“Considering the relentless violence and attacks on Israel’s very existence, Israelis are understandably on high alert to defend themselves,” a NY Times editorial conceded on Friday. In fact, the same piece notes that even as US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro was delivering his speech accusing Israelis of extrajudicial executions early last week, “an Israeli mother of six, who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist, was buried, and a pregnant woman was injured in a separate attack.” Nevertheless, the Times obediently repeats the Shapiro mantra, “Too many attacks on Palestinians lack a vigorous investigation or response by Israeli authorities, too much vigilantism goes unchecked, and at times there seem to be two standards of adherence to the rule of law: one for Israelis and another for Palestinians.”
Yes, it’s infuriating, and on so many levels. For one thing, no one in the West, from Swedish politicians to Manhattan dilettantes, has anything to say to those Arab individuals who leave the house one day determined to kill themselves a Jew.
It’s also infuriating because on one fundamental level, the ambassador was right; to cite a left-wing slogan: “The Occupation Corrupts.” A two tiered legal system is not even the half of it. On Friday we watched in astonishment as IDF and Police cleared two Hebron homes of their Jewish owners who had entered them the day before. The newcomers, it turned out, had failed to follow the legal procedure, so Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon decided to kick them out. He even insisted in a statement that “Israel is a country of laws,” or something to that effect.
The problem is that Hebron is not under Israeli law, and the only illegal thing missing about the Jewish homeowners entering their legally purchased homes was the signature of the sole ruler of Judea and Samaria, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Now, Ya’alon told the press he wanted to check whether or not the purchase had indeed been legal, which is acceptable. But he could have done the research while the settlers were allowed to continue living there. What was the big hurry?
So, yes, the occupation corrupts, and often the victims of the two-tiered legal system in Judea and Samaria are not the Arabs, whose illegal construction fills up the horizon both in Judea and Samaria and in green-line Israel, but the Jews in the “territories,” who have been living under martial law since 1967. The occupation has corrupted a long line of defense ministers, who saw their ultimate purpose in limiting Jewish expansion in the areas under their dictatorial control.
But the NY Times article is not about Israeli frontier justice, it is, in fact, titled, “The Fading Two-State Solution.” It argues that “Israel is moving quickly to establish facts on the ground that preclude a Palestinian state, leaving Palestinians increasingly marginalized and despairing. ‘It is starting to look like a de facto annexation,’ one American official said. In a speech last month, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that violence, settlement-building and demolitions of Palestinian homes were ‘imperiling the viability of a two-state solution.’ He said the number of settlers had increased by tens of thousands in five years. Thousands of Palestinian homes are said to be pending demolition.”
The majority of Israeli Jews, as well as non-Muslim Israeli Arabs would breathe a sigh of relief if the nightmare of a 2-state solution were truly behind us. Anything else would be better, from annexation of the entire area of Judea and Samaria to merely imposing Israeli civil law on Area C, essentially turning the Palestinian Authority into the Palestinian Autonomy it was supposed to be in the first place — they won’t even have to change the monograms on their bathroom towels. Anything that would make a dent in the all-powerful mandate of the defense ministry. Anything that would break down the corrupt occupation and allow the Jews of Judea and Samaria to reunite with their state of origin.
The NY Times ends with a note of hope for the lovers of freedom in Judea and Samaria: “With only a year left in office, President Obama is unlikely to make another run at a peace process or even apply serious pressure on Israel to halt settlement-building. With the Kerry and Shapiro speeches, the administration is hoping to prod Israelis and Palestinians to think hard about the future they are creating. Tragically, it may already be too late for the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace: two independent states, side by side.”
That last one, “the one formula that has the best chance of establishing a durable peace: two independent states, side by side,” may be the most profound example of Albert Einstein’s definition of madness, repeat the same action, expect different results. But it’s fine, whatever you may think about that terrible 2-state idea, now even the Times says it’s not coming back.