The coalition had such hopes pinned on Justice Asher Grunis. Its members made extreme efforts to get him named Supreme Court president. He was supposed to be their anti-Beinisch: the right-wing, nationalist, Zionist response to former court President Dorit Beinisch, the bane of their existance.
But as great as the hopes were, the disappointment was even greater: Not once, but twice since assuming his post, Grunis has handed humiliating defeats to the political right. A month ago, Grunis ordered the evacuation of the illegal outpost at Migron by August 1, and on Monday, he rejected the impudent request by the government to leave Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood in place for, well, for forever, if not a bit longer.
The silence that enveloped the Prime Minister's Office yesterday was evidence of the shock it had received. The Ulpana neighborhood, comprised of five multi-family buildings on the edge of Beit El, has turned into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hill of horrors. Sending bulldozers there and forcibly evacuating some 200 men, women and children in the midst of an election campaign would be the equivalent, in electoral terms, of the series of terrorist bombings in early 1996 that ended up toppling Shimon Peres's government.
Thus one can cautiously assume that Netanyahu will not consider, even in his worst nightmares, adhering to the High Court's ruling. The sight of demolished buildings and evacuated settlers only weeks before an election will drive masses of Likud voters into the hands of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and National Union. And the mantra being chanted by all during the past few days - "Netanyahu will be the next prime minister" - will be very much in doubt.
Until only a few weeks ago, Netanyahu would tell his interlocutors that passing a law in the Knesset to retroactively legalize the illegal outposts was "not a good solution." At this point, he may be ready to change his mind.
After the High Court issued its most recent ruling on Migron, in March, Netanyahu publicly promised to uphold it.
Yesterday he said nothing at all, even though the High Court is the same High Court, the justices are the same justices, and the settlers - who embarrassed him so at the Likud convention earlier this week - are the same settlers.
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