Editorial |

Israel's Double Standard

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
The flag march in Jerusalem last year.
The flag march in Jerusalem last year.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the army, police and the Shin Bet, all these and others are going out of their way to allow Sunday’s March of Flags to express Jewish supremacy in the Muslim Quarter in East Jerusalem.

Instead of doing everything possible in order to prevent an avoidable regional conflagration, to demonstrate caution and responsibility while prohibiting extremist Jewish elements from stoking fires in the most sensitive place on earth, Bennett and Bar-Lev chose to cave in, out of the ridiculous belief that this is what is called an expression of sovereignty. The main thing is to continue with the charade of a “united Jerusalem.”

The forgiving attitude towards extremists and warmongers has become the trademark of the current government. In Homesh too, the government and the defense establishment are demonstrating their empathy for this illegal outpost. In tandem, the government is taking a firm stand against demonstrators who want the government to respect the law and evacuate Homesh.

While MK Itamar Ben-Gvir will get to march in the Flag March, backed by the police, the IDF and the Shin Bet, even at the cost of pushing Israel into a second Operation Guardian of the Walls, on Saturday, the army and police blocked buses with dozens of leftist activists who came to demonstrate at the ostensibly evacuated outpost of Homesh. They included Meretz MKs Mossi Raz and Gaby Lasky, and MK Ofer Cassif from the Joint List. Demonstrators were taken off the buses on their way to Homesh. This is a true inversion – yes to violence, no to peace. Yes to Ben-Gvir, no to MKs Raz and Lasky from Meretz. An upside-down world.

Benny Gantz said early last week that “Homesh would be evacuated.” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has said that “illegal places should not exist.” So what if they did? On the ground, the violation of the law continues with the full backing of the government and security agencies. And who gets arrested? Leftist activists from Peace Now, obviously.

Last Thursday, the head of the army’s Central Command said that the planned Peace Now demonstration was illegal, since Israelis were forbidden from going to Homesh, as determined in the law that was passed during the disengagement from that area (reported by Hagar Shezaf in Haaretz). According to the police, the reasons for the arrests were “a real concern about harming public security and welfare, and concerns about violent clashes erupting.” But ever since the terror attack, in which Yehuda Dimentman was murdered at the entrance to Homesh, the army has been making an exception for settlers from the yeshiva in Homesh, also allowing several mass marches to reach the location.

It again appears that there is a different law for leftists and settlers, who are above the law. Two days ago, several dozen settlers went to Homesh unimpeded. The army says that despite their attempts to prevent this, some of them managed to reach Homesh. The leftists from Peace Now, who went to Homesh on Saturday in a non-violent fashion, were arrested tens of kilometers from the settlement. It appears that for Bennett and his government of change, left-wing sentiments and not violence are what erodes the foundations of democracy.

The above article is Haaretz's lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

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