We live well  despite the nonsense the comes from those who think of themselves as the worthies of the world, as well as our neighbors, and occasional waves of violence.

 
It's the Jewish condition, carried over along with the strength of Israel and its capacity to protect us from the worst of it.
 
The latest glob of intellectual sh*t to reach my mailbox comes from a friend who sent a piece headlined "Israel aims new Nakba-style weapon at Arab citizens" It appears in an internet journal called +972, which is Israel's international telephone prefix. +972 describes itself as 
 
" a blog-based web magazine that is jointly owned by a group of journalists, bloggers and photographers whose goal is to provide fresh, original, on-the-ground reporting and analysis of events in Israel and Palestine. Our collective is committed to human rights and freedom of information, and we oppose the occupation."
 
The essence of the item received is that Israel is breaking norms and laws by imposing housing regulations on Arabs, and destroying houses that violate them.
 
The reality is that Israeli officials ponder long, and usually avoid waking the sleeping dogs by enforcing housing regulations meant to provide for limited land use, orderly and safe construction with appropriate room for roads, utility connections, and other public needs. The rules are routinely imposed to limit construction in the cities and towns largely populated by Jews, and end up requiring most new construction to be high-rise and congested.
 
The hot potato for Israeli administrators is the spread of Bedouin low rise, self-built shacks and cement block homes in the Negev, and the helter skelter construction in Arab neighborhoods and towns, with limited concern for roads, parking, and parks.
 
The issue is not all one-sided. Arabs have a point that Israeli officials have been lax in providing for their neighborhoods and towns the overall planning that allows the routine granting of building permits, official inspections, and approvals of what has been built. 
 
It's easier to avoid confrontation with Arab activists who oppose everything Israeli. So officials let Arabs do what they want, overlook the problems that Arabs cause for themselves, and intervene only in extreme cases.
 
Those who suffer are Arabs, and Jews who may lose their way in the streets of an Arab village, or object to the aesthetics of Bedouin settlements, and pity Bedouin who live in settlements without electricity, running water, or nearby schools.
 
Much of Israel is on or close to one of the world's geological faults, i.e., the Syrian-African rift. There's a history of major earthquakes with serious damage and casualties. The next, whenever it occurs, is likely to produce piles of rubble from what had been Arab homes built by their inhabitants without reference to construction codes.
 
One has to admit that implementation is imperfect within the Jewish sector, but not to the extant as within the Arab sector. Some of the most prominent cases of corruption, and the incarceration of a former Prime Minister and other elites, reflected construction allowed to depart from the rules, which had been permitted to developers in exchange for envelopes of cash.
 
Israel is not alone in failing to enforce all that it enacts. A landmark work by American political scientists concluded that a small percentage of what is legislated is implemented as intended.
 
Implementation is likely to be an issue following President Trump's spectacular visit. It generated great expectations, but an equivalent weight of doubts.
 
The material disseminated by US officials in advance of President Trump's trip included maps of Israel unchanged from before the 1967 war.
 
Perhaps we should be pleased that they are not the maps from before the 1948 war.
 
There was also the assertion that Israel has no recognized claim to the Western Wall.
 
There are many who would applaud. Some would see these statements as reasons to desist from any effort to impeach the man in charge. 
 
Chances are that Israeli Jews will survive these latest plops on our table from those who consider themselves right thinking and superior. We'll continue getting on with Israeli Arabs at least as well as our western friends get on with their minorities and Muslim migrants. 
 
Arabs and their friends have been chanting injustice since the 1920s. Palestinian demands against Britain for the Balfour Declaration represent how mired they are in the past. Still relevant is Abba Eban's epic comment about never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
 
In advance of Trump's visit to the region, an Arab source reported that a deal was made, by which bi-lateral discussions would begin, Israel would not freeze building over the 1967 lines, but it would not build too much, and the US would take part in the discussions and guarantee whatever is decided. 
 
Given the dynamics of Palestinian politics, that may be true, or Abbas will stop short of agreeing to any concessions, or the story is a fabrication meant to undercut whatever Abbas intends. 
 
An uptick of Palestinian and feisty statements by Palestinian politicians during Trump's visit do not bode well for Palestinian flexibility.
 
Israelis media provided excessively detailed coverage of the presidential visit, along with his hopeful and supportive comments and fulsome praise of him by Israeli officials. 
 
The right wing praised Trump's condemnation of Iran, and the left paid attention to his comments on a peace process with Palestinians.
 
It was appropriate to guard one's optimism at least as heavily as was the President.
 
It doesn't help the prognosis that both Trump and Netanyahu are under investigation at home. It isn't wise to bet more than a nickel on the political future of either.
 
And the ostensible President of Palestine remains in office eight and one half years after the expiration of his term. He's 82 years old, and Palestinian polls show him with about as much support as Trump gets from American polls.
 
The whole process could be labeled comic opera if it wasn't for the occasional deaths associated with it.
 
Whatever occurs on the Palestinian front, Israel now deals with countries that once attacked it. Yet it remains part of the Jewish condition that Muslim realities require officials of those countries to curse us while accepting our assistance.
 
We should expect tragedies from the daily occurrence of individual attacks and waves of greater violence that erupt from time to time. Since 1973, however, the casualties have been less that those associated with road accidents. And on that matter, Israel scores about in the middle of western democracies. Visitors may think our drivers mad. However, there is less alcohol on our roads than elsewhere in the west, and  we're safer than many even though it may not appear so.
 
Other social indicators are decent when compared with the better countries of the world.
 
But we're Jews, and pay the cost of being expected to be better than any, and damned for our shortfalls, by those whose realities are less attractive than our's.
 
Comments welcome
 
-- 
Ira Sharkansky (Emeritus)
Department of Political Science
Hebrew University of Jerusalem


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