The Supreme Court's Assault on Israel's Self-Defense

One of the greatest threats to Israeli democracy is the anti-democratic behavior of its Supreme Court. Non-elected justices who cannot be impeached, and who are great advocates of ?judicial activism?, which is essentially illegal judicial legislating by non-elected judges who trump the elected representatives of the people, dominate the Court.

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Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
Writing on the wall: Death to Jews
One of the greatest threats to Israeli democracy is the anti-democratic behavior of its Supreme Court. Non-elected justices who cannot be impeached, and who are great advocates of ?judicial activism?, which is essentially illegal judicial legislating by non-elected judges who trump the elected representatives of the people, dominate the Court.

The Supreme Court is composed largely of leftists and radical secularists who believe that their mission is, among other things, to constrain the Orthodox in
Israel and invent new "rights" that the people and the Knesset are unwilling to create, like the right to import pork but not kosher meat. The Chief Justice insists that the Court's obligation is to issue rulings in line with "enlightened?- meaning leftist radical secularist- opinion.

A while back, the extremist Chief Justice of the Court ordered the Arab terrorist murderers of the Jewish child Dani Katz to be returned to the streets, until they were reconvicted of the murder. Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the Court's misbehavior, though, is its self-imposed need to micromanage Israel's army and military defense activities. The justices believe that they have the right to dictate to the army in every single case what bullet, and in which direction, the soldiers may fire, and that they may second-guess every military micro-decision.

This week, the justices once again trumped the military by asserting their powers. The decision regarded the proposed expulsion of families of Arab murderers, as a deterrent to would be terrorists. As you know, an effective way to prevent Palestinian Nazis from blowing up busloads of Jewish children might be to execute the family members of the suicide bombers and similar murderers. In exchange for executing a couple of dozen guilty Palestinians, Israel would effectively save thousands of its own civilians from murder and maiming. But that offends the delicate sensitivity of Israel's beautiful people, who prefer that Jews be murdered by terrorists rather than see "innocent" Arabs suffer due to atrocities committed by their kin. These are the very same people whose sensitivities never seem to be offended by hundreds of Jewish children being blown to pieces! (And the notion that all Palestinian adults must be regarded as ?presumed innocent? when polls show that nearly all of them endorse mass murders of Jews is mind boggling. Do I believe that endorsing and celebrating such terrorism in and of itself makes the endorser guilty and a legitimate target for reprisals? Absolutely!!)

The next-best option is to expel the kin of the murderers to Lebanon or Syria, but once again, the Israeli Left and its captive Supreme Court will not sanction any such "inhumane" behavior by the government. Never mind that the Palestinians being punished are not even Israelis but rather enemy aliens with no right to protection by Israel's Supreme Court in the first place! The Left's position is that it is okay for Israel to track down and punish those who actually plant bombs and blow themselves up, BUT if Israel cannot pinpoint these perpetrators with total 100% accuracy, then the country must simply put up with the Palestinians mass murdering Jewish civilians forever, rather than take any "collective punishment" action against their relations. In other words, since Israel will never be able to develop an effective defense and deterrent against terrorism that meets the utopian standards of the Left, the Left is willing to let the pile of murdered Israelis keep growing.

So as a third-best option, Sharon's government has been trying to ?punish? the kin of suicide bombers by forcing them to ?relocate? from the West Bank to Gaza. Since Gaza is a sewer with worse living conditions than the West Bank, this is thought to have some deterrence value, although not exactly the same deterrence as teaching the siblings of suicide bombers how to dance the debka at the end of a rope. But even this mild step is ?inhumane and racist" in the minds of Israel's Left.

The Left filed a petition with the Supreme Court to prevent Israel from forcing three immediate family members of a Palestinian mass-murdering suicide bomber to relocate to Gaza. The Left prefers that they stay put and plan out some new mass murders to protest ?occupation?. Leah Zemel, one of several accomplished Communist Party lawyers specializing in defending the rights of Palestinians to murder Jews, filed the petition.

This week the Court ruled that two of the three accomplices in question could in fact be ?relocated? to Gaza, but ordered the army NOT to move the third one, the brother of the suicide bomber. The Court stipulated that living in the same room with his mass-murdering, explosives-preparing brother and observing him setting off on his bombing trip did not make the brother an active accomplice and so he cannot be ?relocated?.

So the bottom line is that once again the Court asserted its right to micromanage Israel's defense policy against Nazi mass murderers and to second-guess professional military decision makers in Israel who are convinced of the deterrent aspect of relocation, if not deportation. However, there is an even more ominous aspect to this development?.

Whatever else one might say about the Palestinian murderer?s brother who was rescued by the Supreme Court leftists from the fate of being "exiled" to the Gaza Strip, he was clearly guilty of "not preventing a crime". If for nothing else, on this charge he could have been prosecuted (it is a crime on the books of the Israeli judicial system). Nevertheless the justices decided he could not be shipped to Gaza as punishment for not preventing a crime, and in all likelihood will not pay for his crime.

Margolit Har-Shefi was a college student who was friendly with Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, and she might even have dated Amir a few times. She was later prosecuted and convicted by a vengeance-seeking politicized Attorney General, not on charges of poor taste in men, but for "not preventing a crime". The very same Supreme Court justices and Chief Justice ruled that her belief that Amir was just letting off steam and displaying false bravado when he said he would murder Rabin was not an acceptable defense against "failing to prevent a crime".

So in other words, the Court was perfectly willing to imprison a pathetic college girl who did nothing wrong, but insists that the brother of a mass murdering Palestinian, who watched him prepare to murder Jews, is as clean as a whistle and needs to be put back on the streets with the Court's blessing.

Steve Plaut is professor of economics at Haifa University.