Home > Settlement Freeze, West Bank Law Enforcement > Yediot column: Israel “the spineless jellyfish” has no will to stand up to lawless settlers

Yediot column: Israel “the spineless jellyfish” has no will to stand up to lawless settlers

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Yaron London, an elder statesmen of Israeli journalism, television personality and respected intellectual, has a reputation for saying what others think. In his Yediot column this morning (November 30 2009) he had this to say about law enforcement on settlers in the West Bank

Israel’s governments have accustomed us to the sense that the rebellion of the annexers of the occupied territories is a law of nature, or perhaps a version of “cops and robbers,” in which the cops are not real police officers and the robbers no more than good boys disguised as criminal offenders.  Youthful folly should not be punished, perhaps only gently reprimanded, and the policemen and soldiers will quarrel with them cautiously.  Some of the buildings will be demolished, and then rebuilt, demolished, and so on and so forth, until the spineless jellyfish known as the state is worn down, and they will remain standing.

Full translation after the jump.

We can see you

Op-ed, Yaron London, Yediot, November 30 2009

This week, our Filipina nurse left us for a month-long vacation in Manila.  Before she left, I sat down with her at the computer, and opened the Google Earth web site.  If you are not familiar with this site, you should get to know it.  It offers an interactive tour of the globe, as it looks from the vantage point of a satellite.  Using the mouse, you can find any site and zoom in on it.

This is what I did: I rolled the Earth eastward, and found the Philippines, the island Luzon and the metropolis Manila.  Ninette guided me to the quarter where she lives, the neighborhood and the street.  We hovered over the street and found a house with a faded green roof, and Ninette said: “That’s my house.”  Now, in the morning hour when I am typing at my keyboard, it is nighttime in Manila, and she is there, under the green roof.

The software I have is the free version, which shows relatively low quality satellite images.  For pay, you can obtain images of much better resolution.  They are provided by companies such as the Israeli ImageSat, which operates photography satellites for commercial and other needs.  The other clients are, among others, espionage services.  The optical spies working in the service of states have a very sharp glance.  If I could send them over Ninette’s back yard, I could see her waving hello, even on a moonless night.

That is why I was amused by the attorney general’s warning that the state would find it difficult to implement a decision that had just been made.  The decision to freeze construction over the Green Line stems from the need to preserve our relations with the world power that protects us, and therefore, in the opinion of the cabinet ministers, it is an important decision.  How important is it?  Judging by the speed with which the difficulty to implement it was presented, it would seem that it is predestined to failure.  The attorney general counted the building inspectors who are available for the task, and found, alas, that there are only 14 of them.  Had he added that they were all lame and near-sighted, and none of them know how to read aerial photographs, it would have been an even droller excuse.

The Judea and Samaria hills are a tiny area.  It only takes one person looking every day at updated satellite images to discover any change there.  This is what the Defense Ministry in fact did, and with surprising speed, sent a photography plane to document the topographic reality in detail.  It would not be difficult for one person, equipped with a four-wheel drive vehicle, to visit a dozen sites per day, or even more, and issue official warnings to people engaged in forbidden construction.

The problem does not lie in the difficulty to locate them, but rather in the will to enforce the law on them.  The will is weak.  The journalistic descriptions reflect this.  They report the foreseeable actions of the covert builders with full confidence that they will disobey the state.  Israel’s governments have accustomed us to the sense that the rebellion of the annexers of the occupied territories is a law of nature, or perhaps a version of “cops and robbers,” in which the cops are not real police officers and the robbers no more than good boys disguised as criminal offenders.  Youthful folly should not be punished, perhaps only gently reprimanded, and the policemen and soldiers will quarrel with them cautiously.  Some of the buildings will be demolished, and then rebuilt, demolished, and so on and so forth, until the spineless jellyfish known as the state is worn down, and they will remain standing.

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