Thursday, June 04, 2009

Courtroom Intifada

The legal arm of the Intifada, here shown with respect to Bi'lin's attempts to stop the illegal Modi'in Illit settlement and the construction of a light transportation system in East J'sem (from the nearly always excellent Al Jazeera 'People and Power' series).


At 2:45 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Interesting report. I doubt the Israeli lawyers consider themselves the legal arm of the Intifadah. That sounds more like something right-wingers would call them.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Gert said...

One of the things I thought was interesting was the make up of the Modi'in Illit settlement itself. Housing 41,000 Orthodox Jewish settlers (almost 10 % of all WB and E. J'sem settlers) it indicates that religious motivation among settlers may be higher than many secularists care to admit...

At 3:53 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

You mean right wing secularists or Israeli secularists in general? I think most secular Israelis are well-aware and freely admit that settlers are mainly religiously motivated. The majority of secular settlers, who came for the quality of life rather than religious and/or ideological reasons, have said they'd be happy to take compensation and leave as soon as possible.

The ultra-orthodox population of Modi'in Illit isn't quite representative of most settlers, though. The majority are (non-ultra) orthodox (yarmulkas rather than big hats). The orthodox are less fanatic than the ultra-orthodox on some aspects of religious life, but when it comes to politics the radicals usually come from the regular, yarmulka-wearing orthodox population.

I was surprised to learn that Modi'in Illit is the largest settlement in the W. Bank. I was certain Ariel is larger.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Gert said...

I meant secularists in general (including me).

"I think most secular Israelis are well-aware and freely admit that settlers are mainly religiously motivated."

You admit that but is it true? I used to think so but quite a few secular Zionists I know believe the opposite: that the religious are the minority (more vocal but smaller in number) and that the majority are drawn to the settlements because of financial incentives (good quality low cost housing, tailored mortgages etc) and not for religious reasons. Of course it doesn't have to 'be either or'.

The belief (rightly or wrongly) that most are 'economic migrants' could tie in with a desire to believe resettling will not be such such a big deal, as economic migrants could quite easily be incentivated away, whereas the religious might not be...

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Emmanuel said...

Even if a majority are there for religious reasons, I think only a small percentage of them would violently resist. It's one thing to move to the West Bank. It's another thing to attack soldiers and allow your kids be traumatized by being physically dragged out of their house by soldiers.

I might be wrong about most settlers being religiously motivated. According to a poll conducted by Peace Now only one fifth of settlers moved there for religious reasons. I just found an article on Peace Now's website that discusses how hard it is to determine how many settlers are economically vs religiously motivated.

By the way, according to PN's categories, the ultra-orthodox settlers of Modi'in Illit tend to be economically motivated.


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