Did Israel not expect there would be an enormous international hue and cry about the actions on Monday night by the Israeli Knesset to what is now already being referred to as a “land grab”. The law passed by the Parliament permitted the Israeli Government to acquire Palestinian owned land on the West Bank on which Israeli settlers are now living–retroactively. The fact that the Government agreed to compensate those removed from private property does not begin to mollify the owners or those who indeed recognized this action as indeed a “land grab”. While it might be understood to be the response to the High Court’s having required the dismantling of the Israeli settlement in Amona last week, this decision has unleashed a totally predictable international firestorm.
It seems that being ostracized and lambasted by friendly governments and political allies throughout the world does not bother the Parliament or the leaders of the Israeli Government who succumbed to political pressure and voted for the law. To add insult to the intelligence of the critics, these same Government leaders actually justified their action by asserting it was merely a political act and that the Israeli High Court will eventually overturn the law.
Does Netanyahu not comprehend that it ought to be grossly embarrassing to be the leader of a Government that is being stigmatized in the world media as engaging in a “land grab”? Does he not recognize the extent to which this type of action will ostracize Israel even further? Is this not precisely the type of behavior which will only energize and intensify the demands of the BDS movement? Does Netanyahu truly expect the totally unpredictable Trump Administration or even the U.S. Congress to just blink at such misguided, transparent behavior? Can Bibi actually believe that the American Jewish leaders are going to tolerate his effort to obfuscate his Government’s actions when he presumably meets with them in conjunction with his meeting next week with the President?
Ninth Circuit Court Decision
As a result of the decision just handed down by the San Francisco Federal Court of Appeals refusing to reinstate the travel ban, there is now an open question whether the Government will appeal this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems that many are suggesting that the Supreme Court, currently only with eight justices, will divide 4-4 and thereby sustain the decision of the Ninth Circuit. While indeed that may well be likely, it would seem that the Trump Administration may not appeal because the Supreme Court could actually embarrass the President even further were it to hand down its own decision against the Trump Administration. Given the attacks by the President against courts and judges over the past several days—as well as during the campaign–and his implication that he questions the legitimacy of the Judiciary, the President may actually face a Supreme Court which would be motivated to make a statement of its own concerning separation of powers.