This first item is a couple of weeks old but it ties in to today’s news, and in any event is so outrageous that it needs a post of its own.
It starts with a house in Hevron which was bought by a group of Israelis (I’ll call them settlers for the sake of ease of understanding, although I hate that term). The house is near Me’arat HaMachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs) and so was named Bet Hamachpela. The settlers moved in and all hell broke loose. You can imagine the rest: the condemnations of the left, the defense of the settlers by the right, the demands to expel the house’s residents etc.
In the end, despite both sides thinking that an agreement had been reached to defer the expulsion until the legality of the sale could be considered, the Minister of unDefence, the weaselly Ehud Barak, went ahead and expelled the residents almost on the eve of Pesach, claiming that the sale was invalid.
If that is the case, can he explain why Muhammad Abu Shahala, the Arab seller of the house has been sentenced to death by the Palestinian Authority for having the temerity to sell his property to Jews?
If the sale never took place the Palestinians would never execute one of their own. And if the sale indeed took place, triggering the death sentence from those oh-so-moderate Palestinians, then the sale was legal and the settlers have every right to remain in the house and claim their legal title.
The unDefence Minister can’t have it both ways. OK, let me rephrase that. He SHOULDN’T be able to have it both ways but it seems that in the undemocratic State of Israel in the 21st Century he can indeed.
Today we are going to see a similar battle played out with the looming threat of expulsion of residents and demolition of the Ulpana neighbourhood in Bet El.
The trouble arises once again from the death sentence that is applied by the oh-so-moderate Palestinian Authority (as opposed to the extremist Hamas) to any Arab who sells land or property to Jews. After selling the property and receiving the money, they then claim they “We wuz robbed!”, thereby triggering an automatic expulsion order from Israel’s undemocratic unDefence Minister. This also puts PM Netanyahu into an almost impossible position, catching him between a rock and a hard place between the settlers and their supporters in the Knesset and Coalition, and the unDefence Minister Barak and his supporters in the coalition.
From the first link:
Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) warned on Saturday that the coalition would fall apart if the government made good on its pledge to demolish 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost, adjacent to the Beit El settlement, at the end of the month.
“The neighborhood may not be removed,” Ya’alon said at a lecture in Beersheba.
“Totally normal people live there, and then suddenly they’re facing complaints because a Palestinian claims the land is his.
“If the Ulpana neighborhood is evacuated, the coalition will break apart,” the minister added.
Danon said that “only a left-wing government would evacuate this neighborhood. The Likud is facing a test it cannot fail.”
According to Danon, the threat to demolish homes in Beit El crosses a red line for pro-settlement Likud members, and will not be tolerated.
On Friday, Yisrael Katz called on the government to amend it policy of removing unauthorized homes constructed, like those in Ulpana, on private Palestinian property.
When the government set that policy, it did not fully understand the implications, he said.
Residents of Beit El told Katz that the land was purchased from its Palestinian owners more than a decade ago, but that the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria had warned the buyers against registering it because it would endanger the lives of the Palestinian sellers. The Palestinian Authority imposes a death sentence on Palestinians who sell property to Jews.
Although the state gave the Ulpana residents grants and banks issued them mortgages to build their homes, the state continues to classify the property as belonging to private Palestinians.
With the help of Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, the Palestinian claimants turned to the High Court of Justice. The state subsequently promised the court it would remove the homes by the end of the month.
Although the prime minister has said that he is seeking a solution that will allow the homes to remain, the state has yet to come up with a proposal or to turn to the court to ask for an extension.
A number of Likud ministers, including Katz and Ya’alon, have lashed out at Defense Minister Ehud Barak and accused him of wanting to move against Ulpana for political gain.
Ya’alon said that Barak has “a different political agenda than the government. Unfortunately, [his ministry] is responsible for settlements in Judea and Samaria.”
According to Ya’alon, the defense minister has used unnecessary force to evacuate settlers, to “make sure the Left understands who its leader is,” and so that Barak’s Independence party will pass the 2 percent threshold to make it into the Knesset in the next election.
Barak’s office responded to Ya’alon’s barbs on Saturday night, saying that the vice premier has a serious case of “Feiglinism,” a reference to Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit.
“Feiglinism is not good for the country, its security, its future, or the public in general,” Barak quipped. “I hope, for the public’s sake, that Feiglinism is not contagious.”
And I hope that it is. (Israel Matzav has a good post on this and also on the definition of Feiglinism). I also hope that Netanyahu will finally exercise his prerogative and fire his Undefence Minster who is causing so much damage to the citizens of the State of Israel.
A good start for Netanyahu and his government, not to mention the unDefence Minsiter, would be to bring to the world’s attention the antisemitic nature of the Palestinian Authority’s automatic death sentence to anyone selling land to Jews. Such a law would not be acceptable anywhere in the civilized world. Why does Israel not combat it in international forums and the press?