If the peace settlement does not include relocation assistance (economic), the settlers who want to relocate will be left ruined–at the same time that the government has ruined them, it plans to once again ruin Lebanon. Apart from economic equity for the relocatable settlers, a regional water management treaty that is fully transparent and enforceable through international sanctions against Israel as needed, are essential elements of any sustainable regional peace plan that integrates prosperity for all.
By CONN HALLINAN, Counterpunch, 30 Mar 2010
When Israeli Minister without Portfolio Yossi Peled said recently that a war with Lebanon’s Hezbollah was “just a matter of time” and that such a conflict would include Syria, most observers dismissed the comment as little more than posturing by a right-wing former general. But Peled’s threat has been backed by Israeli military maneuvers near the Lebanese border, violations of Lebanese airspace, and the deployment of an anti-missile system on Israel’s northern border.
The Lebanese are certainly not treating it as Likud bombast.
“We hear a lot of Israeli threats day in and day out, and not only threats,” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri told the BBC. “We see what is happening on the ground and in our airspace…during the past two months—every day we have Israeli airplanes entering Lebanese airspace.” Hariri added that he considered the situation “really dangerous.”
Benny Raz put up a “For Sale” sign outside his home last year, but he admits there is little hope of finding a buyer. The house itself is a three-bedroom property on a quiet street, with a garden and terrace offering views across rolling hills dotted with olive trees.
The problem is one of location: Mr Raz’s house sits on the outskirts of Karnei Shomron, a Jewish settlement built in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He bought the house 15 years ago for $130,000 (€97,000, £87,000). Today, Mr Raz says, no buyer is willing to pay more than $70,000 for the property – not nearly enough for the family to afford another place inside Israel itself.
Like thousands of so-called “economic settlers”, the 57-year-old moved to the West Bank for the cheap housing, the tax breaks and the promise of a comfortable life. Now, many of them find they are stuck. “The government said: I will help you buy a house in Karnei Shomron, so I went with my family. I came for economic reasons, not ideological reasons. I came because I wanted a cheaper house,” says Mr Raz.
Phi Beta Iota: There is nothing wrong with Israel, or the United States of America, that could not be fixed by restoring informed participatory democracy. Right now both governments are out-of-control and totally corrupt monsters, both cancers encroaching on everything they touch.