By Juan Cole | Informed Comment
As part of his bargain with the fascist blocs of Religious Zionism and Jewish Power, according to the Israeli newspaper Arab 48, incoming Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke of an “exclusive Jewish right” to expand settlements inside Israel praper, in Galilee and the Negev, as well as to plant squatters in the Palestinian West Bank.
An exclusive Jewish right to settle and live in the land implicitly announces that that the 6.5 million Palestinians who live on it are there by suffrage and maybe have no right to be there at all. That right is exclusively Jewish, Netanyahu says.
A Jordanian newspaper called this plank of his platform “the execution of the Palestinian people.”
According to the Associated Press, Netanyahu announced that he will legalize those Israeli squatter-settlements on Palestinian-owned land that even Israel had considered illegal. He would vastly expand the number of Israeli squatters in the Palestinian West Bank. And ultimately, he pledged to annex the Palestinian West Bank entirely to Israel.
Since Netanyahu has no intention of ever granting Israeli citizenship to the 3 million Palestinians living under Israeli military rule, the formal annexation of their territory would cement Israel’s Apartheid system of racial difference.
According to Arab 48, the Adalah human rights organization denounced the platform as openly racist, discriminatory and Jewish supremacist, especially the language about exclusive Jewish rights to the land, which implies that Palestinian East Jerusalem will never be allowed to become the capital of a Palestinian state. Adalah called on the world to take a stand against this flagrant Israeli Apartheid.
The outline of Netanyahu’s governmental program ominously said that preference would be given to former soldiers in the Israeli army for admission to university departments of medicine, law, computer science, accounting and engineering. Since the 21% of the population who are of Palestinian heritage are not permitted to serve in the military, this step would put them at a severe disadvantage in receiving admission to those departments. Only the small community of Druze are an exception to the ban on military service.
He wants to make reforms in the education system. The mealy-mouthed contradictions are apparent in his pledge both to treat all communities equally and to use the education system to “strengthen Jewish identity.”
Likewise, he will safeguard the Jewish character of the state, but not upset the status quo among the various religions in Israel. (Most of the 21% who are of Palestinian heritage are Muslim, but there is a vocal Christian minority that is increasingly upset about Jewish attacks on churches and attempts to take away church lands. Netanyahu’s new best friends on the fascist Right are for anything but treating non-Jews equally or maintaining the status quo regarding Muslim and Christian places of worship.
But of course Palestinian-Israelis are 21% of the population and sometimes they can have an impact on elections, so Netanyahu turned around and said in his platform that he would address issues in insecurity and crime in Palestinian-Israeli communities, and would invest in education and infrastructure for them. Very magnanimous of him, since apparently they are excluded from the exclusively Jewish right to even be there.
His platform made a sinister call for a “rebalancing” of the powers of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, with the implication that the judiciary would be cut down to size. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption before the courts. Netanyahu apparently wants to strike down the prerogative of judicial review of laws that appear to contradict organic laws that have a constitutional character. In short, the supreme court could not overturn a law of the parliament or Knesset that its justices believe to be unconstitutional.
It is sort of as as though Steve Bannon were elected president and started rejiggering the U.S. constitution and racial relations, only in Hebrew.