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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘High Court’

Israel Approves Begin’s Bedouin Land Grab

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Israel’s government on Sunday approved the recommendations of Minister without portfolio Benny Begin to change the program regulating Bedouin settlements in the Negev. The reform is aimed at solving definitively the issue of Bedouin ownership claims on Negev lands, including a compromise proposal of relocation and financial compensation, bringing an end to illegal Bedouin outposts.

In September 2011 the government approved the Praver Report, which determined a layout for regulating Bedouin settlement in the Negev, facilitating expansion of existing settlements and absorption of some communities within Regional Council Abu-Basma, south and west of the “green line.”

Additional settlements will be established as part of the regional master plan for Beer-Sheva.

According to the plan, each settlement will be adjusted to the nature and character of the local population and its needs, and will be executed in cooperation with it.

The plan was accepted with mixed feelings among the Bedouin as well as among right wing critics.

Kalman Libeskind wrote in Ma’ariv about Benny Begin’s “stinking maneuver,” accusing him and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein of not just confirming through legal registration what has been essentially an illegal land grab of many thousands of acres by the Bedouins over several decades, but also promising them many new settlements to boot.

Libeskind pointed out that while the Weinstein refused to permit the application of the Levy Committee recommendations to apply Israeli law in Judea and Samaria because the government is in a lame duck period – has no duck issue when it comes to giving away enormous swaths of Jewish land to the Bedouins.

The Regavim movement on Friday petitioned the High Court to forbid the government from approving the proposed program at its meeting on Sunday, arguing that Minister Benny Begin will not serve in the next Knesset and so his proposal is a serious case of a last minute grab that should not be sanctioned.


See the related cartoon.

Run Zoabi, Run

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

In a very unsurprising move, the Supreme Court overruled the Central Elections Commission and determined that MK Hanin Zoabi of the Balad party can run in the upcoming elections.

Despite the Elections Commission being clearly right in saying she breached the requirements regarding who is not allowed to run, and the Supreme Court being clearly wrong in having overruled them, I probably have to support Zoabi’s right to run.

Zoabi, as you should recall, was an involved passenger on the Mavi Marmara blockade run attempt in 2010.

On the Mavi Marmara, a group of passengers, connected to the Turkish IHH (designated as a terror organization by Israel), attacked IDF naval troops, including with at least one gun, during their attempt to break the blockade of Hamas terror-controlled Gaza and provide aid to Israel’s enemy.

Zoabi set off a political storm in Israel with her participation on that particular boat.

So you must be asking yourself, why am I supporting her right to run in the Knesset, despite her association with known terrorists and attempting to aid the enemy?

After all, in Israel’s Elections Law it clearly states the following are the basis for individuals and parties not being allowed to run:

1. The rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

2. Incitement of racism.

3. Support of the armed struggle of enemy states or terrorist organizations against the state of Israel.

4. A reasonable basis to conclude that the party will be used for illegal activities.

Zoabi seems to clearly be in violation of at least #1 and #3.

And the Balad party’s stated goal is the “struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity,” is clearly in violation of #1.

And its not like there isn’t history here.

You might recall the famous case of MK Azmi Bishara, not coincidentally, also from the Balad party.

Bishara ran away before he could be arrested for actively aiding Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. And then the Knesset banned the Balad party, but once again the Supreme Court overruled them and let Balad run.

I have two reasons for this admittedly strange position.

The first is that it’s a badly written law.

It’s vague and it potentially chills free speech.

Parts of the law above are incredibly vague (such as #2), and there’s far too much wiggle room that allows it to be spuriously applied to any political enemy, such as the recent attempts to use it against Ben-Ari and Naftali Bennett, in an attempt to block them from running.

It’s a law crying out for selective abuse, just as it was selectively abused in the past against another rightwing party who was becoming very popular, and yet it was never used against any leftwing anti-Jewish parties (such as Shinui) or anti-Settler parties (such as Meretz), no matter how racist they might be considered, nor despite their attempts to remove the Jewish component from Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

In short, the law is poorly written, it is selectively applied, and until the law is fixed, it’s problematic to have it applied to anyone, since it can be used against any political enemy.

The second and perhaps more important reason is that the Knesset dropped the ball.

IHH is designated a terrorist organization.

Zoabi was on the boat with a terrorist organization to break the Israeli government’s lawful blockade on a terrorist entity.


Why didn’t the Knesset do its equivalent of impeaching her?

Why did the government fail in its charges against her participation in the Mavi Marmara?

Simply because she claimed she was acting independent from the IHH! For heaven’s sake, why isn’t Zoabi sitting in jail?

But that’s only part of it.

The government dropped the ball, in another place. And perhaps not where you think.

The government also dropped the ball, because it still hasn’t fought the Supreme Court, and their self-assumed right to overrule any Knesset ruling they don’t like.

Until the Knesset decides to take a clear position that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds and taking on powers it doesn’t have, then the Knesset deserves every slap in the face it gets from the Supreme Court.

Forced Evacuation of Migron Completed

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

September 2nd – Following the High Court of Justice’s ruling from last week, the residents of the community of Migron, in the Benyamin region, were forcibly removed from their homes this morning. Large police forces arrived at the community early this morning, knocking on doors and serving the residents a court order to evacuate their homes. A few families offered passive resistance, but most of the fifty families left on their own accord.

Most of the children were evacuated last night by the residents to shield them from possible trauma. Most of the families were evacuated to the nearby Ofrah guest house, waiting for the completion of their new community on Givat Hayekev.

The community’s legal status was in dispute for the past six years, as Arabs claimed they own the lands on which the community resides. The residents, on their part, have recently purchased most of the individual plots specifically under debate. Despite that, the High Court ruled in favour of the Arab plaintiffs.

A few youth, who are not residents of the community, came to Migron to offer resistance, but were overpowered by the police forces.

This morning, hours before their forced evacuation, the residents of Migron planted tree saplings, explaining that they were planting the trees now in preparation for their future return to Migron, when the trees will be full grown.

Eitay Harel, one of the founders of Migron stated today: “This is a sad day. I want to promise myself, the residents of Migron, our feeble Prime Minister and our brethren from Peace Now who are engaged in destruction – I wish none of them to suffer the pain that we are experiencing now, the pain of bereavement, but we sang the Tikvah, the national anthem. Our hearts are pierced, but we will return. We believe in all our hearts that this story will end with the establishment of two communities. We are ashamed that there are Jews who work to betray the Land of Israel. I am sure the truth will be revealed, we own the land and there is no one who contests this point. They have produced mere claims for the sake of destruction. We are tearful and enraged, but we will channel these energies to arise from the dust and resettle the land.”

Migron Settlers’ Last Stand at High Court on Tuesday

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

On Tuesday morning, the Israeli Supreme Court headed by Justice Asher Grunis is expected to examine the claims of the Migron residents. Over the past few months, several residents purchased plots of land in the surrounding area; if the purchase claims of these residents are found to be in proper order, 17 out of the 50 families will be permitted to remain in the area, at best. The evacuation of the other families is expected to take place immediately after the Supreme Court hearing on Tuesday.

Last week, Defense Ministry representatives approached Migron residents and urged them to voluntarily evacuate the outpost before the court hearing, in exchange for packing and moving service. General Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea and Samaria, stated that if the residents did not evacuate peacefully, a forced evacuation would take place on Tuesday. Residents were also told that they may lose the temporary residential site built for them about two kilometers from Migron if they refuse to evacuate.

Migron residents have said that they would refuse to evacuate willingly and would employ violence against IDF soldiers. Security sources suspect that extreme right-wing activists will descend upon the outpost to oppose the evacuating forces. Right-wing sources have already appealed to the soldiers, encouraging them to refuse to participate in the evacuation, and say that they are getting ready for the hour of the evacuation order.

Shuki Seth, a Migron resident, said that the pressure would not scare residents and that they are not planning to evacuate before the Supreme Court ruling. “I figure that the next stage will be that they start to give us orders, then they will threaten to cut off our water and electricity,” he said. “But we are not scared of manipulation. They did it in Gush Katif And they’ll do it here.”

Right-wing factions have also begun an aggressive campaign against Binyamin Netanyahu this week, pointing the finger of blame directly at the Prime Minister. According to these groups, he could have prevented the evacuation of Migron but refused to do so because of political considerations. The campaign, organized by Komemiyut – the committee of residents in the Shomron and Binyamin, has already publicized a variety of notices in weekend newspapers criticizing Netanyahu, with captions like “Migron’s Evacuation = Bibi” and “Netanyahu Destroys Migron Settlement”, etc.

Yesterday, Kommemiyut’s chairman, Mousa Cohen explained why Netanyahu is at the forefront of this new campaign: “Now he is showing his true colors,” Cohen said. “Netanyahu promised that he would strengthen the settlements, that he would command the Attorney General and not vice versa, and that he would make decisions in a forum of ministers. However, in practice, Bibi is destroying Migron and expelling the families, even though things could have obviously been done differently. The Prime Minister can no longer hide behind anyone’s apron. Someone who wants to play a hero’s role facing Ahmadinejad cannot be a coward when facing Yehuda Weinstein.”

Yariv Oppenheimer, Director General of Peace Now, called upon the residents to evacuate quietly: “What is expected from every Israeli citizen is also expected from the Migron residents. They should thank the Israeli government for building them two new settlements and agree to leave peacefully,” he said.

As of now, it remains unclear whether the outpost will be evacuated in the coming days. A source from the outpost predicted last night that the residents would not give in to pressure and would not evacuate before the Supreme Court ruling. Security forces are also anticipating that they will have to implement a forced evacuation.

Ulpana Resident Bemoan Relocation Ordeal

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

In the coming days, following the High Court of Justice’s order and the Israeli Government’s decision, thirty families living in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El will be forced to leave their homes. It is yet unclear what will happen to the families that will be evicted, or what will happen to their homes. The homes were purchased legally; the purchasers received government grants and mortgages from banks. The reason they are being forced to leave their homes is because of two Arab plaintiffs who filed a petition to the Supreme Court claiming ownership of the land on which these homes were built. As the issue of land ownership is not debated in the Supreme Court, the hearing was transferred to the Jerusalem District Court; the opening session is scheduled for July 2012. The plaintiffs have yet to prove their ownership over the land, and yet the families living in these homes are being forced to leave.

Tazpit News Agency spoke with Vardina Biton, a resident of the Ulpana neighborhood, about what she faces in the future. Vardina, 30, mother of three, had lived in her home for the past six years. She and her husband initially came from northern Israel, and decided to live in Beit El after studying at the yeshiva and in schools in the vicinity. When they purchased their home they were not aware of any issues regarding the legal status of the land. Vardina says that when they decided to live in Beit El, they felt like emissaries, living in a part of Israel with strategic and historical importance.

Since the final decision to remove them from their homes, Vardina has been coping with mixed feelings and many uncertainties. She says she has not begun to pack, even though she stands to be evicted from her home in only a few days. “I have been primarily preparing myself mentally and emotionally, trying to contain the injustice that is being done to us,” she says. “I feel much pain and frustration. A person can do right and be right, and there are other solutions other then expelling us from our homes, and yet we must endure these wrongdoings. I am a 7th grade teacher. I witness brawls between my students, and see that the girls can come to a fair solution to the problem at hand. Somehow, the government failed to do likewise, proceeding with a discriminating solution instead.”

Police and right wing activists are bracing for possible violence during the removal of the Ulpana neighborhood residents from their homes. Various options to protest the expulsion have been suggested. Vardina is ambivalent regarding the pending battle the may be waged over the houses. She believes there should be a rabbinical leadership that should decide on the nature of the struggle. She says she can understand those who are talking about violent resistance. Many people are deeply pained by the court’s decision and by the government’s conduct, feeling that a great injustice is being committed. As for herself, she says she is not a violent person and has no desire to harm anyone. She does not know how she will react when the police knock on her door and demand that she leaves her home.

After the attempt to pass the “Regulation Law” in the Knesset failed, Vardina believes there are still better ways to resolve the current predicament. She explains that as of now, no legal ownership has been proven in a court of law. The land that the homes are built on has been purchased by the current residents. The alleged Arab owner claims the land was purchased from the wrong person. “No one had malevolent intent; no one intended to steal anyone’s land,” she states. However, the High Court of Justice ruled that the houses must be evacuated and demolished. Vardina says there are other plausible options: the land can be purchased from the alleged owner or the government can declare the land state owned and offer him compensation. She feels that the court ruled hurriedly, and that the government did not work hard enough to find a proper and just solution. “The fact that I live in Beit El doesn’t make me a second rate citizen. We serve the country and pay taxes. My husband fought in the IDF during The Second Lebanon War, just weeks after his wedding. It seems that there was not a real desire to save the homes, and therefore they did not work hard enough to find a solution.”

Bill to Save Ulpanah Hill Defeated

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Knesset on Wednesday rejected the proposed bill to save the Ulpanah Hill neighborhood, which was ordered by the High Court to be demolished at the end of this month.

The bill, knows as the “Regulatory Law,” put a time limit on the rights of Arab claimants to sue Jewish settlers, while providing for market value compensation for plaintiffs who prove their case in magistrate court.

If passed, the bill would have circumvented the High Court decision, although Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has warned that even if the bill passes, it was likely to be killed as unconstitutional by the court, as to date Israel is yet to apply its law to the territories of Judea and Samaria.

In a preliminary reading, the Knesset voted the bill down by 69 to 22.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to oppose the bill and demanded that his minister vote his party line under threat of dismissal.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Wednesday that his Yisrael Beiteinu party will vote with the government against the bill, after approved Netanyahu’s alternative plan to remove the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and transfer the houses to a nearby former army base.

The Netnayahu plan, approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, is to uproot relocate the five houses in question to an abandoned military base near the town of Beit El, and to build an additional 300 new housing units in that base.

Netanyahu is hoping to discourage Arabs and the anti-Israeli leftist organizations which support and encourage their law suits, as each one of their “successes” would result in multiple new Jewish homes in nearby areas.

Dep. PM Ya’alon Advising Ulpana Residents to Abandon Hope on ‘Regulatory Law’

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Speaking to Israel’s Army Radio in advance of the Wednesday Knesset vote on the “Regulatory law” which has been rocking local politics, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon compared the dilemma between the evacuation of Jewish homes and enacting retroactive legislation to circumvent the High Court’s ruling to a choice between eating a Neveila and a Treifa (two different kinds of kosher animals which, because of the manner of their death, are prohibited to eat).

Both versions of the proposed regulatory bill introduce the concept of a statute of limitation on Arab lawsuits against Jewish settlers, ensuring that after a certain period of time homes would not demolished, regardless of the veracity of the claims by the original owner, and said owner would receive full market value for his property, or an equivalent parcel of land.

“We tried to find a solution. We realized that we cannot use acquisition and similar solutions. We are now in a complex dilemma,” Ya’alon said.

Ya’alon explained that the Likud is facing two problematic choices: “On the one hand, we can’t ignore the High Court, on the other hand we have given our commitment to the residents.”

Ya’alon added that “there are those out there with populist slogans. We need to decide if we’re going to support a dangerous legislation.”

Ya’alon said that according to his own understanding of the proposed law, it might be disqualified as unconstitutional because it would be the first time Israel will have enacted a law to be enforced in Judea and Samaria, without initial legislation to assert its ownership over those territories.

“It could well be that the law is passed, then disqualified – and then we’ll be destroying homes,” Ya’alon cautioned. “We’ll end up eating the rotten fish and getting thrown out of town.”

Regarding his own opposition to the regulatory law, Ya’alon explained that “when I realized that we must choose between eating a Neveila or a Treifa, I saw that the best way would be to try and formulate the answer the Prime Minister has offered – which is better than the birds in the tree the legislation is promising.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s solution involves physically relocating the five offending houses of Ulpana Hill to an abandoned military base a kilometer away.

Like Ya’alon, Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias (Shas), told the Army Radio that his party would toe the line and not vote for the proposed regulatory law, thus disappointing many right-wing MKs.

“We won’t vote against the coalition’s position, and we won’t support the regulatory law, certainly our ministers won’t,” Attias insisted. “We’re not about to stir up a coalition crisis over this issue.”

Attias added that in a coalition government with 40 ministers, the other coalition MKs don’t stand a chance in a dispute with Netanyahu. “You neutralize 40 ministers, that’s it, the law doesn’t pass,” he said.

According to protocol, a vote against the Prime Minister’s directive by a government minister is grounds for dismissal.

It is not yet clear whether Netanyahu will impose “coalition discipline” in tomorrow’s vote, forcing his own Likud faction members to vote according to party line. This may prove necessary, as currently coalition whip Ze’ev Elkin is closely associated with MKs who are proposing the new legislation, as is Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The daily Ma’ariv reported Tuesday that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and the rest of the Israel Beiteinu faction ministers will also oppose the law.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dep-pm-yaalon-advising-ulpana-residents-to-abandon-hope-on-regulatory-law/2012/06/05/

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