The Cabinet decision to approve a small number of building permits for Palestinians residing in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank reminds me of the famous story about the rabbi who instructed a Jewish man with many children to bring his goat into the family’s one-room home. When the crowding became unbearable, the rabbi instructed the man to take the goat out, and the man felt immense relief. The goat method did not, of course, solve the poor man’s original problem. Israel has for years frozen virtually all construction in the Palestinian villages in the area under its full control (some 60% of the West Bank). No wonder the Jewish settlers there are turning the thawing of this freeze (part of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s “carrot-and-stick’’ plan) into a major political scandal orchestrated by the HaBayit HaYehudi party and the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset.
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