Zvi Barel
Haaretz (Opinion)
January 4, 2012 - 1:00am

Creativity knows no bounds, as is reflected in the new idea that illegal West Bank outposts can be relocated from one illegal location to another. This would move them from privately-owned Palestinian land to Palestinian land "owned" by the government, from one space under occupation to another, as if this made it legal.

It's a game of musical chairs in which everybody wins and no one is left without a chair. At the illegal West Bank outpost of Ramat Gilad, nine house trailers are to be moved a few dozen meters and will become part of the "legal" settlement of Karnei Shomron. And when it comes to the illegal outpost of Migron, Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin is suggesting that the buildings be relocated to a "legal" location several hundred meters away.

"The creativity and wisdom with which Minister Benny Begin conducted the dialogue for the government, in addition to the altruism and self-sacrifice shown by the Zar family [which established the outpost] and the residents of Ramat Gilad are the required model of wisdom for the continued development of a residential presence at Ramat Gilad and other places with similar characteristics." That's how Kadima MK Otniel Schneller described this innovation.

Regarding Migron, by the way, no agreement has been reached on relocating buildings. They don't grow suckers there and they won't be tricked by kudos for altruism and self-sacrifice. And if, God forbid, the relocation invention becomes the norm, somebody might ask why everyone shouldn't be relocated to truly legal territory; let's say, within the borders of Israel proper.

The relocation of buildings at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer is not a compromise and does not make it right. It perpetuates the settlements' semblance of legality, as if there were two Jewish areas in the West Bank, one legal and one not. That approach tramples on the High Court of Justice's ruling in August that ordered the structures at Migron demolished by March this year.

The relocation approach shifts the controversy over illegal construction from the judiciary, which has spoken on the issue, back to the politicians. You only need to look at the band that's applying pressure here, including rabbis, public figures and politicians trying to block relocation, or at least portray it as a concession in the interest of goodwill. You'll then understand that the fight isn't over houses, it's over the drawing of legal borders in a place where legality is simply an invention.

Another example of illicit creativity is the legislation proposed by Zeev Elkin (Likud ), Yaakov Katz (National Union ) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu ), which would only allow the demolition of homes in accordance with a final order by a court authorized to rule on land cases. This wouldn't include the High Court of Justice, which does not weigh evidence, and not the IDF commander sovereign on the ground. But that's not the important thing here. In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the recommendation of Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, has deferred discussion on this foolish legislation.

These inventions shift the power to the settlers to decide which judicial authority suits them, dragging the government along. The origami into which the law ends up folded isn't new. It has entered a lexicon that includes terms such as "land seizure," "land expropriation" and "closure of the area." It continues with terms such as "legal settlements" and "thickening of existing settlements," and concludes with the heroic term "outpost," which in turn is divided into "legal" and "illegal."

These terms are simply designed to lie to the authorities, to defy the High Court and shift sovereignty from the government and the army to the settlers. These terms became Zionist through the slippery slope on which a sovereign country metastasizes into a Jewish Diaspora that dictates its laws and language.

So 2012 will be the "year of the relocated outpost," which will eliminate the term "illegal outpost" once and for all. You have to be impressed by the way the special terminology that was invented for the settlements is being used as if by law or at least court order. All that remains is the marginal issue of the High Court of Justice's standing, which would be reduced to tatters in the land of the settlers. But there's a solution to that problem, too. Why not just establish a separate court system in the West Bank, including a high court of justice?

There's already an executive branch of government there. And anyway, the Israeli legislature is held captive by the settlers. All that's missing is the judicial branch. That wouldn't require an illegal act. We'd just have to copy and relocate the court.


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