It is tempting to impute retroactive intentionality to yesterday's events. As Gershom Gorenberg felicitously puts it, we mistakenly assume "that if things turned out a certain way, someone planned it that way." Looking back now, it may seem a foregone conclusion that Israel's settlement policy in the West Bank (and in Golan, too) was from the beginning an evil design, intended to encroach on Palestinian rights rather than to solve immediate problems. But the effort to draw a straight line of intentionality from then to now obscures more than it clarifies.
Last month saw an assault in Congress on Palestinian refugees--an effort to use legislation to re-define the Palestinian refugee issue out of existence. This week the other shoe dropped, when a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced a new bill embracing the cause of "Jewish refugees from Arab countries" in a way that Congress has never replicated on the Palestinian side (for more info, see this list of all bills/resolutions dealing with Palestinian and/or Jewish refugees since 1989).
On July 30th, the Calcalist published a major report [Hebrew] examining the
issue of Israeli government spending on settlements. Among other things, the articles note that
government spending on settlements increased by 38% under the Netanyahu government (from 2010 to 2011). The
articles also note the fact that Israeli government spending on settlements from 1992-2011 totaled NIS 27 billion
(in 2011 terms). To get a sense of the magnitude of this spending, the article notes that in 2010 the Israeli
government allocated a budget of NIS 27.5 bilion over ten years "for the first stage of project to introduce into
[the entire country of] Israel a network of fast highways and railway lines." All articles translated by
Israel News Today (INT).
Today’s New York Times features an op-ed by Dani Dayan, the head of the Yesha Council (the group that represents settlers and their interests). There isn’t really any news here: it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the settlers want the world to believe that settlements are good, peace efforts are pointless, and that the way forward should be premised on leaving all settlements in place, and leaving the West Bank under Israeli control, in perpetuity. Nonetheless, it is worth examining some representative snippets from this high profile op-ed.
Sahar Segal suggests that
American Jews ought to feel no shame for Israel's actions. Her prooftext is the Talmud where it says “kol Yisrael
arevim ze la-ze”—all Jews are responsible for one another.
We will update as new items become available. Check back periodically and see what's fresh!
A former IDF medical officer and a Palestinian from a refugee camp are seeing the conflict in a whole new way
WASHINGTON -- When Waleed Issa walked into the Americans for Peace Now (APN) Washington, DC office on the first day of his summer internship in June, the 25-year-old Palestinian from the Dheisheh refugee camp south of Bethlehem was startled by what he saw.