September 22, 2005

HOW QUICKLY THE UNIMAGINABLE BECOMES THE INEVITABLE ON ITS WAY TO THE DESIRABLE

After Gaza, some other settlers ready to move: A group in the West Bank wants Israel to start compensation now. (Ilene R. Prusher, 9/23/05, CS Monitor)

In the beginning, it was a small checkpoint. Then it became a well-guarded multilane opening. Soon, it became so jammed that Benny Raz had to wait at least a half-hour to enter Israel proper.

And then, he says, he saw the writing on the wall - and realized he was on the wrong side of it. This settlement, although not far from where internationally recognized Israel ends and the disputed West Bank begins, lies east of Israel's separation barrier, finished here in the past year.

Chances are, Mr. Raz says, such settlements will eventually meet the same fate as the 21 evacuated from Gaza.

The aftermath of the Gaza pullout has changed the Israeli political landscape in more ways than one. By demonstrating the feasible, if difficult, option of dismantling settlements, it has brought the likelihood of further withdrawals out of the realm of the theoretical.

That being the case, Raz wants out - and is spearheading a movement to encourage others to do the same. Their proposal: The government should start offering compensation now to folks like Raz, who came to live here mostly because housing was cheaper - thanks to state incentives - and who are ready to leave of their own accord.

That option could allow people to leave civilly, gradually, privately - in sharp contrast to the national heave-ho that Israel is still smarting from after last month's forced withdrawals.


Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2005 6:09 PM
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