Something is happening to Matti Golan, Globes’s grumpy daily columnist. The other day he blasted the settlers for cutting down Palestinian olive trees. This evening he aims his wrath on the right-wing “lawfare” groups petitioning the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to order government to publicize the names of the Palestinian prisoners slated to be exchanged for Gilad Schalit. He might as well have been talking about Gerald Steinberg, who has also recently discovered the convenience of “‘transparency” as cover for his government-sponsored campaign to suppress Israeli human rights groups.
Excerpt from column, Matti Golan, Globes, November 30 2009
It’s a little ridiculous when radical right-wing groups go to the HCJ arguing for “public debate” based on the democratic principle of the “right to know.” If there is a public somewhat estranged from democracy it’s the fanatical right. They remember democracy, and speak in its name, only when it serves their purposes. In any other case they kick it, or at least stone it.
The truth is that they are simply against the [Schalit] deal and hope that “the public’s right to know,” which they don’t really respect, will help them. Its doubtful whether they will get any traction at the HCJ, because it is an institution that one has to approach in good faith.
RELATED POSTS: Yediot: Settlers quickly find ‘freeze’ workaround | Settler attacks on Palestinians upset even the most chauvinistic Israeli pundits | [Video] IDF “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” [but doing next to nothing about it]
Yaron London, an elder statesmen of Israeli journalism, television personality and respected intellectual, has a reputation for saying what others think. In his Yediot column this morning (November 30 2009) he had this to say about law enforcement on settlers in the West Bank
Israel’s governments have accustomed us to the sense that the rebellion of the annexers of the occupied territories is a law of nature, or perhaps a version of “cops and robbers,” in which the cops are not real police officers and the robbers no more than good boys disguised as criminal offenders. Youthful folly should not be punished, perhaps only gently reprimanded, and the policemen and soldiers will quarrel with them cautiously. Some of the buildings will be demolished, and then rebuilt, demolished, and so on and so forth, until the spineless jellyfish known as the state is worn down, and they will remain standing.
Full translation after the jump.
Settlers lay mock foundations
Zvi Singer and Itamar Eichner, Yediot, November 30 2009 [page 6]
Immediately after the prime minister announced a settlement construction freeze, settlers in a number of settlements rushed to lay fake foundations in areas that had been cleared for construction. Their goal was to make the sites in question appear in the aerial photographs to be taken by the Defense Ministry as if they contained buildings in mid-construction, the foundations of which were already fully laid.
The settlers, it appears, knew in advance about the Defense Ministry’s intention to take aerial photographs thanks to a document that fell into their hands, and they prepared in advance accordingly. The construction freeze orders stipulate the cancellation of construction permits that had already been issued for thousands of housing units because the foundations for those housing units were not laid. Read more…
On November 25 2009, Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights group that monitors law enforcement on settler violence in the West Bank, published a data sheet, demonstrating that 69 documented cases of Palestinian olive tree destruction by settlers in the first ten months of 2009 had resulted in zero indictments.
Matti Golan is a veteran Israeli journalist not known for being a bleeding heart, to say the least. He has a daily column in Globes, an evening business daily, read by the Israeli financial elite. Apparently Golan read an Haaretz report on the issue and had this to say
Anyone who reads this column knows I don’t have much patience for the complaints and grievances of Arabs…
[But] I thought we, especially the people of faith among us, maintained that we are “not like them,” that we are “better than them.” Yet here we have the settlers, people of faith, saying that actually we are like them. So what was all that talk about the supremacy of Jewish spirit and values?…
And a question to the police: you have to answer the charge that for four years you did not manage to prove even one of dozens of incidents of cutting down trees that the Arabs complained about. How is that possible? Would you handle complaints by Jews the same way?
A full translation of the column can be read after the jump. You can see the original clipping here.
Incidentally, Human Rights in Yesha, whose media release Golan references, is another pro-settler group engaged in what NGO Monitor defines as “lawfare”, but which Gerald Steinberg’s organization mysteriously fails to monitor. More about Steinberg’s hypocrisy here.
UN official: “Israel is spying on the UN”
Eldad Beck, Yediot, November 29 2009 [page 9]
BERLIN — Who placed eavesdropping devices in the UN’s conference rooms in Geneva? According to UN officials, the answer is clear: Israel.
In the course of repairs carried out by electricians in two conference rooms at the UN’s facility in Geneva, two eavesdropping devices were discovered. The rooms in which the devices were found are used primarily for deliberations by the United Nations Disarmament Committee.
The Swiss daily newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung reports that in addition to the commission’s deliberations, the rooms in which the devices were found, were also the location for secret meetings held in preparation for the 2003 Iraq War. The rooms were also used for hearings as part of the investigation into the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Read more…
On November 18 I wrote about the State Department report criticizing religious freedom in Israel and the Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg’s amazement at the fact Israelis and Jewish-Americans had all but ignored it. I attached an op-ed by Naomi Chazan that ran in that day’s Yediot, which, for the first time in the mainstream Israeli media, addressed the report, slamming Israeli intolerance for Jewish religious pluralism.
On November 26, Common Ground News Service ran an article by Prof. Menachem Klein, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University, which approaches the issue from the perspective of Jewish-Muslim relations in the Israeli-Palestinian context.
Interestingly, Klein hints at the one state reality currently in place between the Mediterranean and the Jordan
No less important is the question of the return to the land. The Palestinian right of return is denied by Israel offhand. Yet, Israel upholds the principle of Jewish return to the Land of Israel. This is perceived in Israel as an exclusive right. The idea of Jewish return is what motivates the settlements in Hebron and galvanises Jewish groups to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
The wheels of history cannot be reversed, and religion can no longer be separated from the conflict over territorial sovereignty and return.
Full article after the jump.