UPDATES 10 am Israel time, Monday, October 21 2013:
**There are more indications of a deteriorating situation in Lebanon with internecine combat between Shi’ite Hezbollah forces and the fighters of the Shi’ite Amal movement. This fighting comes as dead Hezbollah fighters are trucked back to Beirut almost everyday (15 yesterday alone), and as rebel forces along the Lebanese-Syrian (nonexistent) border have begun hitting Hezbollah’s money supply by burning hashish and poppy fields.
**It appears that the fighting in Syria is poised to enter an even more destructive phase as Russian and Iranian military leaders in charge of Assad’s forces have ordered a full-scale assault on rebels in the Damascus suburbs. Gruesome videos (which your humble servant will not post links to) have surfaced this week of Syrian snipers shooting pregnant women, and of dead bodies being left in the streets for weeks, unable to be removed because of snipers.
**Immensely important local elections will be taking place tomorrow all over Israel. Some of the most interesting contests are:
–for the mayor of Jerusalem: incumbent Nir Barkat seemed to have the election in the bag a couple of weeks ago, but Moshe Leon (with the help of Avigdor Lieberman) has made it a horse race.
–for the mayor of Beit Shemesh: a race that is all about religion (one secular candidate and one haredi one) and which way the city will move in the future.
–for the city council of Tel Aviv: will Meretz maintain the momentum it seems to have gained throughout the country or face a setback?
All told, there are some 200 municipal elections around the country.
The headline in the Jerusalem Post this morning says it all:
Livni Moves To Squash Bill Prohibiting Talks on Jerusalem
It should have read:
Netanyahu and Livni Move To Squash Bill Prohibiting Talks on Jerusalem
What happened yesterday in Jerusalem was quite remarkable. A ministerial legislative committee took the extraordinary step of approving a bill proposed by a member of the opposition, MK Ya’acov Litzman (of the Ashkenazi Orthodox, United Torah Judaism party).
That bill calls for “no talks to take place on dividing Jerusalem unless the talks are first approved by 80 (66%) of all Knesset members”. The circuitous workings of the Israeli law-making process now call for the proposed bill to pass three readings in the Knesset before it becomes law.
But Livni, who was enraged by the turn of events, immediately filed an objection to the bill which temporarily freezes the process in the Knesset. Livni ranted that the proposed bill would “tie her hands” and those of “her negotiating team”.
There is every reason to believe that Netanyahu is fully on board with Livni. For all of Netanyahu’s past speeches in the Knesset, in the United Nations, and in the U.S. Congress about never dividing Jerusalem, he has bizarrely not mentioned the subject of “a united, undivided Jerusalem” one time since his election ten months ago.
Where was Netanyahu yesterday? Working behind the scenes to squash the bill. Obviously, from what happens on the Temple Mount everyday, Netanyahu has every inclination to cede Israeli sovereignty over eastern Jerusalem–including the Temple Mount. Apparently, the only reason he had not openly opposed Litzman’s proposed law was because he thought it would never make it out of the committee.
Your humble servant finds all of Livni and Netanyahu’s machinations to subvert the democratic process pathetically repulsive. Shouldn’t the fate of Jerusalem rest in the hands of Israeli citizens and their representatives, and not in the hands of people like Livni who represent a tiny fraction of the Israeli populace?