On November 12, 2012, Israeli insolence reached a new peak after Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s current Minister of Finance, announced in an interview given to Galei Israel (“Waves of Israel,” a radio-station operated by the settlers) that in the last year, Israel has secretly doubled the West Bank settlements’ budget.
He was not uttering empty words for the sake of the upcoming Israeli elections; we know that for sure because the interview was given on the occasion of his receiving the “Yakir HaItyashvut,” (“Settlements’ Beloved”) award from the settlers’ establishment. “We did that secretly because we didn’t want organizations here and abroad to block the move,” he said to the radio station.
Probably unaware that the things said to the radio station would go beyond Israel’s borders, he kept throwing dirt on himself. Mr. Steinitz described his actions—which are defined as war-crimes by the Fourth Geneva Convention—in detail.
They included the funding of three cultural halls in Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and Kiryat Arba, substantial financial help to the Jordan Valley settlements, and more than anything else, the upgrading of the Ariel University, which until now was called “university” but lacked the required facilities and formal status.
On absolute terms, each one of these settlements got more financial help than Israeli villages of similar size.
No Justice – No Peace Jewish Wars
Steinitz goes to War
As expected from a senior government minister in such circumstances, Mr. Steinitz assessed the current situation. “Strategically, what’s going on is a double Palestinian attack on us. We face terror attacks from Gaza, and a nationalistic attack from Rammalah, from where Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] is calling the UN [to recognize Palestine],” he added. “We must pressure the Palestinian Authority even if that means it may collapse,” he analyzed and added that both attacks are equally dangerous.
It is difficult to imagine words that would make the settlers happier; I am sure Mr. Steinitz will get many votes from them during the Likud primaries. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first time this well-educated, soft-spoken man called for war. The first time he called for a war on Ehud Barak, Israel’s controversial Minister of Defense.
In an interview given earlier this year to “Haaretz,” Steinitz said “I have declared war on Ehud Barak on the issue of transparency and control and it will happen, if not now, then later through Knesset legislation.” Steinitz war seemed oddly defined: “transparency and control” seem hardly a topic suitable for a young minister attacking one of Israel’s leading politicians.
It probably meant that he was being silently backed—probably even used—by Netanyahu. Understanding the mechanics of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, this attack is obviously a deadly one. If Steinitz wins, Barak would end out of the Knesset and the government. If Barak wins, Steinitz would still be portrayed as a courageous leader.
The ministry is different from others not only for being in Tel Aviv instead of Jerusalem. It is different because there is no control over its budget. Even the Mossad and the Shin Bet are subject to inspection and control from the Finance Ministry’s Controller-General.
The Mossad Director publicly said that this arrangement facilitates savings and efficiencies, because everyone knows someone is checking and commenting.
However, the Ministry of Defense is sovereign over its moneys. Finance minister Steinitz claims that if the ministry could audit the army’s salary budget, a billion shekels a year could be saved from that alone. That’s a fortune even for the Rothschild’s.
In recent months, Barak is facing this battle, in addition to attempting to find a party capable of leaving him in the same position after the elections. So busy is Mr. Steinitz with his wars, that he didn’t notice the contradiction in his actions.
Har Homa near Bethlehem | name means “Defensive-Wall Mountain”
Imagine a country without set borders. Imagine one without a proper definition of who is a citizen. Imagine one without a constitution, one where the fate of an individual is the result of his religion and ethnic group, both defined by one of the country’s ministries.
Imagine a country so corrupt, that its government questions the country’s laws in the country’s courts. You don’t need a prodigious imagination for that; Israel provides an accurate example of such a society.
Mr. Steinitz is a privileged citizen of it; so privileged that he appears to be beyond questioning. He requested from Ehud Barak transparency in the budget of the Ministry of Defense.
Shortly afterwards, he announced that his ministry runs a secret budget supporting the illegal settlements of the West Bank. Secret budgets issued under secret laws cannot be accepted in a democracy.
Just Following Orders
It adds to the recent request of the Knesset Speaker to secretly annex the West Bank. It adds to an incessant stream of contradictions in the actions of the Israeli government, which obviously does not care about the rule of law.
It could be comic, but it is not. With every such decision people get hurt. When the self-defined, media-controlling “Western Democracies” automatically back such crimes no matter what, we, the people, have no chance to experience peace and justice.
After all, these two cannot bring settler votes to the Likud primaries. Isn’t that so, honorable Mr. Steinitz?
Tov Roy is one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media.