Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
Beit El resident
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
In 2011, the State Prosecutor’s Office asked the High Court to remove a few buildings in Beit El which it said had been built illegally on “private Palestinian land.” The Court accepted this request and ordered the buildings removed by July 1, 2012.
No court, however, heard evidence or adjudicated the question of landownership in Beit El.
Despite ample evidence of serious flaws in the judicial process, High Court judges, having made its decision, rejected further appeals for reconsideration - and there is no way to appeal their decision.
Such cases in which Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have been destroyed and are threatened with destruction have exposed a widespread systematic corruption within Israel’s judicial system - the State Prosecutor, the Attorney General, the Civil Administration, the Military Advocate General (the IDF’s legal arm) and the High Court of Justice. In order to prevent settlement expansion, these state institutions use their power arbitrarily and without due process.
Relocation of families residing in contested Beit El neighborhood set to begin; settlers pledge no violence but four families say they will mount 'peaceful resistance'. 'No one will break our spirit,' residents say
This corruption represents the greatest threat to Israeli society and its so-called democratic system because it undermines the fundamental rule of law. Here’s how it works.
It begins with the approval of fictitious Arab claims of land ownership by the Civil Administration, which is under the Ministry of Defense. Lawfare-oriented foreign-funded NGOs such as Yesh Din and Peace Now apply to the High Court – which does not examine evidence – rather than lower courts (which do) in order to avoid normal judicial procedures. The State Prosecutor and Attorney General accept these unverified claims on behalf of the State without proper examination and the High Court goes along with this charade. Israelis call this a “combina” - trickery.
Moreover, there is no way to investigate or change the system. It is a totally enclosed and protected self-perpetuating legal structure that is virtually unaccountable and impervious to critique.
The government (that is, the prime minister and cabinet) cannot oppose a High Court decision, even though it is wrong. Rather than allowing the Knesset to propose a legislative solution, however, PM Netanyahu opposed this intervention and threatened to fire any minister who voted to support the Knesset bill. That killed the democratic initiative.
Offering to build more homes to replace those that would be destroyed without confronting the injustice and corruption of the system that allowed this to happen and those who are responsible avoids the real problem - a legal and judicial travesty.
The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist