Latest update: August 29th, 2013
An open letter to President Barack Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
As an illegitimate American-Israeli settler, some say illegal, I urge you to take the bold step and demand that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu order an immediate halt to all building for Jews in Judea and Samaria during the designated nine-month period of direct talks, some say peace talks, with the Palestinian Authority.
I remind you, sir that a similar move three years was made, and the results were fantastic.
First of all, the building freeze gave an opportunity for Israelis to buy up all vacant buildings that already had been completed or were in the last stages of construction.
The result was 100 percent no vacancy not only in our little community in the southern Hevron Hills but also in all of Judea and Samaria.
Second, the resulting housing shortage caused prices of homes to soar. Our house now is worth more than twice as much. That means the value of our property has doubled in less than three years, and this is due to only your good efforts.
Third, after the building freeze expired following Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ complaint that it was only partial, construction resumed at full speed.
In our little community alone, 13 new homes were built, and all of them have been bought, boosting the number of families by more than 15 percent. This has been duplicated over the Judea and Samaria, which, as a result of the building freeze and the aftereffect, the population of Jews has soared way beyond the birth rate of Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
When taking into account the net outflow of Arabs, thousands of whom move out of the country every year, Israel is much closer to eradicating the myth of a demographic threat from Arabs, as my boss Yori Yanover wrote last week. Please click here to read his explanation, just in case U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry or Martín Indyk did not inform you.
Fourth and last, as you recall, the purpose of the freeze was to satisfy chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s condition for the resumption of direct talks.
After Prime Minister Netanyahu issued the order to halt construction, Abbas said that it did not go far enough because it only covered private housing but did not include areas of Jerusalem that Abbas wants for a future Palestinian Authority country.
Your direct intervention provided a refreshing reminder that anything is possible so long as you are at the helm. With your selfless persuasion, you held direct talks with both Abbas and Netanyahu – for two hours. That was a remarkable start and end to the direct talks, which finally resumed last month.
However, the Palestinian Authority is very unhappy with the announcement of new homes for Jews in the very same areas that you consider Jews to be illegitimate, although I trust the President of the United States is not calling certain Jews “bastards.”
The truth is that a building freeze is in place in certain areas, and the announcement for new homes was just that – an announcement. It will take months if not years before tenders are issued, and then it will take more time to actually build.
You can solve two problems at once by telling Netanyahu that he must declare as building freeze: It would make Abbas happy and definitely boost his standing among his enemies, and it also would cause another rush to fill vacant houses in Judea and Samaria, cause another spike in the price of homes and result in another building boom after the talks end in failure.
I guarantee you, Mr. President that if you can bring about another building freeze, I will vote for you in the next election.
Oh, you can’t run again?
Gee, what a shame.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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