The cost of the occupation.

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories is an enormous drain on the State of Israel in innumerable ways. Some of these are quantifiable, some are not.

Here are some of the quantifiable ways (via The Daily Beast/Newsweek):

[T]aken as a whole, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories remains the single largest expenditure in the nation’s short history.

Because Israel has never released all the necessary data, we’ve taken the numbers available from various Israeli research studies, extrapolated them, and adjusted the results for interest and inflation. In arriving at a very conservative estimate, we made sure to count only the extra costs of controlling the occupied territories, not the costs of basic-services that settlers would receive if they lived in Israel proper, or the buildup of the state’s military.




ANNUAL COST (IN 2010 DOLLARS): $6.3 billion


BUDGET PER SETTLER (AS OF 2010): $22,522

TOTAL NET COST: $88.5 billion

ANNUAL COST (IN 2010 DOLLARS): $6.3 billion

Here are some of the less quantifiable:


  1. Israeli settlers assault nonviolent Israeli and Palestinian activists, as the security forces watch and to a certain degree help. Money quote – Border Patrol officer, in reference to a group of settlers closing in on the protest, says to activists who are declining to remove Palestinian flags from the Palestinian’s land: “They’re here because some of them [the settlers] want to come tear you apart, to beat all of you up. If that’s what you want, leave the flags up.”
  2. Later that night, the settlers pull out knives, pick up rocks, and punch Israeli protesters in the face. Security forces do essentially nothing.
  3. Settlers call the Israeli activists “Arab-loving pieces of shit,” a woman settler declares that “all of these women fuck Arabs,” and the video ends with full-throated calls of “Death to Arabs” and “Death to Leftists.”

All of this, by the way, on Rosh Hashana. Because really, is there a better way to celebrate the Sovereignty of the Holy One Blessed Be He than by taking up knives and rocks and shouting “Death to Arabs”?

On the second day of Rosh Hashana, we read the story of the binding of Isaac. There’s a knife and a rock in that story, too. But somehow I don’t think that God is waiting in the bushes with a ram for us. If we want to sacrifice ourselves over the occupation? That’s on us.

Video via Shiekh Jarrah Solidarity; they can be followed on Twitter at @justjerusalem and are perma-linked on my blogroll, to your right.

Update: Within minutes after posting this, I learned that one of the settlers involved in the Rosh Hashana violence is Yossi Ben Arush, a police investigator who lives in the settlement outside of which protests were taking place. One of the activists has been interrogated by him the past, and she apparently yelled at him “What are you doing, I recognize you, you’re a cop.” For more details, click here.


  1. This makes me so angry and so sad.

    • The craziest thing, for me, was that I’m so used to seeing settlers with all the requisite religious garb that I was actually confused at first. “But wait, where are the settlers?” And then the understanding that I have come to equate violent xenophobia and hatred with people who profess to be the more ardent members of my faith made me a bit ill.

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