Bibi and Building: The Buck Stops Here
David RubinDavid Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president...
In which unilateral direction is Bibi going in response to Hamas-Fatah unity? Towards Israeli sovereignty or towards Israeli withdrawal? To understand the direction, one needs to examine Prime Minister Netanyahu's actions, but also his statements.
At a recent meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Netanyahu pointedly remarked, "I don't want one state from the (Mediterranean) Sea to the Jordan (River)...we must separate from the Palestinians." This weak statement is noticeably similar to those previously made by former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, who both strongly advocated Israeli withdrawal.
Since Prime Minister Netanyahu was elected, and even since the unity announcement, almost all of the Jewish building permitted in Judea and Samaria has been close to the green line, the imaginary pre-1967 border. Meanwhile, Arab building has continued unabated, even including Rawabi, a brand new Arab city in the heart of Samaria. Rawabi is being rapidly and massively built with Netanyahu's blessing and support. At the same time, not one new Jewish community with permanent housing has been established in Samaria since Netanyahu was elected, and in those that have existed for many years, the demand for housing is much greater than the supply. The reason? Few permits are being granted for building projects in Jewish communities, other than those close to the green line or in the largest communities.
American President Harry Truman was known for his motto, "The Buck Stops Here", meaning that the leader of a country has to take responsibility for the government's actions, or in this case, inaction.
It's time that we stop blaming defense ministers, the media, or Tzippi Livni for Prime Minister Netanyahu's anti-Zionist policies in Judea and Samaria. Once Netanyahu decides in his heart that Jews have the right to live in all parts of the Land of Israel, the next steps will be easy. The Levy Report asserting our right to the land will be approved, the building permits will flow, and the world will be reduced to condemnations and threats, but a proud Zionist vision will be implemented. I wish that we could rely on the PM's Jewish heart, as well as his head, to draw the proper conclusions, but at least at this time, it seems very clear that only heavy coalition pressure from the right will steer Bibi in this direction.