occupation watch I

Usually, revelations are obvious in hindsight. Perhaps the only ones for which this wasn't so, were those brought to us by Prophets.

The humble revelation that I have just experienced is certainly the former, not the latter - the single root reason that people disagree on the Israeili-Palestinian conflict. That is, the answer to the question: are the Palestinians an oppressed people?

By simple application of logic to those facts which are NOT in dispute, in the context of how you answer, you can explain the true depth of disagreement on every single aspect. Like most people I do have my opinion of the answer, but unlike most people I have made a concerted effort to find out as much information as possible. The best hope that we all have for understanding and shared resolve (even if disagreement remains) is to increase the number of facts that are not in dispute, therefore. As a result, I am going to start a new series called Occupation Watch. Granted the title betrays my current bias, but as my blog is my witness, I think I am reasonably open to having my mind changed. I wont make any overt attempt to post material that contradicts my view, but if I find any (which is very rare) I will certainly try. And i encourage others to leave comments for suggested examples as well - both pro and anti occupation exists. The only editorial criterion is that it must be a straight news report, factual report of events, not editorials or analyses. Good sources are the BBC, Ha'aretz, the Jerusalem Post, and CNN. The story will be posted, and we can all analyse the story in eth coments. I will leave the actual blog posts free of commentary.

My first entry is this pair of news stories from Ha'aretz - first, Interior Ministry demolishes Bedouin mosque in Negev:

Interior Ministry inspectors Wednesday demolished a mosque in an unrecognized Negev Bedouin village, a step condemned by Arab legislator Talab A Sana (United Arab List) as "a red line crossed� this is very severe and dangerous, and could lead to a public uprising."

Residents of the unrecognized village of Til al Malah built the mosque six months ago with NIS 100,000 of their own money, having nowhere else to pray. Because the village is unrecognized by state authorities, no construction is allowed in it, and the building was declared illegal.

and second, Peace Now: NIS 2.2 billion went to settlements in 2001

Some NIS 2.2 billion of state funds were transferred to West Bank settlements in 2001, according to a Peace Now study.

The study was conducted by economist Dror Tsaban, formerly a budget official and assistant director general in the Finance Ministry. It is based on a partial estimate of the allocations of various cabinet ministries to the settlements.

The estimate does not include the security budget, the Education Ministry budget and allocations to state supported bodies and institutions.

The study shows that the "surplus allocations" for settlers out of the NIS 2.2 billion basket is NIS 1.76 billion a year. "Surplus allocations" are defined as investment in infrastructure - which Peace Now says is redundant - surplus caused by per capita budget which is higher than the average per capita allocation in Israel, and benefits given settlements which are defined as areas of national priority (mainly income tax exemptions).

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