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The profitable business of Israeli occupation

Is the settlement enterprise a diplomatic or defense necessity for Israel, or a way to make money?

On Jan. 26, it was UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's turn to provide Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with justification for his weekly lecture that “the whole world is against us” and “the Arabs want to annihilate us.” After US Ambassador Dan Shapiro played into Netanyahu’s hands by daring to criticize Israel’s settlement policy in a Jan. 18 speech, the secretary-general took his chances and decided to step on Israel’s toes. Not only did he call construction in the settlements “provocative acts,” he also drew a direct link between such activity and Palestinian terrorism. Ban stressed that he does not justify firing rockets from the Gaza  Strip or incitement against Israel, but, he said, “As oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.” Ban noted that Palestinian frustration was increasing under the yoke of half a century of occupation and paralysis of the diplomatic process.

In response, Netanyahu claimed, “The Palestinian murderers do not want to build a state — they want to destroy a state, and they say this openly. They want to murder Jews.” He further insisted, “They do not murder for peace and they do not murder for human rights.” For the sake of this article, let us assume that Netanyahu’s diagnosis is correct and that the motive of a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy in stabbing Jews was the desire to destroy the State of Israel and annihilate the Jews. If so, then what about the more than 99% of other Palestinians living under Israeli occupation? Do they also not want to build a state of their own? Do they only want to destroy the State of Israel?

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