"Legally mandated destruction." That is how Haaretz's editorial on Sunday described the destruction of the village of Khirbet Makhoul in the Jordan Valley. “The structures in question are unlawful and were built without construction permits. The structures were demolished in the wake of the Supreme Court’s rejection on August 28, 2013, of the petition that had been filed against their demolition.” That is how a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories responded to a report in last Friday’s paper on the destruction by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac.
- Legally mandated destruction
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For 46 out of its 65 years of existence, Israel has implemented military laws on an occupied civilian population; what is the law here and what is the High Court of Justice? And what is the validity of laws of this type and what is the word “justice” doing at all in such circumstances, which in international law were intended to be temporary yet have become permanent here, to the point that they’ve become the very essence of the State of Israel? After all the personal and collective damage to property and persons, which has been conducted systematically all these years on hundreds of thousands of people; these are serious, extreme violations of the law, also of the Basic Laws of the State of Israel. These basic laws, and even standard criminal law, are violated regularly, starting with denial of freedoms and ending with torture and killing. Many of these violations and crimes are done under the patronage of the High Court of Justice.
But there are very few Israeli citizens who think about this with complete seriousness and internal honesty, then reach the dire conclusion: These laws must be broken. Moreover, at this late stage of deterioration, when Israel’s laws are now being legislated by a parliamentary majority whose express ideology is this very system of injustice, then these laws demand one response: Civil, nonviolent revolt.
This rebellion cannot be carried out by the residents of the destroyed village of Khirbet Makhoul. They are without rights, without property, helpless before the orders forced on them with the power of weapons. They are few and weak against the many and strong. The citizens of Israel are responsible for the fate of the residents of the village of Khirbet Makhoul and the other Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley, who have been harassed for years by the lack of permits for houses and schools, and the destruction of buildings that were built nonetheless; by the denial of the supply of water and by their expulsion - alongside the cultivation of the neighboring Jewish settlements, which are being built and are prospering under the auspices of the very same system of laws. The actions and reality that have been created are clear to see: Every Israeli citizen speeding in his car on Route 90 through the Jordan Valley can see it. Those responsible for the expulsion and destruction and the decree of annihilation by thirst on this burning region of the country are Israel Defense Forces soldiers - in other words, citizens of Israel serving three years as soldiers in its army and acting as the operational arm of the state’s political and legal institutions.
This is the logic of things and there is no other beside this logic, distorted and despotic: From the time it was set it motion, this logic has acted with enormous dynamism, moving forward unrestrained in front of our eyes. Only the blind and the brainwashed, and mostly those who do not want to see or know, place here on the other side of the scale the conflict between the two peoples and the right of the Jews to a sovereign state. For a long time it hasn't been so.
So despite the brainwashing from childhood through old age, Israel still has thousands of citizens who know this and their hearts are crushed. But with this knowledge they need not just to read with an angry soul the heart-breaking articles from the Levy and Levac’s "Twilight Zone," but to show up themselves there with their bodies. Not just one or two but hundreds of thousands must stand up there with determined spirits and empty hands to face the bulldozers and soldiers coming to destroy. To tell them: In our names do not do this. And if only the village of Khirbet Makhoul was an allegory: No high court of justice ever created was entitled to deny people the right to remain where they live and make a living, all in the name of the right of “firing zones" to be there instead.
A civil society that after so many years does not have people who are just and courageous enough to arise for such a civil rebellion - this is a society that is gradually losing its ability to defend its civil existence. And without that, it will not be able to survive over time. Many of us know that too, and are standing by the side. How have we become so spineless?