Tuesday, November 03, 2015

  • Tuesday, November 03, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
In Ha'aretz, Peace Now's Lara Friedman and Hagit Ofran are clearly frustrated by Binyamin Netanyahu's accurate statement that settlement construction has actually slowed down under his watch.

But since they don't have any statistics to counter his statement, they rely on obfuscation.
Netanyahu... last week tried to turn the tables on the critics, claiming that settlements cannot be the cause of violence, since their growth has actually slowed during his time in office, compared to his predecessors. He probably based this claim on a statistic highlighted in a report in Haaretz, according to which the average number of new housing units built in settlements in the West Bank per year since 2009 has been lower than during the preceding 20 years.

But beware: a single statistic taken in isolation always obscures far more than it reveals.
OK, let's hear it.
So has settlement growth really slowed under Netanyahu? To begin with, the statistic on new housing starts ignores East Jerusalem, an area in which for the past six years settlement construction has been at its highest annual level since 2000. Much of this construction alters potential future borders, in significant ways, between Israel and Palestine; a new settlement called Givat Hamatos, approved under Netanyahu but not yet constructed, could be a potent deal-breaker. 
Which construction that has been done under Netanyahu alters any future borders in any meaningful way? They don't say - they only point to one of the many plans that have gone nowhere.

Likewise, Netanyahu has outdone his recent predecessors with respect to settlement activity in the heart of East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods. Virtually from the moment he took office, with the 2009 approval of a new settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, through last week’s settler takeover in Silwan, under Netanyahu the settler enterprise in these volatile areas has boomed.
Peace Now calls this building a "settlement."
Peace Now keeps very careful track of the numbers of every house. Yet here they won't say the actual number of houses purchased by Jews in Arab neighborhoods.

Because it is a handful. I'm sure they know the exact number but they won't tell you because it is so small.

The number of buildings owned by Jews in Silwan is exactly six. I don't know about Sheikh Jarrah but it cannot be much higher. I believe there are 20 buildings in Maaleh Hazeitim.

Peace Now, however, calls every single building a "settlement".
Another problem is methodological. Netanyahu has been prime minister for longer than anyone since the legendary David Ben Gurion. Comparing only two out of his three full terms in office is misleading. If we compare his entire time in office, including the 1990's, or if we compare his last tenure alone to the other tenures in recent years, Netanyahu has built more in settlements than any of his recent predecessors (except for Ehud Barak in 2000). 
This is hilarious. Even though the new homes built under Netanyahu in the 1990s are meaningless towards his statement about how they have slowed down in recent years, Peace Now is so desperate to paint him as a militant expander of Israel's borders that they feel they must include those numbers - even though his 1990's settlement activity was no different than those of Labor prime ministers. But since he has been in office longer, Peace Now wants to change the statistics from "annual construction" to "total construction" in order to paint Bibi as worse than other PMs.

In contrast, during Netanyahu’s 2013-2015 term, new construction starts in West Bank settlements have spiked, reaching a higher level than under any government since 2000. This spike was driven by a surge in planning and tenders following the end of the moratorium, and by the Kerry-led 2013 peace effort, which was accompanied every step of the way by new settlement announcements and approvals. Based on data for the first half of this year, and barring a deliberate slow-down, this trend can be expected to continue in 2015.
Here Peace Now is resorting to its normal tactics of conflating statistics on housing approvals with actual construction. All the paperwork in the world doesn't translate into actual buildings, as we have seen. How many times has Peace Now warned about tens of thousands of approvals over the years? Where are those houses?

As I have shown previously, there can be as many as 8 separate approvals before a house is built. Peace Now warns about huge amounts of imminent construction which almost never materializes.

Peace Now loves to talk about how Israel is about to construct thousands of units in Ramat Shlomo - an overcrowded neighborhood that would remain in Israel under every and any conceivable peace plan - yet not a single new house has been built there in over a decade.

Peace Now keeps telling gullible media and governments that Israel is inexorably expanding and taking over Arab areas. Yet the pace of expansion has been glacial since Oslo.

But Peace Now's funding is dependent on these lies, so now that the truth about the slowdown has been publicized,they are panicking.

They end the article with a bit of truth that applies to them far more than it applies to Bibi:
Statistics can help track specific aspects of Israel settlement policy, but like any statistics, when cherry-picked they obscure more than they reveal. 
Peace Now is dedicated to obscuring reality with cherry-picked statistics in this very article. It shows that they see their main sources of funding from the EU as potentially drying up if the settlements are really not the obstacle to peace that the Leftists need them to be.

It is really sort of pathetic that we have a leader of Israel, who claims to be supporting settlements, who is actually hindering them, and the people who should be celebrating that downturn of construction are angry at this slowdown because it threatens their revenue stream.

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 11 years and over 22,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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