Nothing about this is surprising: not the willingness of Haaretz to harm the country by spreading lies, not the eagerness of our enemies to wield them.
If there's anything at all about the story that's remotely surprising, it's the ease with which it can be disproved. Any reasonable observer of Israel knew immediately that the story couldn't be true as told; the fact that its originators were one of our radical Left NGOs (Hamoked) reinforced this gut feeling. Elder of Ziyon, an anonymous blogger with no public position, sent an e-mail to the appropriate official, who explained that the reality is more or less the opposite of that reported by Haaretz. Here's the full response, though I recommend following the link to read Elder's important comments about the case:
1. The new military order was signed 6 months ago.So what are we to make of all this:
2. There are no changes to the repatriation system or the authority/means to repatriate illegal residents in Judea and Samaria. The only difference is that now the process includes a judiciary review.
3. The decision to establish a judiciary committee to review the administrative process of repatriation was taken in response to the Israeli High Court of Justice (בג"ץ) decision that there should be judicial oversight.
4. Any illegal resident who stands to be repatriated will be brought before the judicial committee within 8 days of receiving the order, they will have the right to legal council, and will be able to appeal the judicial decision to the high court.
5. When making decisions about whether or not to repatriate an individual, the administrative and the judicial committees consider family ties.
6. Currently there are very few illegal Palestinian residents in Judea and Samaria - over the past several years, as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government has approved an amnesty for nearly all of the 32,000 illegal residents whose names were submitted to the population registry by the Palestinian authorities.
7. Since the beginning of 2010, there have only been 5 Gazans who have been repatriated to Gaza.
8. The current system allows Israeli authorities to arrest, detain and deport illegal residents (specifically those who came in on a tourist visa and decided to stay) - these are the same powers that every sovereign nation in the world possess. The establishment of the Judicial Committee to oversee the process is the only change. (Bold: Elder; italics: me)
1. A lie about Israel will cross the world in minutes, the truth won't travel at all.
2. Fringe elements in Israel are eager to lie.
3. Haaretz is courting the fringes (and hundreds of its subscribers have canceled their subscriptions this week. We don't know how many hundreds, it may be many, and their pool of subscribers was not large to begin with).
4. While loudly trumpeting the importance of a free press in a democracy and its own centrality in it, the level of journalism at Haaretz is lower than that of one private blogger.
5. The official agencies who might have confronted this lie, didn't. They waited for a blogger to ask them. Hamoked and Haaretz are malicious; officialdom is incompetent; the country gets by in spite of them all.
Consistently lying about Jews eventually gets people killed. This has been the pattern for millennia; the difference is that now the casualties come from both sides of the lies. You'd think this might matter to the people who propagate the lies, but you'd be wrong.
Update: I'm retracting the title of this post, tho not its content, here.