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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘AG’

Jerusalem Mayor to AG: If You Demolish Amona, Arab Homes Will Follow

Monday, November 7th, 2016

While the Supreme Court is debating a request from the Netanyahu cabinet to postpone the demolition of the Amona community in Samaria by seven months, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has just upped the ante on the same debate, informing AG Avichai Mandelblit that a ruling in favor of the anonymous Arab claimants in Amona would have devastating consequences for some Arab residents of Jerusalem.

According to a Channel 2 News report Sunday, Barkat sent a letter to the AG warning that the Amona ruling would create a precedence by which the sovereign power is compelled to act to prevent the theft of private land and its subsequent settlement. Barkat warned that this precedence would inevitably force his municipality to evict Arab residents from their illegal dwellings in eastern Jerusalem.

“It has been brought to my attention recently that in my city of Jerusalem there are cases which are similar in principle, whereby Arab settlement has been established on Jewish owned land in the eastern part of the city,” Barkat wrote, adding that “there are also city- and government-owned lands which have been settled by Arabs.” Presumably, the mayor refers to lands usurped by the Jordanian government after 1949.

The Mayor assured the AG that he was not eager to settle those open accounts just yet. “As you well know, the city of Jerusalem is complex religiously, nationally and judicially. As a rule I have so far directed various city components to act extra carefully and to seek consistent settlements of such land disputes to the benefit of the public at large, as much as possible. Therefore I hereby request your opinion regarding the ramifications of the Supreme Court ruling and its implementation by the Israeli government on the Jerusalem municipality, especially in the cases which I have described, which we are currently investigating in eastern Jerusalem.”

Should the AG walk into this obvious trap, anything he may say in favor of letting Jerusalem Arabs stay on their stolen Jewish land may be used against him in the high court of law.

JNi.Media

Right Won’t Budge as AG Rejects ‘Softer’ Regulations Act

Friday, November 4th, 2016

The Regulation Act, aimed at stopping the hateful phenomenon by which anti-Zionist NGOs haul into court Arabs who claim ownership of Judea and Samaria land where Jewish communities have lived for decades—followed by the court’s decision to raze said communities out of existence—is in its final stages before being submitted for a first reading in the Knesset plenum. The new law will compel the claimants who proves his case in court to accept the same outcome any claimant does over on the 1949 side of the green line, namely, market value compensation, possibly accompanied by a fine if malice was involved.

However, in preparation for the vote on the Regulation Act, authored by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), the law was modified, softened, if you will, to include an option whereby should the claimant be unhappy with the offered compensation, they are allowed to sue in Israeli court.

Several MKs involved in the new legislation have told Makor Rishon that its chances to pass are high. But that does not seem to alter AG Avihai Mandelblit’s objection to the very idea of a Regulation Act, which, as he told Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, would constitute a violation of international law.

A decision to take the bill to a vote would forever alter the relationship between the Netanyahu government and its legal counselors, who so far have been used to riding roughshod over proposed legislation, getting elected ministers to kill bills based strictly on their recommendations, warnings and, occasionally, threats.

“Gone are the days when the politicians were guests and the jurists owned the house,” Likud and Habayit Hayehudi MKs told Makor Rishon this week. Indeed, Amona appears to be merely the excuse for this new confrontation between rightwing legislators and the Supreme Court. The real cause célèbre here is the curbing of Supreme Court powers, something a majority of Israelis appear to crave.

JNi.Media

Minister Ariel: If AG Can’t Defend Law Saving Amona, Let’s Get an Attorney Who Can

Monday, October 31st, 2016

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Habayit Hayehudi) may end up being the politician who broke the iron hold of the judicial civil service on Israel’s democracy — when all along we were certain it would be his teammate, Ayelet Shaked.

In years past, when the Attorney General, who serves both as the executive officer for Israel’s law enforcement agencies and as the government’s legal counsel and litigator, would tell ministers that he could not defend a certain legislation before the Supreme Court, that was the end of said legislation. Which is why, early on in her term as Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) was looking to cut the job in half and hire one person to manage law enforcement, and another to manage the government’s legal affairs. But she couldn’t find enough support for the idea and, possibly, didn’t want to appear too radical so early in her administration.

Now, as the government is mulling legal means of bypassing a draconian Supreme Court decree calling for the demolition of the community of Amona in Samaria over a lawsuit by phantom Arab owners—the entire affair has been managed by Peace Now and other anti-Zionist NGOs—the AG, Avichai Mandelblit, on Sunday announced, through his deputy, Avi Licht, that he could not defend the proposed Regulation Act before the high court.

The bill compels Arab claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be treated like similar claimants inside green line Israel: if it can be shown that the land indeed belongs to them and the construction on it had been done illegally, the court rules on an amount, usually fair market value plus a fine, to be paid out by the defendant. No one inside 1949 Israel has ever demanded that standing buildings be struck down to remedy such a situation.

But over in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Supreme Court has been riding high for years, insisting that the only remedy, even in cases in which there is no living and breathing claimant, the only acceptable remedy is destruction.

The cabinet decided to delay their discussion of the proposed Regulation Act until next week, to give the state time to petition the court for a postponement of the demolition date, December 25, 2016. It’s doubtful the Miriam Naor court, which has already voiced its exasperation over the Netanyahu government’s failure to carry out its demolition order for Amona given back in 2006, would grant yet another delay. As we noted earlier, should the court not grant a delay, Deputy AG Licht told the cabinet that his boss is not prepared to defend the proposed law before the high court.

Minister Uri Ariel then issued a statement saying, “I regret the prime minister’s decision to postpone the debate on regulating communities, most importantly Amona. It is an unjust decision which contradicts the prime minister’s own announcement two and a half months ago. We will continue to promote the Regulation Act despite the difficulties.”

And then Ariel released a shot across the bow of the AG’s office: “The AG’s statement regarding his inability to defend the state under certain conditions is unacceptable, and I hope he will change his mind. Should the AG not be willing to defend the new law at the Supreme Court, we’ll demand private representation, rather than give up our righteous struggle.”

And that’s how you teach a civil servant about the limits of his office.

JNi.Media

AG Schneiderman Deepens Trump Charity Probe

Friday, September 30th, 2016

NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going after Donald Trump’s alleged using money from his charitable foundation to pay for a private legal settlement, according to an attorney for the town of Palm Beach, Florida, who spoke to Politico.

The attorney said Schneiderman’s office request from him documents related to the settlement between Trump and Palm Beach in 2007 for unpaid fines levied because a flagpole on his property was taller than was permitted by local law. According to the Washington Post, Trump paid the town $100,000 out of the funds of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, possibly in violation of the law.

Schneiderman, who is Jewish, a Democrat, and a Clinton supporter, told the Daily News in August that he had been targeted by “gruesome” anti-Semitic tweets from Trump supporters, because he is suing Trump for $40 million on fraud, in relation to Trump University.

“This year’s presidential campaign has sort of ripped the cover off all of this sort of craziness and delusion in the country and it is disturbing,” Schneiderman told the Daily News.

David Israel

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.

JNi.Media

Speaker Edelstein Calls on AG to Conclude Police ‘Blackmail List’ Investigation

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Wednesday demanded that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit conclude his examination of a secret Israel Police dossier which reportedly details evidence regarding alleged offenses committed by Knesset members.

In his letter to the Attorney General, Edelstein said, “On June 22, 2016 a meeting was held in my office with the Police Commissioner and the head of the Police Investigations and Intelligence Department regarding the police document that was prepared in 2014 and which summarizes criminal and intelligence information on Knesset members who served at the time. During the meeting I noted the sensitivity (of the matter) and the problematic situation that was created due to the fact that the existence of such a document had been leaked, because it allegedly casts a cloud over all Knesset members, and creates a feeling in the public as if dozens of Knesset members are suspected of criminal acts.”

“I also stressed the importance of publishing an official clarification as soon as possible, to the public and the Knesset members, regarding the list from 2014 and its relevancy, as much as it remains relevant today, so that on the one hand the public will be able to rest assured that Israel Police is doing its job faithfully and is investigating Knesset members when necessary, while on the other hand Knesset members will be certain that police are not holding information against them which could be revealed at some point down the line and hurt their work or chances of obtaining a certain position,” the letter reads.

“In response to my comments, the police commissioner said they were aware of the sensitivity (of the matter) and the harm caused to Knesset members and the Knesset by the reports, and that the list had been submitted for your examination so that an official clarification regarding this list could be released soon,” Speaker Edelstein told Mandelblit.

Edelstein stressed the urgency of concluding the examination and releasing the clarification “in order to minimize the damage caused by the continued reports about the list and by leaving them in the public and media environment without a clarification or official statement from the authorized elements.”

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh appeared before the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee on Wednesday and justified the document. “It was drafted so that it wouldn’t turn out later that there was something we should have reported to the State Prosecutor and Attorney General and for some reason it got stuck and did not surface [to be reviewed by] a person with authority.”

Israel’s Channel 10 News revealed last month the existence of a document nicknamed “The Yitzhaki Report” that was compiled under order of the head of the police investigations unit Maj. Gen. Meni (Menachem) Yitzhaki.

During the Knesset committee meeting, Yitzhaki told the Internal Affairs Committee that the document was written in order to comply with the attorney general`s guidelines.

Committee Chairman MK David Amsalem (Likud) said: “The head of Investigations and Intelligence Branch has power by virtue of his position. Power corrupts, and great power corrupts more. Therefore, he must act with caution.”

“I read that 80 percent of police officers use internal information for their own personal needs. It is obvious that there is information being used by people who do not have the authority to do so,” MK Amsalem added. “Something terrible is happening here. Is the information only on Knesset members? Perhaps there is information about the commissioner? Maybe there are summaries on major generals in the police force? Or on judges and journalists? I don’t think Yitzhaki acted maliciously, but there is always potential for wrongful use.”

JNi.Media

High Court Sides with Rabbinate, Rejects AG Push for ‘Alternative’ Kosher Certificates

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday embraced the position of the Chief Rabbinate on the Law prohibiting kashrut fraud, that a business may not present itself in writing as kosher, with or without the use of the word Kosher, unless it receives a kashrut certification from the only legally authorized body — the chief rabbinate, Walla reported. The decision dealt a severe blow to alternative kashrut certification services which have been operating in several Israeli cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, as well as food service businesses that keep kosher but do not carry a certification.

The appeal to the Supreme Court came from the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center, in the name of two Jerusalem restaurant owners, Shai Gini and Yonatan Vadi, who argued that the food they serve is kosher despite the fact that they do not carry a kashrut certification from their local rabbinate. According to the appellants, there’s no problem with their presenting their food as kosher because it is. They appealed to the high court after their local Rabbinate levied fines on them based on the common interpretation of the kashrut fraud law, namely that only Rabbinate-certified food is accepted as being kosher.

The former AG, Yehuda Weinstein, reinterpreted the law following the appeal, ruling that the state may no longer fine restaurant owners who present kosher certificates from private kashrut services, and must cancel the fines that have already been issued. The AG only required that the restaurants in question not claim that the alternative certifications for their businesses had been issued by the Rabbinate.

In a rare exception, the Supreme Court permitted the Chief Rabbinate to present its case separately from the AG, and eventually accepted its position in a two to one ruling that the Rabbinate is the only statewide accepted authority on kashrut. The two justices in the majority were Noam Sohlberg and Elyakim Rubinstein. Justice Uri Shoham sided with the AG.

The Justices decided to limit their ruling to the next two years, subject to a system-wide change the court is demanding of the Chief Rabbinate, to reexamine the relationship between the certifying kashrut supervisor and the business he is auditing, so that they do not depend financially on the business they are expected to monitor. Justice Rubinstein suggested that “should this not be resolved in a significant and serious way, the entire subject may be reopened.”

Both Chief Rabbis commended the court’s decision; Rabbi David Lau said that a decision to permit alternative certificates, some of which are fictitious, would have led to a serious misleading of the public; Rabbi Yizhak Yosef said that the Chief Rabbinate regularly goes out of its way to make the kaashrut maintenance easier and cheaper for food service businesses.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) said it was “refreshing to see a conservative approach on the part of the Supreme Court,” and praised the majority justices on overcoming their tendency for activism. The MK said he yearns for a time of “more balance in the relationship between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/high-court-sides-with-rabbinate-rejects-ag-push-for-alternative-kosher-certificates/2016/06/06/

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