Modi’in Diarist: Barely Legal

Modi’in, Israel

Earlier this week my wife and I moved house. I’m happy to report that we didn’t go over the box limit and that the Israeli movers managed – defying the very laws of physics it seemed – to fit 30 boxes, a fridge and a washing machine in a truck which seemed built for half that cargo. Izzy the cat is now settling down and getting used to his new flat, enjoying the view out of our window looking west towards Tel Aviv, his city of birth.

However, there was one more drama: the fear that our change of abode would affect our national, and indeed moral, status as Israelis.

You see, a few days before our move it was being reported that the municipality of Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut appeared on the European Union’s newly published list of “settlements“,  exports from which will not be listed as ‘made in Israel’ and thus not  eligible for tax breaks when imported to EU countries.

However, Modi’in proper – where we now live – is fully within Israel; west of the ‘Green Line’.  Parts of Maccabim and Reut, which were joined to the Modi’in municipality several years ago, are over the ‘Green Line’, but are located in what was no-man’s land. (The no-man’s land refers to the strip of land between Israel and the West Bank, about 1 to 3 kilometers wide, which was deliberately not allocated to either side after the 1948 War of Independence.) The city was henceforth known as Modi’in Maccabim-Re’ut.

Indeed, the European Union issued a statement a couple of days later clarifying that it did not place the entire Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut municipality on a list it compiled of settlements, but rather only three zip code areas in the community that just beyond the ‘Green Line’.

Map courtesy of Israellycool: Yellow line defines Reut, the orange one defines Maccabim, while the rest is Modi’in proper, where I live. You also see the two 1949 lines in red (between which is “no man’s land”, and the separation barrier, in white, built unopposed along the eastern line

So it looks like my wife and I, in the eyes of the EU, are legal – albeit barely.

It’s a shame though, because I would have really enjoyed becoming a Guardian Left cliché: a hardline, radical, gun-toting, violent, illegal settler – a living, breathing obstacle to peace.

However, yesterday I discovered  that the status of my new neighborhood is still in doubt.

Upon changing my location, on the weather app on my smartphone, from Jerusalem to Modi’in, I was informed of an entirely new national identity.

I wonder, when my wife and I have children, if our kids will be granted Palestinian citizenship or, better yet, UNRWA benefits!

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