In this piece from World Magazine, Mindy Belz explains something that a lot of us don’t realize, “Many Americans are surprised to learn that private property is a near unknown in modern Israel. According to the Israel Land Authority, 93 percent of the land in Israel is in the public domain – either property of the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), or a development authority. The process of expanding housing in Jerusalem is inherently political….”
Even more so, it would seem, than in California! But this sheds a light on the whole Israel – Palestine situation that needs to be looked at more. Ultimately, as we often say at Blue Kennel, who decides how land is used decides everything. And what is this about “Jewish housing”? We haven’t done “Jewish housing” or “Christian housing” or “black housing” or “white housing” for 40 years here in America! Can you imagine? Yes, we do have housing designed for income and age brackets, but the housing is only ethnic insofar as ethnic groups may disproportionately belong to a certain age or income bracket.
Eventually every non-Jew (“Palestinian”) in Israel and Palestine will have to be given the “Galilee option” or the “Gaza” option, with no middle ground. The Galilee option is that in which the Palestinians are given full citizenship in Israel and the same property rights as Jews. It would be difficult to do that with all Palestinians without essentially compromising the nature of the Israeli state beyond recognition. The other option is the Gaza option, in which the Palestinians are given, not citizenship in Israel, but a degree of autonomy in their own territories, with the hope that, as trust is established, if it ever is, that the Palestinians will not shoot rockets at their neighbors or harbor terrorists, that the Palestinian autonomous enclaves might even be recognized as independent states. Here again, it is not an option to return to the 1967 borders and turn all the old Jordanian and Egyptian territories back to the Palestinians. Sorry for the Middle Eastern cliché, but that genie isn’t going back into the bottle. So the difference is going to have to be split. Parts of the West Bank, particularly the regions around Jerusalem, are going to have to receive the Galilee option – that is, full Israeli citizenship for all their residents, and secure property rights. The others will have to get the Gaza option, with respect for their property rights by the governments of the Palestinian enclaves. And, as Leviticus 25 assures us, each village and its associated farmland must be regarded as an indivisible unit, and any border, or for that matter “security fence” – and they will need security fences until trust is finally built – will have to respect that, and must not run between any village and its farmland.
I have to say that I appreciated this slant in a politically conservative Christian magazine like World. It’s neither the pro-Palestinian reflex common on the religious left, nor the “Israel can do no wrong in God’s eyes” attitude common among Christian Zionists and some (not all) of the religious right. Especially in regard to Israel-Palestine, voices of reason are always welcome!