Gideon Levy: "No one will evacuate one balcony"

Today, the Israeli media reported that “Defense officials believe settlers were behind the torching of a Palestinian home and two vehicles in the West Bank early Sunday, Army Radio reported, in an apparent attempt to avenge a construction freeze in settlements. According to the report, Israeli security forces subsequently searched the area near the home, near Nablus. The incident came shortly before police on Sunday forcibly evacuated about 100 right-wing activists who had blocked roads near the West Bank settlement of Kedumin, in a bid to prevent inspectors from handing out orders to implement the moratorium. The activists included local settlers, girls from a religious high school, regional council leaders, and the settlement’s rabbi. Police arrested one protestor during the confrontation. The clashes coincided with the cabinet’s weekly meeting, during which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his reasons for deciding on the construction halt. ‘These are our brothers; they’re a part of us, and we’re a part of them’, Netanyahu said” … On Saturday, about 200 people led by the chairman of the Yesha council of settlements, Danny Dayan, and MKs Tzipi Hotovely and Uri Ariel convened an emergency meeting in the West Bank settlement of Ofra to discuss tactics to thwart the moratorium. The chairman of the Binyamin regional council suggested, among other things, that ‘everyone begin building. Add a shed, and make it white so that the satellites will pick it up. Build new structures, for B’nei Akiva, for whatever, build them far from the gates so that it will take the inspectors a long time to reach them’.” According to this report, Daan said that “There are people who say that we are violating the law … To them I say: We will disobey the order, we have a moral duty to do so. This is so anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist that we are willing to pay the price. There are orders that we will disobey”. This report can be read in full in Haaretz here.

In another article in Haaretz, Gideon Levy wrote that “Like every production, be it a flop or a hit, the future of this show will also be decided by the audience. In the meantime, as the first act shifts into high gear, the viewers are yawning. The government and the settlers are proud to introduce ‘The Freeze’, a show in which both sides play – in quite unconvincing fashion – already scripted parts. During the first act, no real, historic edict has been issued. Rather, these decrees are just props. Thus, nobody will evacuate one balcony in the final scene. The audience is skeptical. It does not believe the prime minister, who speaks of two states and in the same breath vows that the freeze will soon end, as if it were just a temporary shortage of construction materials that caused it. He pledges that the freeze will not include pergolas and synagogues. Most importantly, he promises that construction will resume in full force immediately after the halt. The audience is even more skeptical of the shrill, ludicrous performance displayed by the settlers, who are staging a bogus protest over the temporary freeze and sounding the manufactured cry of a bully playing the victim. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the settlers do not mean what they say. They freeze and they wink, for the show must go on. The settlers, as is their wont, scream to the high heavens in order to sow fear and warn of what awaits us in the future. Every local council chief in the territories who rips up the orders to freeze building in front of television cameras knows full well that these edicts were issued ‘as if’. Meaning, as if there was a freeze, as if there were edicts, and as if there was resistance. The inspectors apologize, the policemen push and shove a bit, but they also know the truth. The show must go on”.

Gideon Levy added that “It is impossible to lend support to Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan as long as there is a heavy cloud of suspicion hovering over it, one which suggests that this is nothing more than a swindle, an act of deceit designed to appease U.S. President Barack Obama … In the meantime, the settlers are generating just a smidgen of revulsion through their brazen, outrageous and lawless behavior. Yet Holon and Bat Yam are still not showing genuine rage. Even the settlers’ statements championing ‘human rights’, ‘humane living conditions’, ‘morality’ and ‘democracy’ invite only mockery, seeing as they are uttered by the most serial violators of these principles. In order for Tel Aviv and its denizens to react with the same fury – something which should have happened long ago – what is needed is a leader who is truly intent on putting an end to this behavior. But between Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, we do not have such a leader at hand. When the real leader is found and when Tel Aviv really begins to get angry, we will be surprised to find out just how paved the road already is. Yet somebody needs to stand up and point the way”. Gideon Levy’s article can be read in full here.

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