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October 10, 2011: The Shadow and the Joy

October 10, 2011

The shadow has been encroaching slowly in the course of the last ten years. It is a left-wing shadow that would eagerly and maliciously surrender parts of our heritage. 
 
Very briefly: Since 1967, Israel has neither annexed nor declared the application of Israeli civil law over Judea and Samaria or any part thereof.  (This has been the case only with eastern Jerusalem and the Golan.) Thus, Judea and Samaria are governed by the IDF — which, as we know, is headed by a left-wing Ehud Barak.  The laws that apply are military, not the same civil laws that apply in Israel within the Green Line.
 
But there is more.  The IDF has formulated a civil administration and allocated to it everyday governance of Judea and Samaria.  Over the last several years, that administration has been co-opted by left wing elements (aligned with the New Israel Fund, I have been informed). 
 
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In Judea and Samaria, there are communities that are identified as “unauthorized.”  I’m not talking about two caravans on a hillside.  I’m speaking of communities where families live in permanent housing.  They went to live in their communities with the blessings of various Israeli governments. They received permits for Israeli services — building of roads, bringing in of water pipes and electric lines, etc.  Those who live in these houses are Israeli citizens who pay taxes. 
 
What is missing in these cases is the final military authorization — and that has been withheld for political reasons.
 
Now comes some Arab who points a finger at some housing in one of these communities and says, “That’s my land those houses are sitting on.”  And the left wing civil administration of the area demurs, saying, well, if Israel has never established that this is Israeli land, and this Arab claims the area, we’ll have to demolish the housing.
 
Such demolitions have taken place several times — most recently in Migron.  Sometimes they — the Border Police — come in the middle of the night, move out traumatized families, and take down the houses.  In Migron, when this happened in September, the eyes of Israel and the world were focused on the violence in the south.
 
I write this with a terrible sense of shame, that this should be happening here.  A short video clip shows a nighttime demolition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ePkEb_vGg .
 
Another video shows the morning after Migron demolitions:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnIfB6pwDL8 .
 
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Now the word is out that not only individual houses but entire “unauthorized” communities may be slated for demolition.
 
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, cooperating with three other groups, is fighting this on legal grounds.  Working furiously, they are preparing a document that lays the groundwork on a technical and legal basis for analyzing the situation in each case with regard to the right of Jews to remain in their housing.  The word of some Arab who points a finger and makes declarations would not suffice.
 
In instances (which, once documentation were required, would likely be very few) where it turns out that the building really was done on privately owned Arab land, it is the responsibility of the government, which encouraged and facilitated this settlement in the first place, to find an alternative place to live for those whose housing is destroyed.  But nothing of the sort takes place.
 
What is more, what must be looked at is the reprehensible selective enforcement of policies:  There is a vast amount of illegal building by Arabs and Bedouins that is taking place with very few demolitions.  (I hope to follow with more on this.)
 
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A few additional comments here:
 
First with regard to the head of the Israeli Supreme Court, Dorit Benish, who is as left-wing as Israeli justices come.  What is happening is not essentially her doing.  I was told today by a representative of the Legal Forum that the civil administration of Judea and Samaria does her work for her, in essence.  They come in to court and declare that they think certain housing should be demolished, and she needs only to sign on to this.
 
Then with regard to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.  It is often said that as long as Barak is Defense Minister he cannot over-rule him with regard to what happens in Judea and Samaria.  I have confirmed today that this is not the case.  If Netanyahu wants to take a stand on this, he would prevail.  So far he has chosen not to take a stand against his Defense Minister, and it’s time for him to be called on this.
 
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Lastly, I want to talk briefly about applying Israeli civil law to/or annexing the part of Judea and Samaria where there are Jewish communities.  That would solve the problem, and it would be my fondest wish.  However, I am not writing as a pure ideologue here, but rather as an ideological pragmatist.  I want all of my readers who are purists on this issue to understand.
 
Netanyahu is not going to apply Israeli civil law to communities in Judea and Samaria at this point. He’s still playing that game — agreeing to come back to the table, etc.  Oslo is dead.  It was in its death-throes even before, but it died a certain death on the day Abbas unilaterally went to the UN.  It SHOULD be time for Israel to take unilateral action of her own.  But each step in its time.  Netanyahu has not yet signed the death certificate.  Let’s work now to stop housing from being demolished. Then we’ll move to what comes next.
 
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And so, the outcry of each of us is called for.  Instructions follow below.  Please!  Numbers count.  Netanyahu is a political animal — he hears it when there are many voices reaching him.
 
Before Sukkot starts, get out your protest in the appropriate form, and share this with as many people as possible. 
 
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If you are an Israeli citizen, please contact Prime Minister Netanyahu:
 
Fax: 02-670-5369

E-mail: Memshala@pmo.gov.il 
 
Speaking as a citizen of Israel, convey a sense of great urgency.  But I implore you to keep your message short, direct, clear and polite.  No speeches, no history lessons.
 
Tell him that if he allows communities in Judea and Samaria to be dismantled, he is betraying all he has stood for.  Insist that he over-rule the civil administration in Judea and Samaria, and the position of Defense Minister Barak, and that he stop all orders for dismantling of any Jewish communities.
 
Tell him you know that there is a process being developed for a more fair and legally proper analysis of the situation, and that he should facilitate and then utilize this.
 
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If you are in the US, contact either the Embassy in Washington DC or the appropriate Consulate. The list, with the regions each is responsible for, follows.
 
Rest assured, the Embassy and the Consulates must report to the government when they receive communication on an issue from the local population.  Make sure there is an outcry where you are, and Jerusalem will know about it. 
 
Say that you are speaking out in alarm as a supporter of Israel (and, if it is the case, as a Jew).  Indicate that you have learned of plans for dismantling Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and wish to protest this.  Say you know that a legal process that will handle the situation more appropriately is being developed and you want to see it utilized. Insist that Netanyahu over-rule his Defense Minister and the civil administration of Judea and Samaria.
 
A phone call or fax is always better than an e-mail.
 
Keep your message short, direct, clear and polite
 
Israel Embassy, Washington DC  http://www.israelemb.org/
Telephone: 202.364.5500

Fax: 202.364.5423

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Atlanta Consulate General of Israel  http://atlanta.mfa.gov.il/
404.487.6500
Region: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina

Boston Consulate General of Israel  http://boston.mfa.gov.il/
617.535.0200
Region: Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Chicago Consulate General of Israel  http://chicago.mfa.gov.il/
312.297.4800
Region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin

Houston Consulate General of Israel  http://houston.mfa.gov.il/
713.627.3780
Region: Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma

Los Angeles Consulate General of Israel   http://www.israella.org/
323.852.5500
Region: Arizona, California (Southern), Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming

Miami Consulate General of Israel   http://miami.mfa.gov.il/
305.925.9400
Region: Florida, Puerto Rico

New York Consulate General of Israel  http://www.israelfm.org/
212.499.5400
Region: Connecticut, New Jersey (Northern), New York

Philadelphia Consulate General of Israel http://philadelphia.mfa.gov.il/
215.546.5556
Region: Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey (Southern), West Virginia, Kentucky

San Francisco Consulate General of Israel  http://www.israeliconsulate.org/
415.844.7510
Region: Alaska, California (Northern), Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington

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If you live elsewhere, you can locate your appropriate Embassy or Consulate here:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+missions/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+Missions+Abroad.htm

See instructions for Americans, and follow through the same.

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Khaled Abu Toameh describes (October 7) the people with whom we are theoretically supposed to sit down at a negotiating table, in “Palestinians’ Shoe-Throwing Exortion”:

“American diplomats who arrived in Ramallah this week were greeted by angry Palestinian protesters who shouted anti-US slogans and hurled shoes — the Palestinian Authority claims it was only one pair of shoes — at their armored vehicles.

“The message that the Palestinian Authority is hoping to send through this message to the Americans and others: If you do not endorse our position and if you cut off financial aid, we will turn against you. In one word, it is called extortion.

“The problem is not so much with the diplomats as with their governments that allow themselves to be exposed to this extortion time and again. Apparently they like being blackmailed. Instead of demanding changes in behavior, then paying only after the changes have been successfully completed, the governments always seem to pay up front with no demands, and then look surprised when there are no changes and each time the ransom demand goes up.

“The US diplomats came to Ramallah to hold a reception in honor of Palestinian partner organizations and US Government exchange program alumni. The American diplomats who were targeted this week were naive enough to think that Palestinians in Ramallah would welcome them with roses and a red carpet…

“In recent weeks, Palestinian Authority officials have been encouraging Palestinians to stage anti-US demonstrations and rallies to condemn Washington’s ‘bias’ in favor of Israel.

“Palestinian Authority media outlets, including some that had benefited from US and EU financial aid and training, have also been taking part in the incitement against Washington’s policies…

“What the Americans do not understand is that all the money in the world will not help them win the hearts and minds of a majority of Arabs and Muslims…”

http://www.hudson-ny.org/2483/palestinians-shoe-throwing-extortion

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Today, in a follow-up, Abu Toameh reported in the JPost that Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee and former commander of the PA’s General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, said on Sunday, at a rally of university students in Hevron, that the US is the number one enemy of the Palestinians since it supports Israeli “oppression.” 

Tirawi assured his audience that Fatah has not abandoned the armed struggle option: “Fatah  hasn’t thrown the rifle aside.”

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Does any of this have the slightest effect on the Quartet position?  Nahhh.. of course not.

Speaking after a Quartet meeting in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that Israelis and Palestinians would be invited to a meeting soon, to encourage re-starting the negotiations:

“I believe we have made good progress (really?) and will keep in close contact with Quartet partners and colleagues in the region with a view to meet and move things forward.”

As one friend of mine is fond of saying, “Unreal!”

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Ending on a positive note:

During Yom Kippur, my rabbi (Ian Pear, Shir Hadash) spoke about the joy and enhanced gratitude for life that follows a brush with death. 
 
The day after Yom Kippur, Liat Collins wrote a marvelous piece — “An Israeli autumn” — in the JPost that echoed this very theme.  Here in Israel, she says, we have fear of war as imminent.  And yet, according to a Gallup poll, Israel ranks higher on the happiness index than Australia, the US, and all of Europe.  “Maybe we’re happy,” she muses, “because we’ve already been through so much — and thrived.”  Indeed.
 
There is no moment in the Yom Kippur service more solemn than the final blast of the shofar, she says, and yet, “as soon as the last note fades, the sound of singing rings out ‘Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.’
 
“Whatever the news, whatever the year might bring, we begin preparing for the next festival, Sukkot, just four days away.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=240973
 
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There is something else Collins speaks about in her piece that reflects beautifully a message that I try to convey in terms of what it means to live in Israel: 
 
“This is the only country in the world in which Yom Kippur is not only marked: it is truly felt…
 
“Here in Israel, the Jewish holidays dictate the rhythm of life.” 
 
She gives many examples of ways in which this is so.  One charming example before Yom Kippur is the buses, which on their digital signs above the windshields that give the destinations, alternate those destinations with the words “hatima tova” — be signed for a good year.
 
Blessings upon the Jewish state of Israel, with all her faults.
 
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This is likely my last posting before Sukkot, which begins Wednesday evening.  I expect that I will not post again until after the holiday.
 
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© 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.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2011/10/10/october-10-2011-the-shadow-and-the-joy.html

 

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