The “Objective Truth” in the Strange Case of Migron

April 1, 2012 1:11 pm 0 comments

Children play in a garden at in Migron. Photo: Daniel Ventura.

Sara Hirschorn, in her recent op-ed in The Times of Israel, “Who Has the Monopoly on Truth at Migron?”, challenged my article “Something is Rotten in the State of Israel: The Strange Case of Migron” criticizing Israel’s Supreme Court’s decisions regarding Migron. While she is certainly entitled to disagree with me, her article missed the point.

Sara’s main contention follows the argument of the late history Professor Peter Novick of the University of Chicago that there is no objective truth. However, whether or not, objectively or subjectively, this is true or even makes sense – it is not relevant.

By definition, in a court of law the truth is determined by accepted procedures applying to evidence. In the case of Migron, the Peace Now lawyers represented Palestinian Arabs who were purported to be the registered owners of the land upon which Migron is built. The court of law that dealt with validating or rejecting the plaintiffs claim was the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

In that case, the Arab plaintiffs who claimed to be the owners of what is actually only one quarter of the land upon which Migron was built were unable to produce evidence to prove their claim. In fact, Migron’s lawyer at the time, now Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, proved that their claims were false, and in fact, the Peace Now lawyers of said plaintiffs subsequently withdrew their case.

Again, this did not stop Peace Now from pursuing their legally baseless petition in the Supreme Court. Justice Melcer, then Migron’s attorney, in his written response to the Peace Now petition to the Supreme Court wrote: “The picture the plaintiffs are presenting is simplistic, incomplete and inaccurate. The land in question is vacant and rocky that has never been worked upon, and was never used by the plaintiffs for the last several decades.”

Melcer also challenged Peace Now’s veracity. “The presentation of the facts in this petition,” he wrote, “is tendentious, selective and inaccurate and indicates a lack of innocence [on the part of Peace Now]….. There is no doubt that the nature of the issues focused upon in the petition is not legal, but rather political, and is not judicable, whereas Peace Now [by its petition] abuses the legal process.”

My contention that Migron was built “at the encouragement of the IDF at the time” is modest compared to what Mr. Melcer wrote. He noted that Ministers of Defense and the IDF both supported the establishment of Migron because of its key strategic location. Then Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer [Labor Party] declared that Migron would not be evacuated, and then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also supported Migron. Moreover, Melcer maintained, most of the land upon which Migron is built had already been bought and paid for in full by the residents of Migron, and therefore he rejected the claim that Migron is on privately owned Palestinian Arab land.

Sara in essence agrees and admits: “In truth, the Palestinian land claim to the plot of Migron is tendentious,” but attempts to muddy the waters nonetheless claiming “although Atlas ignores the complexity of the 400-year-old legal history of land tenure in the Jerusalem district beginning with the Ottoman territorial register, and its evolution under the British Mandate and the state of Israel.”

The answer is, of course, that neither I nor Migron’s lawyer, now Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, “ignored” any “complexity” because this case is not complex. It is not objective or subjective truth at stake, it is truth or falsity. The Peace Now supplied and represented Palestinian Arab plaintiffs had no legal case because they could not prove they were the owners of the contested land. Moreover, Peace Now could not produce any alternative plaintiffs who could produce court validated documentation of ownership.

Hence, the fact that then Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch ignored the very core issue of a lack of documented land ownership by the Palestinian Arab plaintiffs represented in Peace Now’s petition, rejected then Attorney Hanan Melcer’s meticulous rebuttal, and summarily ruled to displace 50 Jewish families nonetheless, sort of strongly hints “that political correctness has made a mockery of justice,” and that Ms. Beinisch’s ruling, unfortunately, “characterizes the Supreme Court as a branch of government operating with ‘open political bias’.” These are facts Sara, not subjective musings.

Your digression, Sara, into a discussion that “Of course, the Israeli settler movement — and the broader Zionist project since the pre-state period — has long had a problematic relationship with objective reality” is simply more muddying of the waters. Yes, Gush Emunim followed the ideological methodology of Kibbutz Hanita, for example, which was founded in 1938 to establish a settlement beachhead to extend the Jewish presence in the north despite serious opposition from leaders of Jewish Zionist establishment organizations in Tel Aviv, and “create facts on the ground” in Judea and Samaria. But that has nothing to do with the documented bias of the Supreme Court that can apparently ignore contrary evidence when it suits the political viewpoint of the activist judge in question, i.e.: Hon. Dorit Beinisch.

While obviously we have differing political viewpoints –your use of the term “occupied territories” and “West Bank”, while I call them by their historical name “Judea and Samaria”, not to mention your completely subjective declaration that “There is no objective truth in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — each side makes its historical and moral claims to the best of its abilities” – but that should not be relevant to our discussion about the accuracy of my contentions about the case of Migron in the Supreme Court.

This is not a case of subjective versus the objective in determining a philosophical or historical truth. It is a simple matter, sadly, of fact versus fiction. The Supreme Court refused to wait until the Magistrate’s Court ruled and then when Peace Now’s lawyers withdrew their case in the lower court because of a lack of evidence, the Supreme Court still ruled in favor of Peace Now’s petition without documented evidence to prove Peace Now’s case. Any rational outside observer viewing these legal proceedings would easily conclude that in the strange case of Migron, something is indeed rotten in the State of Israel.

The author is a veteran journalist specializing in geo-political and geo-strategic affairs in the Middle East. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, Insight Magazine, Nativ, The Jerusalem Post and Makor Rishon. His articles have been reprinted by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the US Congressional Record. This article first appeared in The Times of Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.