Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner gets it right again, this time correctly arguing that, in exchange for forcing some 8,000 settlers out of their homes, the Israeli government should at least be showering them with financial compensation, even if it seems unfair:
Give the settlers the benefit of the doubt. And with so much doubt, that's a lot of benefit. Give them $300,000 or so per family, enough to buy houses in the country like they've got now.
Is that unfair? Unfair to whom - to the Israelis who didn't become settlers and instead had to work and save and hit up their parents and use their inheritance to buy their country homes? They'll survive the indignity.
Would it be too generous to the settlers? Let's see: We're pushing them out of their homes, out of their surroundings, in many cases out of their jobs. We're uprooting their lives, often when they're in middle age. We're forcing their children to give up their friends, their schools, everything they know.
He is particularly angered by the claim that Israel can't afford to offer more; the difference, says Derfner, would cost the Israeli taxpayer only $50 per person, "a token gesture to share the burden".
Derfner may be missing the real issue here. A tax of $50 per person to compensate 8,000 evacuees would indeed be bearable. Presumably, though, the government fears the precedent.
The process that starts today with the evacuation of 8,000 residents, mostly from Gaza, will inevitably continue in due course with the evacuation of at least 80,000 from remote areas of Judea and Samaria, and possibly up to 160,000, encompassing everyone outside the large settlement blocs. That $50 tax could quickly become $500 or $1000 - totalling $5000 for a family of five. Is that a burden he'd be eager to share?
The "Israel can't afford it" claim is the surest evidence that the current disengagement plan is only meant to be phase one of a process of unilateral destruction of the bulk of the settlement enterprise. Let no one on the right have any illusions.