At a Settlement, a Battle Over Both Law and Judaism

Gershom Gorenberg

The Israeli Supreme Court today took a small step toward restoring the rule of law. It issued a temporary injunction against continuing to build nine new homes in Ofrah, the flagship settlement of Gush Emunim in the area north of Jerusalem.

Ofrah, as I explained in The Accidental Empire , was established in 1975 without government permission but with lots of government help, especially from then-Defense Minister Shimon Peres. Most of the settlement is built on private Palestinian land. It’s an embodiment of the settlement paradox – half rogue operation, half national project. The petition to the Supreme Court by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din against the latest construction is a bid to make the government live up to the principles of a state based on law.

My new article explaining the legal fight and what’s at stake  politically just  went up at The American Prospect.

There’s another facet of what’s happening at Ofrah that I didn’t mention in the Prospect:

Read more