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?