Haaretz, Feb. 5, 2017



Israel’s high home prices aren’t due to the failure of well-intentioned efforts. The endless traffic jams are not the result of random events. They are part of a political master plan to attract more and more Israelis to move eastward, to increase their number to the point where it will no longer be possible to evacuate them and the two-state solution will die a natural death.

[...] They accomplished the former goal through the national budget. They offered land in the territories at no cost, regardless of demand and the tremendous expense of building on the rocky, hilly ground. They also saw to it that building permits in the territories would be issued lightning-fast, in stark contrast to the norm within the Green Line. They also gave settlers tax breaks and other economic benefits, turning Judea into a welfare state.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Green Line, it was the complete opposite. The Israel Lands Administration consistently failed to meet the demand for land zoned for residential construction, causing an ongoing increase in home prices. The agency was always headed by right-wing cabinet ministers, who took care to maintain this discriminatory policy. At the same time, they made no serious efforts to reduce the bureaucracy, because the bureaucracy serves their objectives: It causes construction delays and increases expenses, adding to housing costs [....]

So no one should be surprised that Netanyahu, Lieberman and Katz are moving to accelerate construction and improve transportation — in the territories.