NGO records leap in MKs' aid to settlements
Report lists 150 'achievements' in the West Bank that benefited from efforts of 'nationalist' cabinet members and MKs, compared to 100 in previous report.
There has been a 50-percent rise in political actions, mostly by right-wing ministers and MKs, that have aided West Bank settlements, according to a recent report by a nongovernmental organization.
The latest biannual report by right-wing group Mattot Arim, covering June to December 2011, lists 150 "achievements" in the West Bank that benefited from the efforts of "nationalist" cabinet members and MKs, compared to 100 in the previous report.
On its website, Mattot Arim, which was founded in 1992, describes itself as "an Israeli grassroots organization working to educate the public and its opinion leaders as to the national interests of the Jewish people."
The "achievements" are grouped by topic. Under "Jerusalem," for example, accomplishments include MKs' helping to obtain approval for 930 new homes in Har Homa, and a promise from the president of South Sudan to establish its embassy in Jerusalem.
Among the "Diplomatic" achievements cited for the period are "Blocked U.S. attempt to extend [settlement construction] freeze beyond September 26, 2011," "Withstood heavy pressure during second U.S. attempt to renew freeze" and "Resisted apologizing to Turkey over flotilla rioters' deaths." Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon is singled out for his ministry's "historic information campaign": "The settlements are legal, there is no occupation, we are entitled to Judea and Samaria."
The category "Legislation Related to the National Agenda" includes efforts to pass bills prohibiting anti-Israel boycotts and foreign funding of left-wing organizations, and enabling the Elad NGO to manage Jerusalem's City of David national park. The amendment to the libel law, providing for compensation of up to NIS 300,000 without having to prove damages, is described in the report as targeting only media outlets on the left.
The category pertaining to communities in the West Bank and the Golan Heights cites accomplishments in each community and the MKs responsible. Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar and coalition chairman Zeev Elkin are cited for increasing the state budgets of and raising funds for yeshivas, many of them in the West Bank, while Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon is singled out for improving communications infrastructure for West Bank settlements. Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat is applauded for bringing concerts and children's performances to settlements, for renovating parks and public buildings in the West Bank and obtaining scholarships for university students from the settlements.
Under "Coping with radical left/Israeli Arab sector" are such achievements as "Blocked attempt to boycott cultural facility in Ariel," and "Stripping MK privileges from MK Hanin Zuabi (for her participation in the Gaza flotilla )," as well as allocating NIS 13 million for the Harish-Katzir road.
In a category called "Coping with Supreme Court's pro-Arab orientation," MKs are praised for "Minimizing pro-Palestinian Supreme Court influence in selecting district judges" and for waging information campaigns against the High Court of Justice, among other achievements. Sa'ar is cited for introducing school field trips to sites in the West Bank and prohibiting figures from NGOs associated with the extreme left from being invited to schools to speak to students.