The Israeli Supreme Court Shields Hamas Members from Punishment

The Israeli supreme court recently ruled on a case involving four Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem who in 2006 took positions in the Palestinian government on behalf of the Change and Reform party: an organ of Hamas. As they are not Israeli citizens—east Jerusalemites have a special status—the government responded by revoking their residency rights. The four appealed the decision to the courts and now, after nearly a decade, the highest court has ruled in their favor. Evelyn Gordon finds the conclusion to be “mind-boggling.”

Although the Entry into Israel Law allows the government to revoke anyone’s residency rights “at its discretion,” [the court] stipulated that the law shouldn’t be used to revoke residency for “breach of trust,” [which is what the authorities cited as grounds for the expulsion]. Why? Because most east Jerusalem Palestinians were born in Israel and had lived there all their lives, so they deserve greater protection than migrants, who have previously lived elsewhere and whose roots in Israel are therefore shallower.

That east Jerusalem Palestinians merit greater protection than, say, labor migrants, is obviously true. . . . But in this particular case, the court’s otherwise valid distinction is completely irrelevant. After all, the case wasn’t about ordinary east Jerusalem residents, who, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, could reasonably be assumed by the court to view Israel as their primary home. It was specifically about people who chose to serve in a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization, and who thereby declared that their allegiance to this foreign entity superseded their allegiance to Israel. . . .

Even the majority justices appeared to realize how irrelevant their argument actually was. In a truly stunning statement, Justice Uzi Vogelman, who wrote the main opinion, said, “Our interpretative decision didn’t focus on the petitioners’ case specifically, but on an interpretive question of general applicability to residents of east Jerusalem.” Quite how any court can decide a case without focusing on that case “specifically” is beyond me.

Ostensibly, the case at least has limited application. After all, how many east Jerusalem Palestinians are going to become Hamas legislators or cabinet members? But in reality, the implications are broad, because if even swearing allegiance to a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction isn’t enough to make a Palestinian lose his Israeli residency and its attendant benefits, what on earth would be?

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: East Jerusalem, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Supreme Court

 

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security