The West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra is photographed as seen from the former Jewish settler outpost of Amona..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A more fitting name for the Settlements Law, which was passed by the Knesset late Monday night, would be the Organized Crime Law.
Criminals took over land, threw out the legal owners and built homes and businesses of their own. Years later, they convinced Knesset members to pass a law to retroactively legitimize the brazen robbery and turn them into legal owners.
For two decades, the settlers, who took advantage of successive governments' cowardice and weakness, have established communities on private Palestinian land and now are claiming, "It is our land."
The Bayit Yehudi party initiated the law and saw it through. Some three decades ago, then-MK Avraham Melamed, who was a Holocaust survivor that was considered a "dove" and a moderate in the National Religious party, told me that the religious political settler movement Gush Emunim, "has no God," meaning they would stop at nothing to get what they want.
In the name of Messianism and political ideology, they were prepared to break every one of the Ten Commandments, including "thou shall not steal."
The National Religious party was once a party with a wide range of opinions, and many believed in Jewish morality. Its descendant, Bayit Yehudi, is a party that is split into two camps: extremists, like its ministers and leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and even bigger extremists, like Minister Uri Ariel and MK Bezalel Smotrich. And even they are loathed by the younger militant generation known as the Hilltop Youth.
The problem is not Bayit Yehudi, but rather the traditional Right, which emerged from the Jabotinsky school – the Revisionist version of Zionism and its heirs Herut and Likud, which have also in recent years undergone a makeover, shedding any semblance of integrity, fairness or morality. No wonder that MK Benny Begin is more and more isolated in his own Likud party. He was the only one from the coalition who voted against the law.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman oppose the law, but announced that they would vote in favor of it.
They understand that the law constitutes the small shove that pushes Israel into the abyss of becoming a country that has ceased to respect international law as commonly accepted by Western democracies.
They know, as well, that even the administration of US President Donald Trump opposes the law and settlement expansion.
However, this does not prevent them from pandering to the Right for votes, meanwhile hoping that the High Court of Justice will strike the Settlements Law down.