Legal Despots and the Threat to Israeli Democracy

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit carolineglick.com


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Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.

By Tuesday, 50 Israeli families will have been tossed out of their homes in their village of Migron, which is set for destruction.

They will not be dispossessed because they unlawfully squatted on someone else’s property.

The residents of Migron will be tossed from their homes – on the order of the Supreme Court – because Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and his associates believe they are above the law. And due to this opinion, Weinstein and his associates refuse to recognize the sovereign authority of Israel’s government or to act in accordance with its lawful decisions.

The media have alternatively presented the story of Migron’s imminent destruction as a story about a power struggle between so-called settlers and the IDF, whose forces will be called upon to eject them from their homes; or as a struggle between the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; or as a struggle between the radical leftists from Peace Now and its fellow foreign government-financed NGOs, and the residents of Judea and Samaria.

These portrayals are reasonable on the narrow level of day to day developments in the story of Migron’s struggle. But on a more fundamental level, the story of Migron and its pending destruction is the story of the power struggle between Israel’s unelected, radical legal fraternity represented by the attorney-general, the State Prosecution he directs and the Supreme Court on the one hand, and Israel’s elected governments – from the Right and from the Left – on the other.

Migron is the latest casualty of this struggle. The legal fraternity’s bid to wrest sovereign power of governance from Israel’s elected leadership threatens our democracy. In its continuous assault on governing authority, the legal fraternity renders it difficult if not, as a practical matter, impossible, for the government – any government – to govern.

It is important at the outset to recognize that there is a world of difference between the rule of law and the rule of lawyers. The fate of Migron, which was sealed on Wednesday with the decision of the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, to remove all 50 families from their homes, is a legal atrocity.

Migron was founded in 1999 on 60 plots of land. In 2006, the EU-funded Peace Now petitioned the High Court claiming to represent Arab owners of five out of the 60 plots of land. Peace Now asked the court to require the state to explain why it hadn’t destroyed the town, which the group claimed was built on stolen land. Migron’s residents dispute this claim.

In responding to this petition, the State Attorney’s Office could have asked the court to allow the issue of ownership to be adjudicated by a lower court. Instead, the State Prosecution accepted as fact Peace Now’s unproven claim of private ownership of the land. And, after numerous delays, in 2011 the court ruled that the village must be destroyed.

Following its victory in the Supreme Court, Peace Now sued the state for damages for the alleged Arab landlords, claiming that the presence of the community prevented the land’s owners from harvesting nonexistent olive trees. Peace Now abruptly canceled its lawsuit when the court asked for proof of ownership.

For their part, Migron’s residents went through Jordanian land records and were able to find owners for only seven of the registered plots. And they managed to buy – at exorbitant cost – three of those plots. Recognizing that its claim that Migron was illegally built on private lands could no longer be justified, Peace Now changed its strategy. In the latest Supreme Court hearings, brought by Migron’s residents, Peace Now claimed that the reason all the Israelis need to be ejected from their homes, and all the homes need to be destroyed, is that the village was built without proper permits.

Ahead of the court hearing last month, the government’s Ministerial Committee on Settlement convened to determine the government’s position on the new Migron petition. Led by Netanyahu, the ministers decided that the government’s position was to ask for a continuance in order to enable the lower courts to adjudicate the claims of ownership of the land.

Rather than follow the law and represent that position to the court, Weinstein instructed attorney Osnat Mandel from the State Prosecution to inform the court he did not accept the government’s decision, and ask for a continuance in order to give him time to force the government to change its position.

Addressing the court, Mandel said, “The attorney- general believes that the ministerial committee’s position will raise legal difficulties. And since we’re requesting a continuance for undertaking the evacuation anyway [for unrelated reasons], he requests [time] to hold meetings with the elected leadership.”

On the face of it, Weinstein’s defiance of a legally binding government decision was unlawful. Certainly it would appear to be grounds for his immediate firing. But while shocking, Weinstein’s rank insubordination was not unique.

As relates to Israel’s legal rights in Judea and Samaria, Weinstein is guided not by the law but by the ideology of the far Left. This ideology received formal expression in a 2005 report on unauthorized Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria authored by former assistant state attorney Talia Sasson. The Sasson Report represented a wholesale renunciation of all Israeli claims to legal rights over Judea and Samaria. It was unhinged from both Israeli and international law.

And it was embraced by the legal fraternity.

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  • harrylies

    The likes of Frontpage in the 1950s like Barry Goldwater, decried the courts when they ruled that black and white children should go to the same schools. They said segregation should stay. Glick is like Goldwater.

    Now in the US, the courts are going to sooner or later rule if same-sex couples should have equal rights. The likes of Frontpage support separate but equal marriage.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Try gay marriage in the workers paradise, Cuba. Lets see how open minded socialist neo-commies are.

      I never want the US to follow the lemmins in Eurabia. Let Eurabia go down the tubes.

      Marriage is as it always has been in cultures the world over.

      Marriage between a man and a women.

      People in California voted DOWN gay marriage – Prop 8.

      Why is the will of the people not supported by socialists????

      Any respect homosexuals want is totally destroyed by the "gay culture" on display in Gayday parades.

    • PaulRevereNow

      What is your cite for your false contention that "Barry Goldwater…said segregation should stay?" In fact, Barry Goldwater desegregated the Arizona National Guard. He never said anything like what you claim; and he voted for the Civil Rights Acts of the 1950's. And why are you injecting race into this? This article isn't about race; its about the leftist-dominated Israeli judiciary, and their flagrant abuses of power. You are a race-baiter, sir.

    • Omar

      That's not true, harrylies. Front Page Magazine has always supported rights for everyone, unlike its adversaries on the far-left.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      harryreidlies,

      Happy Eternal Nakba!

  • montlasky

    Caroline G expains the position clearly and succinctly. Her observation "The only suitable response to Migron is a legislative overhaul of Israel’s legal system" is extremely scary. With a potential war with Iran looming, this kind of overhaul must happen soon. The self proclaimed legal gurus could end up disrupting the defense system too. Why are we always our own worst enemies????

    • watsa46

      It is the desire for certain Jews to sacrifice others to the altar of universalism.
      The Jews so far, according to these people, have failed to bring tikkum olam to its end.. By then, everybody will be a Jew!!!!!!!

  • Schlomotion

    Ms. Glick states that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and his associates have shown that they believe themselves to be above the law. They have therefore done a great service to Israel by showing that trickle-down lawlessness does not work. It is virtually guaranteed now that all future Israeli leaders will be thoroughly vetted for weaknesses in their corruptibility and only sterling representatives will be elected. No more shall anyone in Israel break the law, having thus realized that dispossessing someone of a home unlawfully is inherently evil.

    • ziontruth

      "No more shall anyone in Israel break the law, having thus realized that dispossessing someone of a home unlawfully is inherently evil."

      That would mean expelling all the Arab colonists squatting on the Jewish nation's one and only piece of land in the world, the Land of Israel. Don't you believe it, I actually await Shlocky's scenario with bated breath!

      (Once again: I know perfectly well what that anti-Zionist POS meant.)

  • NAHALKIDES

    I haven't read the Israeli Constitution, but it would seem that one change that needs to be made is to have the Attorney General serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister, who can fire him if necessary to make sure the Government's policy is represented in court.

  • PermReader

    The dead is catching the alive one:assimilating and corrupt world Jewish diasphoras paralyesed by the Holocaust horror keep the same leftist-friendship mistakes as their predecessors before the WW2 .Their influence on the Israeli leftists turned them to national betrayal.So there is the heavy interior and international fight for Israel`s existance