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November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘David Haivri’

A Zionist action: Approving Three Jewish Communities in Israel’s Heartland

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

On the 28th of October, 1991, a bus carrying residents of Shilo to Tel Aviv was ambushed by Palestinian terrorists on Highway 60, just south of Tapuach Junction in the Shomron. The bus driver, Itzchak Rofeh, and a woman from Shilo, Rochela Druck, were killed in the attack. Later that night, women from the community of Shilo – friends of the woman who was killed – decided to establish a new Jewish community at the location of the murder. They called this a proper Zionist response to those who thought that they could chase the Jews out through the means of terrorism. They said, “On this site, where Jews were killed for living as Jews in their land, new Jewish life will grow.”

On that cold and rainy night, the women set up a tent on the side of a dark and winding road in between unfriendly Arab towns. I remember that night well. When we got word of what was going on not far from our home in Kfar Tapuach, we decided to go out and show our support to our new neighbors. The hike from Tapuach to the campsite was about two and a half miles. It was a very dark night. Along with a group of youth, we walked along Highway 60, winding down from the Tapuach Junction. It was so dark that we almost stumbled into the poor soldiers who had been stationed there to prevent more Jewish “settlers” from reaching the site. We managed to find our way around the checkpoint and reached the site as the first trailers were being unloaded onto the hill adjacent to the road. At about two o’clock in the morning, we tried to get some sleep in the trailer home, but as it was hastily placed on uneven ground, the floors were at such a slant that wherever we lay in the room, we would all roll into the same corner.

From day one, the founders of the community held open channels of communication with the government and negotiated permission for the encampment to be authorized in some manner. In the first stage, the government agreed to the idea that an educational institution would be allowed to operate at the site, which was situated on state-owned land, and not the property of any individual. The women of Shilo would manage the classes and events at the site, but would return to their homes at night, and the IDF would oversee the camp.
In a later development, the place was named “Rechelim” to commemorate Rochela Druck and another terror victim, Rachel Weiss. The plan was to make it a Nachal outpost, operated by the IDF. In a still further development, this was officially declared a “civilian community,” as had been the case with the founding of previous communities throughout Israel, in the history of Nachal.

In 2005, PM Ariel Sharon appointed attorney Talia Sasson to write a report on the expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. According to the Sasson Report, Rechelim was one of 105 Jewish communities in the region that were lacking all needed official documentation and zoning rulings to be considered “authorized.” From that time on, Rechelim and all other communities on the list became known as “un-authorized” or “illegal outposts.”

This negative branding effectively caused the development of these towns to come to a complete standstill. This has, of course, been very difficult and confusing for the 50 families who have made their homes there. Many of them are living in homes that were built by Israeli government agencies and paid for with state-approved mortgages.

The classification of this community as an un-authorized outpost brought a stop to all government funding for basic services normally offered to all citizens of Israel. So, for instance, funds previously designated to build classrooms for the community’s pre-school were frozen for the past few years and diverted to other places. This has forced the residents to find other sources of funding for the building of local educational structures that normally would have been funded by the government, through taxes that these residents still pay, just like any other citizens. Homes that had been under construction, with all needed building plans and permits, were left at a stand-still because the town around them became “un-approved.” The families building those homes felt like the rug had been jerked out from under them.

As it later became clear, when Ms. Sasson ran for Knesset in the extreme left-wing Meretz party, she had abused the trust given to her in writing the said report, and used it to promote a very clear political agenda meant to impede the continued development of Jewish communities in Israel’s heartland.

The government’s decision this week to grant zoning permits to Rechelim in the Shomron, and to Beruchin in Sansana, in the hills of Hebron, is nothing more then repairing a wrong. After seven years in limbo, once again the residents of these communities can fulfill their dreams and the corporate dream of their nation – they can finally build their homes in Eretz Yisrael.

Jerusalem’s Light Rail train is Not Segregated

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

During my visit to the British Parliament last week, I heard concern from a number of members that Jerusalem’s new light rail system was built as a “tool of Israel’s apartheid.” This type of claim can leave one baffled; where do you start explaining when an intelligent elected official hits you with a claim that is so totally off base? Aside from the issue of priorities, with people being killed daily by the Assad  regime Syria, it is the height of hypocrisy for world leaders to ignore that massacre and waste their time and effort in seeking out something to pin on Israel.

The city of Jerusalem was first declared the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel by our mighty King David some 3000 years ago. At its center, on Mount Moriah, David’s son Solomon built the Temple, which became a place of gathering for the entire nation of Israel three times a year. Ever since, this city has been the focal point of Jewish prayer around the world. In Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, part of the city was captured by the British-trained Arab Legion of Trans-Jordan, which held the city for 19 years, until it was again united in the miraculous Six Day War of June, 1967. During the 19 years of Jordan’s illegal occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were barred from access to the city’s holy sites. Jewish doctors and nurses were massacred while trying to reach the Hadassah Hospital, located on then-isolated Mount Scopus.

Only after Israel’s Defense Forces reunited the holy city were members of all religions again allowed access to their holy sites (aside from the Temple Mount, which maintains limited access for non-Muslims).

Jerusalem today is a city with total population of about 760,000 people – about 65% Jewish, and the remaining 35% comprised of Muslims, Christians, and others. Anyone who visits the city will see a mix of people from all ethnic backgrounds and all religions partaking in all aspects of the city’s culture and commerce. Like it or not, apartheid is not a fitting description for the reality of Jerusalem today.

The city of Jerusalem, capital of the State of Israel, incorporated its light rail public transportation system late last year. The light rail is intended to relieve traffic congestion, and spare the city from the air pollution emitted from the cars and buses that it will replace.

Three years of its construction were very bothersome to the residents of and visitors to Jerusalem because it made transit within the city even more difficult and slowed traffic, with many roads closed and much traffic redirected. When the work was finally completed, I believe that most of Jerusalem was happy with the results.

The light rail is now 14 KM long with 23 stops. It starts in the Pisgat Zev neighborhood in the north and runs though Beit Hannia and Shuafat, passes by the Old City through the center of town, runs along Jaffa Street past the central bus station and ends at Mount Herzl.

The track passes though and stops in both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. I have taken the train and noticed that both Jews and Arabs are regular commuters. All of the train’s signs, tickets, ticket machines, and public announcements are made very clearly in both Hebrew and Arabic. Signs of station names are posted in both Hebrew and Arabic.

Knowing the facts firsthand, it is strange for me to hear discussions in British Parliament about the light rail being segregated and a “tool of apartheid.” Why, I ask, do people buy into such baseless libel and propaganda?

Migron Saga Goes On – For the Good

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Migron is a Jewish community in the Benjamin region of Judea and Samaria. It was established in 1999 and named for a Biblical city that was located in the same vicinity. The town is about ten minutes north of Jerusalem and just off of road #60, which is the main arterial over the mountain ridge of Samaria and Judea, connecting Shechem to Hebron and passing by Shiloh, Beit El, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Efrat.

Migron was established in much the same way as many Jewish communities throughout Israel. Lands that are not owned by individuals are considered “state lands,” and are administered by the government. Over the past hundred years, the governments of four different countries have claimed administration of these lands – the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, Jordan and Israel. All of these countries have zoned the lands for building and farming.

Migron has become famous over the past months, as a target of those that are opposed to the growth and development of Jewish life in Israel’s heartland – Judea and Samaria. Peace Now is an extreme left-wing l NGO funded by foreign sources. Its agenda is specifically to undermine Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria by pressuring our government through any and all means, including cooperating with foreign governments, provoking local Arabs to riot, and staging complaints and legal motions.

In the case of Migron, Peace Now prompted an Arab resident from a nearby village to claim the property rights to some of the land on which Migron was established. In 2006, Peace Now appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court in the name of an Arab who claimed that his grandfather had received property on this hill as a gift from the Hashemite King of Jordan. As a result of this motion, three homes of Jewish residents were demolished in Migron, and the court determined that the community would need to be relocated. In 2008, the same Arab again appealed to the court, this time seeking compensation from the state for allowing the Jewish community to exist on land he claimed as his. This motion backfired – in a way. The plaintiff failed to prove his ownership of the land for which he wished to be compensated. This put the whole process into question.

Over the past months, MK Benny Begin, a Minister in Israel’s government, has worked on devising an agreement for the relocation of the community of Migron to a site nearby, on which no private ownership claims exist. This plan would, on one hand, effectively demolish an existing community and turn the land barren again. But on the other hand, it would also facilitate the founding of a permanent and fully authorized location nearby. The settlement leadership has been torn by this concept, as we believe that our mission is to build the mountains of Israel and fill them with Jewish population. To agree to demolish a home, once built, would be contrary to our ideology. But the prospect of receiving full authorization for the community not far away is also a great enticement.

To our credit, those mentioned above who work tirelessly to undermine our hold on the land are less content with their gain than we are distressed with our loss. Recently, the court refused to accept the deal and annulled the Benny Begin agreement. In my opinion, this is a blessing that will lead to a better outcome for this community and for the future of other such communities in Judea and Samaria. Historically, the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria has always come out stronger when obstacles are put in its way. A similar legal battle in 1979, aimed at stopping the establishment of Elon Moreh, also backfired on those who initiated it – and actually provided the legal basis for what has become the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.

The David Haivri Case

Wednesday, March 24th, 2004

Were it not for the evident seriousness of its implications, the David Haivri case would represent little more than the reduction to absurdity of a democratic country’s legal system. Known popularly as the “T-Shirt Trial,” the current court proceedings in Israel are based on an incident in which the defendant was charged with possession and distribution of a “publication” intended to incite racism. The “publication” at issue was a T- shirt imprinted with a picture of Rabbi Meir Kahane on the front, and the Hebrew words “Ein Aravim – Ein Piguim” (“No Arabs, No Terror Attacks”) on the back.

The section of the penal law under which Mr. Haivri was indicted states, inter alia, that “…it does not matter if the publication led to racism or not, and if it contained truth or not.” From the standpoint of even the most minimal standards of liberty in civilized societies, codification of a rule that truth is immaterial to guilt – that truth is not exculpatory – is both rare and indefensible. Moreover, as every country’s domestic legal system must conform to certain elementary worldwide human rights standards, the Israeli prosecution here is in clear violation of overriding international law.

The defendant’s “published” statement in this case – “No Arabs, No Terror Attacks” – is obviously true on its face. No one could conceivably argue that Israel now faces relentless terror from any other group on the face of the earth. The Haivri statement does not purport to explain terrorist attacks in other countries, where of course the offending groups might well be different, nor does it suggest in any way that all Arabs or even a determinable number of Arabs are terrorists.

Without any explicit proposal or discernible message about what should now be done to limit Arab terrorism, the adjudicated T-shirt merely makes an absolutely incontestable observation, without any plausible evidence of bias and most certainly without any hint of identifiable “racism.” To blithely deduce from the picture of Rabbi Kahane that the wearer and distributor automatically advocate harm to Arabs is not only jurisprudentially unacceptable, it is factually unwarranted.

Many Arab citizens of Israel remain loyal to the state and ought not to be identified with terrorists as a group. There is no ascertainable reason for the defendant in this case to be accused of suggesting otherwise. For the prosecution to impute a broadly generic attack upon all Arabs to Mr. Haivri on the basis of his T-shirt “publication” represents either a deliberate falsification drawn from political ideology, or a despairingly flagrant incapacity to reason correctly.

Indeed, recognizing very precise errors in deductive reasoning known in formal logic as “fallacies,” the prosecutorial position in this case is undeniably based on conclusions that are not properly drawn from its acknowledged premises. In short, it is altogether false for the prosecution to conclude from the defendant’s more-or-less implied statement, “All terror is caused by Arabs,” that he is in any way suggesting “All Arabs are terrorists.” The government’s syllogism is patently invalid.

International law, which is always based on a variety of Higher Law foundations, including the Torah, forms part of the law of all nations – including the law of the State of Israel. This is true whether or not the incorporation of international law into national law is codified explicitly, as it is, for example, at Article VI of the United States Constitution.

If it is to represent itself correctly as a Western-style democracy, the Government of Israel is now fully bound by authoritative rules of international law to assure basic rights of free speech to all its citizens, Jews as well as Arabs, and not to deny these rights selectively to certain Jews on the basis of political antipathies.

Further, as every state is obligated under international law to provide security to its citizens, the right of these citizens to peacefully protest when certain government policies endanger their survival is not only permissible, it is indispensable.

Today, when Israel’s government has undertaken repeated and persistently-failed policies of concession and capitulation to Arab states and Palestinian “authorities” that openly seek Israel’s liquidation, the right of civil disobedience in that country can hardly be questioned. In this connection, the wearing and printing of a T-shirt with the message depicted by David Haivri is even substantially more protected than fully peaceable acts of civil disobedience.

Every government surely has a legal right to prosecute “racism,” but that right must never be allowed to impair the most basic standards of free speech, nor can it ever lawfully declare the irrelevance of truth. This prosecutorial right is also contingent upon equality and consistency
of application. For the Government of Israel to prosecute Jews on the basis of allegedly offending T-shirts while simultaneously ignoring overt calls by Arab citizens for another Jewish genocide is intolerable by any measure of democratic law-enforcement.

When the indictment of Jewish citizens for “racism” takes place at a time when hundreds of aspiring Arab terrorists and suicide-bombers are released from Israeli jails as an expression of “good will,” the government’s case for prosecution becomes reduced to a paradigm for national self-defilement. The fact that the released Arab prisoners were not citizens of Israel has no legal bearing on this particular observation concerning wrongful prosecution of Mr. Haivri.

Speaking of Arab citizens, an important question comes to mind: If these citizens were now to print and display T-shirts with the inscription, “No Jews, No Occupation,” would the Israeli authorities prosecute under the same “racism” statute? Almost certainly the government would choose to ignore such activity, although – in marked contrast to the contrived case mounted against David Haivri – the charge here would almost certainly be true. Ironically, the presumed decision not to prosecute, a decision in essence now made daily by the government when it looks fearfully away from genocidal publications by elements of its Arab population, would be based on a pitiable wish not to appear “undemocratic” before the tribunal of world public opinion.

It is bad enough that Israel’s legal system is now being abused for blatantly political purposes; it is far worse that the law is now also being applied selectively, in a fashion that literally makes this system complicit in future terror attacks against Jews.

Much as they might wish to deny it, the Israeli government prosecutors of David Haivri writhe within an agonizingly twisted jurisprudence that has far more to do with national surrender and capitulation to terrorism than with any measured considerations of justice.

Copyright (c) 2004. The Jewish Press, all rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D, Princeton, 1971) is Professor of International Law at Purdue University. He is the author of many books and articles on international criminal law, and is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-david-haivri-case/2004/03/24/

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