lieberman - Michal Fattal - October 12 2011
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Photo by Michal Fattal
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is threatening to break up the coalition if the illegal outposts Migron and Givat Assaf are evacuated. "Migron is not an illegal outpost," the minister said Monday. "It's a community where then-Defense Minister Moshe Arens and the GOC Central Command stood beside the cornerstone at its founding. How did it suddenly become illegal?"

The fact that the highest court in the land determined that Migron was built on private Palestinian land and that it must be evacuated by March does not impress Lieberman. Even the fact that the state pledged to evacuate Givat Assaf by the end of the year and then asked for a postponement until July is irrelevant for the man who heads Israel's third largest political party. From his point of view, if a minister and a top general graced the outpost's founding ceremony, the ruling by the High Court of Justice is meaningless.

Lieberman's position symbolizes gross contempt for the rule of law in Israel, but it seems there is nothing really new about that. The foreign minister is a full partner in the effort to legislate a number of anti-democratic laws, laws that will become the face of the 18th Knesset. And his current stance is nothing more than another realization of his nationalist doctrine.

In contrast to Lieberman's unbridled behavior, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu takes pride in his zeal to protect the power of the High Court of Justice. Last week he declared that "The High Court is above everything." He made the remark when expressing his opposition to a bill that would require Supreme Court candidates to appear at a Knesset hearing before their appointment can be confirmed - another distorted idea to emerge from the Knesset. "It will not happen," Netanyahu said. "This decision will not pass, we must maintain the separation of powers."

Now Netanyahu is facing another critical test because Lieberman is pushing his most sensitive button: political survival. After Netanyahu rejected the hearing bill and the bill to restrict funding to left-wing NGOs, the prime minister must follow to the letter the High Court's ruling on the evacuation of illegal outposts. He will thus prove that the law reigns supreme over political considerations and that the High Court's rulings are immeasurably more important than the bullying threats of a failing Israeli minister.

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