What Rule of Law, COS Ashkenazi?
(IsraelNN.com) "It is very important that we uphold the rule of law," says Gabi Ashkenazi, in relation to the High Court's decision to remove Jews from a building in Hebron.
That is the problem. Which law? Is the IDF Chief of Staff referring to Jewish law or the laws of a High Court that has made so many rulings which fly in the face of and contradict Jewish law?
Ashkenazi is right. In a democracy, the people can elect a government which will rule all of the people, but may not represent all sectors and all of their agendas. Without the rule of law, the institutions of this democratic society will crumble. If the court is not respected, if the will of the people acts to collectively refuse to accept the judgment of the court by making enforcement impossible, then the power of government and its agencies are rendered useless.
Right or wrong, Ashkenazi knows that the last "disengagement" worked, but there are many, many Israelis who now regret that they stood aside and let it happen. Substantial numbers of young soldiers who were bullied by threats of being passed over for promotions and lied to regret their participation to this day, passing on their feelings to their younger siblings now in the army, to their families and their friends. Citizens throughout the length and breadth of the country see the rockets coming from Gaza falling on Israeli homes, killing and injuring people. They now understand the implications of giving away land knowing that the "disengagement" from Gaza was not for peace, but to cause death and destruction for Israelis.
What Ashkenazi is worried about is that large numbers of his soldiers are turning Right and will refuse to evict Jews from their homes again. No matter what he does - whether by passing the buck to the Border Police to do the job or by scrounging around to find a few leftists in the army who believe that the country belongs to the Arabs and will be happy to evict people - there will be blood shed this time.
They may succeed in evicting and demolishing one or two homes with the rule of divide and conquer, but a wholesale eviction could bring many times the amount of protesters and also a different class of persons than those who came to Gaza, who will not lie down peacefully to be carried away like they did last time.
It must be remembered that Gaza contained a few thousand Israeli Jews, although it did provide Israel with fifteen per cent of its agricultural exports. Today there are hundreds of thousands of Jews who call Judea and Samaria their home. The residents of the whole of the coastal strip have watched what is happening to Sderot and Ashkelon, soon to be Ashdod and maybe even Tel Aviv. They will not let corrupt politicians, a High Court with a leftist composition and questionable practices, nor the army put their property and their lives at risk by giving away a small strip of land, equal to a dot on the whole map of Arab lands. Their security demands that Israel remains complete and not within easy range of rockets from all sides. Our enemies wait for us to compromise our security in the name of peace before making war on the small piece of land that would be left.
Ashkenazi has another problem. His allegiance is to the government who hired him, the only democratic government in the Middle East. It appears to be stable, with all of the associated institutions of government. However, when the government is totally out of step with the people, when a large and growing percentage of army officers and the majority of soldiers come from traditional backgrounds where Jewish law is lived by and respected, the question has to be asked: "When is enough, enough?" Rabbis are calling for refusals by soldiers to participate in such evacuations and demolitions; homeowners are being held in custody for joining demonstrations and not allowed back in their local area of residence; and children as young as thirteen are being arrested for protesting against the government's intention to hand over their homes to the enemy who takes every opportunity to try to kill and maim them.
Israel is neither America nor a Western European country. Is it conceivable that the High Court's decision will be the trigger for major change? When soldier after soldier refuses to remove fellow Jews from their houses this time, the whole political system can very well fall.
This time, the lies and threats will not work with our young soldiers. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. No wonder Ashkenazi is hauling out the principle of the Rule of Law.
To talk of an army coup or to expect a rebellion within the army seems inconceivable. But this is the Middle East, where anything can happen.