If you’re outraged by the findings of the Levy Committee or feeling vindicated the chances are you’ve missed the point entirely.
Yesterday I sat down to pen my rage at the findings of this committee only to shut my laptop 10 minutes after reading this piece in The New York Times. This was the paragraph that really got my attention:
Mr. Netanyahu formed the Levy committee in January, under pressure from settler leaders who wanted a counter to a highly critical 2005 report on the outposts commissioned by the government of Ariel Sharon and written by Talia Sasson, a former state prosecutor. That report described widespread state complicity in the construction of more than 100 illegal outposts, as well as fraud and the illegal diversion of government funds.
So let me get this straight, a committee of 3 individuals without any power at all, who believed before their investigation began that settlements were legal spent 6 months investigating and came to the conclusion that they were right (and Right) all along. And now we’re surprised by their conclusions?
So presumably Netanyahu is now going to ensure that settlement building in the West Bank is legal and that anyone can build wherever they please? Of course he isn’t. Bibi is the politician of the status quo, the one who won’t rock the boat, the politician who is all about throwing the dog a bone but never feeding him a meal. And that is what the findings of this committee are, a way for him to give his supporters an opportunity to be happy without actually having to change anything at all unless you have the optimism to hope that something in legislation will actually come out of this fluffy statement;
“the report’s conclusions would be submitted to a ministerial committee on settlement affairs for discussion and that “the facts and claims” presented in the report “merit serious examination.”
And here we come to the real point.
This is just another scene in the never ending pantomime of Israeli politics. Take the peace process with the Palestinians for example.The entire peace process doesn’t even centre around whether there is actually going to be a deal struck between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders but rather whether or not they are going to sit together in the same room.
We alternatively cheer on or boo our favourite actors without demanding any real results from them. We have been sitting in our seats in the theatre for so long that we have forgotten that it is possible to see results from our heroes and we have certainly given up on actually expecting them.
The end of the Tal Law, perhaps the biggest change in the fabric of Israeli society is supposed to be in the making right now, save for the fact that the 2 politicians responsible for shepherding us through this tough time can’t even sit in the same room together and make it happen. The pantomime continues as one “storms off”.
This is yet another scene in the never ending saga that is the unchanging world of Israeli non governance and petty politicking. Don’t get me wrong, if I were a politician I would appreciate the pantomime. It means zero risk, never having to stick your neck out and if someone is brave enough to take a stand I just have to wait for it to fail before standing up and saying I knew it would all along.
If Bibi was serious he would go and put these ‘recommendations’ into practice and pass the Unholy Law that will really end the idea of a 2 State Solution, bury Oslo forever and put a smile on the faces of his settler supporters. After all this was put together for them, it’s what his own party believes and wants to see, so now he should hold up his end of the bargain. Failing that he could state the truth, that he will never give his own supporters what they really want to see, that the only reason he set up this committee was so that Levy could go on stage and tell settlers something that they wanted to hear but without having to make any real changes to the law or policy.
And the pantomime continues…