Thursday, December 26, 2013

  • Thursday, December 26, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
Once again, a news service is substituting what it wishes for for reality.

AP has a story about three extreme leftist Israeli actors refusing to perform in Ariel  - and it is pretending that this is becoming the Israeli consensus:
A trio of Israeli stage actors is refusing to perform in an acclaimed play before a theater in a West Bank Jewish settlement, part of a burgeoning domestic movement against the government's settlement policies.

The protest mirrors a global movement against the settlements that has put Israel's government in an increasingly difficult situation as the current round of peace talks with the Palestinians continues.

The international community, including the U.S., has long considered Israeli construction of homes for Jews in the West Bank, captured territory claimed by the Palestinians, as an obstacle to peace.

This sentiment, long held also by Israel's dovish left, now appears to be gaining steam at home following a string of harsh global condemnations of settlement construction in recent months. Some on Israel's left fear the scale of the settlements soon will pass the tipping point where a pullout may become too difficult, and Israel will be forced to essentially absorb the West Bank and its millions of Palestinians.

In a joint statement, the Cameri and Beit Lessin theaters said that three cast members in their production of "Best Friends" had asked to be excused from performing at the cultural center in Ariel, a settlement built deep inside the West Bank. It said they were granted exemptions and will be replaced by alternates, allowing the show to go on.

It doesn't look like it was too hard to find replacement actors, does it?

So what is the evidence that three actors represent a growing movement?

None. Nada. Zero.

In fact, as this recent Globes article shows, Israelis increasingly consider many areas whose houses routinely generate international condemnation as being an integral part of Israel. The Israeli national consensus is moving in the exact opposite direction. This article is a must-read:

[Y]ears of building freezes have caused pent-up demand in settlements in the territories, boosting home prices, as a result, contractors which previously avoided the area are now bidding in tenders there.

In early November, the Israel Land Authority published a tender for a lot in Ariel zoned for 90 apartments. No less than 15 bids were submitted, and the tender was won by Malibu Investments Inc. (TASE: MLBU.B1) with a bid of NIS 12.6 million, plus NIS 4.8 million in development costs,. The tender's minimum price was just NIS 271,000, and the assessor estimated the lot's value at NIS 3.5 million. Seven of the fifteen bids exceeded NIS 8 million, highlighting developers' confidence in Ariel.

This confidence is shared by Gindi Holdings Ltd. and Meshulam Levinstein Contracting and Engineering Ltd. (TASE:LEVI), suggesting that a change in the national consensus has occurred, as neither company had ever bid in a tender beyond the Green Line.

...The latest home sales data published by the Central Bureau of Statistics show that the contractors are right. In January-October, 943 new homes were sold in Judea and Samaria, almost 5% of home sales nationwide, compared with 609 homes sold in 2012 as a whole (2.7% of total sales), and 550 homes sold in 2011 (2.8% of total sales).

"Locations where it is possible to offer apartments for less than NIS 1 million are often found beyond the Green Line, because in high-demand areas the land component and development costs exceed NIS 1 million," says Malibu. "In settlements beyond the Green Line, it's easy to obtain Palestinian workers, which cuts construction costs by 20%. It's easier for a Palestinian worker to go to Modiin Ilit than Ramat Gan."
Keep in mind that Palestinian Arab workers in the settlements make twice the average salary of those who work in Areas A and B.

The Israel Land Authority also saw strong demand in a tender for a lot zoned for 30 apartments in Efrat in late November. There were 7-9 bids. The price per land per apartment was NIS 300,000.
Anglo-Saxon Real Estate Mate Benyamin concessionaire and general manager Arik Vaknish says, "Many people who want a better home than what they can get in a city like Jerusalem are moving to settlements in the regional council. Young couples and people seeking bigger apartments are coming from neighborhoods such as Pisgat Zeev, Givat Zeev, and Neve Yaakov, which are becoming haredi (ultra-orthodox), to settlements such as Anatot, Adam, Kfar Adumim, and Nili. Homes which sold for NIS 600,000 are now going for NIS 1 million, and the strongest demand is for five-room apartments."
...Dona Engineering and Construction Ltd. built apartments in Ma'aleh Adumim in the 1990s through 2006 and sold houses in Ariel in 2009-10. "We do not consider Ma'aleh Adumim, the Etzion Bloc, and Efrat as the territories, but as Jerusalem's suburbs," says Dona VP marketing Ohad Saban. "Settlements such as Ariel, Shaarei Tikva, and Elkana are suburbs of central Israel."
This is the truth about Israeli attitudes towards the settlements beyond the Green Line. AP is creating a story that has no evidence.

(h/t EK, JW)

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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