June 20, 2005
It's not about helping the refugees...

In one of the more ridiculous examples of the Palestinian leadership's complete indifference to common sense, it has convinced the Israeli government to demolish 1200 homes in Gaza when Jewish settlers are removed from the area starting in August. Remember that one of the favorite talking points of the leftist NGOs against Israel is the substandard housing that many of the "refugees" endure in the UN camps. Read the whole sordid story here.

Sure, there are more people looking for homes than will be available after the withdrawal, but houosing for 1200 families is nothing to sneeze at. Considering that Palestinian families are quite possibly the largest in the world (extremely high fertility rates combined with a relatively low infant mortality rate and long lifespans), 1200 families would probably equate to well over 5000 people. While it's just a drop in the bucket, 5000 people receiving middle-class homes is still better than the conditions in which they currently exist.

Under the housing plan, once the disengagement begins Aug. 15, the Israeli military will begin to destroy the 1,200 homes over at least the following three weeks as settlers leave -- or are forced from their homes. The cleanup and removal of the debris will be handled by Palestinians, creating a jobs program and an incentive for Palestinians to plan how the areas are used in the future. The estimated cost of the cleanup will be $50 million to $60 million, a U.S. official said, and a senior Israeli official said Israel would seek the help of international donors to defray the cost.

Here's a novel concept: leave the homes intact, and create a jobs program to build more houses for the Palestinians, rather than create jobs picking up the rubble of perfectly good homes bulldozed because of stupidity and obstinence.

In order to win a parliamentary vote on the Gaza withdrawal last year, Sharon had pledged to dismantle the homes. Palestinian officials were not eager to keep the red-roofed, middle-class homes, and there are not enough of them to house the 1.3 million Palestinians who are struggling for housing in the narrow coastal strip. But some Palestinian officials have been hesitant to coordinate too closely with Israel on the issue, believing it would undermine claims that Israel was driven from Gaza.

What is this, the People's Republic of Palestine, where everyone has to be equally miserable? How about a lottery system, in which every family has an equal chance of winning one of the homes? And G-d forbid the PA be seen as working with the Israeli government to better the lives of its citizens, because that might "undermine claims the Israel was driven from Gaza". This sort of parochial, backward thinking is what is keeping much of Africa stuck in the middle ages; there is no reason it should happen in Gaza as well.

The Palestinians deserve the incompetent leadership they have; after all, they voted for them.

posted on June 20, 2005 08:22 PM


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