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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘law’

Moving The Embassy: It’s The Law, Not Just A Campaign Promise

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

During the course of the presidential campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised on several occasions that he would move the United States embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Jerusalem is designated by Israel as its capital although it is not formally recognized as such by the international community.)

Israel is the only country in the world whose choice of capital city is not honored internationally, and Mr. Trump vowed to set this right. Since his victory, though, there has been speculation in some quarters as to whether Mr. Trump would carry through on his commitment or abandon it after winning the election, putting him in the same place as his predecessors.

But it seems the president-elect is someone who would honor his word on this as both a matter of personal principle and a blow for equity and justice. And since Mr. Trump aspires to establish a “law and order” administration, we think it relevant to note that since the enactment of the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 – which required that the U.S. embassy in Israel be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999 – the movement of the embassy has not been a mere matter of an elected official making good on a campaign promise but rather a legal imperative.

Yet Presidents Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama avoided implementing the law by reading into it a fictional presidential waiver of the relocation requirement. We are encouraged that Mr. Trump has signaled that he will have no truck with such legal legerdemain.

Here are some pertinent excerpts from the relocation law and how three presidents have distorted it. Only Section 3 and Section 7 of the law need concern us here:

 

SEC. 3: TIMETABLE.

(a) STATEMENT OF THE POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES

(1) Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected;

(2) Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel; and

(3) the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem no later than May 31,1999

 

(b) OPENING DETERMINATION – Not more than 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the Department of State for fiscal year 1999 for ‘Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad’ may be obligated until the Secretary of State determines and reports to Congress that the United States Embassy in Jerusalem has officially opened.

***

SEC. 7.: PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.

(a) Waiver Authority

 

(1) Beginning on October 1, 1998, the President may sus­pend the limitation set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.

(2) The President may suspend such limitation for an additional six-month period at the end of any period dur­ing which the suspension is in effect under this subsection ­if the President determines and reports to Congress in advance of the additional suspension that the additional suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.

 

So every six months following the implementation date for moving the embassy, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama sent Congress the following notification:

Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995… (the “Act”), I hereby determine that it is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States to suspend for a period of 6 months the limitation set forth in Sec. 3(b) of the Act.

Plainly, Sec.3 (a) declares that the embassy must be moved, no ifs, ands, or buts. Equally as plain, if the em­bassy is not relocated, Sec. 3(b) imposes, as a penalty, substantial restrictions on the ability of the State Depart­ment to spend money on “acquisition and maintenance of buildings abroad.”

However, when one reads the waiver/suspension provi­sion, Sec. 7 (a)(1), it explicitly says that “the President may suspend the limitation set forth in Sec. 3 (b)…to pro­tect the national security interests of the United States.”

If words mean anything, the president thus may suspend the Sec. 3 (b) penalty provision – that is, the limitation on the ability to spend funds for acquisition and maintenance. But nowhere is the president given the authority to suspend the Sec. 3(a) legal obligation to move the em­bassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Indeed, no president has ever even referred to a suspension of Sec.3 (a).

Ironically, every time Mr. Trump’s predecessors sent the notification to Congress they implicitly reaffirmed the general applicability of the obligation to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

We are also constrained to note the outrageous threats from Palestinian Authority about meeting any attempt to move the embassy with dire measures. Mr. Trump is not likely to be intimidated by such threats.

We are optimistic that as Mr. Trump as president will finally bring the U.S. government into compliance with an important congressional enactment.

Editorial Board

Bennett: If Law to Save Amona Fails, We’ll Stop Voting with Netanyahu Coalition

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

As the Arrangement Act, compelling Arab claimants against government initiated Jewish settlements to accept market value for their lands, comes up for an initial vote at the Knesset plenum, two coalition partners — Kulanu and Habayit Hayehudi — have accused Prime Minister Netanyahu and Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) of attempting to sabotage the vote. Bitan announced on Tuesday that there may be some difficulties in rustling support for the bill.

In response, Habayit Hayehudi faction informed Bitan that should the coalition partners not honor the coalition discipline rule and help defeat the government-supported legislation, Habayit Hayehudi would no longer vote in support of future coalition bills.

The threat was intended to pressure Likud to make sure all the coalition partners indeed show up to support the bill. As of Tuesday night, there have been rumors that Kulanu and the Haredi parties were considering a no-show during the vote. Now it appears those rumors were manufactured on behalf of the PM, who never was in favor of the proposed law.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected a coalition request to postpone the demolition of Amona, in Samaria, on December 25.

David Israel

Haredim Block Muezzin Law, Say It Threatens Pre-Shabbat Siren

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Health Minister and United Torah Judaism Chairman Yakov Litzman on Tuesday appealed the decision of the Government Legislative Committee Sunday approving a bill prohibiting the use of Mosque PA systems. The appeal will require a new committee debate.

Comparing the Mosques’ loudspeaker announcements, which reverberate through entire neighborhoods in Israeli mixed cities five times a day every day, starting as early as 4 AM, to the pre-Shabbat loudspeaker warnings in many Israeli cities, which take place, by definition, once a week (more if there’s a holiday), Litzman suggested the “Muezzin law” might damage the status quo between the state and the religious Jewish community.

Litzman was supported by Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, and also by MK Issawi Freij (Meretz), who wrote Litzman that “the right to worship is a fundamental right for everyone. Noise problems should not be resolved through legislation.” Joint Arab List Chairman MK Ayman Odeh congratulated Minister Litzman on his move, saying it was “a significant step toward cooperation between the weakened segments of society.” Meaning, presumably, that both the Arabs and the Haredim face government policies intended to keep them down.

MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) stated in the bill itself that he has no intention “to harm religious freedom, rather it is intended to prevent the sleep interruption suffered by the majority of citizens due to muezzin calls.”

Interestingly, several Muslim and European countries have enacted laws compelling their mosques to “muffle” their loudspeakers, including Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Cities that have banned or restricted the use of loudspeakers by mosques include Cairo, Egypt, Mumbai, India, Lagos, Nigeria, and several cities in Michigan. Restrictions of calls of prayers by muezzins exist in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the UK, Austria, Norway, and Belgium.

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

Knesset Committee to Debate Proposed Law Expanding Defense Minister’s Powers

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

A proposed new law would magnify the authority of the Israeli defense minister (within pre-1967 Israel only, as the Civil Administration deals with Judea and Samaria), enabling him or her to restrict the freedom of a citizen without trial, under considerations of “national security of the public safety.”

The bill is to be debated next week by the Knesset Constitution Committee, whose legal advisers had already called it “problematic.”

Bayit Yehudi MK and Committee Chairperson Nissan Slomiansky told Ha’aretz the committee will have to consider how to balance the protection of national security and the public, against the “severe injury to human rights.”

The legislation if passed would allow the minister to restrict the professions in which a citizen could work, stop a citizen from leaving the country and/or stop that person from making contact with certain individuals, reports the Ha’aretz newspaper. It would also enable the defense minister to detail Israeli citizens without trial, among other privileges.

But all of the above restrictions already exist as privileges of the Public Security Minister in pre-1967 Israel, and the right of the Defense Minister in areas of Judea, Samaria and some parts of Jerusalem as well.

For instance, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet domestic intelligence service) can recommend to either minister that any individual be held under “administrative detention,” given enough reason to do so. Those reasons are not always made public, but one can be held under the law relating to administrative detention without being charged or brought to trial, for months. The validation must be renewed every three months, but the minister may detain anyone he likes as long as he can justify it to the High Court.

This law would limit that administrative detention – in pre-1967 Israel, at least, to six months.

As for restricting the professions in which one is able to work, security clearance, one’s military record and one’s criminal record and/or academic record – all of which can be traced via one’s Israeli identity card – already is used for such purposes, whether that information is always shared with the applicant or not.

As regards leaving the country, the average Israeli traveling abroad – as other travelers – goes through at least five security checks before ever reaching the airline check-in counter. By that time, Israeli security personnel have either decided one is a risk to national security, or they’re not.

If so, you’ll never make it to the plane.

Hana Levi Julian

Likud MK Calls Livni Adviser ‘Useful Idiot’ over Leftwing NGO Law

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

MK Amir Ohana (Likud) is part of the move to revoke anti-Israeli B’Tselem NGO’s right to receive interns from the National Service, where Israeli young men and women are invited to serve instead of enlisting in the IDF. B’Tselem, along with Peace Now’s US branch, have caught the wrath of Israeli politicians on both sides of the aisle when the testified last Friday before a non-binding UN Security Council session against the Jewish settlements in the liberated territories. Regardless of the arguments both groups were making, the fact that they chose to testify against their own country before a forum that included some of the most vile regimes on the planet disqualified them, in the view of most Israelis, from receiving any state support whatsoever.

Ohana tweeted: “How many Israeli citizens are aware of the fact that the state (through the National Service) provides manpower to B’Teselem? How did we get so screwed up? I was glad to hear the PM supports my proposed legislation to end this absurd situation.”

So former journalist Mia Bengel, who served as senior advisor to former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (then with her own The Movement party, formerly in the Kadima party, before that in Likud and now in the Zionist Camp), tweeted in response: “How many Israeli citizens are aware that there’s an MK who does not find it absurd for a homosexual to try and damage human rights organizations?”

Yes, we neglected to mention that MK Ohana is a declared homosexual and member in good standing of the Likud party. No one in Likud thought there was anything wrong about it, but, as it turns out, on the Israeli left you lose your gay license as soon as you join a rightwing party. Or, as Ravit Rita Bar tweeted: “I’m a rightwing lesbian, I vote Likud and support the Great Eretz Israel idea. Do I have your permission?” And Lilac Sigan tweeted: “Excuse me, but what human rights? They’ve long since forgotten what that means, they haven’t been in that category for a long time.”

MK Ohana went on the offensive, tweeting: “Only useful idiots like you consider B’Tselem, which defends Hamas, which throws homosexuals off the rooftops, a ‘human rights’ organization.” And he added for good measure, “Small former journalist.” Probably for the homosexual insult.

Bengel reacted: “Oy, and I was sure that a useful idiot is more like being a homosexual in Likud, voting against himself in return for a lentil stew of popularity and nausea.” This was a rather astute criticism of Ohana, who tends to be absent from votes where the coalition, of which he is a member, proposes anti-gay measures. This isn’t a frequent occurrence, mind you, but when it happens, gay activists don’t forgive it easily.

Michelle Hellm demanded (tongue in cheek) that the state revoke Ohana’s gay license. Ariel Plaskin expressed his revulsion at Bengel’s essentially bigoted idea that Homosexuals can’t belong to rightwing parties, and the debate is still raging.

Finally, the spokesperson for the Embassy of Israel in London, Yiftah Curiel, mentioned in the same Twitter debate that on the eve of Yom Kippur, October 11, which also happened to be National Coming Out Day in the US, “someone” at the Israeli embassy in London raised the rainbow flag together with the Israeli national flag. Considering the fact that the Jewish nation read together on the following afternoon a portion of the Book of Leviticus that outlaws just that sort of hanky panky, should someone alert the authorities?

David Israel

Netanyahu to Amend the National Service Law to Exclude B’Tselem

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

At the start of the Knesset winter session, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will act to amend the national service law so that it will no longer be possible for young Israelis to do their national service working for the B’Tselem organization, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office, released Saturday night. Netanyahu discussed the amendment Saturday evening with coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud).

Prime Minister Netanyahu has previously contacted the Attorney General on the matter, and the latter said the law needs to be amended to exclude the anti-Zionist NGO.

On Friday, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, appeared before a non-binding session of the UN Security Council, together with the director of Americans for Peace Now, to attack Israeli policy on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The meeting came a week after the US and the EU had expressed their outrage at the fact that Israel was planning 98 new housing units in Samaria, for the residents of Amona which was slated for demolition by the Israeli Supreme Court. Apparently, the fact that Israel refuses to let a few hundred Jews go homeless poses a threat to the national aspirations of Palestinians everywhere.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-to-amend-the-national-service-law-to-exclude-btselem/2016/10/16/

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