Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Monday, June 20, 2005

SecState Rice Visits the Middle East

Secretary of State Rice (abbreviation-speak shortens that to SecState Rice) is in the Middle East right now. She spent the weekend in Palestine and Israel negotiating part of the details on Israel's planned withdrawal from Gaza. They agreed that the Israeli army should destroy homes built by Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and Palestinians should be paid to clear the rubble after the Israeli army and settlers leave. Apparently, the middle class homes barricaded on the most fertile land in the area were deemed a waste of space by Palestinian Authority officials. They want to build multi-family homes, schools, and other buildings on the land. The Gaza Strip is one of the most over-populated areas in the world - 1.3 million Palestinians live there without adequate housing, so the fertile land being given back by Israelis should help.

The Israelis, by the way, didn't want to see "militants" taking over their former homes and Israeli politicians thought the site of Palestinians raising Palestinian flags in the abandoned homes on national television would spur the ultra-right wing.

More Info:
"Israel's Next War?" - a Frontline documentary on Israeli religious right-wing extremists* in Gaza. You can watch the program online (best viewed with a high-speed connection).

"Settlers' Homes on Gaza Strip Will Come Down, Rice Says," by Glenn Kessler and Scott Wilson in the Washington Post

"Israelis and Palestinians Agree On Demolishing Houses in Gaza," by Steven Weisman and Greg Myre in the New York Times

"Israel, Palestinians Agree That Settlers' Homes Will Be Razed: Secretary of State Rice announces the decision in Jerusalem, erasing one issue in the Gaza withdrawal. It is unclear who will foot the bill." by Ken Ellingwood and Tyler Marshall in the Los Angeles Times

*this description of the people involved in the Frontline documentary is directly from the Frontline website on the program.


  • Razing settlers' homes is wise. Homes could be poisoned or booby-trapped by departing settlers or by incoming sabateurs from Gaza, each hoping to stir up trouble. Clearing space for hi-rises is a far less cogent rationale, since mixed-mode zoning stabilizes a neighborhood.

    By Anonymous Myron Pulier, at 5:57 PM  

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