Weather You Like it or Not: AccuWeather.com Creates a Palestinian State
by Gidon Ben-Zvi
It must be a surreal experience to go to sleep in one country and wake up in another – without leaving your bed, mind you.
Yet, this is precisely what happened to the citizens of Modi’in Maccabim-Re’ut, specifically those who may have recently logged on to the AccuWeather.com website (please see left.)
It turns out, much to the amazement of most of its residents, that Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut is now part of Palestine. Were we asleep at the wheel when the Palestinian Authority pitched its flag over the approximately 75,000 inhabitants currently living in Modi’in Maccabim-Re’ut and lowered Israel’s?
What we appear to have here is a failure to separate fact from narrative. And it’s the Palestinian narrative, a manufactured self-image nurtured since Israel’s founding, that has been picked up, processed and regurgitated as immutable history.
Sadly for those in the throes of delusions about a capital-free Israel, however, history tends to leave fingerprints.
Modiin itself is completely within Israel’s pre-67 boundaries. Parts of Maccabeam and Reut, which were joined to the Modiin municipality several years ago, are over the Green Line, but are located in what was no-man’s land. The city was henceforth known as Modi’in Maccabim-Re’ut.
Now, this is all well and good but doesn’t directly address the central question: whose city is it? Well, a city by definition is a series of complex systems for sanitation, utilities, land usage, housing and transportation. Furthermore, a city’s concentration of development greatly facilitates interaction between people and businesses, benefiting both parties in the process.
Regarding “occupied” Modi’in, it was little more than a pit stop between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv until the decision to was made by the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to break ground on a brand new city, located on the ancient site that was the Jewish Hasmonean seat of power when it ruled Judea in the 1st and 2nd centuries BCE and where the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Greeks started.
Back to our time, it has been Israeli tax payers, not the European Union and not the United States, who have largely financed the flowering of Modi’in. And the results have been staggering: an employment zone extending over 1,300,000 square meters, central railway station and accessibility to public transportation that enables residents to travel to their jobs throughout the center and south of Israel are but three accomplishments that are a source of much civic pride. Modi’in residents enjoy an usually high quality of life and the city continues to develop at a dizzying rate.
In the meantime, the financial problems of real Palestinian cities, that is to say those under the administrative control of the Palestinian Authority, continue to grow. Outside of Ramallah, government spending and living on credit at all levels of Palestinian society is rampant and may prove to be the economy’s undoing.
While aid for the donor-dependent Palestinian Authority has slowed to a trickle, salaries for a swollen public sector again cannot even be paid in full. The productive base for the economy is shriveling while unemployment climbs along with poverty.
And foreign aid continues to wane partly because of global economic conditions and partly in a backlash to the Palestinians’ abortive bid for statehood at the United Nations last fall.
Around these parts, one man’s suburb is another man’s settlement. Ultimately, the final status of the disputed territories is best left for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to iron out. However, it is worth noting that over two-thirds of the Jews in the West Bank live in five settlement blocs that are all near the 1967 border. Most observers believe that these blocs will become part of Israel when final borders are drawn.
While the mystique of objective news coverage has long since faded, the battle of competing worldviews has evidently spilled over into the field of meteorology. After all, if Modi’in is in Palestine, who’s to say whether London is the capital of Northern Ireland, Tibet is a part of the People’s Republic of China or if Northern Cyprus even exists?
AccuWeather.com would be well advised to spend more time on the dazzling Northern Lights and less on remapping Israel. By politicizing the weather, the website’s own forecast can be summed up as: partly misleading with chance of torrential bias.