The fate of Migron, an illegal outpost in the heart of
the West Bank, is about to be decided. The implications of this decision are about far more than the future of a
handful of settlers in a single outpost. This decision will be a litmus test of Israeli rule of law and,
ultimately, of Israel's capacity to make peace with the Palestinians.
How can one outpost be so important?
Peace Now today released the 'Migron File' - a comprehensive dossier containing all the facts and figures, aerial photos and copies of legal documents related to the illegal outpost of Migron (which the Netanyahu government is working frantically to find a way to legalize).
The "Migron File" can be viewed online or downloaded here.
Settlement watchdog Peace Now said the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pursuing the well-worn path of creating facts on the ground in a bid to block any two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to information published by the Construction and Housing Ministry on Sunday, 500 of the units will be located in Har Homa, a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem. Left-wing activists see Har Homa as one of the most controversial Jewish neighborhoods in the capital, because it was started after the Oslo Accords were signed and because it creates a barrier of Jewish homes between east Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods and Bethlehem.
As everybody who cares about foreign policy (and hasn't been living under a rock) knows by now, earlier this
week the PLO was admitted as a full member by UNESCO, triggering pre-existing U.S. laws that
mandate an immediate and 100% cut-off in U.S. funding to UNESCO. These laws likewise mandate such a
cut-off of funding to the UN, any specialized agency of the UN, or any affiliated organization of the UN who
follows suit. With the Palestinians reportedly planning to apply for membership in at least 16 more
agencies, the specter of a
far-reaching U.S. withdrawal from international agencies - including from agencies like the IAEA and WIPO,
large. And with it looms the specter of far-reaching consequences for U.S. international influence,
leverage, and engagement, and for the U.S ability to protect and promote its interests across the whole
spectrum of issues around the globe.
Absent from the reporting and debate around this issue is any real notice of the fact that the rationale that existed for passage of these laws in 1990 and 1994 no longer exists. Objectively speaking, what we are seeing today is U.S. policy at the UN being hijacked by a pair of legislative anachronisms.
The extremist settlers call it "Price Tag." We have always called it by its proper name: Terrorism.
Now, Israel's Shin Bet, the IDF's top brass and Israeli Cabinet members agree with us. On Monday, shortly after a mosque was torched in an Israeli-Arab village in the Galilee and "Price Tag" graffiti was found nearby, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, a member of the extreme right wing Yisrael Beitenu Party, told an Israel Radio reporter that he prefers not to use the perpetrators self-serving jargon. "This is an act of terrorism," he said.
The problem is that largely because of law enforcement negligence, a terror campaign that has been raging in the West Bank for at least three years, has now mushroomed into a widespread phenomenon - both in the West Bank and in Israel proper - that targets not only West Bank Palestinians but also Israeli Arab citizens, Israeli peace activists and Israeli law enforcement officers.