Israeli settler outpost in the West Bank, April 25, 2010
Israeli settler outpost in the West Bank. Photo by AP
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Evacuating the outposts does not appear to be high on the national agenda
Next Independence Day it would be appropriate to award the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement and exceptional contribution to the nation to the State Prosecutor's Office. The creativity its people have shown for the sake of the West Bank settlement project knows no bounds. Especially not the boundaries of the Green Line, the pre-Six-Day War border.

A statement that prosecutors sent the High Court at the end of last week on behalf of the defense minister, the army's commander in the West Bank, the head of the Civil Administration and the commander of the Samaria and Judea Police District needs to be read at least twice in order to believe it is a document from a supreme law enforcement authority.

The statement relates to a petition by Palestinians via human rights organization Yesh Din, asking to enforce a High Court decision to evacuate the illegal outpost Amona, established about 10 years ago. Petitioners have also asked for the removal of fences that prevent access to their lands. The petitioners' attorney, Michael Sfard, noted that during the four years since the demolition of nine structures at the outpost (which took place only after a previous petition by Yesh Din), Amona settlers have built new buildings to replace them.

In the statement to the High Court, the State Prosecutor's Office confirms Amona is an illegal outpost. It stresses that the defense minister, the Civil Administration and the police take a grave view of the improper conduct of the Mateh Binyamin local council (which receives its budget from the state!), "and most certainly when it comes to construction on private lands belonging to Palestinians". The prosecution saw fit to boast that "for many years now the state has been strict about not building any settlement on private land". Really, bully for the state. It would be interesting to note, incidentally, what it intends to do with the property it handed out to settlers before it stopped stealing private land.

And here comes the line that could go down in a book of records for insolence: The prosecution asks to reject the demand to evacuate the illegal settlement, since diverting the limited means of enforcement to old illegal construction "is not high on the respondents' agenda." And why not? "Means of enforcement" are needed to implement the temporary building freeze in the settlements.

In other words, the government's decision in the matter of the temporary moratorium on construction in the settlements has become the illegal settlements' insurance policy. All that remains is for them to ask the government to extend the freeze.

The Sheikh Jarrah heritage

The heads of the Im Tirtzu movement, which takes its name from Theodor Herzl's exhortation "If you will it, it is no dream," have declared a war of incitement on the left and the human rights organizations. They have decided that they too must demonstrate in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The leftists come every Friday afternoon - the Im Tirtzu people on Friday mornings. Veteran leftists protest against the eviction of the Palestinian families with the aim of "Judaizing" the neighborhood; while the neo-Zionists of Im Tirtzu offer on their Internet site a familiarization tour of the neighborhood "as you have never known it and as they have not let you know it".

Last Friday the tour organizers were accorded a free public service announcement on the Reshet Bet radio excursions program "On the Way to Nature." Under the neutral heading "A tour on the trail of heritage sites in East Jerusalem," the editor of the program, Michael Miro, recommended a "tour in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood". He told listeners that in advance of Jerusalem Day, Im Tirtzu is organizing tours of the neighborhood established 120 years ago by Jews from inside the city walls.

"They led a full life with synagogues and Torah, Sabbath pittas and hamin (cholent), as well as unforgettable celebrations in honor of the holy man, Shimon Hatzadik. Jewish settlement was renewed at the site, and many conflicts are raging over this," continued Miro, a lover of the land.

Those interested can observe up close Arabs living in tents ever since pioneering Jewish men and women threw them out of their homes. Im Tirtzu: if you will it, this is Zionism 2010.