The United States pushed itself into the nitty-gritty of Israeli domestic procedures Wednesday by sending a United States embassy official to Supreme Court hearing on a Peace Now petition to destroy the Givat Assaf outpost in northern Samaria
Peace Now was thrilled at the unprecedented involvement in Israel’s domestic affair’s while nationalists were aghast at the implied pressure on Israel judges to approve the Peace Now appeal.
The United States considers a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria an international issue, but to actually attend a local court hearing, especially one initiated by the Peace Now organization, is implicit support for the leftwing group and could affect the court’s verdict.
It is clear that the embassy official, Andrew Schut, was not on an exercise in civics 101.
His appearance at the hearing, although he did not make any comments, comes three weeks after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry personally called Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, to complain about Israel’s recent decision to consider recognizing four Jewish communities in Samaria instead of destroying them.
The United States justifies its interference in anything concerning the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria.
How far can the American government plant delegates in Israel’s system to force its own policies on Israel?
Perhaps next week the Obama administration will send a representative to sit on a Knesset committee discussing Judea and Samaria.
The latest chutzpah is an escalation of a policy that is aimed at removing Jews from Judea and Samaria and areas of Jerusalem where the Palestinian Authority wants sovereignty.
It started out in a much more subtle form.
Twenty years ago, when I was in charge of security in the community where I live in the southern Hevron Hills, an elderly couple – immigrants from South Africa who converted to Judaism at a relatively late age in life – moved a small housing unit to a deserted and barren hill across from the community where I live.
That was around 1993, after the Reagan administration backed the Madrid Conference that developed into what has been misnamed as the peace process.
One evening, I received a phone call from the U.S. Embassy.
“Hi, there,” said the friendly voice. After exchanging a few pleasantries that I started my journalism career not far from his home town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, he said, “Our satellite noticed that one of those ‘caravans’ on the hill, referring to a small three-room and pre-fab trailer home without wheels.
“I was just wondering where they get their water en electricity,” continued the good ‘ol boy from down south. “Do y’all provide them with that? he asked.
I usually am not at a loss for words, but I was flabbergasted that the U.S. Embassy would call me – at night, no less – about a lonely hill. I eventually sputtered out that I did not have much information for him.
If the American people, even the leftists, knew how deeply their government is involved into building up an Arab-only presence in Judea and Samaria and “eastern Jerusalem, they would be screaming their lungs out.
Around three years ago, when I was writing for Arutz Sheva, a Jewish Press blogger, whose name I will keep anonymous, called me up one day with a shocking story.
She had bought some old file cabinets from the U.S. Embassy in an auction. When she brought them home, she found some of the drawers were filled to the gills with documents and letters from the U.S. Information Agency that exposed the American government’s attempts to undermine a Jewish presence and to help the Palestinian Authority create a “Palestinian” culture.
Given the history of the State Department’s disgust for Jews living where the administration wants Arabs, and only Arabs, to live, Schut’s appearance at a Supreme Court is not surprising.
Peace Now chairman Yariv Oppenheimer was ecstatic.
He explicitly stated that he understood Schut’s presence at the hearing as a silent but clear statement to warn Israel to think twice before recognizing the outposts in question.
And although the word ”outpost” conjures up a few wild-eyed radicals living in a circle of wagons, Givat Assaf is a community of more than 20 families working and living like every other normal person in the world. They live on land that was purchased from Arabs, but like all such purchases, Peace Now insists that the Arab sale was a forgery.
A U.S. embassy spokesman dismissed Schut’s appearance as being out of the ordinary, but Oppenheimer said he does not recall any American official having attending a court hearing on a petition to destroy an outpost.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel protested “the very presence of a diplomat in a legal debate about internal matters of the State of Israel.
“I think there is unhealthy and inappropriate intervention here on the part of the United States,” Nachi Eyal, the Legal Forum’s director, told The Times of Israel. ”What do the Americans want there? Do they want the judges to see that [the Americans] are there to oversee them?”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is not hiding his cards. He is doing everything he can to keep the Arabs and Jews apart by trying to force to meet on his terms.
He was in Jordan on Wednesday and will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday less than a month after his call to Oren, which was a highly undiplomatic act. Messages of disapproval of a foreign country’s tactical step are almost always delivered by lower-ranking officials.
So tell me, Mr. Kerry, “I am just wondering what are y’all doing here, trying to boot me out of my house in the Hevron Hills, while the rest of the world is burning?”
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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