In other blogs, I have written about the dangerous fallacy of ‘land for peace.’ The Israeli government has now taken this to a more unbelievable step. Later this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu will be traveling to Moscow, to plead that Russia not sell missiles to Syria or nuclear technology to Iran. To establish a positive climate for the talks, the Israeli government announced yesterday that a piece of land in the heart of Jerusalem would be vacated and turned over to Russia. Sergey’s Courtyard, built by Czar Alexander II (and named for his son Count Sergey), is part of the 68 dunam, so-called ‘Russian compound’ in central Jerusalem.
In 1964, Israel purchased the Russian compound for $3.5 million dollars worth of oranges, but Sergey’s compound was not included in the purchase because it did not belong to Russia; it had been privately owned by Count Sergey–yet it remained unclaimed after the Count died childless. Israeli law states that after 15 years, unclaimed property reverts to the state–and thus did Sergey’s compound. PM Ehud Olmert decided to give the property to Russia–which had never owned it!– as a goodwill gesture in 2009; this is the same Olmert who was ready to give most of Jerusalem to the Palestinians and place the Temple Mount under the administration of international countries including Saudi Arabia.
However, Sergey’s Compound was never vacated. Now it has been. Land for good will: how ridiculous–and guess what Bibi? While you are talking with Putin, why don’t you ask him about the Russian missiles Syria already has, and the nuclear technology Russia has already provided to Iran.