Border Control Minister of Contempt

Ehud Barak's reported contempt for enforcing the law for settlers may explain his contempt for the law regarding employment of foreign workers. Guess which one the public cares about more.

Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar
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Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar

Ever since she headed the special team appointed in 1981 by then-attorney general Yitzhak Zamir to review law enforcement among settlers, Yehudit Karp has not let up. Even though hers may appear to be a battle against windmills, the former deputy attorney general has not stopped fighting. The Jerusalem attorney voluntarily and determinedly documents every petition that Palestinians and human rights organizations submit against the defense minister and his subordinates. She analyzes every response from the prosecutor's office and does not conceal her opinion of the justices who sit on the Supreme Court.

Credit: Amos Biderman

The unfortunate picture that emerges from Karp's files regarding everything about Ehud Barak's attitude toward law enforcement in Judea and Samaria can explain his attitude to the law on the employment of foreign workers. And her evidence of the forgiving attitude that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has had toward Jews who break the law in Judea and Samaria can explain his strange handling of the case of Barak's Filipina housekeeper.

Ten months ago, Karp forwarded to the attorney general's office a memorandum that detailed nine rulings that the state has not upheld in part or in full. Among others, she described how the State Prosecutor's office is abetting the ongoing violation of High Court of Justice rulings, which ordered the defense minister to adjust the route of the separation fence. This came after the judges determined that the minister's staff exploited security needs in order to enlarge the living space of nearby communities at the expense of their Palestinian neighbors. Karp attached a selection of censures heard from justices on the High Court, after they discovered that the defense minister was disregarding their rulings. Hence, for example, in the case of the encroachment of the separation barrier on Bilin, the Court said, "the way in which the respondents are not upholding the court's decision, which anchors the consent they gave to the court, is unfitting."

The attorney general's response came around six months later, signed by Attorney Keren Dahari-Bin Nun who is the acting head of the consulting and legislation department. She explained that these were very complex cases, some of them with budgetary significance, and others with ramifications for third parties. She also added a load of legal and administrative excuses. However, Dahari-Bin Nun told Karp that after reviewing her recommendations on implementing the injunctions against the state, a new "attorney general directive" was prepared. At the beginning of August this directive was published with great fanfare.

Karp was not overly excited. "The total spirit of self-justification that emerged from Ms. Dahari-Bin Nun's letter," she wrote in a letter of response to Weinstein, "lacks any hint of the necessary soul-searching." Karp found reinforcement of the concern that the new directives would not put an end to the anarchy in the land of the settlers in the backing that the attorney general is now providing for the defense minister's actions relating to the lands of the Derekh Ha'avot outpost in Gush Etzion.

The first petition against the defense minister was submitted by residents of the nearby village of El Khader and Peace Now, in 2004. The Prosecutor's Office agreed then that the state should set up a professional team to review ownership of the lands. The second petition was filed in 2008, after it emerged that the construction was continuing unimpeded. This too was erased following the state's announcement that it planned to move immediately to enforce demolition orders against the new structure that had been built on the outpost, as "this is a high on its priority list." A third petition, which was submitted a few months later, during which - how could it be otherwise? - construction continued to go forward, was also rejected following the state's commitment "to uphold its obligation without delay."

On the fourth time, five years after the original commitment, the State Prosecutor's office announced that the state now had more urgent tasks before it (a hint at the construction freeze ), and that anyway, this was a matter of policy, which is subject to the discretion of the government. Regarding the activities of the team appointed to conduct a land ownership survey (as noted, based on a promise made in 2004 ), the state announced that it would not be possible to determine a timetable for the survey, since resources and funds as well as additional time, would be needed, because such a survey is of political and security significance.

With regard to this matter, Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy said that the State Prosecutor's office declared before the High Court that the survey was necessary and a decision had even been made to move it up, and now "no one knows when it will be done and only time will tell." He noted that "the state is expected to uphold statements that it repeatedly makes to us, even though they did not come with an explicit injunction." And after these remarks, the High Court of Justice rejected the petition and, according to Karp, left intact the embarrassing result, injunctions issued more than six years earlier by an authority subordinate to the defense minister have yet to be enforced.

This story will not make it to the front pages. After all, it is not a case of the employment of a foreign worker in violation of the law. Rather, it is just another tedious tale about a defense minister and an attorney general who provide an auspices for the theft of Arab lands and of the mockery of the Supreme Court.

The Jewish National Fund does not suffice with land redemption, planting forests and building parks on the edges of the Green Line. This is suggested by the enlightening sign encountered by travelers on the roads of northern Samaria: "JNF-Peduel, public park development."

JNF's response: "The JNF works to promote sustainability, plant trees and create green spaces, to promote a green agenda and on behalf of fresh air for the welfare of the residents of the State of Israel, the Middle East and the entire world. The JNF does not build and does not currently operate in Peduel. These signs are part of the efforts to create a green space, at the request of a donor. It was built a long time ago and was dedicated in June."



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