Haaretz reports today that the state will postpone the dismantling of the West Bank settlement outpost known as Givat Assaf, close to Beit El – never mind that the government has yet to bother cooking up any new excuses for doing so. Haaretz explains that following a 2007 petition to the High Court of Justice by Peace Now against six settlements in the area, the state has been evading dismantling the outposts with various claims (‘wait! we’re negotiating with them’). After a Court injunction, the outposts were supposed to have been either legalized or evacuated by the end of the year. Failing to do the former, Givat Assaf was to have been dismantled.
But, Haaretz reports:
Over the past two months, enormous political pressure was put on Netanyahu to prevent the demolition…On Monday, some 150 pro-settler activists, including several MKs, marched from the Supreme Court to the Knesset to demand that Netanyahu hold a cabinet vote on the planned evacuation of illegal West Bank outposts….[then] a decision was made to postpone the evacuations by six months.
It seems very clear what kind pressure moves Mr. Netanyahu, although Haaretz forgot to mention it. It’s the kind of pressure that Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called “Jewish Terrorism,” aka – “Price Tag.” Jewish terrorism apparently pays – because while pro-settler activists were marching in true democratic fashion, others were busy vandalizing the home of Hagit Ofran from Peace Now, with the words “The revenge of Givat Assaf,” scrawled among the death threats. It is naive to think that 150 marchers swayed the Prime Minister. Force works better.
Finally, it seems, the government of Israel does know how to read the writing on the wall. Netanyahu is demonstrating that once again his government symbolizes the erosion of democracy by letting its limp rubber arm be twisted by twisted extremists in Israeli society.
This next observation may seem like a picky point. But it is extremely irritating that the English Haaretz refers to “destruction” of the outpost twice in the opening paragraph, as a direct translation from the Hebrew version, which used the word “pinui” – which means “evacuation.” If I was an English reader who didn’t know better, I’d say that sounds just horrible.