## Saturday, March 13, 2010

### Ramat Shlomo: is construction a sin?

My orthodox Jewish fans decided to build a new nice neighborhood called "Radical Motl Lubosh Lumo", or "Ramat Shlomo" for short, in Northeast Jerusalem. ;-) A local authority has approved the construction of 1,600 new homes exactly when Joe Biden was on his visit to Israel.

That's how democracy works: local authorities can approve such things regardless of some big cheeses (from another country).

East Jerusalem

And the politicians in Obamaland and elsewhere seem to be upset. WTF?

Israel has considered the whole city of Jerusalem as its proper capital for many decades. More importantly, the place de facto belongs to it because it has captured all these territories during the six-day war in June 1967, more than 40 years ago. That's a very long time ago. Most people who live today were not yet born.

In the distant past, many Jews used to live there. Later, there were only Arabs everywhere. But since the 20th century, we returned to the state of a compromise in which the Jews own a tiny fraction of the Middle East again. Is that really so difficult to adapt to this 21st century situation which no longer implies that the Middle East is a purely Arab (and Persian) land?

People who are not familiar with the local situation may distinguish the political status of West and East Jerusalem but it is simply a matter of fact that those who matter don't distinguish it. The boundary between them is a meaningless bureaucratic sleight of hand, a fantasy of the United Nations and the people who want to deny the world as it is.

Jerusalem can't become an Arab city without de facto declaring a bloody war to Israel - something that the Palestinians could surely not afford by themselves - because the status quo does assign Jerusalem to Israel. The idea that the Israelis will or should peacefully surrender their rights in that city is preposterous.

I think that the critical approach is very unconstructive. The other, anti-Israel side prefers to destroy houses while Israel is building them. No one ever criticizes them. The Middle East is spread over something like 10 million squared kilometers and not much is being built on most of it. That's OK.

But when a civilized country of Israel, with its 20 thousand squared kilometers - a quarter of a percent of the Middle East - dares to plan a construction of new houses in a region that covers a few squared kilometers on the Eastern side of their holy city, that's a big problem, isn't it?

You know, construction of houses is one of the most natural signs of peace on a given territory. If there's no construction at explosive places, it just means that people think that the buildings wouldn't survive. So it's a very good thing that they plan to build things.

What the Palestinians (and others) should be doing is to be building, too. At whatever place they can - and they have many of them. They shouldn't jealously attack someone whose life is much more productive than theirs has ever been. They should do something about their huge unemployment and think positively instead of thinking how to use their excess time to hurt others.

More generally, this terror against Israel, trying to squeeze it from those insanely small 20,000 squared kilometers into something even more microscopic, while leaving millions of squared kilometers to the Arabs, must stop. I doubt that it will stop under the current, largely anti-Israel U.S. administration.

But Israel should do enough to stop it despite the deteriorated political atmosphere surrounding the White House. It is probably sensible for them to apologize to cool some weird passions but they must be careful not to become obedient slaves according to their acts again, much like they used to be in Germany of the 1930s. It is a country of an important nation - a key nation for the current civilization - that surely deserves to possess some territory and that shouldn't be harassed because of the construction of innocent peaceful houses in its broader capital that it has legitimately won in the six-day war many decades ago.

The people who actually live in Jerusalem today (and since 1967) have the right to decide about themselves - and their houses - without the permission of the likes of Hillary Clinton. Suggesting anything else is deeply insulting to their nation, to their sovereignty, and to the principles of democracy.

And that's the memo.

1. You forgot the cost of continuing conflict in this region and who will have to bear the ultimate burden. It's not just the people who live in a single local authority. The people in both Israel and Palestine continue to suffer and new recruits continue to join the radicals aiming to spread the suffering as wide as possible.

Unfortunately, that's modern democracy. It's not as simple as a problem in physics or string theory. Please don't let your ego get in the way of sense.

2. Dear Frank,

I haven't forgotten about anything. I just didn't discuss any costs. I discussed the moral values.

The conflict will continue as long as various people will fight against peaceful acts such as the construction of houses at places that according to any operationally testable criterion belongs to Israel.

I have no doubts that the Israel-Palestine tension is more messy than string theory. After all, string theory is the most beautiful intellectual structure among all. However, I would almost certainly disagree that string theory is "simpler" than questions about the Middle East.

After all, there are roughly 2,000 people in the world who can realistically do research on string theory but billions of people who have strong opinions about the Middle East politics. It does say something about the comparison of complexities of these two questions. Please don't let your jealousy obscure this obvious point.

Cheers
Lubos

3. Lumo,

Dear Lumo

Thanks for taking the time to write to me. I know you are very busy. If fact, I don't know how you get the time to maintain your blog, which I read and enjoy every day.

Cheers

4. You can't be more wrong Israel does not belong to the jew at all, the ancestors of those jews never live in Israel 2000 years ago. Judaism is a religion not people.

The actual jews are ancester of the Khazar and Berber the bible is not an history book and war give no right. The war was illegal and don.t any right of occupation.

Most of the hebrews convert to muslim

The jews have no right on this land.

Those facts was buried by zionist historian but uncover by an israeli historian Shlomo Sand.

5. Dear Dominsou,

given the detailed "genetic" rules defining the "Jews", it is unlikely that the contemporary Jews don't overlap with the old ones.

But even if they did not, I don't understand why you think that the right to possess the old country should only belong to the people defined genetically.

It also depends to the people defined by their religions and cultures, and to the cultures themselves. So when I am talking about Jews, I partly mean the genetic definition, partly the religious one. Both of them have a right to that country built upon some ancient history.

More importantly, both "present genetic Jews" and the "religious Jews" have been in charge of the territory of Israel for 60+ years by now and you may finally want to take notice.

Cheers
Lubos

6. The jews are in charge of the land after zionist Lord Rothschild buy it, but they have no right on this land at all.

The old testament does not give any right on this land to the jew.

The numerous who lived there war brutally deported and the small piece of land they is taken piece by piece by the israeli. What they are doin is a sin, because they are taken home wich belong to other people by force