Playwright Sobol: Settlements are like ticks on a dog

During a Peace Now flight, writer compares settlements to metastasized tumors.

311_settlement (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Renowned Israeli playwright Yehoshua Sobol compared settlements to “ticks” on Monday, during a Peace Now flight over the West Bank designed to educate the passengers about the dangers of Jewish growth there.
Sobol told Army Radio he saw from the air how settlements were stuck right next to their Palestinian counterparts in a way that looked “like a dog and his ticks.”
He said he felt as if he had undergone an MRI that had shown how the tumors had metastasized and spread everywhere.
Sobol was among some 50 passengers, including a few MKs and many journalists, who took off from Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv at noon in a small passenger plane to see firsthand what settlement growth looked like from the air.
It’s the first time that Peace Now has organized a West Bank flight for passengers since 2004.
“Our objective was to show reality as it is from a bird’s eye view,” Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer said.
The idea for the flight was inspired by a bus tour his organization organized a few months ago for activists who had not been to the West Bank in a long time, Oppenheimer said.
“They were shocked by the amount of building that had gone on since they were last in the area,” he said.
Peace Now wanted to show that because of such construction, a two-state solution was less likely and that increasingly it seemed that facts on the ground were making a binational state inevitable.
Hagit Ofran, who heads Peace Now’s Settlement Watch team, said that once the moratorium on new settlement construction expired next week it was likely that work could begin on around 2,000 housing units that had been frozen for the past 10 months. She noted that, in accordance with the terms of the moratorium, work had continued on apartment that were already in the midst of construction when the freeze started on November 26, 2009.
Ofran added that 11,000 additional units needed only the approval of their municipal, regional and local offices.
According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, an average of 2,000 settlement apartments are completed every year.
Already, she said, around 300,000 Jews live in the West Bank.
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) told The Jerusalem Post that the same view that discouraged Peace Now, inspired him.
“It is an excellent antidepressant medication to take part in a Peace Now tour,” Eldad said. “Not only has the building not stopped, it has been enhanced tremendously.
“It is always nice to hear the Left in Israel say that the situation [settlement construction] is almost irreversible.
I try to convince them that it is already irreversible and within five years there could be 500,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria. This is an achievable goal,” he said.
With respect to Sobol’s statements to the media, Eldad said that his words were “disgusting” and evidence of some form of “mental disturbance.”
Eldad added, “I think that Sobol wrote too much about the Holocaust and was deeply influenced by Nazi vocabulary. In his anger, when he saw the blossoming Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria he used terms and words that were used only by Germans against the Jews.”
Germans would describe Jews as a cancer on the body of Europe, Eldad added.
“The only thing I can wish him is that he will long enough to see a million Jews in Judea and Samaria,” Eldad said.