

Please post the video of the trees being replanted, if you have it. You can post it on and provide me with the link, and I will put it here.
If you don't provide me with the link, I will assume that you are mixing up those trees with other trees.
Anyway, I am glad to hear that the land is not being expropriated for Efrat's sewage -- that was the point of your post, right?

Anonymous said...

Had this movie producer taken Journalism 101, he would have asked SOMEBODY from Efrat municipality about whether the sewage pipe was really for them. But he didn't. So he told the big lie, and you're helping him out.

Anonymous said...

Lets not be so blind. Look at the video again of the soldiers removing the trees. Look how deliberate that are to lift the trees up with roots and soil intact. The intention is obvious that they are to be replanted.
The weeping of the pals is not real. they are acting. Anyone with a bit of interpersonal skills can sense this immediatly.
by The way, I know this spot and I can take picture sof what it looks like today. It is lush with many fruit trees and grape veins.
come and visit and you will see.

Jerry Haber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Haber said...

Ged, I am not in the habit of deconstructing movies and figuring out who is acting and who is not. That is an easy way out -- for all I know, the Gush Katif settlers were also acting for the camera when they were dragged away from their home. If you start that game, you never end.
Will sewage be going through that area or not? Does Efrat sewage affect the surrounding areas or not?

Bottom line, anonymous -- are you claiming that the sewage line is for the Palestinian residents, and that Palestinians agreed to it? Or is the Occupier deciding what is "really for them." Because if it is the latter, what would you think if El Khadar's municipality started deciding where Efrat's sewage line goes?

Anyway, thanks to you both for reading the blog.


Anonymous said...

1)You are a coward for not writing your real name.
2) Proper compensation was not given to the people of Gush Katif.
3) The fact that you believe everything you saw in that video indicates stupidity in addition to cowardice.
4) Ask someone what the untranslated Arabic comments are at the end. I did. It's quite an eye-opener (both about the man speaking and the manipulative director).
5) I thank G-d that you got back your money and don't live in our community.
Toby Klein Greenwald

Jerry Haber said...

And a shavua tov to you, too, anonymous Toby!

Pity you weren't able to answer my questions, I was hoping that you would say that the whole thing is fabricated, that Efrat hasn't taken land from Arab villages, that the sewage pipe will not pass through their orchards, etc. Instead you make ad hominem comments.

Gush Katif will be for another post. Ein mearvim simhah, etc..

As for my not living in Efrat, at least we agree on something... but I have lots of friends who live in Efrat, so you may be meeting me sooner than you think...


(PS. The name thing is a tease...I want to see how long I can go without blowing my cover. Sort of like Ahad ha-Am...whose stuff, I am sure, you have read.)

Anonymous said...

Don't insult Ahad Ha'am.

Anonymous said...

hey, i know arabic! he is saying "kill all dem jews!"

wow, its amazing the stuff you efrat dwellers say to yourselves in order not to see the cruelty involved in the video. can't you feel bad about yourselves for once, in your huge villas over Beit Lechem land? aren't you guys supposed to be a 'moderate' settlement?

Anonymous said...

I will feel bad when the arabs who threw large stones at the face of a woman who was driving by these fields aploolgizes for his inhuman act of barbarionism.

I do not feel bad for any arabs. Show the footage durnig 9-11, see how well they dance.