From Haaretz Published 02:40 30.10.11
Latest update 02:40 30.10.11
Settlers succeeding in hostile takeover of Israel
Do you really want to live in a country where the heads of the settlement enterprise allocate its lands, plan its nature sites, rule on its laws and are increasingly controlling its lifestyles?
By Gideon Levy
Phase I was long since declared an unqualified success: The settlers gained control of the occupied territories, using their power and their construction projects to thwart any just arrangement. But anyone who thought they would settle for controlling the West Bank should take a look at Phase II of the plan, which is at its height and already a success story.
Now, after the hostile takeover of the West Bank, comes the takeover of the state. Now that their lust for land has been slightly slaked they have turned their attention to much broader areas than their own considerable domain. From now on, Yesha is truly here. From now on, it's not enough for them to head the local government councils in the territories - now they're aiming for seats of power within Israel, so that they can shape its image. After taking the West Bank region of Gush Etzion, now they want the Tel Aviv region of Gush Dan.
They are using the tried-and-true method: acre by acre, outpost by (governmental ) outpost, office by (governmental ) office. A marginal minority, around 100,000 ideological settlers in all, is trying to gain control of a country with a population of seven million. Those turning a blind eye to what is happening now should not be surprised to wake up one day to a different country, just as we woke up one day to a different West Bank.
As usual, the name of their game is occupation, of positions of power rather than territory. Their first target is the Israel Defense Forces: Their soldiers and officers are already nearly everywhere. Now they have turned their sights toward the civilian society. Count on them to rack up resounding victories in this sphere, too, in large measure due to the impotence and complacency of the silent majority. Some recent examples: a settler as head of the Israel Lands Administration, a settler as director of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the first settler is on his way to the Supreme Court. These are sensitive and important positions of power, but they are only the harbingers of autumn that might usher in a winter during which a dangerous and powerful religious, messianic, nationalistic and patently antidemocratic minority will come to run our lives.
Don't kid yourselves: The settlers are assuming these powerful positions for the express purpose of imposing their ideology. Of course they have the right to apply for them, but anyone with a conscience and anyone who is worried about the character of the state has a duty to try to stop this hostile takeover. There is no need to explain the significance of a settler leader being in charge of the state's lands or its nature sites and national parks. Bentzi Lieberman and Shaul Goldstein were not appointed on the strength of their skills alone. They were appointed on account of their ideology. But the admission of a settler into the Supreme Court may be the most infuriating of all.
Noam Sohlberg is making his way into the Supreme Court on the wings of his religious beliefs, which have already found expression in his outrageous rulings as a District Court judge - acquitting someone who killed an Arab, releasing rioting settlers and restricting press freedoms. His patrons, chief among then Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, want such a person sitting in the tower of justice. That is exactly why the majority, which opposes the settlers' modes of action, must object to his appointment. A resident of Alon Shvut, nearly a third of which is on private Palestinian land gained through bald trickery and, later, force or deception, cannot be a judge in a law-abiding country. Not because of the kippa on his head, but rather because he is a criminal in the eyes of international law and universal justice.
Sohlberg the settler comes to the Supreme Court with unclean hands. He will not change the essence of the Supreme Court, which in any case never stood in the way of the occupation: View Ra'anan Alexandrowicz' incisive, impressive film "Shilton Ha Chok" ("The Law in These Parts" ), and understand the worldview of former Supreme Court President Meir Shamgar, one of the figures who gave legitimacy to the occupation - but Sohlberg's nomination has a deep symbolic meaning.
In case anyone has forgotten: The settlements are a despicable enterprise based on violence, ultra-nationalism and breaking the law. Every settler has this mark of Cain on their brow. Now ask yourselves: Do you really want to live in a country where the heads of this enterprise allocate its lands, plan its nature sites, rule on its laws and are increasingly controlling its lifestyles?