February 12, 2012

Tax breaks for settlement expansion

I can't see how this changes much but who am I to argue with Ha'aretz?

Today - a few days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas a sign of Palestinian refusal of the peace process - the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will discuss another project showing Israel's addiction to the settlement drug.
Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin and his Likud colleague Zion Pinyan have proposed an amendment to the law governing tax breaks on contributions to foster the growth of communities. Donors will be able to deduct 35 percent of their contribution. Thus the state's tax exemption to institutions that promote public goals will be expanded to include organizations that promote the settlements.
The initiators of the legislation say the amendment has a "negligible" significance on the budget. But its political significance cannot be overstated.
The proposed amendment, like declaring the settlements a preferred development area and promoting the legalization of outposts, is a crude breach of Israel's international obligations. Ariel Sharon's government, in which Netanyahu served as finance minister, pledged in 2004 to U.S. President George W. Bush to stop allocating resources to encourage settlement in the occupied territories. This move was designed to stop creating hasty facts on the ground that would make it difficult to implement a two-state solution.
Actually the implementation of a two-state solution may have been impossible years ago but this editorial reminded me of The Jewish Chronicle's front page on Friday just gone:
The agreement between Fatah and Hamas for a Palestinian unity government, to be headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, almost certainly signals the end of the short-lived attempt to re-launch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. 
What peace talks? What two state solution. The capacity of zionists, of every hue, for self-delusion is breathtaking.

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