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Monday, June 20, 2005

Israeli settlement removal

Kansas City Star :

The sides agreed that settlers' houses would be destroyed, Rice said. “You have approximately 1,500 houses and … a population of 1.3 million Palestinians. I think the view is that there are better land-use opportunities for the Palestinians that better address their housing needs,” Rice said of the decision to raze the settlers' houses rather than transfer them intact in the densely populated strip. Although Rice did not get into specifics, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday that under the agreement Israel would pay the Palestinian Authority or an international body to demolish the houses and remove the debris. Donor countries and the World Bank would then allocate funds to private contractors to turn the settlement areas into high-rise housing for Palestinians.
Hear oh Israel, one of the blogs over on the right, has a lot to say about this issue from a conservative, zionist point of view. While I certainly don't agree with everything Greg has to say, I find being able to get information from that perspective extremely useful. I am a bit conflicted about settlement removal. In an ideal world, such tribalist maneuvers would not exist and it would not matter whether one was a Palestinian living in Israel or a Jew living in Palestine. Everyone's basic rights and freedoms would be protected. Of course, we are a long way from that ideal world. Even in America we are not perfect at dealing with racial and ethnic issues. Still, the degree to which a Jew would not be safe to live in Palestine is somewhat of a bell weather to how close Palestine is to becoming a legitimate democratic state. Obviously, not very close right now. I am also troubled by the idea of essencially giving the Palestinians a bunch of high rise housing units. Certainly, it is a nice gesture, but people tend to value what they earn, not what they are given, and I suspect that this will simply aid the creation of some vast slums, with all tattendantent problems. While I approve of foreign aid that helps nations and people help themselves, outright gifts don't seem to do any long term good.


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