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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli Supreme Court’

Jews Move into Hevron ‘Peace House’ 5 Years after Expulsion

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Three Jewish families moved into the “Peace House” in Hebron Sunday after receiving approval from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, five years after his predecessor in the Olmert government brutally expelled dozens of Jews from the building.

The entry of Jews, with the official backing of the Supreme Court, represents a turning point for the rights of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria and against the Palestinian Authority-media-political-judicial torture chamber that has mangled  normalcy to the point it cannot be identified..

A Jew, reportedly a religious American of Syrian descent whose ancestors escaped the Arab pogrom in Hebron in 1929, purchased the building seven years ago from Arabs for approximately $1 million.

The Arab seller, a Jordanian, had sold it through a third party and did not realize that the building eventually would end up in the hands of Jews. The Palestinian Authority, banking on Jordanian law, makes a sale of property to Jews punishable by death, one of their principles of being a “peace partner.”

The Peace House is a four-story building that housed 25 Jewish families and yeshiva students until the government ordered them out in 2008, less than year after the purchase, because the legality of the purchase was questioned and their presence was deemed as endangering security

The building is called the “Peace House,” but Israel’s center-left media have insisted on calling it the “The House of Contention,” past of their propaganda machine to show that anything that settlers do is harmful for peaceful relations with Arabs.

If the Jews simply would leave Hebron, and all of Judea and Samaria, and live in Tel Aviv and the Negev, there would be no problems.

That is the formula that has been marketed for decade, despite the War of Attrition on the 1960s when Arabs from Jordan and Egypt constantly attacked Jews, despite the  Six-Day War when seven Arab nations circled Israel like vultures ready to pounce, and despite the Israeli government’s expulsion of Jews from Gaza in 2005 to make Israel safe for Hamas to attack with tens of thousands of missiles.

Welcome to the “peace process.”

That is why peace process lovers Amir Peretz and Ehud Barak, defense ministers  in the corrupt Olmert government, did everything they could to keep the Jews out of the building. Barak brought in the goon squads to violently expel Jews who had been living in the Peace House. The police swarmed in after he tricked the Jews to believe negotiations would be held before any police action would take place.

The building has been bought in 2007. After the initial purchase, the courts played along with the Arabs and Peace Now, accepting their appeals and questioning the legality of the transaction, until finally deciding that a lower court would have to decide on who really owns the building, but until then, no one could live there.

A lower court ruled last year that the Jews indeed legally purchased the building, but that decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which last month rejected the petition.

Since the Defense Minister is the ultimate authority in Judea and Samaria, at least until it is annexed and placed under Israeli sovereignty, court approval of the sale does not mean the Jewish owners could move in. Unlike Peretz and Barak, who made lives miserable for Jews before resorting to force, Ya’alon signed on the dotted line Sunday after the owners paid the final $300,000 that was owed to the Arab seller

The three-justice panel that ended the ordeal exhibited rare common sense. Justice Daphne Barak Erez, who is considered a liberal and  a court activist, wrote that both sides in the dispute have emotional and ideological issues, but they are not in the purview of the courts.

Arab Rapist and Pedophile Accused Israel of Sex Crimes

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Nawaf Athamneh, the 52 year old resident of Kafr Qara, NIF-funded public relations hack, and editor of the far left anti-Israel former Machsom (Checkpoint) website and other outlets was recently convicted of raping a 15 year old Israeli girl.

There are so many bad guys in this story you have to keep score; all deserve your ire.

THE CRIMES

Before Athamneh committed the actual crimes, he stalked his young victim through the personals section of a newspaper. He called himself “Amir,” pretending to be an Israeli, gained her confidence, claimed to obtain an incriminating photograph of her. With that, he had virtually complete control over the terrified girl as he threatened to show her family and community the photos.  He then hounded her, blackmailing her into meeting him and then forcing her to commit various sexual acts. Then he claimed he videotaped those humiliations and promised her still more sexual and other degradations.

The girl finally confided in her sister, the sister told her mother, the mother went to the police, a trap was set and Athamneh was apprehended, tried and convicted.

But there’s more to the story.

Athamneh’s past has not yet been connected to his current crime.  Yes, it is known he was an anti-Israel Arab Israeli, but the particular hypocrisy which has heretofore escaped the media’s notice is that Athamneh himself self-righteously charged others with violent sexual offenses:  Israelis.

Athamneh was the media coordinator of an event entitled, “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality: Palestinians in the Shadow of the Wall.”

In the language describing the event, Athamneh and his colleagues discuss the brutal sexual control and violence of Israelis towards Arab Palestinians.

In a particularly chilling foreshadowing of the Athamneh’s own deviant behavior, he and his colleagues describe their event as one addressing how “sexuality and bodily rights are an integral part of human rights.”

An example Athamneh and his like-minded “gender studies” activists cited as undermining reproductive and sexual rights, “is the ‘nationality’ law in Israel, affecting people’s right to choose their partners.”

They describe Israel itself, as a whole, as causing “young girls and women” to suffer “serious violations of their bodily, sexuality and reproductive rights.”

2009 NIF SPONSORED CONFERENCE ACCUSING ISRAEL OF SEXUAL CRIMES AGAINST ARABS

The conference itself raised hackles at the time, in particular because of the provocative posters. There were a series of them, one which revealed the body and arm of a male Israeli soldier reaching towards the chest area of an Arab women, the other revealed the body and arm of a female Israeli soldier reaching towards the area of the sensitive body part of a male Arab.

The headline of the poster read: “Her husband needs a permit to touch her.  The occupation penetrates her life everyday.”

The irony continues.  Athmaneh and colleagues completed the description of their conference’s campaign by claiming it “highlights the need to intensify efforts aiming at protecting Palestinian men and women and to struggle against all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, political and social prejudice, oppression, discrimination and violence.”

So when they write they want to struggle against “all forms of physical, sexual, psychological, political and social prejudice, discrimination and violence,” did they also mean against Israeli Jewish girls?

The Jewish Press attempted to speak with Nawaf Athamneh before this story went to print, but his number has been disconnected.

The Jewish Press also attempted to speak with leadership at the New Israel Fund, which funded Athmaneh’s 2009 “My Land, Space, Body and Sexuality” conference as well as his organization, and which defended the organizations’ posters for the conference. There was no immediate response.

HAIFA DISTRICT CT JUDGE RON SHAPIRA SENTENCES ARAB RAPIST PEDOPHILE TO PERFORM MITZVOT

But there is a further ugly piece of this puzzle.

The 15 year old victim who finally was induced to overcome her mortification, who participated in the pursuit, trial and conviction of her torturer, and who implored, in a letter to sentencing judge Ron Shapira that a harsh sentence be imposed so as to deter others from engaging in similar brutalizing behavior.

But instead Haifa District Court Judge Ron Shapira decided to insult the young victim again.

Although Shapira said he agreed with the prosecution that the normal three to six year sentence for such crimes was appropriate, in this case he decided to depart from the appropriate sentence, in favor of attempting to rehabilitate the criminal.

US Implicitly Backs Peace Now Petition to Destroy Outpost

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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.

Migron Outpost Residents Say They Will Stay Put Until Court Hearing

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Residents of Migron said they will not leave the Samarian outpost until the Israeli Supreme Court rules on a request to halt their evacuation.

Earlier this month the residents had asked the court to stop the evacuation as some work to verify claims that they had purchased, or repurchased, the land on which the homes are located.

The eviction is scheduled for Tuesday — the day the court is scheduled to address the case. The residents say they will not leave before the hearing. The Defense Ministry has called on the residents to leave peacefully beginning in the morning.

Approximately 50 families live on the outpost, which is 14 miles north of Jerusalem. Some 17 families are contesting the evacuation, saying they own the land on which their homes are built.

Temporary homes for the Migron families have been established in the nearby community of Psagot, but the Migron residents will only be able to move into the homes if they leave their outpost voluntarily, according to reports.

In March, the Supreme Court ruled against an attempt by the government to postpone to 2015 the demolition of Migron, which some Palestinians say is built on their land. Deferrals against the demolition stretch back to 2006.

The settlers, who deny that Migron is built on private Palestinian land, had signed a deal with the Netanyahu government agreeing to relocate to a nearby hill.

The Draft Controversy In Israel

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

A comment by Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz the other day set us thinking about an element in the draft debate that could only manifest itself in an Israeli context.

Mr. Mofaz spoke at length on the issue to Israel TV’s Channel 2 , saying he believed the government could successfully put together a bill to replace the Tal Law, which largely exempts most full-time adult yeshiva students from army service but which the Israeli Supreme Court recently struck down. Then, in a follow-up interview with Channel 10, he added that service “is part of our DNA as Jews.”

Surely he was referring to the obligations citizens in a democracy have to their government and its institutions, particularly its military component. But non-Jews also bear that trait as well. Could it be that the devoutly secular Mr. Mofaz thinks the Jewish version is special?

Many are aware of the Jewish concept of areivus, which is loosely translated as the visceral tendency of Jews to take care of one another. In fact, it is more than that.

The Rambam in Hilchos Teshuvah says a person who keeps all the mitzvos but doesn’t share in the travails of Klal Yisrael “will have no portion in the World to Come.”

The famed Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva Rav Aharon Kotler, zt”l, alluded to that in a discussion of why someone who had already made Kiddush on Shabbos was still able to make it for someone else who had not yet heard it. It is not, he said, a berachah levatalah – a superfluous berachah – because all Jews are interconnected parts of a whole, so that the failure of someone to hear Kiddush constitutes an original obligation on the part of the person making Kiddush for him.

To those of us who believe that “Jewish DNA” is reflective of the Torah in every respect, we must accept that all Jews are entitled to each other’s protection. To be sure, part of the continuing draft conflict in Israel is the lack of universal acceptance of the notion that learning Torah provides protection for Jews even as does serving in the IDF. But both sides of the divide accept the obligation of areivus. And that is certainly notable.

It is interesting, and perhaps not coincidental, that the outlines of the agreement being seriously considered calls for a five-year draft deferment for all haredi young men learning in yeshivas with an additional delay or even a lifetime exemption available for exceptional students. One cannot fail to note how closely this formula tracks the typical conversation that prospective mechutanim have about how long their son or son-in-law will be supported in kollel.

This is an important development in terms of addressing the conundrum of dealing with the prospect that a Jewish state would institutionally limit the time a Jew can spend learning Torah. Relatedly, we hope it also reflects a willingness to provide full accommodation of the religious needs of haredim and others who are observant.

The Party is Over

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

As Solomon the wisest of men once said “there is nothing new under the sun”. With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the recently proposed “rightist” bills have elicited the usual responses: lots and lots of Bibi-bashing together with accusations that Israel’s democracy is under attack and that freedom of speech is being stymied.

Thus, rather than seriously addressing the issues and arguing over substance, the supposed guardians of democracy simply rattle off sound bites that are designed to vilify and scare anyone who dares to see things differently. It’s a common tactic and one that is expected, especially from those who feel their power slipping away.

However, times are changing and the public is finally waking up. They know that the Israeli Supreme Court is one of the most activist supreme courts in the world with a disproportionate amount influence, driven by a worldview that represents a very small percentage of the Israeli population. Moreover, people understand that changing the longstanding policy whereby the court basically chooses its own judges in order to perpetuate its ideological stranglehold will only strengthen, and not curtail, Israeli democracy.

Similarly, most Israelis understand that the funding of Israeli organizations by foreign governments as a way to enable these governments to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel, especially in light of the current international campaign against Israel, is obviously problematic. Thus, labeling any attempt to deal with this complex issue as a sign of a right-wing crackdown or a restriction of human rights is nonsense.

It’s a very serious issue that must be addressed regardless of one’s ideological position.

More importantly, the days are coming to an end whereby the powerful left-wing establishment manages to silence their critics every time they feel a threat to their well-entrenched hold on power. As much as they try to portray themselves as innocent by wrapping themselves in pure white cloaks of freedom and democracy, this small yet powerful ideological group can no longer hide their hypocrisy. The same voices which sanctimoniously claim that the Israel of Netanyahu and Lieberman is turning ugly and fascist, for years labeled all opponents of the disastrous Oslo process as enemies of peace in order to stifle any real discussion. Likewise, prominent voices in the mainly left-wing media who disingenuously claim that the current government is overstepping its boundaries in order to impose its agenda, only a few short years rallied round the call by one of their colleagues that Ariel Sharon had to be “protected like an etrog” in order to help the government implement the controversial Gaza Disengagement.

Unfortunately, rather than understanding that the public is simply fed up with a situation whereby a small group with an exorbitant amount of power and influence basically determines what is best for the rest of the country, the predominantly left-wing establishment continues to view alternative voices as a threat. This is truly a shame since the truth of the matter is that a change in direction based upon a more balanced approach will not only be more in line with the mindset of the average Israeli but it will also help secure the long-term survival of the country.

Whether or not the left finally internalizes this and stops attacking, is irrelevant. Either way, the party is over as their monopoly on being the sole deciders on the direction of the country is finally coming to an end.

Israel’s Fickle Standards Of Free Speech

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The eminent law professor Robert Bork once described the Israeli Supreme Court as the worst in the Western world. Israel, Bork wrote, “has set a standard for judicial imperialism that can probably never be surpassed, and, one devoutly hopes, will never be equaled elsewhere.”
 
Bork finds “less and less reason for the Israeli people to bother electing a legislature and executive; the attorney general, with the backing of the Supreme Court, can decide almost everything for them.”
 
Making matters worse, judges in Israel, including Supreme Court judges, are chosen by a non-elected panel dominated by other judges, and there are no possibilities for impeachment of judges by the parliament or by ballot initiative.
 
Israel’s Supreme Court has been dominated by the anti-democratic doctrine of “judicial activism” for a generation. In many cases its rulings are attempts to implement the leftist ideology of judges. The unelected justices of the Supreme Court claim the right, invented by them out of thin air, to overturn laws passed by the elected representatives of the people.
 
Not surprisingly, the Israeli Supreme Court is militantly aggressive in defending the liberties of Israeli Arabs and far leftists, but seems to have little interest in defending civil liberties, including freedom of speech, for others.
 
The court recently refused to review the decision of the Nazareth Appeals court in the long-running Plaut-Gordon lawsuit, in effect leaving the earlier decision by the Nazareth court in place. It took the Supreme Court nearly two years to decide not to review the earlier appeals court decision. Its refusal in essence formally establishes infringements on freedom of expression in Israel.
 
The Neve Gordon SLAPP suit filed against me, which began a decade ago, should have been summarily dismissed in the very first round of litigation.
 
Gordon is a far left academic who routinely calls for Israel to be eliminated and who insists Israel is a fascist, Nazi-like apartheid regime. He sued me because I’d accused him of being a “groupie” of the Israel-hating American academic Norman Finkelstein. I also denounced Gordon for serving as a human shield for wanted terrorist murderers and interfering with Israeli anti-terror operations.
 
His suit was assigned to an Arab judge whose husband was the right-hand party man of Azmi Bishara, the accused Israeli Arab spy now in hiding. She found for Gordon. In essence her verdict amounted to the rule that treason in Israel is protected speech but criticism of treason is libelous.
 
That lower court ruling was later reversed in the Nazareth Appeals Court, but Gordon was allowed to retain 10 percent of the damages the first judge had granted him. That 10 percent was based entirely on the use of the term “Judenrat-wannabe” in reference to Gordon’s activities.
 
I then filed a Supreme Court appeal. After dragging its feet, the Supreme Court panel of three judges (two Jewish and one Arab) decided there was insufficient constitutional or public interest in reviewing the Nazareth appeals ruling, in effect allowing it to stand. And, in effect, also preserving the suppression of freedom of speech contained in that verdict.
 
The Israeli Supreme Court once again refused to defend the “semi-constitutional” defenses of freedom of speech that are supposed to exist in Israel. In their ruling, the judges appeared not to have read my appeal, and so failed to note that the description of Gordon as a “judenrat-wannabe” that was deemed “libelous” was in fact a reference to Gordon’s serving as a human shield for wanted murderers and his illegal interference with Israeli military operations against terrorists.
 
For all intents and purposes, the Israeli Supreme Court re-established Israel’s status as a mere semi-democracy, one in which freedom of speech does not really exist, at least not for non-leftists.
 
The Supreme Court’s ruling established the principle that everyone in Israel may use “Holocaust-era imagery” in discourse, except for critics of the left. The Nazareth appeals court had ruled that my use of the term “judenrat” was not protected speech. Of course, routine denunciations by Israeli leftists and Arabs against Israel as a Nazi or fascist entity are protected speech.
 
The Supreme Court even ignored its own earlier ruling (Freij vs. Kol Hazman) that came out after the Nazareth Appeals ruling in Gordon-Plaut, which stated that use of Holocaust-era imagery in discourse actually is permitted in Israel, especially in political discourse.
 
            The opposition to democracy and freedom of speech in the Israeli legal community transcends court justices. In recent months we have seen repeated rounds of petitioning in favor of leftist causes signed by numerous professors and other faculty members in Israeli law schools. At the same time, it is all but impossible to find examples of law professors speaking out in favor of freedom of speech for non-leftists.
 
In short, Israeli law schools have become home to masses of law professors and other academics who are either fundamentally anti-democratic or too intimidated and cowardly to take a public stand in favor of freedom of speech.
 

Meanwhile, Israeli judges and leftists are campaigning against a Knesset proposal to require parliamentary approval of judicial appointments. They consider the idea preposterous. I mean, what does the Knesset think this is here, the United States?

 

 

Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa.His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.comHe can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israels-fickle-standards-of-free-speech/2011/08/24/

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