Weekly Commentary: Programs For Palestinians And Cosmetic Change in Building
Approvals - What Can Bennett Bring To D.C.
Dr. Aaron Lerner August 22, 2021
President Biden says he wants to see the lives of the Palestinians improved.
More working permits, industrial zones and streamlined transport are the
kind of things that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett can provide as headlines
for a successful meeting with President Biden which is in line with meeting
There is also a more complicated, technical matter, which could serve to
reduce friction: differentiating between the decision launching the very
long construction approval process for a given parcel of land in Judea and
Samaria and the scores of approval steps which follow.
Today a given housing unit can be included for years in announcements of the
count of "housing units approved in meeting". The idea behind this move was
that it served domestic political needs by announcing a large number while
foreign officials could be reassured that the truly relevant figure was
dramatically smaller. It didn't work. The target domestic audience was
frustrated because they understood perfectly well what was going on while
foreign leaders continued to relate to the large figures in the headlines.
Instead of having one meeting where all decisions are made, it makes sense
to have two separate meetings: one where decisions are made, for the first
time, to decide on launching the very long construction approval process for
a given parcel of land in Judea and Samaria and a second meeting where the
follow-up approvals are issued. The first meeting, in coordination with and
the cooperation of the prime minister and others, would be the headline
maker. The approvals from the "follow up meeting" would downplayed as a
technical matter for construction already approved in principle.
What about Iran????
This hinges on the fundamental assessment as to whether we can dismiss the
role that religious beliefs drive the Iranian decision making process.
If you think, as Bernard Lewis did, that the Iranians are serious about
their religious beliefs then if the Iranians get nukes they will nuke us.
If you embrace the premise (as apparently DM Gantz does) that the Iranians
aren't serious about these beliefs then the urgency of preventing Iran from
getting nukes is magnitudes less.
I sincerely hope that somehow Mr. Bennett finds a way to convince Mr. BIden
to join the Bernard Lewis camp.
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