Home > IDF, Settlement Freeze, West Bank Law Enforcement > Yediot’s senior military analyst: ‘we are providing the rope that will be used as a noose for the negotiations’

Yediot’s senior military analyst: ‘we are providing the rope that will be used as a noose for the negotiations’

This morning’s (November 17, 2009) Israeli media runs a flurry of criticism of the settlers, settlements and government inaction against them.

Yediot’s senior military analyst, Alex Fishman, who is also chairman of the Israeli Military Correspondents Chamber and hardly a bleeding heart, is appalled. In an analysis piece placed alongside news reporting on the latest chapter of the settler-soldier rebellion in West Bank, he rails

What is the greatest chutzpah? To establish, in an illegal settlement, an illegal factory that produces temporary structures for more illegal settlements. And to do so openly, in the light of day, under the nose of the government and with the knowledge of the law enforcement agencies. In fact, this is not just chutzpah. This is anarchy.

[…]

we, with our own two hands, are providing the rope that will be used as a noose for the [Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic] negotiations.

Full text of the article is below, note that also contains a wealth of previously unreported details on the issue.

Stop the anarchy

Analysis, Alex Fishman, Yediot, November 17 2009 [page 7]

What is the greatest chutzpah? To establish, in an illegal settlement, an illegal factory that produces temporary structures for more illegal settlements. And to do so openly, in the light of day, under the nose of the government and with the knowledge of the law enforcement agencies. In fact, this is not just chutzpah. This is anarchy.

Such an illegal factory for trailers exists, for example, in Havat Gilad in the southern Hebron hills. There are two other such anonymous factories in the West Bank, and this is no coincidence. It is much safer and convenient there. The law enforcement agencies are liable to stop trailers that are manufactured inside the Green Line at the crossings, or at least monitor their passage into the West Bank. To drive trailers from inside the Green Line to the West Bank, you need permits, whereas in the West Bank, you don’t need any permission from anyone.

Moreover, the trailers produced have amazing qualities: they are capable of merging into the scenery, and then suddenly popping up, like mushrooms after rain, on these or those hills. In the settlements of Kochav Yaakov and Eli, for example, 12 trailers suddenly popped up to house new immigrants from France. Straight from the plane to the trailer. And how do they get water and electricity? The head of the local authority, who receives a salary from the Interior Ministry, approves it, the regional engineer signs, and everything is legal.

This is what the settlers call “natural growth,” and they expect, that using this argument, the State of Israel will face the Americans with clean hands. The prime minister and defense minister persuaded envoy Mitchell that there is childbirth in the territories, and indeed there is “childbirth.” Including new immigrants from France. Everyone seems to think that the Americans are idiots and that they can be sold a bill of goods forever. Then they’re insulted that Obama makes faces at Netanyahu and doesn’t believe him.

It doesn’t need to be mentioned that the prime minister and the ministers know very well about these tricks, but they prefer to close their eyes. There is no law, no judge, and nobody enforces any law in the territories. So is it any wonder that this anarchy has trickled down into the army as well? Why not, what will they do to them? Nobody should be surprised if the displays of protest in the army against the evacuation of buildings and settlements only continue and gain momentum. After all, these soldiers receive a few days in the stockade—as if they’d committed a traffic violation—and become, automatically, heroes.

Today the protest is by means of signs, tomorrow the protest will be expressed in acts, in disobeying orders, in sedition. The army is paying a price for the fact that there is no law in the territories, that everyone does as they see fit. The chief of staff will have no choice but to come to the defense of the army that is beginning to slide down the steep slope of politicization and put an end to this, even in a brutal fashion. Because there is already a smell of political mutiny in the air.

And what was the soldier’s protest about yesterday? About two illegal buildings that were demolished in the settlement of Negohot. An observer from the side might have thought for a moment that the State of Israel had decided to stop illegal construction in order to create an appropriate atmosphere to make a renewal of the negotiations with the Palestinians possible. But the building demolition in Negohot is a joke. In the last few months there has been a momentum of construction taking place in the territories, of hundreds of buildings in dozens of settlements. Ever since the American demand was raised to completely freeze construction in the settlements, and ever since Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech about two states for two peoples, there has been a race taking place on the ground: to squeeze in as much as possible. Along with the illegal construction taking place, old construction permits suddenly show up that have not been implemented for many years. Every concrete base ever poured and then frozen has come back to life and sprouted walls.

The prime minister and defense minister managed to reach a compromise with the Americans making it possible to complete the construction of about 3,000 units already in various stages of construction, all in order to buy industrial quiet with the settlers and appease them and their supporters in the government. 3,000? They’re laughing. Nobody, including in the government, has any idea how many legal and illegal construction starts there are on the ground today.

It’s not that the Palestinians are saints and constantly seeking ways to return to the negotiations. But we, with our own two hands, are providing the rope that will be used as a noose for the negotiations.

A responsible government can stop this anarchy. Even if there are no negotiations with the Palestinians, it must instruct the OC Central Command to issue a military order to freeze all construction in the territories—with or without a permit—until further notice. Every construction will be discussed separately. With no winking. When the army realizes that the political echelon is serious, that will help it instate order in its ranks.

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  1. Assaf
    November 17, 2009 at 18:40

    Didi hi,

    Thanks again for a great valuable service!

    Regarding the article: one can for a second think that Fishman himself arrived on the same airplane from France together with these new settler-immigrants.

    What is new exactly? Working against every possible law ever enacted, with the tacit or overt support of various branches of government, has been the way in which the entire settlement project has come into being. That is, 42+ years and counting.

    I’m not an avid follower of Fishman’s writing – he has never struck me as a luminary – but I can’t remember any occasion in the past when he came out against this policy.

    Either Fishman was never aware of this before (fat chance, considering e.g. the 2005 Sasson report and the numerous Peace Now reports), or what he really cares about is “backstage chatter” from diplomatic circles, indicating that the Americans are not planning to keep turning a blind eye to this anymore. That this time around, we might be finally asked to pay some price for this.

    Which might be good news. But I won’t be too shocked to discover that once again the settlement project gets a free American pass.

  1. November 17, 2009 at 10:08
  2. November 17, 2009 at 11:09

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