let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven—Genesis 11:4
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Behind every evil, one would invariably find the State supporting it in a myriad of ways. Corrupt civil servants are not an excuse for states that had become nothing but illegitimate surveillance corporations.
"It is Roi Tov's fault," a humorless civil servant said and added, "call again the Death Squadrons!"
On August 4, 2013, the Israeli government published a list of over 600 settlements, 91 of them in the West Bank, which will be regarded as priority areas for development. This allows their denizens to receive subsidies and preferred loans from the Government.
In the previous list published last December, there were just 85 West Bank settlements. Three of the newly added settlements—namely Bruchin, Sansana and Rehalim—were until recently defined as "illegal outposts"* by Israel itself.
The decision has already been condemned as disrupting the about to begin (again) peace process between Israel and Palestine. Even four Israeli Government ministers voted against and warned from the consequences.
Yet, there is a clear pattern to Israeli zig-zags. If asked, Israel would claim that all settlements in the West Bank are private initiatives, in contrast to the organized kibbutz and moshav settlements of the 20th century.
The IDF has always helped these settlements through the Civil Administration, providing basic infrastructure (that is why all settlements look the same!). After the Palestinians in the surrounding get used to their new neighbor, the settlement is legitimized by the government.
The best known case took place in 1978, when Prime Minister Menachem Begin uttered his most famous words: "There are judges in Jerusalem." This was his answer after the Supreme Court accepted the State's position on the expropriation of land for the Beit El settlement.
Thus, the current decision is just one more in a long list of State abuses.
"It is Israel's fault!"
The paragraphs above show the positive path chosen by the State of Israel to encourage its citizens to become international criminals (settlers violate international law). The main source of settlers is secular Jerusalemites escaping the increasingly Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods and American citizens seeking to recreate their Suburbia in the Middle East.
However, there is also a negative path which attempts to create an unfriendly environment within the Green Line so that denizens would escape to the West Bank. On August 5, Israel advanced one more step along this path.
The picture opening this article belongs to the Meier on Rothschild Tower, an exclusive building on the Rothschild and Allenby junction in downtown Tel Aviv. It was inaugurated this year. Its penthouse is a triplex apartment purchased by the grandson of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. What an ego one must have to live in a building and a street bearing his own name!
Tel Aviv is getting higher. In Tel Aviv's Black Tower, I analyzed the recent construction of a Bauhaus Black Tower on Dizengoff corner Frishman, Tel Aviv. This sounds as a joke; Bauhaus style favors functional white buildings and Tel Aviv is the White City.** Yet, when it comes to buildings, Zionists are humorless. They will blacken even Bauhaus.
Israel Land Authority Director Bentzi Lieberman reacted "the advancement and approval of the plan is the result of the blessed strategic cooperation between the Israel Land Authority and the Tel Aviv Municipality, which has yielded the furthering of new housing units in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. This move creates a change in the market supply in the city and can reflect on the entire national market as well."
Between the lines of this sweet little nothing hides the core of the issue. The picture above shows Even Gvirol Avenue in Tel Aviv. The picture was taken from near the municipality building looking northwards. Most of the city is low. The new towers are being built on extensive lots of lands. The prices of their apartments are astronomic, rating around $15,000 per square meter. The penthouse of Mr. Rothschild was sold for over $10 million and is very far from being the most expensive apartment sold in the city.
Mr. Lieberman words are correct. This is a strategic move. Every tower provides very expensive apartments to local tycoons and increases the housing prices in the immediate surroundings. In other words, Israel is saying to its poor: "Get out of Tel Aviv!" The West Bank with its government subsidies is the easiest answer.
"It is Rothschild's fault!" Some say. "It is Israel's fault!" I add.
* The United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice, and most countries (Israel being the obvious exception) agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the West Bank. This Convention prevents an occupying power from transferring its own population into occupied territory. Thus, settlements and outposts are both illegal under international law; under Israeli law, settlements are legal and outposts are illegal. Yet, the Israeli government supports both, violating its own laws.
+ In the 19th Century, Zionist Jews started a coordinated effort to buy lands in the Holy Land. Two organizations are key for understanding the current situation. The Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet LeYisrael, literally "Existing Fund for Israel") was founded in 1901 to buy land in Ottoman Palestine, and afterwards in the British Mandate for Palestine, Israel and the Palestinian territories. It still keeps buying land for Jewish settlements. In 2007, it owned 13% of the total land in Israel. Yet, it doesn't belong to the State; hence an additional body completes the picture.
++ The tallest building in Israel today is the 68-story Moshe Aviv Tower in Ramat Gan, followed by the Azrieli Center's circular tower in Tel Aviv with 49 floors, Leonardo City Tower in Ramat Gan with 37 floors, the Azrieli Center's triangular tower with 46 floors, the Electra Tower in Tel Aviv with 45 floors, Hayovel Tower in Tel Aviv with 42 floors, W Tower in Tel Aviv's Park Tzameret with 46 floors, Azrieli's square tower with 42 floors, the Kiryat Atidim compound in northern Tel Aviv with 36 floors, and the Neve Tzedek Tower with 44 floors. However, if counting non-residential structures, the tallest is the radar tower next to the Dimona nuclear reactor, followed by the chimneys of Orot Rabin in Hadera.
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