Opinion

In the West Bank Terror Is Good for the Jews

Only in the territories does Israel let a terror attack get the bulldozers moving. Authorizing illegal outposts is an act of revenge

Israeli border policemen stand by settlers near the settlement of Ofra, in the West Bank, December 16, 2018.
AFP

For decades Israelis have ignored the advantages to be gained from terror. Naivete, not to say stupidity, makes dwellers on the west side of the Green Line think they’re obligated to observe the construction laws, get the runaround from local building committees, carefully check the National Master Plan, receive building permits and build in accordance with those permits. They believe that’s how a law-abiding country works.

All this time there has been a marvelous solution to the housing problem, a fast track to bypassing the red tape and even the financial loss suffered by most home buyers. Around the corner live other Jews, but smarter, who know how to exploit their government’s moments of insanity and use terror to their advantage. They’ve discovered the joy of terror.

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Their plan could be called the National Master Plan-Suitable Zionist Response, or TAMA-TATZA, to use the Hebrew acronym. It received formal approval this week when the government approved the draft of a bill to authorize illegal outposts in the West Bank.

According to this illegal juggling, the government would have to authorize 60 illegal outposts within two years. During that period it would provide infrastructure, public buildings and budgets. Lawsuits by Palestinian landowners would be rejected and enforcement against illegal construction would be frozen.

The attorney general can scream and shout, but who’ll dare confront a community that redeems its sorrow and bereavement with plots of land, and who’ll stand in the way of people striving to be named the worthiest settlers? The law, as Israelis are discovering, is meant only for those who obey it.

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But why be angry? It’s better to learn from the experts and imitate success. If this good government is willing to approve construction offenses, maybe all that’s needed is to order up a few terror attacks in Tel Aviv or Afula and then demand a TAMA-TATZA permit in those cities.

Are there development issues in Petah Tikva? A long delay of an urban renewal project in south Tel Aviv? A shortage of public housing in Hadera? Two or three precision terror attacks will get the bulldozers moving and shake up the lazy municipalities. What works in the state of the territories should work in Israel too. An equal law for all Zionists, including an equal right to violate the law.

But in reality this right, alas, distinguishes between different types of terror. You can ask Israelis near Gaza how long they waited for the government to build safe rooms in their homes and install mobile shelters outdoors. And when will they receive compensation for the burning of their fields and the destruction of their homes?

Just let someone from Sderot try to build a house or even a storage shed without a permit after a missile strike; let’s see him use the “suitable Zionist response” argument to remove the inspectors and cops who come to demolish the illegal structure. But in the land of unlimited opportunities, in the no-man’s-land that relies on divine law, everything is permitted.

The legal criminality that the government invented in honor of the settlers isn’t only an issue between the right and the left, it’s an unbridled attack on the rule of law, the undermining of Palestinian landowners’ right to appeal at the High Court, and the destruction of the planning and building system. And mainly, it turns terror into a real estate perk for lawbreaking extortionists. Here lie the prevarication and the throwing of sand in the eyes of those who believe in the rule of law.

The “Zionist response” as a reaction to terror means that approving the outposts is an act of revenge. It has nothing to do with security. There’s no war on terror here but a translation of murder into institutionalized terror against the law.

Anyone who makes accusations that distinguish between blood and blood, between the murder of a settler and the murder of an Israeli in Israel proper, can’t help but look at the bottom line as well. In the West Bank, terror is good for the Jews. In Israel it’s just a security problem.