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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General’

Likud Breaching Bayit Yehudi’s Coalition Agreements One by One

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

The Bayit Yehudi party may be wondering if the coalition agreements it signed are worth the paper they’re written on.

Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled that a coalition agreement between the Likud and Bayit Yehudi, which increased the budget to the Settlement Division is not valid and therefore won’t be implemented.

This week, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) said that he refuses to transfer control of the Civil Administration over to Deputy Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.

According to the coalition agreements, the Civil Administration is supposed to be under Ben-Dahan’s control.

The Civil Administration controls and coordinates security, construction and infrastructure in Area C of Judea and Samaria, specifically affecting Jewish and Arab communities there, as well as interfacing with the Palestinian Authority.

Instead, Yaalon said he wants Ben-Dahan to deal with Reservists and the Home Front.

A Bayit Yehudi party source very matter-of-factly told JewishPress.com, “We expect Likud to live up to the coalition agreement that was signed.”

He didn’t add any threats or warnings to his statement.

But what will Naftali Bennett do to enforce it?

Israeli A-G Breaks Own Rule, Interferes in Gov’t Coalition Talks

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

by Ben Niran

In a controversial move seen by democracy watchdog groups as endangering Israel’s separation of powers, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced when his opposition to a bill proposed last year by Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, the Justice Ministry reported in a statement to the press.

Coming on the last, crucial day of the coalition negotiations, Weinstein’s rejection of the bill, which proposed to limit the powers of Israel’s High Court of Justice, was interpreted by The Movement for Governability and Democracy as a blatant interference in the negotiations, and a move that contradicts a directive Weinstein himself issued two years ago, in which he forbade government involvement in coalition affairs.

“The separation between the national public sphere and the [political] party sphere is a basic notion in Israel,” the Movement for Governance and Democracy, a non-profit watchdog group, wrote in an open letter to Weinstein, and demanded an explanation for his statement.

“This separation is necessary in order to prevent a conflict of interests and the politicization of public service,” the organization wrote.

Coalition Last Minute Talks: Likud Capitulates, Bayit Yehudi Wins Justice + 2 Security Cabinet Votes

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

It appears that Bayit Yehudi’s Ayelet Shaked will be made Justice Minister in Israel’s next government, Israel Radio reported.

Bayit Yehudi party chairman, Nir Orbach said, that talks with the Likud are now in a very sensitive state, and “all options are open,” including the Justice portfolio going to Shaked—which, incidentally, was a promise made to the voters by party chief Naftali Bennett at the onset of the campaign, back in January.

Orbach wrote to Bayit Yehudi activists Wednesday morning that unity and cohesiveness have awarded the party with unprecedented achievements and an opportunity for real impact on the future of the country.

Speculation is that, should the current intense talks reach a positive outcome, Bayit Yehudi would indeed come out the big winner, despite its loss of 4 seats in the March 17 vote. Netanyahu is desperate to seal a deal by midnight, and Bennett is taking full advantage of that.

With Shaked in charge of Justice, she will be able, for the first time since 1967, to start reforming this office’s largely anti-settler, left-entrenched civil service, starting with the appointment of the next Attorney General. She will also be able to reform the process of appointing judges, including supreme court justices, shifting the balance of power in the committee to appoint judges, which to date has been dominated by a closed circle of professionals, with lawmakers—the representatives of the voter’s will—in the minority.

Having control of the Justice Ministry will also balance out the Chareidi control over the Ministry of Religious Affairs, since the Justice Ministry enforces government decisions. The Justice Ministry also controls the appointment of Rabbinic judges, along with the enforcement of kashrut laws. This means that restaurants and other food-related businesses could be allowed to buy their independent kashrut supervision—regardless of the policy set up by the Shas run ministry of religious services.

Update: Benjamin Netanyahu pulled a twist on Naftali Bennett, reportedly agreeing that Shaked could be Minister of Justice, but with a few very significant restrictions, specifically that Shaked would not have the ability to select judges or other judicial appointments, and won’t be sitting on the ministerial committee for legislation and the judicial appointments committee. Bennett has said he will only accept a while Justice Ministry.

Also, Bayit Yehudi scored two seats in Netanyahu’s security cabinet, which will influence countless choices, including the treatment of settlers.

Despite settling for the less influential Education portfolio, going to Bennett, the party leader will also be deputy minister of defense, a role which would give him control over specific departments in the ministry.

And Bayit Yehudi’s Uri Ariel is likely to be given ministerial control over the Agriculture Ministry with the Settlement Division, which should favor expansion of settlement building, as well as support services.

So far, Bayit Yehudi denied reports from Likud sources that they demanded the defense portfolio in negotiations. According to Bayit Yehudi, they’re only insisting on Ayelet Shaked getting the Justice portfolio, which they say Netanyahu promised her months ago.

Senior politicians now tell Israel Radio the crisis is over, and Netanyahu is going to present a 61-seat government to the president tonight. A Likud source said the new proposal made to Bennett was “rich and fair.”

It’s about time.

Update: The rumor mill says that Shaked’s appointment will have certain restrictions, specifically related to the appointment of judges.

Obama Promises Peres A-G Will ‘Check Into’ Pollard

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama assured Israel’s outgoing President Shimon Peres on Wednesday he would ask Attorney-General Eric Holder to “check into” an offer that Peres made regarding the case of former Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard.

Peres’s office submitted his request to the White House prior to arriving for what will be his last official state visit as Israel’s president.

“I made an offer but won’t go into details about it,” he told reporters on Wednesday. However, he did discuss the specifics with members of the Pollard family, he said, before presenting the plan to Obama.

“If I share too many details it will just ruin things,” he said at the briefing. “I cannot say that [the president] responded positively on the spot. I don’t want to add to what he said, which was that the U.S. Attorney-General would decide.”

Pollard is entering his 29th year of incarceration in a North Carolina prison after being convicted in 1985 on a single charge of passing classified information to an allied nation, Israel. The crime usually carries a maximum penalty of up to four years in jail. But although Pollard’s attorneys worked out a plea bargain with the prosecution, during the sentencing a note was passed to the judge. Suddenly Pollard was charged with and convicted of treason without recourse to a new trial. His attorney had no access to the evidence that had apparently led to the new charges, which was locked due to “national security” — and instead Pollard found himself sentenced to life in prison. All attempts at appeal have since failed.

Since Peres was serving as Israel’s prime minister at the time of Pollard’s arrest, and since it was he who submitted the documents to the U.S. with Pollard’s fingerprints that were used to incriminate him, it is Peres who is most likely to persuade Obama now to grant clemency for humanitarian reasons.

He and Obama also share a unique status as being the only two current heads of state in the world who are both Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Pollard’s health has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, and the request by Peres is reportedly to be based on the issues of Pollard’s extremely poor health, the impact on his wife, and the length of his time already served — in short, humanitarian reasons. At age 90, Peres this year retires from politics and made a promise to Pollard’s wife and the people of Israel prior to his departure that he would try to win her husband’s release during his visit to the U.S. He is scheduled to meet again with Obama Thursday.

Enemy of Settlements Picked for AG in Time for ‘Peace’ Enforcement

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

A civil servant named Shai Nitzan was appointed this morning to be Israel’s next Attorney General. No one would accuse Nitzan, who’s been serving as Deputy AG for some time, of being bad at his job. He is an excellent jurist by most people’s account.

Here’s the problem: Shai Nitzan has been a sworn enemy of National Religious Jews, most emphatically of those of them who reside in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. He is the brain daddy of preventive removal of Jews from their homes, not because of things they’ve done, but because of what he suspects they will do. He’s been known to pick up prominent rabbis for questioning based on their writings (See: Committee Recommends Another Leftist, Anti-Settlements AG).

Again, none of what he did in his various roles at the Ministry of Justice was illegal or even unethical, at least by Israeli standards. The curious part about his appointment is that it was done with the near-unanimous support of the Netanyahu government.

Three of the five parties that formed the current coalition government describe themselves as right wing, and certainly as friends of the settlement movement: Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Jewish Home. In any normal democratic system, where a correlation exists between the will of the voter and the direction of the government, Shai Nitzan would not have been proposed, much less approved for a position that gives him—literally—the power of life and death over a population of close to half a million people which he detests on ideological grounds.

In the democratic West, this kind of corruption of the will of the voter—and the settlement movement could share with you thousands of stories, believe me—is possible only in Israel. But this particular plot gets thicker.

Mk Avigdor Lieberman, boss of the Israel Beiteinu party, was recently acquitted by a panel of three magistrate court judges of all charges of political corruption. Liebrman had given up his ministerial office for the duration of his trial, and after the unanimous acquittal was reinstated. But it was decided that he couldn’t vote today, because the current AG, Yehuda Weinstein, hasn’t yet decided whether or not to appeal the acquittal. It seemed more ethical that way.

Except that the committee that recommended Shai Nitzan for the job was chaired by… AG Yehuda Weinstein.

In other words, a civil servant, Weinstein, can prevent an elected official from voting on his recommendation even though said public official is not only innocent until proved guilty – he is innocent by a unanimous court decision.

I emailed a Lieberman staffer for a comment on this bizarre situation, and he preferred to pass. They don’t need trouble.

Wait, there’s more. The search committee for these high level jobs normally comes back with two to three candidates. It’s a courtesy to the political echelon, but also a reflection of an honest effort to provide elected officials with ample choices. The fact that the Weinstein committee went with a single candidate was a dare to Netanyahu and to the right. And the whole country knew Bibi would blink first.

The folks at the State’s Attorney have dossiers on everyone, and some of the folks in government today, including Netanyahu, have already tasted what it’s like to be dragged like common criminals for questioning in police interrogation rooms. And as any person who’s ever delved into politics knows, there’s always something you did wrong.

The entire country knows that the miraculous transformation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from being the father of Jewish settlement in the liberated territories to the scourge of Gush Katif had to do with a case the civil servants were going to bring him down with, involving the 1999 Greek island scandal, millionaire developer David Appel and Sharon’s son Gilad.

This is why staunch opponents of Nitzan in the government, like Israel Beiteinu’s Yair Shamir and Israel Katz of Likud ended up voting in favor, and why Lieberman played nice and didn’t start trouble for AG Weinstein: they’re afraid of the State’s Attorney’s office and of the police.

Former Justice Minister Daniel Friedman, whom no one suspects of being a right winger, is to date the bravest reformer of the process by which judges, in all levels of the system, are chosen. His entire term in office was marked by bloody skirmishes between himself and the judicial system. His new, voluminous book, hot off the presses, titled “The Purse and the Sword,” is a well documented attack on his old nemesis, arguing quite successfully that Israel’s democracy is governed not by its elected officials, representatives of the voter—the only legitimate sovereign in a democracy—but by its jurists, led by the Supreme Court and the Attorney General (known here as the government judicial advisor, an innocent title that packs a lot of fang).

I plan to devote a great deal of time in coming days to Prof. Friedman’s book, because it points out Israel’s most severe threat to its democracy and independence. So much so, that I’ve been having a hard time deciding today which vote would bring more harm to the Jewish State, the 5+1 vote to greatly reduce the Iran sanctions, or the Shai Nitzan vote, which placed a staunch enemy of the settlements at the head of the system that may be issued, in a few months, with task of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes.

Iran’s threat comes from the outside, and as such it may even have a positive effect on Israeli society, uniting it and enhancing its resolve. But the complete control the judiciary has gained over the other branches of government is a seeping cesspool of corruption that may decompose the country from within.

Showcase ‘Price Tag’ Indictments Turn Out to Be a Witch Hunt

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

A Jerusalem court has thrown out “showcase” indictments against three supposed “price tag” vandals and has hung another black cloud over the police and the office of the Attorney General, all of whom appear to be on a witch hunt.

The latest black eye for government prosecutors was dealt by Jerusalem Court Judge Avital Chen, who ruled there was no basis for charges that three youth from Samaria were planning to carry out some sort of attack  on Arab property.

The rejection of the government case came only a short time after a three-judge Jerusalem court unanimously ruled against the government’s charges of breach of public trust against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been hounded on various charges for more than a decade.

Many rightwing leaders have charged that dozens of police arrests of supposed price tag vandals are an attempt to blame innocent people for crimes that they say are being carried out by Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents trying to make the nationalist movement look illegitimate.

Considering the increasing number and severity of price tag vandalism, the accusations against the Shin Bet sound like self-righteous paranoia.

On the other hand, leftwing activists have accused government prosecutors of purposely treating price tag vandals with soft gloves and failing to convict even one of them over the past three years. Given the proven cases of Arabs damaging their own olive orchards and then blaming Jews, it is not impossible to believe that the Palestinian Authority has ordered the “price tag” operations.

The indictments that were thrown out by the Jerusalem court are the first ones ever to be filed against supposed price tag vandals.

Three young Jewish boys were arrested in September 2011 while they were carrying tools, approximately 300 feet from a vehicle that was not theirs but in which police found bottles of gasoline. Police rejects the youth’s claims that they were using the tools for renovations on a nearby structure.

The police put one and one together and came up with what they thought was two. Government prosecutors at the office of the Attorney General also thought they had done their math and put together their first indictments that were supposed to show that they finally had the goods on price tag culprits.

The court also did its math and flunked the police and prosecutors.

Michael Ironi, a lawyer for the legal aid Honenu organization, said after the court decision, “It is a shame that the Attorney General’s office chose to conduct a trial against the defendants. From the beginning of the case the evidence seemed weak and circumstantial. The suffering caused to the defendants is also regrettable.”

Honenu attorney Rehavia Piltz, who assisted in handling the case, stated, “Even from the beginning it was obvious that much ado was being made out of nothing and now the court has confirmed. It is unfortunate that in the process leading to their exoneration the rights of innocent youths were severely injured over a long period of time.”

The chase after Lieberman and dozens of alleged price tag vandals, despite being unsuccessful, also has a price tag.

“For over two years our lives have been a nightmare,” said one of the youth who finally was exonerated.

“They kept us in remand under severe conditions and falsely accused us of serious crimes,” he added. “If we had not had a religious appearance and the police and the Attorney General’s office had not been so eager to achieve ‘accomplishments’ at the expense of tarnishing the reputation of an entire population, we would not have gone through such a difficult, tortuous legal battle over something we never did.”

Police arrested two of the youth shortly before the Rosh HaShanah holiday in 2011 and convinced the court to extend their remand on the eve of the holiday. The third youth was charged the day after the holiday.

The name of “hilltop youth” in Judea and Samaria  has been muddied with accusations that have never been backed up with indictments, until the “showcase” charges that proved to be unfounded.

Every time a nationalist looks the wrong way at the police or says a bad word about Peace Now, leftwing leaders and media scream “Rabin,”  continuing 18 years of slander against all national religious Jews, and particularly their rabbis, for the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin by Yigal Amir, who lived in metropolitan Tel Aviv and not in Judea and Samaria.

It is no secret that Shin Bet agents infiltrate into communities in Judea and Samaria to incite youth to break the law and then fall prey to being informers to save themselves from prosecution.

It is hard to believe the rightwing claims that Shin Bet agents have carried out all of the price tag attacks to undermine the nationalist movement.

But it also is hard to believe that police continue to harass youth, often with middle-of-the-night arrests, and prosecutors cannot come up with even one indictment that holds any water.

The only missing key in the puzzle is the failure of most national religious leaders to conduct a campaign in their communities and yeshivas to preach against violence and anti-Arab vandalism.

If Jews indeed are guilty of the vandalism and if the police and prosecutors cannot do a better job than they did after investing thousands of hours to nail Lieberman for nothing, something is rotten in the office of the Attorney General.

Rebels kill Attorney General and Judge in Hama

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The official Syrian news agency SANA reports that an armed “terrorist group” on Sunday assassinated General Attorney in Idleb Nidal Ghazal, Judge Mohammed Ziyadeh and their driver, on their way to the Palace of Justice in Hama.

The rebels opened fire on the car near Hussam Hijazi School at al-Dabeitt Neighborhood “causing their martyrdom with their driver.”

Earlier on Saturday, an armed group killed a member of Council of Aleppo City Jamal al-Bish at As-Safirah District in Aleppo.

Hama was the site of an earlier revolt against Hafez al-Assad, the current Syrian president’s father, in February 1982. The Syrian army was reported to have massacred as many as 40 thousand civilians to put down the uprising.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rebels-kill-attorney-general-and-judge-in-hama/2012/02/20/

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