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Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



Jewish Civil Rights and Privatization

By Caroline Glick

The Jerusalem Post

21 June, 2013

 


As for Judea and Samaria, the sale of private land should not require
the approval of the civil administration.


OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon has done it again. You may
recall that Alon was the “senior military official,” who as commander
of the Judea and Samaria Division blamed the massacre of the Fogel
family in March 2011 on undefined acts of vandalism in Arab villages
allegedly carried out by Israelis.

He also told The New York Times that he disagreed with Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu’s view that Hamas’s takeover of Gaza following
Israel’s withdrawal demonstrated that a unilateral withdrawal from
Judea and Samaria would be reckless in the extreme.

Over the past four months Alon has been criticized for his refusal to
take actions to end the massive proliferation of terror attacks
against Jews in Judea and Samaria. For months Alon ordered IDF
soldiers to stand down as Palestinians hurled rocks and firebombs at
them and at civilians. He set rules of engagement that are so
restrictive that soldiers are better off running away from Palestinian
mobs than defending themselves and Israeli civilians.

After Adva Biton, a three-year-old girl, was critically wounded when
her mother’s car was stoned, and as online videos proliferated of IDF
soldiers fleeing from assaults, and of Israeli civilians being beaten
and assaulted on the roads with firebombs, rocks and bullets, the
media finally began reporting on the terror surge. Public pressure
mounted for Alon to finally take action or be fired from his post.

You might think that given public scrutiny of his failures Alon would
keep a low profile. But he hasn’t.

On Tuesday he spoke to a group of foreign journalists and diplomats
and said that in his “professional” opinion, if we don’t start
negotiations with the Palestinians soon, we are likely to see an
escalation of Palestinian terrorism against Israelis.

Alon’s claims deserve scrutiny because they expose just how deeply his
political views impede his ability to understand and competently
perform his duties. Alon disclosed that the Popular Committee Against
the Wall and Settlements is the group behind the riots and the attacks
on Israeli civilians and military forces. The group, he revealed, is
bankrolled by the Palestinian Authority.

According to Alon, out of respect for US Secretary of State John
Kerry’s attempts to renew peace talks, the PA suspended the group’s
funding. He explained that this PA decision has led to a steep drop in
terror attacks.

Alon said that the PA has kept its funding cutoff ­ like the funding
itself ­ secret. He attributed the PA’s silence to its leaders’
modesty and moderation.

In his words, “They weren’t looking for diplomatic recognition for the
move but rather for the territory to quiet down.”

Alon also mentioned that PA security forces are involved in stone and
firebomb attacks on Israelis.

He warned that if Kerry’s attempts to start peace talks between Israel
and the PLO fail, then Palestinian terror will get worse. In his
words, “If, in a few weeks, the attempt of the American involvement
will go [away] with nothing, I’m afraid that we will see this trend of
escalation even strengthening.”

The implications of Alon’s revelations are obvious.

The supposedly grassroots groups of local rioters ­ including children
attacking IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians with bullets, firebombs
and stones are not at all independent or grassroots.

They are wholly owned and operated franchises of the PA. And the ones
leading the attacks are the US-trained Palestinian security services.

Most people would take these two pieces of information and conclude
the PA is an enemy entity engaged in a massive and sustained terror
campaign against Israeli forces and civilians. But Alon missed this.
Alon revealed the secret PA funding of the rioters to prove its
moderation by also revealing that the funding was temporarily
suspended.

Alon’s strategy for dealing with the violence is not to do his job ­
deploy forces judiciously to defend the country and its citizens from
our enemies.

His strategy is to pressure the government to surrender to all of the
PLO’s territorial and political demands.

Because that is Kerry’s peace plan.

Since he entered office in February, Kerry has come here nearly half a
dozen times to force Israel to accept all of the PLO’s preconditions
for negotiations.

These include an agreement in principle that in the framework of a
peace deal, Israel will surrender to the PLO all of Judea, Samaria and
northern, southern and eastern Jerusalem and expel the 550,000 Jews
living in these areas from their homes. They also include a complete
and continuous abrogation of Jewish property rights in Judea, Samaria
and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem, and the release of
Palestinian terrorists jailed in Israeli prisons.

It ought to go without saying that there is no connection between
military affairs and Alon’s positions, and his ideological blindness
to basic strategic realities renders him unfit for duty.

But it doesn’t go without saying. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
continues to support Alon despite his ideologically induced
incompetence.

Alon is just one ­ albeit an important one ­ of many unelected public
officials whose actions stand opposed to his responsibilities, to the
public interest and to the official policies of the government.

Take Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein. A year ago today, a committee
of distinguished jurists led by retired Supreme Court justice Edmond
Levy submitted a report to the government on the legal status of
construction in Judea and Samaria. The Levy Report was not a radical
document. All it did was set out the legal basis for the positions
that have been adopted by every Israeli government since 1967. Like
every single government since 1967, the Levy Report stated that Judea
and Samaria do not fit under the international legal definition of
territories under belligerent occupation, and as a consequence, the
Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply, and Israeli communities in
these areas are completely legal and legitimate.

Weinstein is supposed to serve as the legal adviser to the government.
But in the case of the Levy Report, and not only in this case, he
acted instead as a political commissar. He abused his legal position
to intimidate the government not to adopt the findings of a committee
it impaneled, and whose recommendations were aligned with its own
stated positions.

Post-Zionists like Alon and Weinstein, like their comrades on the
Supreme Court and in the media, are intimidating enough on their own.

But their subversive behavior is supported by the US and the EU.
Kerry’s obsessive focus on forcing Israeli concessions to the PLO,
like the EU’s decision to support of an economic boycott of Israeli
exports, strengthens the position of radicals like Alon and Weinstein.
They make it all but impossible for the government to implement its
own policies.

In many respects, Netanyahu has given in to these pressures. Not only
has he overseen the appointment of post-Zionists like Alon and
Weinstein.

By appointing Tzipi Livni to serve as justice minister and the
minister responsible for negotiations with the PLO, he has ensured
that nothing will be done to remedy the phenomenon of radicals being
promoted to positions where they can undermine the policies of the
government.

Moreover, as Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel acknowledged
this week, due to the confluence of foreign pressure and the
empowerment of post-Zionists in the public sector, the government is
not respecting Jewish property rights in Jerusalem. It is banning
construction for Jews in the capital by preventing planning committees
from convening to approve building plans.

Netanyahu is using similar administrative tools to enact an undeclared
freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

In taking these actions, Netanyahu is betting ­ probably correctly ­
that he will not be forced to surrender Judea and Samaria, because
Mahmoud Abbas will never agree to negotiate with Israel.

Under Abbas’s leadership, Palestinian society has been so radicalized
that there is no Palestinian constituency that supports peace with
Israel. So, too, the Islamic world has become so radicalized since US
President Barack Obama came into office that there is no regional
support whatsoever for a Palestinian decision to recognize Israel.

While Netanyahu’s policies may allow him to survive Obama’s second
term without irrevocably destroying the country, on the ground, the
lives of Israel’s citizens are not being defended, and their legal and
civil rights are being trampled.

Ariel, like Bayit Yehudi party leader Minister Naftali Bennett,
doubtlessly wishes to end this state of affairs. But so far, their
efforts in this area have been limited to calling for the government
to change its policies. They and like-minded government ministers have
the power to fix this situation.

And the time has come for them to act.

The Levy Report provides several recommendations for respecting the
legal rights of Jews in Judea and Samaria. There is no reason for the
government not to implement these recommendations ­ even without
formally adopting the report.

The report’s main recommendation is to take the government out of the
zoning process. The property and civil rights of Jews in Judea and
Samaria must be accorded the same respect as those of all Israelis,
regardless of the political views of appointed officials or foreign
governments.

Local councils and municipalities in Judea and Samaria, as well as
Jerusalem’s municipal government, should have the power to approve
building plans within their municipal boundaries.

To bring about this, the government must remove the Interior Ministry
from the zoning process in Jerusalem. The government should not have
the power to convene or block the convention of local planning boards.

As for Judea and Samaria, the sale of private land should not require
the approval of the civil administration.

And in accordance with the recommendations of the Levy Report, a land
registry should be established and anyone with legal title to land
should be required within three to five years to register his holdings
or lose his ownership rights.

So, too, in keeping with the Levy Report, Israeli courts should be
empowered to adjudicate land ownership disputes in Judea and Samaria.
The government’s position on land disputes should be determined only
after the disputes are adjudicated in properly constituted courts of
law.

Beyond the Levy Committee’s recommendations, to further privatize the
field, as is the case in the rest of the country, state land that is
within the boundaries of recognized communities should become the
property of the communities, not the state.

Since 1967, the Israelis who support Jewish settlement of Judea and
Samaria based their actions on the assumption that the government is
interested in securing Jewish rights. Certainly after the government
forcibly expelled the Jews of northern Samaria and Gaza from their
homes, this assumption is unjustified. With the empowerment of
ideologically driven radicals like Alon and Weinstein to key positions
it is downright ridiculous.

Rather than expect the government to act as a partner or a defender,
we should simply demand that it serve as a neutral facilitator, and
privatize settlement activities. Only by taking the government out of
local planning and zoning councils, focusing efforts on buying private
land and establishing a land registry for Judea and Samaria, while
requiring land disputes to be adjudicated by properly constituted
courts, can Israelis secure their property and civil rights.

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caroline@carolineglick.com