Political Motives Seen in Approval of the Elon Moreh Settlement

At least one member of the Supreme Court has rejected the government’s arguments so for that its decision to authorize the Gush Emunim settlement of Elon Moreh on the West Bank adjacent to Nablus was based on considerations of security. Justice Haim Landau said today that the court should consider the possibility that the decision had “political motives.”

Landau spoke in the course of hearings on an appeal by Arab villagers that the expropriation of their land to build the settlement was in violation of international law.

He cited a memorandum submitted to the court by Cabinet Secretary Arye Noor which stated that the Ministerial Defense Committee authorized the settlement “considering as much as possible the wishes of the Gush Emunim.” The Likud government has been accused frequently of unwarranted appeasement of the Gush for political reasons.

Another document presented to the court aimed at bolstering the security argument was also rejected by Landau. It was prepared by Gen. (res.) Rehavam Zeevi when he was military commander on the West Bank during the tenure of the previous Labor-led government, and submitted to the justices by State Attorney Gavriel Bach. It purported to show that the idea of a Jewish settlement near Nablus was under consideration during the Labor regime for security reasons inasmuch as the Gush were never a political constituent of the Labor Party.

But Landau noted that Zeevi’s plan referred to a settlement at a different location and did not involve the seizure of Arab lands. It was prepared six years ago as part of an overall plan to expand settlements in the Jordan Valley and further west. It was not approved by the Labor government.

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