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Unpunished: How extremists took over Israel

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Sasson’s report singled out Avi Maoz, who was in charge of the Ministry of Construction and Housing for much of this period. A political activist who spoke out early in his career about driving all Arabs out of the West Bank, Maoz helped establish settlements south of Jerusalem in the 1990s and began fighting with then-Israel Ambassador to the United Nations Benjamin Netanyahu builds professional alliances. country and will soon begin his first term as Prime Minister. Years later, Maoz played an important role in ensuring Netanyahu’s political survival.

“A grim sight is in the eye of the beholder,” Sassen wrote in the report. “From the mid-1990s onwards, the Israeli government did not decide to establish settlements in the territories of Judea and Samaria, but was replaced by other governments.” The settlers were a “driving force,” she wrote, but without the “relevant period They could not have succeeded without the help of various construction and housing ministers, some of whom turned a blind eye and others who were supported and supported.” encourage. “

Sassen wrote that the clandestine network operates “with substantial funding from the State of Israel, without proper public transparency and without mandatory standards. The unauthorized establishment of outposts violates due process and general management rules, in particular Blatant and persistent violations came from the government, Sassen warned: “It was the state and public institutions that violated the laws, rules and procedures established by the state itself.” She argued that the conflict had effectively weakened Israel. internal checks and balances and poses a serious threat to the integrity of the country. “Law enforcement agencies cannot take action against government agencies that themselves are breaking the law.”

But the Sassen Report, made public in March 2005, had little impact, echoing Judith Kapp’s secret report from decades earlier. Since Sassoon had direct authority from the prime minister, she could have believed that her investigation could lead to the dismantling of illegal outposts spread throughout the Palestinian territories. But even Sharon, in his powerful position, finds himself powerless against the machinery that currently protects and expands West Bank settlements—the very machinery he helped build.

All of this is happening against the backdrop of the Gaza withdrawal. Sharon, who began overseeing the dismantling of Gaza settlements in August 2005, is the third Israeli prime minister to threaten the settler dream of a greater Israel, an effort that has faced fierce opposition not only from settlers but also from a growing number of There was strong opposition from the Israelis. political institutions. Netanyahu, who served as the first prime minister from 1996 to 1999, had previously voted to quit but resigned as finance minister in Sharon’s cabinet in protest and expected to run for the top job again.

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