There are some situations that must not be permitted to stand. Not if we are concerned with Israel’s rights and the rule of law.
The issue here is the illegal Bedouin outpost of Khan al-Ahmar in the sensitive area of E1, which has not been dismantled in spite of a High Court go-ahead.
In order to understand the broader significance of this situation, which is considerable, see this recent Regavim video: https://www.regavim.org/khan-al-ahmar-whos-testing-whom/
It is up to Binyamin Netanyahu, who wears the hat of prime minister and the hat of defense minister, to give the order for Khan al-Ahmar to be dismantled. This he has not done. Although he keeps saying, yes, yes, he will.
Two things have happened in recent days that make it critically important that quick action be taken:
There has been on-going pressure on the Israeli government exerted by the EU and Britain not to dismantle this illegal outpost. But the pressure became more blatant at the beginning of this month, when Edwin Samuel, British Foreign Office Spokesman in the Middle East and North Africa, visited Khan al-Ahmar and declared that “the British government is waging a campaign to save this village; both the British Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have expressed their opposition to the demolition.”
The British government has nothing to say about this. And that is precisely what our prime minister must make clear: not with words, but with action.
And then, at about the same time that this was happening, action was taken on the site of the former Jewish community of Amona in Binyamin.
In 2017, Amona was razed after the High Court had ruled that part of the land the community had been built on was owned by Arabs. The original Amona population is now in Amihai, a new settlement that was subsequently built for them.
Last month, a handful of young right-wing activists, declaring that they had purchased four hectares of land on the former Amona site from the Arabs, set up a couple of caravans. They acted, they said, in response to recent terror attacks.
When the Jerusalem District Court ordered the evacuation of the activists and removal of the two structures, appeals went out to Netanyahu to immediately recognize this site as a legal settlement.
But – poof – with great alacrity border police, dressed in riot gear, moved in before dawn to comply with the court order. The activists did not go quietly and violence ensued.
These scenes are always painful. But more so, when one considers that Khan el-Ahmar still stands.
Netanyahu has since said that his military secretary, Avi Blot, was at fault. But there are two different versions of what happened circulating, both of which involve failure of Blot to transmit information. A good number of people are not buying any of this. Although Blot has reportedly been reprimanded, the bottom line is that the prime minister is in charge, or is supposed to be.
And so, my friends, I ask you to please contact the prime minister and urge him to take down Khan el-Ahmar without further delay.
Tell him that if he does not act in accordance with Israeli law he is weakening Israel.
That now, especially, we must stand strong: Allowing Khan el-Ahmar to stand means playing into PLO plans to weaken the state and gives the international community the impression that it can control actions of the Israeli government.
As always, even as you are forceful and direct, I urge you to be polite and keep your message short.
Utilize email: email@example.com (put “for the prime minister” or something similar in the subject line).
Or use this website connection: http://www.pmo.gov.il .
Remember that in a campaign such as this, numbers matter. Your participation can make a difference.
Netanyahu delivered a much-hyped televised statement on Monday night that had a decidedly anti-climactic feel. Many had made the assumption that something very dramatic, such as his resignation, was going to be announced. They could hardly be faulted, given the PR announcement that preceded his statement by some hours. The talking heads were deep into speculation. In the end, a good number of those same people were left scratching their heads, questioning whether this statement was even appropriate.
The prime minister’s focus was his possible indictment on various charges, and the fact that he did not feel justice was being delivered: He was not allowed to question his accusers, he said, and some who could exonerate him were never questioned. He has no intention of resigning, but, rather, wants the opportunity to face his accusers, preferably on TV. He is absolutely certain of his innocence.
I believe that the prime minister is entitled to a fair hearing and should not be subject to legal proceedings that have a political motivation. He is certainly feeling a great deal of pressure.
However, I do not think that this tactic will serve him well. His “dramatic statement” demonstrates that he is being distracted from the business of state by his own legal problems. It appears as if Netanyahu, who has been a master political strategist, is losing his touch. Times of Israel editor David Horovitz called this move “desperate.”
I mourn here the passing at age 93 of Moshe Arens, a devoted right-wing statesman who served his country as defense minister three times, in addition to serving as foreign minister and ambassador to the US.
Prior to the founding of the state, he served with the Irgun, and then joined Herut, the precursor to the Likud. An aeronautical engineer trained at MIT and the Technion, he is credited with strengthening of Israel’s defense industry (and development of the ill-fated Lavi fighter jet). Among his contributions, he established the Homefront Command.
Arens was mentor to a young Binyamin Netanyahu, who says now, “There was no greater patriot than him. Misha, I loved you as a son loves a father.”
President Ruby Rivlin describes Arens as: “a man of honor who never flinched from the fight…a devoted man of learning who toiled day and night for the security of Israel and its citizens…. Misha was a man of maturity, determination and boundless love for our country.”
May the memory of his modest, patriotic ways inspire many.
We are focused on so much in recent day. But it is important to note that the situation with Hamas in Gaza is again heating up.
The number of people showing up for the Gaza fence “demonstrations” is increasing, with some 10,000 coming out this past Friday. It was the “usual” routine: attempts to breach the fence, tires burned, explosives thrown at IDF soldiers.
In the past week, there have been three devices carrying explosives – bombs – launched from Gaza. Below you see one of these devices. A significant escalation, this was some sort of drone kept aloft by balloons. It exploded in the Negev, when being dismantled by sappers.
In retaliation, IDF helicopters then targeted two Hamas observation posts near Khan Yunis.
A couple of hours later, a single rocket was launched from Gaza in the direction of Ashkelon, where sirens sounded at 3 AM Monday. This was taken down by the Iron Dome. And in response, IDF jets hit other targets inside Gaza, including a Hamas training camp.
More significantly, the third installment of $15 million in Qatari funds that was expected to be transmitted into Gaza at this time has not gone through – reportedly blocked by Israel.
In theory this could signal a permanent shift in policy by the Israeli government, which perhaps has begun to recognize that providing it with money does not translate into more peaceful behavior on the part of Hamas – no matter what the international community thinks.
But the vast odds are that this is merely a temporary reversal, a short-term display of toughness either spurred by the campaign or intended as retaliation:
Qatar and the UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov have reportedly delivered a message to Hamas indicating that the money would enter the Gaza Strip within two days, provided that the organization did not escalate the security situation.
In other words: cool it for now and we can resume the former situation.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton was in Israel this week and held meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Bolton, who is staunchly pro-Israel and solidly right-wing, provided some assurances with regard to the US pullout from Syria. It will not take place, he said, until there are assurances regarding the safety of the Kurds. In any event some troops may remain behind when the pullout is accomplished.
Remaining American troops would be stationed at the base at Al-Tanf in southeast Syria, providing something of a bulwark against Iranian entrenchment.
After a manhunt of almost a month, the terrorist responsible for the Givat Assaf attack has been captured. Two soldiers from the Netzach Yehuda Battalion were gunned down in that attack, while a third, Natanel Felber, remains in critical condition; a woman was less seriously injured.
The terrorist is Asam Barghouti, another member of the accursed Barghouti clan. When caught, he was in the course of planning another attack and was in possession of several weapons, including an assault rifle.
IDF soldiers, Border Guards, Shin Bet agents and Yamam Special Forces Police all cooperated in the capture.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.