Israel builds houses, "world community" freaks out

It’s funny how the “world community” becomes very upset when Israelis build houses, but they’re totally cool with Palestinians building rocket launchers.  This is even true when the same parcel of land is under discussion.  The Palestinians didn’t take very good care of buildings left behind when Israel handed over the Gaza Strip, but the rocket launchers they built in that territory were in tip-top shape… until a couple of weeks ago.

It’s highly debatable whether “land for peace” deals work anywhere, with any aggressor, but they’re especially ineffective when your “partners in peace” build rocket launchers on the land you hand over.  The cognitive dissonance necessary to ignore this has driven much of the “world community” insane, and not just the “civilized” nations that keep their desk drawers stocked with copies of those infamous Palestinian maps that show Israel completely erased.  Thus, we are once again treated to the spectacle of new Israeli housing denounced as a war crime… even as the wreckage of the old Israeli housing is still being cleared away, following the latest Palestinian rocket barrage.

The latest Israeli “settlement crisis” follows the Palestinians muscling their “non-member observer state” resolution through the United Nations.  The Palestinians, who really want to be a non-observer member state with no Israel to observe, have been loudly declaring this vote was the birthing cry of their new nation.  As the Associated Press reports, they’re taking advantage of their new status to accuse the Israelis of committing war crimes by building houses:

Israel is moving forward with plans for two major settlement projects in east Jerusalem, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, even as a senior Palestinian official warned that his government could pursue war crimes charges if Israel doesn’t halt settlement activities.

International anger over Israeli settlement construction has snowballed in recent days, following last week’s U.N. recognition of a state of Palestine ??? in lands Israel occupied in 1967 ??? as a non-member observer in the General Assembly.

Israel retaliated for the U.N. recognition of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem by announcing plans to build 3,000 homes in settlements on war-won land, as well as preparations for construction of an especially sensitive project near Jerusalem, known as E-1.

The Israeli reprisal has thrust Israel’s strongest Western allies into an unusually harsh showdown with the Jewish state.

On Tuesday, Australia summoned Israel’s ambassador in protest, a day after five European countries took such a step

Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, on Tuesday played down the international response, saying Israel isn’t happy about it but that “it’s not the end of the world.”

It might not be the end of the world, but the end of Israel was chugging along on schedule, until they started building these new houses smack-dab in the middle of where the Palestinians want their new state.  Of course, they also think Tel Aviv is a “settlement” parked right where they’d like their new state to go.

U.N. recognition could enable the Palestinians to gain access to the International Criminal Court and seek war crimes charges against Israel for its construction of settlements for Jews on war-won land.

Last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he’s not going to turn to the ICC “unless we were attacked” and that he informed many countries, including the United States, of this position.

However, Abbas spoke before Israel announced its latest settlement plans. The E-1 project, in particular, is seen as a threat to any Israeli-Palestinian partition deal. It would include more than 3,500 homes, cut off east Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and drive a wedge between the northern and southern West Bank, eroding the possibility of a viable Palestinian state.

But you never hear random rocket murder attacks on Israeli civilians described as “eroding the possibility of a viable Palestinian state.”  That’s all water under the bridge, before the echoes of the last Iron Dome intercept have faded from the sky, and the latest shipment of Iranian arms has been pushed through the smuggling tunnels.

Not surprisingly, the Israelis have grown rather less keen on bankrolling the Palestinian’s non-functional non-member observer state… and that’s supposedly a “war crime” too:

Israel has also withheld more than $100 million in tax rebates it collects on behalf of the Palestinians as another punitive measure.

A senior Abbas aide, Nabil Shaath, said late Monday that “by continuing these war crimes of settlement activities on our lands and stealing our money, Israel is pushing and forcing us to go to the ICC.”

Shaath’ comments marked the most pronounced Palestinian threat yet of turning to the ICC, though officials suggested privately that appealing to the international court is a step of last resort.

Israeli settlement construction lies at the heart of a four-year breakdown in peace talks, and was a major factor behind the Palestinians’ U.N. statehood bid. Since 1967, half a million Israelis have settled in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Israel withdrew settlers and soldiers from Gaza in 2005, but continues to restrict access to the territory. It says the fate of settlements should be decided in negotiations and notes that previous rounds of talks continued while construction went on.

Got that?  Israeli houses are such a massive, eternal impediment to “peace” that they’re still war crimes even when Jews no longer live in them.  Palestinian rockets, on the other hand, are like milkweed pods: they detach from their launchers and drift away on the lazy summer breeze of history, without causing any lasting damage to the “peace process.”  Likewise, Palestinian efforts to short-circuit negotiations by using international bodies to force their demands upon Israel are written in sand, erased from memory with the tides of each news cycle.

Needless to say, none of the nations condemning Israel would tolerate a single rocket barrage fired at their citizens, or entertain a moment’s criticism of how they developed their own territory, no matter which century brought the war it was “won” in.  Only Israel and the United States have these kinda-sorta territories, and in the U.S. the government at least has to file some paperwork and pretend your property is a nature preserve before you lose the right to develop it.

According to the BBC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not folding to either U.N. condemnation or American muttering that his new settlements are “counterproductive and make it harder to resume direct negotiations,” in the words of White House spokesman Jay Carney.  “Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision that was made,” said a statement from Netanyahu’s office.  The Obama Administration is supposed to be offended by Israel’s lack of “gratitude” for American support in an entirely symbolic United Nations vote that everyone knew Israel would lose.

Britain says it “deplores” the Israeli settlement plans, while Israeli envoys have been called into the foreign ministries of France and Sweden for tongue-lashings.  The Israelis stand accused of  throwing unilateral wrenches into the “peace process” by some of the same nations that either abstained from the unilateral Palestinian grab for statehood at the U.N., or actively assisted them.  The rather thinly concealed “dirty little secret” is that the outlines of the Palestinian state have already been drawn by the “world community,” and Israel is supposed to respect those imaginary borders while patiently waiting for a modern, civilized state to congeal within them.  Meanwhile, the Palestinians have some entirely different borders in mind, but the “world community” politely pretends not to notice that.