By Dr Rais Hussin
WHETHER Israel was created by Theodore Herzl, head of the Global Zionist Movement in 1898, or, lobbied by the Honorable Judge Louise Brandeis, who encouraged the US to recognise it, the fact is moot. Israel has successfully became a member of the International community.
However, there is a serious dereliction of legal and moral duties – it is not behaving in a civilised manner.
Unsurprisingly, six countries that had just restored their full diplomatic tie Israel in the Abraham Accords in March have condemned Tel Aviv.
Weeks of unrest in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians claim as their capital, has multiple causes. But much of the recent violence stems from a long-running legal effort by Jewish settler groups to evict several Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
As of now, a lower court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers’ decades-old claim to the use plots infuriated Palestinians. Under the instruction of its Justice Ministry, the Supreme court in Israel has been asked to postpone the appeal.
To be sure, Zionism was not just a political project. It did, and branched off to cultural Zionism; spiritual Zionism; even reform Zionism. In a sense, it is a multi-faceted project which is meant to transcend any limitations imposed on it, due thousand years of persecution.
Some who joined Theodore Herzl, such as Nathan Simons in the end, even denounced “political Zionism” of Israel that was strictly consigned to state building project. Yet Herzl’s idea prevailed soon after World War 2.
Since Zionism is flexible, the Israeli Supreme Court can look downright progressive.
According to a 2017 poll by non-profit organisation Israel Democracy Institute, the Supreme Court is the only state institution that the majority of both Jewish (57%) and Arab (54%) Israelis have trust in; marking a slight increase from their 2016 poll. Yet the state of affairs in Palestine has not changed.
For example, when the Institute’s 2017 poll on the statement “[t]the power of judicial review over Knesset legislation should be taken away from the Supreme Court” found that 58% of Israelis disagree, 36% agree, and 6% do not know.
While temperature comes to a boil, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to modernise the “Shield of Iron Domes” instead.
The irony of such tough talks is futile, noted various academics familiar with the shield. The more Israel wants to defend itself from incoming projectiles, the more determined Hamas and Islamic Jihad will be to find ways to make their rockets reach their targets.
As of now, a Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal had been set for next Monday, risking inflaming tensions further.
As Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh vowed “if Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it”. Not surprisingly, the UN envoy for Middle East Peace, Tor Wennesland, warned that Israel and Hamas were heading towards “full scale war”.
And people must know, wars cause massive collateral damage. – May 13, 2021.
Dr Rais Hussin is the President/CEO of Emir Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.
Photo credit: ArcGIS StoryMaps