After time away from my posts required for an important project, I am pleased to resume. At this point, touching several bases…
In spite of my focus elsewhere, last week I had been prepared to do a posting, were the bill on preventing the dismantling of Ulpana and other communities to have passed in the Knesset on June 6. Regrettably, however, it failed to pass, and I had not the stomach to interrupt my project for what would have been a dismally negative posting. Yet now, as I resume my writing, it is necessary to mention this.
MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) and MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who had related versions of the bill, failed to best a determined Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu — who refused to release ministers to vote their consciences and brought considerable pressure to bear on MKs.
And so, the IDF is preparing for the evacuation of five buildings, housing some 30 families, by the end of this month — as ordered by the High Court because these building allegedly stand on Arab land. I say “allegedly” because the position of the residents of Ulpana was never adequately examined by the Court nor their documents fully examined.
My understanding is that a complex operation is being devised, with police doing the actual evacuation. It will be a difficult — an ugly — situation.
At present, caravans (mobile homes) are being readied on a military base in Beit El for the residents of Ulpana who will be evicted.
Prior to the vote, Netanyahu had asked the attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, to determine whether it would affect other communities in the manner that it will directly affect Ulpana — saying that if it did he would support the bill. The attorney general said it did not — because in the case of Ulpana, the Court was basing its ruling on a position of the government, which had offered to take down the buildings.
I do not believe this for a second. This gives a victory to those elements — such as Peace Now — that want to see Jews removed from Judea and Samaria, and will prompt more petitions to the Court from them regarding “illegal” housing on Palestinian Arab land. It is the position of the government — which is too quick to acceded to undocumented claims by Arabs that they own a piece of land on which Jews have built — that requires adjusting.
As Alex Trainman, writing in Israel Hayom, has also pointed out:
“Knocking down these five buildings in Ulpana is unlikely to alleviate pressure from the international community. Instead, destroying Jewish homes in our homeland will only encourage the international community to continue its push to undo what is perceives as the historical wrong created when the Jewish people exercised its rights to its ancestral land.”
Trainman further notes that:
“Many believe the court’s ruling was complete and sacrosanct. Yet the decision hinges on land record laws created during the illegal Jordanian occupation of the West Bank, on rulings by a Palestinian court interested in creating a Judenrein state, and by the legal efforts of a politically motivated nongovernmental organization that receives foreign funding to petition our courts over settlements and outposts.
“In the case of Ulpana, many have been led to believe that destroying the buildings will return once lost property to a Palestinian land owner. It will not. The buildings in question do not affect the long-standing borders of Beit El. As such, the property will be returned to no one.
“In two months’ time, Jews will be able to come and picnic on piles of rubble where Jewish mothers once changed their babies’ diapers while their older kids rode bicycles. No Arab will have access to these plots in Beit El, similar to the piles of rubble that sit just several miles away in Amona where nine buildings were destroyed in 2006.”
Netanyahu, in the sort of tightrope statement that is typical of him, declared after the vote, “…I am committed to enforcing the law and am I committed to safeguarding the settlement enterprise.”
He also made a pledge of sorts in the course of this struggle to build 10 houses in Beit El, which has not seen much construction for some time, for every one that is coming down in Ulpana.
It should only be — there are those predicting a building boom in Judea and Samaria. But I am not ready to hold my breath on this yet.
If there is any potential bright spot in this matter, it is Netanyahu’s commitment to form a ministerial committee, which he would head, to deal with “settler affairs.” Theoretically, this would remove some of the authority from Defense Minister Barak with regard to building in Judea and Samaria. But how constructive this will be depends on the composition of the committee and the mandate it is given.
I have alluded before to the diverse opinions — diverse enough to make one a bit crazy — with regard to what powers will ultimately hold sway in a very volatile Egypt.
Here I share the latest from the GLORIA Center and Barry Rubin:
“The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court has just invalidated the parliamentary election there. The parliament, 75 percent of whose members were Islamists, is being dissolved. The military junta has taken over total authority. The presidential election is still scheduled for a few dozen hours from now.
“In short, everything is confused and everything is a mess. All calculations are thrown to the wind. What this appears to be is a new military coup. What is the underlying theme? The armed forces concluded that an Islamist takeover was so dangerous for Egypt and for its own interests that it is better to risk civil war, a bloodbath, and tremendous unpopularity than to remain passive and turn over power. I believe this decision was made very reluctantly and not out of some lust for power by the generals. They have decided that they had no choice.” (Emphasis added)
A military junta is the best that Israel can hope for. Beats the Brotherhood any day, and actually promises greater stability and relative moderation (although not democracy or great freedoms) for an Egypt tottering on the edge politically and economically. An Egypt that descends into radicalized chaos is a threat to an already turmoiled Middle East.
All political pundits have their wins and their losses over time, but I find this particularly interesting in one regard: all along, Daniel Pipes, in the face of looming dominance by the Brotherhood, insisted that the military in Egypt would not lose control — insisting this even as many others, including Rubin, insisted otherwise.
The end, upon which a great deal rests, is still to come. But right now it’s hats off to Pipes.
Please see a very significant piece by Guiulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio — “The Last Days of Jews in the Islamicized Europe” (Emphasis added):
“…Rome’s largest synagogue, one of the oldest in the world, today looks like a military outpost, with private guards and policemen at every corner. The Jewish school is also a ‘sterilized area,’ protected by bodyguards and cameras, the windows plumbed with iron grates.
“… more than 90 anti-Semitic incidents took place in France only in the 10 days that followed the shooting [in Toulouse], which left four people dead. In total, 148 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in March and April. It’s an anti-Semitic pandemonium totally silenced by the European media.
“…All the recent polls say that a third of Europeans show very high levels of anti-Semitism, while over half of Europeans view the State of Israel as ‘the greatest threat to world peace.’
“…The President of Austria’s Israelite Community, Ariel Muzicant, warns that the Jewish Community is also dying out:…In Sweden, a country described by The Guardian as ‘the greatest success the world has known,’ Jews are leaving big cities such as Malmö…in order to escape anti-Semitic attacks.
“Sixty percent of Dutch Jews are ready to pack up and leave the country. The cause is a boom of Islamic anti-Semitism in the famous multicultural Netherlands.
Jews are fleeing Antwerp, the city in Belgium once proudly called ‘the Northern Jerusalem.’ Last autumn, the ancient synagogue of Weesp became the first synagogue in Europe since the Second World War to cancel Shabbat services due to threats to the safety of the faithful.
“Today anti-Semitic inscriptions are being drawn on building walls in Marseille, Nottingham, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Berlin, Kiev, Barcelona and Rome. Jewish cemeteries are daily ransacked and Jews are attacked on the streets if they wear the kippahs.
“Europe is again approaching, as many prefer to avert their eyes, the horrible paroxysm of Jew-hatred that plunged the continent into its [Twentieth Century] abyss…”
We cannot afford to ignore this phenomenon or its implications.
Much, much more to come in the days ahead. I am, I must report, glad to be back to this writing.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.