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Druze people against Israel new town plan: Commentator

A partial view shows buildings in the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp behind the Israeli settlements. © AFP

Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Silverstein, a journalist and political commentator from Seattle, to get his take on a report saying that Israel has approved a plan to build a new Druze town.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: What do you make of this news of this Druze town which was the location of two Palestinian villages?

Silverstein: I think the plan is a sham. It was announced by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu without consultation with any Druze leaders. It was concocted with the help of a member of the Knesset who was a Druze and a member of the Likud ruling party. And he has no standing at all in the community.

As you said to your viewers, there were two Palestinian villages which were expelled during the Nakba and the Druze want no part in effect being turned into settlers to settle land that used to belong to Palestinians. And also as you said there are existing Druze villages in the north of Israel that are in dire need of renovation, infrastructure improvements, adding new buildings, do housing so population can expand and they are doing nothing to help those communities. Frankly, I do not believe this plan will ever happen but it does enable the prime minister to tell the voters that he has tried to help the Druze and made his best effort and failed and that he can blame the Druze themselves or whoever opposed to his plan.

Press TV: Do you think that another goal that Netanyahu is trying to reach over here by approving a plan to build a town for the Druze on Palestinian land is to get wider support in recognition for Israel’s right as he claims to Palestinian land?

Silverstein: I do think that it is an attempt for Bibi Netanyahu to be able to go to the world and say you know, ‘Do not blame us for hitting Palestinians and hitting our minority population, that look at here what I am doing. I am trying to help them. I am trying to modernize them.’ If you look at the language of the announcement from the prime minister it is dripping with colonial noblesse oblige, he talks about you know modernizing the Druze and bringing them into modern world and what the Druze do not need to be urbanized, which is what this plan would do; they need their existing villages and their way of life needs to be strengthened in the places where they are currently existing, this plan will not do that at all. 


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