Here’s the top of my latest Open Zion post – to read the rest, please click through!
The Israeli public recently got a peek at the enormity of the actual, literal price tag attached to the settlement enterprise.
Migron is an “outpost”—a settlement that’s illegal even by Israeli standards—and was built on land that even the Israeli government recognizes as Palestinian-owned. The 48 families and single woman living at Migron have been ordered to leave by Israel’s High Court, and they’ve said that they will—if the government first provides them with temporary homes.
On Sunday the Netanyahu cabinet agreed (unanimously) to do so, to the tune of 53 million shekels—over $14 million, and that’s not including any other costs the government will incur when the families are moved to permanent homes in other settlements (settlements which are legal in Israeli eyes, if not according to the Fourth Geneva Convention).
Or, in other words: A group of criminals told their government to foot the bill for ending their criminal activity, with tax-payer money. And the government agreed, for the low, low price of about $300,000 per family.
And yet, as outrageous as that story is, as enraged as Israel’s law-abiding citizens should be about Migron—it is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
A report released a year ago revealed that Israel’s settlements had, at that time, already cost Israelis $18.8 billion.
About six weeks after that report came out, a wave of fury swept Israel in the form of social justice protests that appeared to appear out of nowhere. Those who were paying attention knew something was afoot – from a massive consumer boycott to grumbled conversations at home and in the press—but I think it’s fair to say that for most, the speed with which a few tents became a national movement was breathtaking.
The demonstrations started out as housing protests, but soon became about so much more: They were about people wanting to find a job, build a family, and have reasonable hope that things can get better, for themselves and for the country. They were about people being told their entire lives that they live in the only country that’s Good For The Jews, and discovering that the government of Good-For-The-Jews treats them with contempt. They were about the 2010 Carmel wild fires that revealed a shocking state of unreadiness and about ugly Parliamentary fights over how best to shrink democracy. They were about doctors willing to go on hunger strike, sky-rocketing cottage cheese prices, and the Arab Spring.
Here’s what they weren’t about: The settlements. The occupation. The conflict.