Israel’s New Supreme Court Justice’s Deleted Facebook Post: Israel Isn’t Obligated to Provide Gaza With Electricity

Alex Stein, an Israeli who has been living in the U.S. for 15 years, also has a history of controversial statements targeting the Israeli Supreme Court

The newly appointed Supreme Court justice, Prof. Alex Stein as pictured on January 11, 2018.
Twitter/ Screenshot

A newly appointed Supreme Court justice once wrote on his Facebook page that Israel isn’t obliged to provide electricity to the Gaza Strip.

Prof. Alex Stein has also written posts criticizing the very court to which he was appointed last week.

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According to a report by Israel Television News Tuesday night, the posts were removed from Stein’s Facebook page a week before the Judicial Appointments Committee met to discuss his candidacy. They were found by a journalist from the right-wing paper B’Sheva.

Stein’s posts on Gaza were published during the 2014 Gaza war. He wrote that because Israel isn’t occupying Gaza, it’s only obligation while defending itself from rockets is to minimize harm to civilians. For the same reason, Israel isn’t obligated to provide electricity to Gaza, though it may choose to do so for humanitarian reasons.

His posts also criticized what he termed a misinterpretation of international law. The principle of proportionality dictated by international law must suit the reality of modern war and common sense, he argued. An interpretation which says that large countries attacking small countries must seek to maintain parity in the number of victims is ridiculous and unacceptable, he wrote, and it is not what the law intended.

He also slammed the Supreme Court for its judicial activism. Among other things, he criticized its view that everything is justiciable, in contrast to the American doctrine which holds that courts can’t rule on “political questions.” While Israel’s Supreme Court rarely overturns laws, he continued, its rhetoric is imperial and it demands power under the guise of checks and balances.

Stein also quoted the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as saying that he read Israeli Supreme Court verdicts whenever he wanted to be truly shocked and to convince himself that the American court wasn’t so bad after all.

Stein, an Israeli who has lived in the United States for the last 15 years, was the hand-picked candidate of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. As Haaretz reported two weeks ago, Shaked threatened that if he wasn’t appointed, she would not allow any other candidates to be appointed either.

Following Tuesday’s television report about Stein’s views, another member of the Judicial Appointments Committee responded approvingly. Stein’s views, wrote MK Nurit Koren (Likud), are “exactly why Ayelet Shaked and I fought for him on the Judicial Appointments Committee, and exactly why he’s a Supreme Court justice!”