It doesn’t matter how much the occupation costs

I have so many things I want to write about, and so little time. Day jobs… you gotta hate ’em.

I particularly want to write about #J14, about the escalation in the south, and a zillion other things. Inshallah I’ll find the time.

But one thing has been on my mind lately that I need to get off my chest, before I lose it: The cost of the occupation.

Every once in a while you’ll hear someone say that the occupation costs us so much money. Money that could have gone to health, education, infrastructure and whatever.

Well, the question in itself is, how to say….     stupid. For two reasons:

1) Corporate capitalism – Even if there was no occupation to fund, the money Israel would “save” would never trickle down to the middle class, to the 99%. Why? Because corporate capitalism wouldn’t let it. It would still stay on top, with all the tycoons. It would just be more for them to enjoy.

I’ve heard that the occupation cost 100 billion shekels since it began. Just recently, the Adva Institute published a report on the burden of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with similar numbers. It said that “between 1989 and 2011, the Ministry of Defense received budget increments totaling NIS 48 billion (2010 prices) earmarked for the conflict with the Palestinians”.  So, that’s just over 2billion shekels a year. A lot of money, you say? I don’t.

Why? Because what Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz did just this week is a perfect example of how corporate capitalism dwarfs those numbers. Steinitz, without any public debate on this move, decided to give tax benefits worth 20-36 billion shekels to the biggest international corporations.  Just like that. In one day. All he used was his pen to sign the order.

2) Morality – This is more important. Much more.

You see, it doesn’t matter how much the occupation costs. It doesn’t matter whether it costs 1 billion shekels a year, 10 billion a year or only 20 shekels a year.

It doesn’t matter, because it’s just wrong. You don’t calculate how much it costs to commit a crime. You just stop committing the crime, for Christ’s sake!

Asking how much the occupation costs is like a bank robber asking how much the gas cost to get to the bank.