Tag Archives: Housing

Who Is In Charge Of Israel–Religious

The current government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was created due to a series of compromises between factions including powerful religious political parties who dislike Palestinians and do not seek peace with any Arab entity. After months of negotiation, the Palestinian Authority agreed to return to the peace table even though still upset at Netanyahu’s continued efforts to further housing development in the West Bank and E. Jerusalem. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Jerusalem with warm words of praise in the morning about willingness to talk with Palestinians, but by the afternoon he was furious and blasted Israel for undermining peace efforts.

Within twenty four hours, Biden was joined by Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak who denounced the announcement that Israel would proceed with building 1,600 apartments in E. Jerusalem. His office made clear his feeling: “the entourage of Defense Minister Ehud Barak expresses its anger after the unwarranted announcement which affects peace negotiations with the Palestinians–negotiations of the highest interest for Israel.”

A spokesman for the Palestinians said the housing decision was a “dangerous decision that will torpedo the negotiations and sentence the American efforts to complete failure.” the ball is in the court of Netanyahu–Israel first or votes first is the question!

Shame Of West Bank Housing

Forty years ago, Israel forces swept into the West Bank and drove out its Jordanian defenders. The assumption of Israel leaders was for negotiation to begin with Arab nations for some sort of permanent peace which would include return of the West Bank to an Arab government. Forty years later the West Bank is home to hundreds of thousands of Israelis who occupy the territory in violation of international law. Prime Minister Netanyahu insists there must be housing construction in order to meet the housing needs of an expanding population. He recently announced that further construction would halt after the current hundreds of houses go up in order to prove to President Obama that he was willing to compromise.

Neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor any other current Israel leaders have the moral courage to compromise on West Bank housing. Chaim Levinson, writing in Haaretz, noted that housing construction has been going on for years, sometimes with permission, sometimes without. In
Ariel he discovered a children’s adventure park that was built prior to any official sanction, but within the past week, the Israel government gave such permission. He found hundreds of houses going up on condition they be completed within two months.

Each house that rises makes peace agreements with Palestinians that much more difficult. There is no “freeze” on housing and when Netanyahu claims it will go into effect in a few months, he can not be trusted. Housing is going on without official permission as it has for years. He will not crack down on those illegal houses.

To Build Or Not To Build In Israel?

To build or not to build in Israel is the question, particularly if the building occurs in areas that once contained a large Arab population. The Israel government announced it had agreed to cease issuing lenders for West Bank settlement housing, at least until next year. An official explained the action thus: “we believe there is no reason to strain relations with the United States, and as a gesture we decided to temporarily suspend the issuing of new lenders for construction in the West Bank.” Sounds reasonable, or is it?

Peace Now groups in Israel point out the gesture is “temporary,” not permanent. A real gesture would entail halting ALL housing, right now! Palestinians need something more than a “gesture.” They need assurances that major sections of the West Bank will be evacuated as part of the peace process. Any takers for that gesture?

US-Israel Compromise On West Bank Settlements

Reports from Jerusalem indicate the Obama administration has reached a compromise agreement with the Netanyahu led Israel government. Under the agreement, Israel will announced a six month moratorium on construction of new housing in the West Bank, and the United States will ignore the building of 2,500 housing units now on delay. Israel sources suggest Obama is not willing to give in regarding the need to end further construction of housing in the West Bank as well as requiring evacuation of many units in a final compromise agreement between Israel and Palestinians. He needs evidence that America can force Israel to compromise or he will lose any credibility he might currently possess with Arab leaders.

Israel is still arguing its government made housing agreements with the Bush administration and Obama must adhere to those commitments by George Bush. Of course, this idea makes no legal sense let alone foreign policy sense for any American government. Obama was elected to END Bush agreements.

Israel Housing Minister Preaches Anti-Arab Hatred!

Ariel Attias, Israel’s Construction and Housing Minister, told the Bar Association in Tel Aviv, that it was time to face the reality that Arabs and Jews must inhabit separate sections of the country because if they live together it threatens the existence of Israel. “We can all be bleeding hearts, but I think it is unsuitable (for Jews and Arabs) to live together.” His argues that Arabs want to inhabit areas where Jews live in order to force them to flee and thus gradually the Arabs can take over large sections of Israel. Member of Knesset, Ahmed Tibi, expressed the shock that any Jew or Muslim should be saying it is incredible that a member of the Israel government regards its citizens as threats to security.

In 1965, I was among the first Jews to obtain a house in the previously all Christian Webster Groves community located in St. Louis. My six year old daughter experienced prejudice because she was the only Jewish girl in the school. I politely went to discuss the situation with a neighbor who told me, “why did you people come to our community? No one wants you here.” We eventually had to withdraw our daughter from her school. I read the words of Ariel Attias in shock. How can this man be a Jew! To be a Jew is to fight against bigotry and prejudice. To be a Jew is to remember that Palestinians are our brothers and sisters, not our enemies. As long as Benjamin Netanyahu and his gang of bigots like Avigdor Lieberman and Attias are in power, there can be no peace with Palestinians. It is time for Israelis to look into the mirror of hate and prejudice and see their reflections.

Bush Lied About Israel Settlement Growth!!

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the American government his predecessor, Prime Minister Sharon, had reached a secret agreement with former President Bush which allowed further building in West Bank settlements. He said there was a “private understanding” between the men that while Bush publicly told Palestinians he was against West Bank settlement expansion, the Israelis could continue the “natural growth” process of their housing.

However, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both told Netanyahu that Israel must cease any further expansion of housing since Israel has “obligations” to work for peace with Palestinians and the continued growth of settlements is a major stumbling block in any future negotiations. Israel illegally seized land on the West Bank for the construction of housing and it must cease since the final status of those houses is subject to negotiation.

Housing Crisis And War In Iraq

There is considerable discussion in the media about the war in Iraq and casualty figures, but much less notice has been focused on what happens to reservists and members of the National Guard who must place careers on stand-still or cope with financial pressures created when an individual shifts from a good salary to the one being received in the military. The Senate has decided to address one issue– housing and mortgage payments. A new bill would delay forclosure action against a service member for up to nine months after they return from deployment. It also provides one year of relief from increases in mortgage interest rates for retuning service members and creates a counseling program to help them deal with financial problems. The cap on veterans’ home loans, now set at $417,000 would temporarily rise as high as $730,000.

The bill finally has the government begin to address the host of problems created by the war in Iraq such as the nearly 30,000 who have been wounded. The bill provides grants to assist those who were disabled to modify their homes in order to meet new physical needs. There are so many financial issues which remain unresolved. Many reservists and National Guard members are confronting severe financial problems due to changes in their income. Will these receive any attention?

Israel Extrmists Oppose Halting Wst Bank Building

Israeli MK Arye Eldad of the National Union-National Religious Party blasted Prime Minister Olmert’s order to halt further housing construction on the West Bank. He told West Bank residents who wanted to continue building new housing “to violate the law and build.” Eldad, who plans on organizing a new right wing secular party, termed Olmert’s action an “immoral and anti-Zionist order” that must be opposed. He blamed the housing restrictions on American influence and claimed that President Bush “is leading us to catastrophe.” He did praise the president for opposing terrorism, but felt his statements reflected that he was “disconnected from reality.”

Halting housing construction on the West Bank is a vital piece in any peace plan. The West Bank was never part of the original Israeli nation created by the United Nations and it was always intended to become an area in which Arabs lived. It is somewhat ironic that President Bush who has continually displayed a lack of reality in Iraq is now being charged with having the same mentality in dealing with the Palestinian-Israel conflict.