Likud-Beytenu MK Yariv Levin, the current Coalition Whip and designated chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, presented a plan for phased application of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria this week, at a conference held by Women in Green together with Am Chazak in the community of Hashmonaim.
The event opened with greetings from the heads of the Women in Green movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, who emphasized the obligation of the Israeli Right to present a proper and realistic political alternative, and not to be satisfied with rejecting the Left’s vision of establishing a Palestinian state in the heart of the Land of Israel.
Both women noted that during the 46 years since the Six Day War the Right has not been decisive in presenting a clear vision, and said that in the absence of this clear vision, a window was opened for Palestinian hopes to establish a new state.
The two women were followed by the rabbi of the community of Hashmonaim, Rabbi Itamar Orbach, Ambassador Yoranm Etinger and MK Levin, who were the key guests of the conference. The rabbi noted that since Hashmonaim was the place where the Kingdom of Israel arose again after the war conducted by Judah the Maccabee and his brothers, it is a suitable place for the conference whose objective is to strengthen and renew the Kingdom of Israel.
The “peace process industry"
MK Levin stated that the vision of sovereignty is indeed one that entails difficulties but will succeed in the end. He focused his speech on the proper ways in which to put the idea of sovereignty into action, step by step. In the beginning of his speech he stated that indeed, this is a long term and difficult task to carry out, but “every such process begins with conferences such as these to acclimate people to the idea.”
“We cannot expect that after so many years when they conditioned us and are still conditioning us to think in certain ways, suddenly one day the public will get up and find itself promoting a different way.”
MK Levin mentioned what he defined as the “peace process industry“, in which many resources and funds have been invested but the more that is done for it, the less this industry has achieved.
“The basic thing is a change of consciousness,” he explained. “We must first of all look at things and leave behind the slogans of ‘land for peace’ and ‘two states for two people.' The two state solution is no solution and would not end in two states. We must begin thinking and speaking in different concepts. To present an objective that we will work toward,” said Levin, adding that along with the conferences that are meant to influence public opinion, action must be taken in the judicial sphere. “We must lead this process by judicial means”, he added, and clarified that he is referring to a gradual process in which members of Knesset would take legislative steps, even if they are partial, and only if they promote the larger process that will take place when the time comes.
As an example, MK Levin presented the Referendum Law that passed with the Coalition’s agreement only recently. The process was begun back in ’99 when it was determined that a referendum must be held for any withdrawal of sovereign territory, but that law was qualified by a clause stipulating that it would only be applied after determining how the referendum would be carried out. At a later phase, in 2010, Levin himself brought to the legislature a law to define the methods of carrying out a referendum, and with this, the law that had been shelved came to be enacted in practice.
Levin mentioned that until a few months ago, Ministers Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) expressed opposition to the law, leading some journalists to think that the law was dead, but Levin was able to bring the law to completion with the support of Minister Amir Peretz and MK Amram Mitzna (Hatnua). “It is possible and it takes a lot of time. It must be done in measured steps and the ground and infrastructure must be prepared so that when it becomes politically feasible we will know how to avail ourselves of the opportunity,” Levin explained the main lesson of the Referendum Law.
In this spirit, Levin remarked that a number of proposals exist for gradual promotion of the idea of sovereignty – sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, expanding the boundaries of Jerusalem, connecting Jerusalem with Ma’ale Adumim, sovereignty over Jewish communities and the roads that lead to them and more. Levin expressed support for these processes but cautioned against a proposal that is based on the concept of blocs of settlement because according to him, this process may result in disaster for a significant number of the communities. “The temptation to upgrade certain communities might result in the loss of others”, says Levin.
The objective is indeed full sovereignty
Levin added that the objective is indeed full sovereignty over the entire territory but until then it is possible to promote the necessary legislation in phases, one of which would be civil legislation that will bring equality between the residents of Judea and Samaria and the rest of Israel's citizens, in civilian spheres like health, order and sanitation, which have to pass through the IDF at present.
He also mentioned the planning and building laws that prevent the authorities in Judea and Samaria from establishing a planning committee, which is the accepted method in every other area of Israel. Legislative steps must be taken in this matter as well and they will have additional value in the civil public consciousness toward the areas of Judea and Samaria.
Levin remarked that these steps will become possible only if practical action is taken to make the necessary changes in the judicial system. Levin states that “We can no longer accept the present reality in which the High Court, which represents a radical leftist minority, perpetuates itself, dictates its values and dictates its positions to us in many spheres and does this not only by judicial fiat of the High Court but also because governmental systems behave in impotent and biased ways that are difficult for us to deal with.”
According to him, such a change in the judicial system is “essential and will enable us to take steps on the way to the application of sovereignty”. Levin mentioned that “there are orders and regulations that can be carried out but these systems absolutely prevent their implementation. Along with the important battle in the area of hasbara (Israel advocacy) and legislation we must stress the required change in the judicial system.”
More than 150 people from Hashmonaim and surrounding communities participated in the event, which was organized in cooperation with a new movement called “Am Chazak” (‘A Strong People’).