Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arlene Kushner On How Netanyahu Avoided Bringing Levy Report For Acceptance

From Arlene Kushner:
October 21, 2012

That Was Fast!

And it's not OK.

Last week I wrote that reports had been leaked that Prime Minister Netanyahu was going to bring the Levy Report, or some undefined parts of it, to the Cabinet today for acceptance.

But by Friday word was out that he would not be doing so after all.  That was because Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was opposed.

I will take a moment here to point out that Weinstein tilts left, and that he had made clear from the get-go that he was not enamored of the Levy Report.  As much as we would like to think that the law is the law, interpretation is often colored by political perspective.

At any rate, AG Weinstein said that the government was a care-taker government, awaiting a new election, and did not have the authority to make decisions that would be required with the acceptance of the Levy Report recommendations.

You can see here what I wrote about the Levy Report on October 17: The Levy Report
The prime minster then declared that in deference to the attorney general's opinion, he would not move forward on this now.
What is disturbing is the alacrity with which Netanyahu threw up his hands and said he would not be pursuing the matter at present.  He cannot have been surprised by Weinstein's attempt to block the Report.  I wasn't.
And so the question must now be asked as to whether Netanyahu was sincere in his intention of pursuing acceptance of the Report, or if he was making a stand to please his right wing, knowing full well that he would have an opportunity to back off so that he would not offend persons to his left.
I cannot read Binyamin Netanyahu's mind.  But I will say that precedent shows he is certainly capable of such a maneuver, most especially pre-election.
As I said, this is not OK.  Most decidedly not OK. 
Not only are we looking at a failure of the prime minister to fight for the conclusions and recommendations of a committee he appointed in the first place: conclusions that stand for Israel's rights and recommendations that would provide fair treatment for Jews in Judea and Samaria at long last.  It also happens that the attorney general is on very weak ground legally. 
Please consider:
The current government is not a care-taker government.  This was learning for me.  When the Knesset has been dissolved (as it now has been) and elections have been called, this does not mean that the government has care-taker status.  That status only applies when the prime minister has resigned or the government has been defeated in a vote of no-confidence in the Knesset (something that has not occurred now).  This government is a fully functioning, "regular" government.
What is more, even if the government did have care-taker status, there is strong legal precedent for allowing it to proceed anyway.  I have been advised today by an attorney who is an expert in these matters that a care-taker government "still retains most of its powers and is considered, for all intents and purposes, a regular has the authority to advance its political agenda." 
In fact, case law is clear here. On more than one occasion the High Court has weighed in on this issue: In 2008, when the care-taker government of Ehud Olmert was challenged by MK Limor Livnat with regard to its continuing negotiations with Syria, the Court ruled that these negotiations fell "into the ambit of responsibilities and rights a government has, even a 'care-taker' government." Also in 2008, the High Court denied the petition of the Legal Forum to annul the release of the 'care-taker' government's decision to release 250 Palestinian Arabs as a good will gesture to the Palestinian Authority, "reasoning that a 'care-taker' government has the authority to execute its rights and responsibilities and the Court will not intervene on questions of public policy and foreign relations."
Concludes my expert (emphasis added):
"...the position that the current Israeli government has no authority to apply or to advance the ideas and content of the Levy Report, has little to stand on. Israeli 'care-taker' governments have advanced policies with much more far reaching implications and consequences.  In addition,...the current Israeli government does not constitute a 'care-taker' government and, hence, the legal rights a 'care-taker' government has or does not have is irrelevant."
In addition to the opinion of this one expert, I have similar opinions from others.  I will gladly provide additional information for anyone who seeks it from me.
And so, my friends, I ask that you work with me here.  Please, remain committed to this issue and ready to take action as it is required.  If all of us pull together on this matter of considerable importance, we may yet make a difference.  It falls to all of us to do our best. Numbers count, pressure has an effect.
Right now I ask you to write to the prime minister a second time. 
Do not give up. Do not throw up your own hands in disgust. Keep at it.
  • Tell him how deeply disappointed you are, that he decided not to pursue the acceptance of the Levy Report because of the judgment of the attorney general.

  • Tell him that, according to legal authorities, what the attorney general said carries very little weight. This is, first, because the current government does not have the status of a care-taker government at all.  And then because even if it did, there is legal precedent -- emanating from cases brought to the High Court -- for the right of the government to act with regard to the Levy Report.Even a care-taker government has the authority to advance its political agenda.

  • Tell him that you are counting on him to accept the recommendations of the committee he appointed, and to stand up for the rights of Israel and of Israeli citizens.
As always, I implore you to make your message short and polite. To the point, without speeches or history lessons.
If you are an Israel citizen and vote, say so.  Share this with others, most particularly with Israeli citizens. and also after pm) use both addresses.
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
It has come to my attention that a fraudulent e-mail -- called "Every Jew must read this" -- is making the rounds of the US, pre-election.  Ostensibly from the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), it, in fact, is no such thing.
For anyone who is at all savvy about how such things work, this passionately pro-Obama message is clearly a fraud.  Israel does not get involved in US politics and would never, ever say the things that are written in this communication.  What an ugly, awful thing to represent Israel as saying: "it's almost as if some of us want Obama to be anti-Israel because that would validate our worst fears."  Our worst fears of what? If this isn't playing the race card, I don't know what is.
Unfortunately, not every one is savvy about how these things work, and there are those who will eat this up, eager for the presumed official validation of their desire to support Obama.
And so, I implore you: If you come across this e-mail, write to the person who sent it to you and tell him or her that it is a fraud, and that every person it was sent to must be notified of this. This does NOT represent evidence of official Israeli support for Obama.
This is dirty pool.  An ugly tactic by someone who feels desperate.
In case you doubt my analysis here, please know that the Israeli Embassy in Washington is telling everyone it is a fraud.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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