Israelis living in the West Bank should ignore the law and continue to build in their communities in a show of civil disobedience to the government-ordered construction freeze, MK Arye Eldad (National Union-National Religious Party) said Sunday. “Our instructions to the residents of Judea and Samaria are to violate the law and build,” Eldad said.
The lawmaker, who recently announced plans to head Hatikva, a new secular right-wing party, in the next election, had summoned the press to watch him perform a “symbolic act” of construction in Ma’aleh Adumim, one of several major settlement blocs that are expected to be annexed to Israel as part of a peace treaty with the Palestinians.
The event, which attracted only a handful of supporters, was seen as an attempt to promote his political standing, as well as that of his new party.
“Today, we established a symbolic structure to counter the immoral and anti-Zionist order of [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert for a building freeze,” Eldad said as he stood over an Israeli flag supported in the earth by newly placed building blocks.
A policeman at the scene inquired how many people were expected at the event and how long it would last, then left a minute later.
Eldad, the only secular parliamentarian from the NU-NRP, has long been unhappy with his low place on the party’s Knesset candidates list, and some see his move to bolt the party as a maneuver intended to get a higher placement.
The legislator also called for civil disobedience ahead of 2005 pullout from the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, settlers and their supporters are planning two major protests ahead of the visit by US President George W. Bush that begins on Wednesday: a human-chain around the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City on Tuesday and a demonstration at the entrance to the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, where a recent expansion plan drew international criticism. The events are sponsored by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
In an effort to embarrass Olmert, settler leaders also plan to set up new outposts ahead of and during the Bush visit.
Also Sunday, the Jerusalem Municipality said there were no plans to rename Kikar Paris for the imprisoned American spy Jonathan Pollard, contradicting a press release by city councilwoman Nina Fenton (NRP).
Meanwhile, NU/NRP MK Benny Elon is trying to drum up support for his initiative that would grant Jordanian passports to all Palestinians, dismantle the Palestinian Authority and abandoning any notions of an independent Palestinian state.
The plan is being touted on billboards, Internet ads and the YouTube Web site.
“In his way, [Bush] is leading us to catastrophe,” Elon said.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Elon said he respected Bush’s stand against Islamic extremists, but criticized him for being “disconnected from the reality” in Israel.
Elon’s plan calls to provide Palestinian refugees financial incentives to emigrate, grant Jordanian citizenship to those who remain, and allow Israel to retain full sovereignty over the West Bank. All settlements in the West Bank would remain in place, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s government would be shut down.
Elon is now seeking new followers from a younger audience.
Using a professionally produced mock movie trailer titled The Last Fanatic, which Elon’s representatives are posting on YouTube, Elon hopes to garner international awareness for his plan. The clip features Muslim extremists chanting slogans against Israel and the US and a would-be suicide bomber videotaping his final manifesto. Elon’s plan changes their minds: The fanatics abandon their impassioned leader, the suicide bomber reconsiders and removes his explosives belt, and all of them presumably decide to live their lives in peace and prosperity.