08 February 2017

The outpost law, the lawmakers and the near future

The unbearable lightness of lawmaking in Jerusalem was my personal pet peeve for a long time, as the links show. The recent advent of the so called "outpost law" only confirms this worry.

To those who would like to see it as a political issue: not on this page, please. Whether this law is the death knell for the so far mythical two state solution isn't in the scope of this post.

The hardheadedness of the 60 members of Knesset who brazenly pushed forward a law, condemned even by our own attorney general, that goes against any logic (that is, aside of "this is all our land anyway"), this stubborn insistence of ignoring the basic laws of the state (and the international laws as well) - this is very much in the scope.

To make clear what we are talking about:

On Monday night, Israeli lawmakers passed into law a measure that allows Israel to compensate Palestinians whose land has been taken over by settlers, instead of removing the outposts.

The law applies to 53 outposts and homes within existing settlements recognized by Israel as having been built on Palestinian land without a permit...
Of course, the law was immediately condemned by UN (as expected), France (same) and even by the recently visited* by our illustrious PM Britain, hours after his plane took off. But it is not the issue I want to discuss, not at all.

The coalition has decided to disregard the warning of the attorney general, the man who is supposed to serve as the midwife for the newly hatching laws. The coalition, usually having its far right firebrands and its moderates, this time decided** to follow the firebrands and to present a united stand. If I had to guess the logic of the moderate coalition members, it will be something like this: "OK, we'll show ourselves to be real Zionists and let the High Court shoot this law down, since it clearly wouldn't pass the High Court in any case". To tell you the truth, I much prefer the firebrands, at least with them you have a better chance of knowing what they think.

Unfortunately, passing of the law in Knesset bodes ill for the ever strained relations between the lawmaking branch of our government and the judicial one. Many, too many of our MKs, firebrands or not, don't seem to understand or to care about the difference between the law, the justice, the politics and the lawmakers' wishful thinking. It is far from being the first time when the High Court is pushed into another confrontation that could have been avoided, had the firebrands some respect for the law and had they listened to the attorney general.

It is not for nothing that minister Levin "attacked the legitimacy of Israel’s High Court to decide on the constitutionality of laws  (sic!) Tuesday morning, ahead of an expected challenge to a controversial law legalizing West Bank outposts passed late the night before". The minister knows very well that the High Court will be very quickly hit by a load of suits regarding the outpost law and clearly he is already preparing the ammo for the next round of attacks against the court. As for the chances of the law in the High Court, here comes a man in the know:
The bill could however still be challenged, with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."
I hope not to see our country in a situation where the future judges of the High Court will be chosen from the members of the Likud Central Committee. Is it too much to ask?

P.S. As heard on the radio: attorney general intends to present to the High Court his arguments against the outpost law, if the law is challenged in High Court (which is practically a certainty). The man who is supposed to defend parliamentary laws in court... almost never happened before.

(*) Bibi, for some strange reason, decided to let the voting on that law go ahead while he was visiting London. Be interesting to know why, although one can easily guess: this is a typical for our hero way to wash his hands of both the future success or the future demise of that law. Not that the London visit itself was a great success...

(**) With the only exception of a man who always has my respect, if sometimes I might disagree with his position: Benny Begin. He called this law "a moral travesty that legalizes theft and leaves a stain on Israel". And Begin is far from being a lefty.