IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot Flash90

The appointment of Col. Doron Ben-Barak as the new Deputy Military Prosecutor has raised serious concerns about the direction the IDF is taking and whether it will be able to triumph in future military offensives. Ben-Barak, who has served until now as a military legal advisor, has made it his business in the past to torpedo any possibility of new construction activity in Judea and Samaria.

The senior officer was responsible for preventing Jewish purchases of land in Judea and Samaria as well as preventing occupancy of the Machpela house and has used various legal contortions against Jewish residents such as the controversial "Procedure for Disruptive Use" order which is used indiscriminately against Jews but not against Palestinian Authority Arabs squatting on state lands. The order has been criticized in the past by senior military jurists as well as high court judge Edmond Levy but Ben-Barak is unmoved and continues to issue such orders - against Jews.

Ben-Barak has strong connections to radical left-wing groups such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and has cooperated with them in the past as well as attending their annual meeting held together with groups like Adalah which demands restitution for injustices committed in the 1948 War of independence.

Ben-Barak sees legal advisors as the supreme authority in Judea and Samaria, with the head of the Civil Administration simply rubber-stamping their decisions. This means that he sees himself as authorized to determine who owns land and who has the right to own land or to evacuate people from it.

Take, for example, the story of Dalia Har Sinai from Sussia. Yair Har Sinai purchased and worked parcels of land in the area of Sussia until he was murdered by Palestinians in 2001. Dalia took over, and since then she has been managing the farm and the lands that have been worked in the farm for more than twenty consecutive years.

Leftist organizations enlisted an Arab who claimed that the land belongs to him. He could not bring any meaningful legal evidence, but Doron Ben-Barak used the procedure that he himself invented, to demand Dalia to evacuate the area without any legal due process or evidence. Har Sinai claimed that the Legal Adviser – as important as he may be – is not a judicial body with authority to determine the outcome of a land conflict, but Ben-Barak did a simple trick: he got then Hevron military commander Nitzan Alon to sign a military order instructing Har Sinai to vacate the land as if it was for security reasons. Alon, with his authority as military commander of the area, can sign on such an order.

Bezalel Smotrich, Jewish Home MK, says that "Doron Ben-Barak has one goal – to make it difficult for Jews to purchase land and to prevent the development of the settlement project." MK Orit Struk describes him as an "enemy of the settlement enterprise."

His appointment as deputy military prosecutor raises the specter of a radical left-wing military legal establishment preventing the IDF from achieving its strategic security goals both in Judea and Samaria and in any future military offensives.