We begin with what is happening in the US. As an American citizen, born and raised in the US, I suffer with my American friends as reports come through to me of a country on fire.
The brutal killing of George Floyd, who was black, by a white policeman in Minneapolis last week cannot be justified or rationalized in any terms. It was a horrendous act; Derek Chauvin, the (former) policeman who is responsible, will hopefully be dealt with in most stringent terms by the justice system.
That there should be outrage, particularly but not exclusively on the part of black Americans, is no surprise. That there should be massive demonstrations is only to be expected.
But what’s going on in the US transcends this outrage, which is being used as a trigger and a cover. If we accept the violence, the riots, as an expression of rage because of Floyd’s killing – and just that, we remain caught in the fog. It is imperative to see what is happening: there is also an attack on America by far left elements intent on taking down the country.
There is deep suspicion that the riots, marked by such ferocity and destructiveness, have not been spontaneous, but rather had been orchestrated – that in fact plans were laid in advance, awaiting the proper opportunity. I have read, for example, of concern about cars loaded with explosives that had been parked in various locations in case they were needed.
There are videos circulating on social media showing the indignation of members of Black Lives Matter protesting violence that they say most vehemently was not instigated by BLM, which had sought a peaceful protest and which was being blamed for the violence.
Black Protestor caught 2 White Protestors tagging Starbucks. pic.twitter.com/06LuT4ryb8
— gregarious (@gryking) May 31, 2020
And then there is the antisemitism. Reports from Rabbi Steven Burg describe antisemitic attacks in LA that used the protests as cover:
Unsurprisingly, there has been looting of stores in upscale neighborhoods, such as Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Naturally, they’d go for these stores, which have the classiest merchandise, you think? But consider the tag on one store window: “Make America Pay,” with “Eat the rich” on another, and “F**k capitalism” on still another.
This “protest” is being co-opted by a radical socialist ideology that smacks of anarchy or intent to overthrow the political status-quo.
Worst of all has been the violence in Washington DC, attacking at the very heart of America. There has been vandalism of monuments, most notably and shockingly, the Lincoln Memorial.
Violence outside the White House was serious enough to promote a decision to bring President Trump and his family briefly to an underground bunker late Friday. Dozens of Secret Service officers experienced minor injuries and there was obviously concern about rioters storming the White House.
Please see this very thoughtful piece by Giulio Meotti (Emphasis added):
“America now gathers in the streets what was sown by the left, the media and academia, during years of cultivated rancor…
“We have cultivated the desire to transgress, to destroy, to wipe out ‘the system.’ The whole world has to end sooner or later in the dustbin, becoming ‘trash.’
“We are losing the old America. We will all regret it.”
And so, my friends, think long and hard on what is going on. Stand strong for the values of the old America before it is too late.
And I turn now to Israel, with regrets that I am still not able to navigate my way through the fog of the planned sovereignty in parts of Judaea and Samaria. There are shafts of light shining through, very definitely.
But then wisps of fog settle in again. And so I cannot yet say with certainty what will transpire in all respects.
I would like to share the list of major questions regarding the anticipated application of sovereignty that I have compiled for myself in an effort to wrap my head around this. Hopefully, you will find it helpful:
- The map in its final version. We don’t have this yet. Prime Minister Netanyahu says it is still being worked on, although there are others who continue to charge that the map is finished. In any event Netanyahu says that the map will provide for Israeli sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria, so we know that there is to be no expansion of the area of sovereignty around those isolated communities.
- When the US will recognize our sovereignty in this area. This is crucial and there are conflicting reports about this. It must be right away to be effective for our purposes. While we certainly hope so, we have no guarantee that Trump will be president in four years!
- What happens in four years when the PA has not come through? The assumption has been that we would then be able to expand our sovereignty throughout Area C. This does seem to be the case.
Last week, Yossi Dagan, Shomron Regional Council head, charged that the US was pressuring Israel to accept the 30% as final borders and agree to never claim more.
But US officials were angry about this, which they said unequivocally was fake news.
Dagan has done the settler movement a disservice with this. But what lingers for me is the question of why he is so opposed, then, that he sought to strengthen his case in such a manner. I note here that other settler leaders continue to be opposed.
A key issue for them is the freezing of development beyond the 30%. The Americans talk about vertical expansion – building up instead of out. But the smaller communities do not in the main have buildings that are constructed for this sort of expansion.
- Issues of security. I have been in touch with a lawyer – who had in turn consulted with other lawyers and assures me that during the four years that would follow our application of sovereignty in the 30%, nothing would change in the other 70%. We would not have sovereignty there, but the IDF presence would be just as it is now. In that sense, the panic about very limited access to the smaller communities, or to Hevron, once sovereignty is applied is out of sync with the immediate reality.
And after the four years, in the very unlikely event that the PA should – Heaven forbid! – accept the plan?
Prime Minister Netanyahu gave an extensive interview in the Hebrew-language Makor Rishon on Friday.
One of the things he said, as I understand it, is that the IDF will continue to maintain a controlling presence in the entire area, even should there ultimately be a Palestinian state. For, he said, it’s not really a state that is projected in the plan, but rather an entity that is less than a state.
Well…on this I am not sold. I went back and read the plan again. It refers again and again to a “Palestinian state,” without qualifiers. What it does say is that the IDF can move back in to areas that are required within that Palestinian state, should the Palestinian Arabs not honor their security commitments. This is NOT the same as the IDF maintaining a presence at all times.
What further occurs to me is that once a Palestinian state is declared, no matter how it is defined, the leaders of that state might well dismiss all commitments in this regard and block the entry of Israel’s forces. This possibility, as remote as it is, remains troublesome.
The smartest thing our prime minister revealed in his extensive interview was that he was going to bring to the Cabinet for a vote only the issue of application of sovereignty.
He would not be seeking approval for the Trump plan or for a Palestinian state – although the approval he would seek from the Cabinet would be for sovereignty in that 30% that is outlined by the map.
Thus would he be allaying to some degree concerns that application of sovereignty automatically signalled our acceptance of a Palestinian state – something that most Israelis do not want.
There is a fierce objection in many quarters to our backing ourselves into a situation that de facto recognizes the possibility of such a state, or lends the impression internationally that we approve such a state.
But the equally fierce argument for going ahead is that never before has there been a US government that is prepared to accept the legitimacy of our right to any of the land, and we must, absolutely must, grab this opportunity before it is gone. Those arguing for this see it as a courageous move.
Another serious concern has to do with illegal construction by the PA, with the backing of the EU, in Area C. See Regavim — https://www.regavim.org – for extensive information on this.
For years the Israeli government has been shamefully remiss with regard to taking down this illegal construction. There is fear that during the four years after which Israel has applied sovereignty to the 30%, the PA, which has no compunctions about ignoring commitments, would continue to build in Area C, establishing facts on the ground.
A positive element of the application of sovereignty, which I do not want to overlook, is with regard to what it means: the application of Israeli law. Currently, Israeli citizens living outside Green Line Israel are governed by a military administrative entity. Many of the laws in place in these communities have been designed to dovetail with laws in place inside of sovereign Israel. But not in all cases. What is more, the system of justice upon which residents in these communities must rely is a military court system. It is altogether fitting and just that all Israel citizens be governed by the same rules.
When is the issue – with its many ramifications – going to be brought to the Cabinet? You’ve got me.
The unity government agreement says after July 1. The IDF recently said that there is going to be increased terrorism after this vote and it will not be prepared with all plans in place by that date.
What is more, I’ve just read that the US, overwhelmed with other issues, has signalled that it would prefer that we go slowly.
But Defense Minister Gantz – Gantz of all people – has just instructed IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to speed up preparations for application of sovereignty.
I shall, undoubtedly, be returning to this issue.