Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition partners have not concealed the goals of the coup they have been resolutely advancing since their victory in the November election: to dismantle Israel and reassemble it as an ultranationalist, religious state that will establish “in all parts of the Land of Israel” a regime of Jewish supremacy and Arab inferiority. A state with unfettered domestic power that can perpetuate its rule even if elections are held.

The legal jargon in which the government’s actions are wrapped, including expressions such as “curbing the standard of reasonableness,” and the promises to its supporters that they will receive the material and symbolic resources that will be taken from the “elites,” are distractions from the Bibi-ist project of establishing a brutal dictatorship.

One need not look to Hungary, Poland, Turkey or Latin America, despite the growing similarities between Israel and Peronist Argentina, to find the model for the “dictatorial Jewish state” that Netanyahu is creating. The paradigm is here, next to and within us, in the Israeli occupation regime in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The guidelines of the current government and the coalition agreements between its parties promise to promote the “application of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria” by virtue of the “natural right of the people of Israel to the Land of Israel.” A proviso defers to Netanyahu’s judgment and the “national and international interests” of the state in considering the timing of this application. It would have been more accurate to write that Judea and Samaria will apply its sovereignty to Israel, not vice versa. Instead of Tel Aviv annexing Yitzhar, Yitzhar will annex Tel Aviv.

The dream regime of Netanyahu, Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Arye Dery already operates in the areas of Israeli control in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. First and foremost, Israeli citizenship, passports and the right to vote in the Knesset election are reserved for Jews only (and a few Palestinian Jerusalemites). There is not even a pretense of aspiring to equality. It is clear who is up and who is down, who are citizens and who are subjects, who waits at the checkpoint and who breezes through.

In the occupation state, the courts are part of the government machine, and the High Court of Justice acts as a decoration committee, whose job it is to whitewash the oppression with pretty language. The High Court was so successful in its role as propaganda ministry of “belligerent control,” as the occupation is called in the rulings, that the right-wing government seeks simply to copy the system to this side of the Green Line as well. Justice Minister Yariv Levin and Knesset Constitution Committee chair Simcha Rothman want the justices to be soldiers of the government, clerks of rules and regulations whose role can be summed up as “Yes, prime minister” or “As you wish, national security minister.”

And if the High Court is dispensable, then so is B’Tselem. In Occupationstan, the government views human rights organizations as terrorist organizations, and persecutes them accordingly. Detention without trial, known as administrative detention, is widely used, and it is permissible to demolish homes, deny work permits and restrict the movement of suspects and members of their families. And of course every demonstration is a “public disturbance” that is suppressed by force – it’s the Bibi-ist dream of handling “anarchists” from Kaplan Street, the Justice Ministry and the fighter squadrons.

From Netanyahu’s perspective, the reverse annexation of Israel to Judea and Samaria has another important advantage: the silence of “the world.” The Biden administration, the European Union, the United Nations and Amnesty International will not hasten to protect Tel Aviv as they did Khan al-Ahmar. International law does not prohibit national suicide, or the dismantling of a state’s democratic mechanisms in favor of a religious autocracy. These are “internal matters” between the state and its citizens, not a matter of “international interests.” At most, there will be some complaining in Western capitals, but they won’t halt the train of the Bibi-ist coup.

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Article source: Haaretz | Aluf Benn | Jul 13, 2023

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000