Kafe Knesset for Jan. 30

The right wing Post-Trump legislation blitz continues: the controversial land appropriation bill is on its way to pass another legislative stage. The bill, which retroactively legalizes hundreds of Jewish settlement houses built on private Palestinian lands, was originally submitted as a mean to pressure the government to find a solution for the Amona outpost evacuation. Netanyahu didn’t want it, and tried to convince Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett that it would cause international pressure. But he eventually succumbed to right-wing demands and allowed its first reading to pass in early December.

Since then, the legislation process has been stalled for weeks, but last week, Bennet put it back on the agenda, citing the “historic opportunity” of the potentially settler-friendly Trump administration. Netanyahu followed suit and announced that he directed to have the final vote on the bill this week. He did so despite telling Likud ministers last week that the appropriation bill was one of the main factors that lead to UN Security Council Resolution 2334. At the moment, the vote is scheduled for this evening, but don’t be surprised if Netanyahu finds a last-minute way to postpone it further. Meanwhile, the opposition is planning a whole night filibuster to wear the government out. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog opened the Zionist Union’s weekly faction meeting by blasting the bill as a “huge danger to Israel, it creates a de facto annexation against all of Israel’s international commitments.” Meretz Leader Zehava Galon accused Netanyahu of attempting to distract the agenda from his corruption affairs and investigations. “Netanyahu is more afraid of files 1000, 2000, 3000 than of the ICC in The Hague.”

The truth of the matter is that the appropriation bill could sweeten the pill for both Netanyahu and Bennett’s electoral base over the upcoming evacuation of Amona. All the legal tricks that the government tried to play to prevent the evacuation didn’t work, and according to the Supreme Court ruling, the outpost should be demolished by next week. Hundreds of settlers blocked the main road to Knesset today in protest. Settler leader Yossi Dagan accused the government of making up excuses” uprooting the residents from their houses. Dagan, who is considered close to David Friedman, Trump’s designated ambassador to Israel, told the crowd:

“I just returned from the US. I have had many meetings with senior figures in the new administration. No one asked about Amona. No one asked about 9 houses in Ofra. This is an internal issue: 95 percent of Israelis from left and from right standing against a small group of radical lefties funded by foreign states who aim to destruct us”

While the opposition is very vocal about the illegal outpost bill, Jerusalem has reacted with complete silence to the White house omitting the Jewish reference in the international holocaust memorial day statement. No Israeli politician – not from Right nor the Left – reacted to the statement and the ones that followed it. Today, Kafe Knesset asked Defence minister Liberman about it during the Israel Beitenu weekly faction meeting. “The new administration is very friendly, it’s probably a mistake or misunderstanding. Of course, the Holocaust is a Jewish issue. I hope that next year they will know to mention the Jews”

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