Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The 18 – Call President Obama

This is what I wrote circa 2006 in a post called let’s all sing “imagine”:

Removing the settlers from their homes in the West Bank might be the straw which breaks the Israeli back. I suspect they will not go gently into the Gush Katif nightmare without fighting back. All the pie in the sky promises of cash for the leaving their homes, jobs, and communities will fall short with the evidence of the plight of Gush Katif refugees firmly before their eyes (who by the way are still waiting for the promised compensation, employment and homes.)

Read this article from Arutz Sheva last week and see if you don’t hear the first faint notes of the echoes of resistance in Yesha. Will the Irgun rise again? I don't know, but these Israelis are not the pampered latte sippers of the Tel Aviv sidewalk cafes, and I know that I would be very reluctant to give up my home for a place in a caravan for the next 5-7 years.

Not to mention the huge toll any large scale evacuations may have on the IDF and its ability to be able to muster the will and moral needed to fight against their brethren. Nor should one forget religious soldiers represent the backbone of the might of the IDF. Can an army be an effective force if it is so divided?

Kadima and Olmert at the height of its electoral popularity won only 29% of the vote. The last figures I saw gave Olmert a 7% job approval rating. Where is the political support in Israel to carry any large scale withdrawals? Lieberman, leader of the Israel Our Home party has sworn to do everything in his power to stop any withdrawals from the West Bank.

But the larger question should be where would one potentially house 50,000 to potentially nearly a half a million Jews for resettlement in Israel? Eighteen months later and almost 9,000 Jews are still are without permanent housing. The potential strain on health care, education and local economies could potentially bankrupt the country from which it might never recover.

And I haven’t even begun to ask how a second Palestinian state would be economically feasible. Check out this Rand feasibility study which projects that a West Bank – Gaza State would need an estimated investment of USD$33 billion over a minimum of ten years – if not longer. And the Rand feasibility study takes it as a given that the Palestinian economy would be fully integrated into the Israeli economy but ask yourself why any Israeli government would want to tie the Palestinian economy to Israel’s? Let's play a free word association game. I say, "Good Steward" and you tell me how many times you think of something before the word "Palestinian" comes to mind.

Now take a deep breath and think about the logistics of returning a few million people to a geographical area that is just somewhat larger than the Canadian province of PEI. Where would they be housed? What sanitation measures would be needed or even where would adequate supplies of water be found to sustain such an influx of 3-4 million people?

But even more pressing, is to ask who is willing to make the long-term commitment to invest the billions upon billions year in and out to make this barren cow milk for at least half a generation - if not two, three or more generations? Especially, when there is a quicker and cheaper solution available but it has a high cringe factor for lefties worldwide.

This trip down memory lane was inspired by an email I received from a group called The 18 who have issued a new video called Call President Obama.

I would be remiss if I did not remind readers that full compensation has yet to be paid out to the majority of the former residents of Gush Katif and almost four years later - the prospects for permanent housing for the majority of Gush Katif refugees is still bleak in the short-term.

So the next time anyone has a suggestion or peace plan for the region, let us start with the cost of calculating the "peace" by evicting any where from 50,000 to almost half a million Jews from their homes in Yesha.

Furthermore, the Rand study is a more than a few years old and was calculated before the rise of Hamas. It also counts on the non-destruction of the greenhouses of the Gaza Strip, as well as allowing for a significant influx of Palestinian labour fully into the Israeli economy which may or may not be allowed to happen. The Rand study, lowball-best-case scenario, starts at US$33 Billion circa 2003-2004.

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