Israel’s legislative branch, known as the Knesset, passed a controversial bill into law that defines 1948 Christian Palestinians as “non-Arabs”, Israeli media reported.
The new law – passed on Monday with a vote of 31 in favor and 6 against – for the first time differentiates Christian Palestinians from the rest of the Palestinian community, who had survived the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing by Zionist forces, and remained within the 1948 territories.
“This is a historic law. It’s the first time there is separate representation for Christians,” Likud Beytenu coalition chairman Yariv Levin, who proposed the bill, was quoted by the Israeli press prior to the the vote.
“Soon we’ll expand on this and give [Christians] all the separate representation they deserve,” he added.
Previously, Levin justified the bill as “an important, historic step that could introduce balance to the State of Israel, and connect us [Jews] with the Christians, I am careful not to refer to them as Arabs, because they are not Arabs.”
“We and the Christians have a lot in common. They’re our natural allies, a counterweight to the Muslims that want to destroy the country from within… We will use an iron hand and demonstrate zero tolerance of Arabs who tend to identify with the terror of the Palestinian state,” he added. According to reports, the law will enforce a separate representation on the Advisory Committee for Equal Opportunity within the Employment Commission, by extending the number of panel members to ten, adding specific seats for the ultra-Orthodox, Druze, Christian, Circassian populations, and others.
‘Palestinian Christians are Arabs’
CIA statistics put the Arab Christian population living in Occupied Palestine at around 123,000. These people will be directly affected by the new law.
Arab members of the Knesset unanimously condemned the bill as a “racist” act and a “divide-and-conquer” tactic.
“Colonialists try to separate groups of natives. The prime example of this is South Africa,” MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab political party, Balad, reportedly said to the media after the vote.
“We are the natives here and we have a clear identity, [we] are Palestinians, part of the Arab nation, and your law will fail. Part of the Zionist project is to oppress our identity, but I have the right to speak in the name of Palestinians.”
Khalid Musmar, an official for the Palestinian National Council, told Al-Akhbar,“The Palestinian Christian community will rebuke this before anyone else. The Palestinian Christians are Arab despite the wishes of anyone in the Knesset or otherwise.”
“They have always said they were Arabs and have fought side-by-side with their Muslim brethren, from the times of the Crusades to today. The Palestinian community, in all it’s colors and creeds, is a unified Arab community confronting occupation. They are struggling for a Palestinian nation with Jerusalem as it’s capital. This will not change by the acts of Knesset or anyone else,” the official said.
“The community in 1948 will not remain quiet. This is a major move by the forces of occupation and colonization, and there will be mobilizations just like how we saw the creation and continuation of Land Day protests within 1948 lands. We will see protests in the future.”
“If [Israel] wants to do right to the Palestinians in general and Christians in particular,” said Jumana, from the Galilee region of northern occupied Palestine, during a separate conversation with Al-Akhbar, “let them approve the return of the refugees and internally displaced Palestinians from the two Christian villages of Ekrith and Birem, who already have a court ruling allowing them to return to their destroyed villages.”
She added that this law comes at a time when “the government is attempting to make the drafting to the Israeli Army obligatory to Palestinian Christians, [and] this is completely not acceptable, since this is their way of dividing the Palestinian minority and fragmenting the community as a whole.”
In a similar vein, a 1948 Palestinian Christian from Nazareth, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Al-Akhbar, “I think [Levin’s comments] are outrageous and untrue. It is part of Israel’s broader attempt to segment and fragmentize the Palestinian community from one another inside Israel. Other examples of this are with the Bedouins and the Druze, and this is part of [Israel’s] attempt to break up what is a cohesive community. It won’t work.”
“I see myself as an Arab and so do other Palestinian Christians. [Levin’s] logic only reaffirms the agenda to separate and break-up minorities within minorities,” she added.
“There should be more representation of Palestinians in Israel in general. Christian Palestinians are just as repressed as Muslims.”
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowments and Heritage said Israeli groups seek to enact laws and regulations aiming at partitioning the Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews, and defining times and areas where collective and individual Jewish prayers can be held.
The Foundation said in a statement that Israeli ministers, MKs and party members, in addition to Israeli organizations and decision-makers, are seeking to reach a political and religious consensus to change the status quo in the Aqsa Mosque, and turn it into a Jewish holy site under the occupation authority.
It stated that the Knesset Interior Committee held a session on Monday in this regard, attended by Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Eli Ben Dahan who called on the new “Chief Rabbinate” to issue an advisory opinion allowing Jews to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
For her part, the head of the Knesset Interior Committee, Likud party member Mary Rigab, pointed out that the aim of holding the consecutive sessions is to enact regulations that will define the times and areas where Jewish prayers will be held in the “Temple Mount”, regardless of the opinion of the “Chief Rabbinate”, and regardless of the threats of a third intifada.
After losing disarmament debate, Likud hawk concedes Iranian position on nuclear weapons is better for the world
Israeli and Turkish parliamentarians learn about nuclear famine
On June 18, 2013, IPPNW Co-President Ira Helfand participated in an unprecedented debate about nuclear weapons in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. At an event organized by ICAN-Israel and the Israeli Disarmament Movement, Dr. Helfand presented the scientific findings about the global climate effects of a limited nuclear war, and made a compelling case for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The next day, he traveled to Ankara, where he gave a similar talk about nuclear famine and the medical consequences of nuclear war to the Turkish parliament. The following is Dr. Helfand’s report.
by Ira Helfand
Sharon Dolev, the ICAN campaigner in Israel, and the Director of the Israeli Disarmament Movement (RPM), ICAN’s partner organization in Israel, organized an enormously successful series of events to publicize the nuclear famine report, build support for the upcoming Mexico conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and promote a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East.
The centerpiece of the event was a discussion of these issues, including open discussion of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, in the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset. This session was the first ever discussion of nuclear weapons in the Knesset and broke a long-standing taboo against raising this subject in any official forum. The session was held in the conference room of the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee and was hosted by two members of the Knesset, MK Tamar Zangberg of the Meretz Party and MK Dov Khenin of the Hadash Party. Equally important, MK Moshe Feiglin of the ruling Likud Party—one of the pre-eminent hawks in the Knesset—also came and debated nuclear policy for nearly 20 minutes after my presentation on the medical effects of nuclear war. He put forth the argument, common in Israel and other nuclear weapons states, that it is OK for “the good guys” to have nuclear weapons because they need them to protect themselves from “the bad guys.” Nevertheless, he seemed genuinely disturbed by the data showing that even a limited use of nuclear weapons, even by the “good guys,” would cause catastrophic consequences around the world that would affect the “good guys” themselves. He ultimately conceded that the world would be better off without any nuclear weapons and said that there needed to be further reductions in the current nuclear arsenals.
The Knesset session was attended by 20 antinuclear activists, including IPPNW’s Dr. Ra’anan Friedman, as well as by members of the press. It was videotaped and the two host members of the Knesset posted to their large Facebook followings throughout the presentation and debate.
MKs Zangberg and Khenin indicated a desire to continue working on this issue with RPM and are talking now about forming a lobby in the Knesset. MK Feiglin agreed to meet for further discussion about the issue. The meeting was viewed as an historic breakthrough by former MK and RPM Chair Mossi Raz.
RPM also organized a meeting with a senior government official who, previously unaware of the nuclear famine study, seemed deeply disturbed by the data, asked many detailed questions, and requested copies of the report in both English and Hebrew (prepared in advance by RPM) so that he could study it more closely. Most significantly, he said Israel might consider participating in the Mexico conference as long as it did not anticipate being singled out for attack, as it has been at many other international meetings. We urged Israeli participation at the side events that ICAN will organize at the UN this fall and he agreed to continue meeting with RPM over the coming months.
In addition to the government meetings, Sharon and her colleagues in RPM organized interviews with the English-language Jerusalem Post, Ha’Aretz, and the religious paper Hamevaser. They also arranged for me to appear on Sharon’s weekly radio show, All for Peace, and arranged extended press briefings with Or Heller, the well known defense correspondent for Channel 10, one of the major Israeli TV stations; with Ami Rokheks, who writes for Israel Defense a publication and web site devoted to security issues; and with Aviv Lavi, a leading environmental correspondent with a column in the business daily Globes and a weekly national radio program.
Arife Kose, the ICAN campaigner in Turkey, organized an extremely successful meeting at the Turkish Parliament on June 19, hosted and sponsored by Professor Aytug Atici, Member of Parliament, a pediatrician, and a member of IPPNW. The hour-long event attracted 18 members of parliament and consisted of a one-hour presentation and discussion of nuclear famine and the medical consequences of nuclear war. The event was also attended by IPPNW-Turkey General Secretary Derman Boztok, IPPNW-Turkey President Ozen Asut, five other members of the affiliate, and representatives of the Platform Against Nuclear, an umbrella group uniting dozens of NGOs opposed, originally to nuclear power, but now working on nuclear weapons as well. At the conclusion, Prof. Atici expressed interest in organizing a Turkish parliamentary delegation to attend the Mexico conference next year. Parliamentarians will be asked to sign a statement endorsing the Mexico conference.
Later in the day, Arife, Derman, and I met with Volkan Oskiper, the Head of Department for Arms Control and Disarmament. Turkey had attended the Oslo conference in March but did not sign on to the joint appeal of 80 NPT member states in May. He indicated, however, that Turkey plans to attend the Mexico conference and is encouraging other states to attend as well. He expressed some skepticism about the value of the ban treaty but was sympathetic to the argument that the nuclear-weapon states need to be pushed from the outside and agreed that their strong aversion to a ban treaty suggests that they are feeling pressured simply by the prospect of its being negotiated.
Oskiper was very familiar with the nuclear famine study from the Oslo presentation, and quoted several of the findings back to us. He is meeting with counterparts in Islamabad next week and agreed to bring a copy of the report to them for us. He will meet further with Arife and Derman in the lead up to Mexico.
Finally, Derman hosted a reception for IPPNW colleagues at the Turkish Medical Association office. The TMA issued a press release on June 19 about the situation in Turkey, specifically addressing the victims of police violence, but also referencing the presentation on humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons at the Parliament. A press conference held at the Medical Association dealt with both issues.
- Upcoming nuclear arms reduction treaties must involve all countries that have atomic weapons at their disposal – Lavrov (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Nuclear weapon reductions will reduce risks, but prohibition treaty urgent (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- US obstructing global disarmament: Iran (alethonews.wordpress.com)
BETHLEHEM – Israel approved a draft law on Monday to implement a plan which will displace thousands of Bedouins in the Negev desert, an Israeli rights group said.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill which outlines a framework for implementing the Prawer-Begin plan, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said.
“Today the government approved a plan that will cause the displacement and forced eviction of dozens of villages and tens of thousands of Bedouin residents,” ACRI lawyer Rawia Aburabia said.
“All of this while the government simultaneously promotes the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are even planned to be built on the fresh ruins of Bedouin villages,” she added.
The Israeli government approved the plan in 2011, in what it says was an attempt to address the problem of unrecognized Bedouin villages in the Negev desert of southern Israel.
The 2011 proposal was formulated without any consultation with the Bedouin community and rights groups slammed it as a major blow to Bedouin rights.
The Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev along with the High Steering Committee of the Arabs of Negev organized Monday a demonstration near office of Israeli prime minister in Jerusalem protesting approval of the recommendations.
Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour addressed the demonstrators confirming that his party, the United Arab List, rejected the recommendations. He expressed concern that the recommendations might be approved as a law and urged the Arab public to use legal means to try and prevent such a step.
Talab Abu Arar, another lawmaker, echoed Sarsour’s remarks but appealed to “the rational people on the Israeli side to treat the Arabs wisely giving them their rights, recognizing their unrecognized villages, and involving them in the planning process.”
He warned the Israelis against being driven by “racist and extremist blocs in the Knesset.”
“Approval of the Prawer committee recommendations means Judaisation of Negev. The main goal of these plans is to seize Arab lands and exterminate Arab roots,” said head of the Regional Council of Unrecognized Arab Villages of Negev Atiyeh al-A’sam.
According to ACRI, the plan will forcibly evict nearly 40,000 Bedouins and destroy their communal and social fabric, condemning them to a future of poverty and unemployment.
Israel refuses to recognize 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev, which collectively house nearly 90,000 people.
The Israeli state denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and refuses to place them under municipal jurisdiction.
- Israel threatens to demolish ‘illegal’ Bedouin school
- ISRAEL: Water being used to coerce Bedouin villagers, says NGO
- The Negev’s Hot Wind Blowing
- Palestinian Bedouins threatened with ethnic cleansing
- Israeli cabinet announces plan to forcibly displace tens of thousands of indigenous Bedouins
NAZARETH — A Knesset candidate from the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish house) party called for blowing up the Aqsa Mosque’s Dome of the Rock and building the alleged Jewish temple in its place.
According to Hatnua, a rival party, Habayit Hayehudi’s candidate Jeremy Gimpel, publically discussed the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement with a Jewish temple, during a recent lecture he gave in Florida.
A video of the lecture was broadcast on the Israeli channel 2 on Friday. Gimpel is heard asking those attending the lecture to imagine a scenario in which the Dome of the Rock “was bombed” to make room for the alleged Jewish temple.
Hatnua party filed a petition with the central election committee to disqualify candidate Gimpel because his remarks on the Dome of the Rock could trigger widespread violence in the region.
In another incident, the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem said the Israeli municipal council issued last week demolition orders against two Palestinian Mosques in Tur town and Bab Al-Amoud neighborhood east of Jerusalem.
It added that that the orders were issued after Aryeh King, director of the Israel land fund and a noted right-wing figure, filed a complaint about the two Mosques.
The newspaper quoted Meir Margalit, head of the Israeli committee against house demolitions, as saying that this move is an attempt by the municipal council to ignite the middle east and please the Zionist right-wing forces and their supporters.
Haneen Zoabi is an Arab Israeli member of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. She was elected in 2009 as a member from the Balad Party. Balad is an Arab party that was formed in 1995 with the aim of “struggling to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens.” In the West, this is a perfectly normal goal. But Israel’s Zionist ideology disqualifies it as a “Western” nation. Thus Balad’s aim is in direct opposition to the Zionist idea of Israel as a “Jewish state,” a concept that Ms Zoabi labels “inherently racist.”
Apparently, Haneen Zoabi is fearless. She actually lives her principles. She has been campaigning loudly and very publicly for full citizenship rights for Israel’s Palestinians. She has also actively opposed Israel’s settlement movement, occupation policies, and its siege of Gaza. That last effort led her to participate in the international flotilla that sought to break the Gaza siege in May of 2010. That was the time Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara in international waters, killing 9 Turkish activists who tried to resist the assault on their ship.
In an outright dictatorship, Ms Zoabi would be in jail or worse. And, given the direction of Israel’s political evolution, that still might be her fate.
However, as of now she is just the worst nightmare of an ethnocentric state, and a government pushing racist policies while trying to pretend it is a democracy. It is a nightmare for the Israel’s Zionist leadership because Zoabi, as a member of the Knesset, insists that if the Israeli Jews won’t allow full citizenship for non-Jews, as a real democracy must, then she is not going to let them pretend anymore. Yet pretense is all that is left of Israel’s international persona. If the “Jewish state” loses the ability to posture as “the only democracy in the Middle East,” the country’s reputation in the world is, as the saying goes, fit for the dust hole.
Think of it this way. Israel is the nation-state equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s fictional character Dorian Gray. Gray is a man who never seems to be anything but young, good-looking, and successful. However, hidden away in some closet there is an extraordinarily ugly and frightening portrait of him, and it is this portrait that ages and reflects the meanness and brutality of Gray’s true character. Haneen Zoabi has uncovered such a portrait of Israel and insists on going about showing everyone the state’s real characteristics. She wants the world to see the true picture. That is why the Israeli government is trying to destroy Haneen Zoabi.
The catalyst for the campaign against Zoabi was her presence on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. Not only was she on a ship attempting to bring humanitarian assistance to over 1.6 million Gazans living under an illegal Israeli embargo, but she was also an eyewitness to nine official Israeli acts of murder.
To the acts of collective punishment, the shelling and bombing of civilian neighborhoods, and the seemingly random murder of civilians by Israeli border snipers, can now be added a deadly attack on a civilian vessel in international waters. All of these actions are criminal under international law and they all easily fall into the category of state terrorism. However, in the Kafkaesque world of Zionism, it is Ms Zoabi who became the “terrorist.”
When, on 2 June 2010, she returned to the Knesset following the the Mavi Marmara incident and insisted on bearing witness to Israeli offenses, she was shouted down by her “outraged” fellow members of the Knesset, most of whom saw Zoabi as a traitor. Her efforts to describe what she had seen reduced the Knesset session to “pandemonium.” From that point Ms Zoabi received “hundreds of threats, by letters, by email, by phone call.” In July of 2011, while contesting statements being made by Prime Minister Netanyahu, she was ejected from the Knesset by the chamber’s Speaker who then suspended her from further participation based on a grossly exaggerated charge that she had assaulted one of the chamber’s ushers.
Meanwhile, members of the Prime Minister’s party, Likud, conspired to ban Ms Zoabi from running in the upcoming Israeli elections (scheduled for 22 January 2013). The Knesset’s Ethics Committee voted that Zoabi had violated Article 7A of Israel’s “Basic Law” which states that a candidate for or member of the Knesset, “cannot reject Israel as a Jewish and democratic state…or support armed combat by an enemy state or terror organization against the State of Israel.” Some Israelis claim that the group organizing the flotilla efforts to break the Gaza siege is a terrorist organization, but that is clearly nonsense. On the other hand, there can be little doubt that Ms Zoabi is shouting from the rooftops the blatant fact that “Israel as Jewish and democratic state” reflects a deep and tragic contradiction.
According to such luminaries of the Israeli right as MK Danny Danon, Ms Zoabi has “spit on the state.” She does not belong in the Knesset, according to Danon, “she belongs in Jail.” (Danon is also the politician who had the clever idea of inviting Glenn Beck, an incendiary right-wing American TV talk show personality, to address the Israeli parliament.)
Subsequently, Israel’s supreme court declared the banning of Haneen Zoabi was unconstitutional, but Danon has replied that he and his allies are ready with “plan B.” They will simply have the Knesset change the law so as to prevent future electoral campaigns by anyone like Zoabi.
Politicians with dictatorial leanings instinctively avoid their own reflection. They cannot admit the consequences of their own actions and policies and they cannot tolerate others who publicly expose those consequences. Like Dorian Gray, they restrict the ugly truth to some hidden closet. Yet, eventually, someone like Ms Zoabi comes along and takes up the role of truth-teller.
There is another issue that her efforts bring to light. It is that the interests of the state (understood here as a government) and the interests of the nation (the collective occupants of a country) may not always be the same. Governments most often represent cliques or classes or elites or ideologues, etc. Those in power, ruling in the interest of these smaller constituencies, simply assume that their own parochial interests stand for the “national interest.”
Ms Zoabi is insisting that the Israeli State cease identifying itself with the interest of a single constituency and start representing the interests of the nation as a whole. What this is all about, she says, are “the values, the humanistic, universalistic values of freedom, of equality, of justice.” But there is nothing “universalistic” about Zionism and so, for her efforts, she is castigated and threatened. Such is the state that Zionism has built.
Israel has a law that requires police and security officials to record their interrogations of suspects who are charged with crimes carrying a sentence of ten years or more. That sounds great, right? Just the way a democracy should work. But hold on. There’s a hole in the law big enough to drive a Mack truck through. Both the police and Shin Bet are exempt from this law as far as security detainees are concerned. In other words, in order to allow security personnel to use whatever means they wish, the Knesset permits them to have no recordings that might offer evidence of widely reported abuse and torture used against such prisoners.
The exemption was due to expire recently after it had initially been extended first for five years, then another four. But never fear, we won’t abandon our boys doing the dirty work on our behalf in the cells of Shabak. So the Knesset will extend the exemption for another three years, doing its duty on behalf of the secret police.
Here’s the reasoning (Hebrew) behind the exemption in all its fetid glory:
In the special circumstances of security investigations, which involve the fight against extremist, well-organized terror groups, documenting interrogations is liable to damage in a very real way the quality of security investigations, and thus the ability to deter terror threats.
Not a word about damaging the quality of Israeli democracy since it’s taken a back seat to security from almost day one of the existence of the State.
The Shin Bet chief of investigations, who was present at the Knesset deliberation, wove this nice fairy tale for the assembled solons:
Shin Bet investigations are overseen and documented from the beginning to the end [note he doesn’t say how they’re documented, in what form, etc.]. We’re not talking about damaging anyone’s human rights, but rather protecting our methods. The exemption is necessary so that our enemies don’t learn our investigative methods.
So get this, Shin Bet interrogations are the equivalent of work product and mustn’t be revealed because to do so would allow Israel’s enemies to learn how it ‘persuades’ prisoners to give it the information it demands. Presumably, that would enable terror groups to prepare their cadre for such interrogations in order to withstand them. Not a word about the possibility that such recordings would reveal the nasty quasi-criminal enterprise that the security agencies conduct on behalf of the State. Lest you think the previous sentence was hyperbolic, go back and read this post about a provoked prison riot which the prison security service put down with brutal force, ending with the murder of a prisoner who wasn’t even engaging in protest. Now, recall that the commander who oversaw this exercise wasn’t disciplined or even investigated. In fact, he was promoted for doing his job so well.
Israeli human rights NGOs dutifully raised their voices (Hebrew) in opposition. But they were drowned out by the swelling chorus of support for any and all methods used to beat confessions and information out of detainees. Here are some of their wise, but unheeded words:
The need for recording security interrogations is greater because of the need for certainty that a confession is valid and because of the critical importance of ensuring that the investigation was conducted properly, preventing the use of improper methods. Prisoner populations are the most likely to be exposed to the danger of degrading or inhumane conditions, including the use of physical or emotional violence up to and including outright torture. Recording interrogations can aid greatly in determining the credibility of complaints of improper acts. It can supply objective specific documentation regarding the conduct of an investigation, either supporting or refuting the charges of the detainees.
Like voices crying out in the wilderness. They speak but there is no one to hear. In fact, the existence of the NGOs, though an inconvenience for the authorities, allows them to tell the world: we are a democracy; look at how our NGOs freely criticize us; what more can you ask of us?
There are those who’ve questioned my contention here that security prisoners like Dirar Abusisi, Ameer Makhoul, Mustafa Dirani, and others have been tortured during their interrogations. They’ve done this despite the fact that defense lawyers have described in detail the sleep deprivation, loud noises, being tied to a chair for long periods, anal penetration, and worse. Now, I’ll throw it back in their face: if you’re confident there is no such abuse, protest the lack of documentation of the interrogations. If you don’t then you’re little more than a hypocrite because the video or audio tape would prove your claim. Without it, you have nothing, not a leg to stand on.
Any of you American’s out there reading this, don’t get any big ideas about how superior our legal system is to Israel’s (though given the horrid record of the Obama administration it’s hard to see how anyone would believe this). Remember the videotapes of brutal waterboarding by CIA inquisitors that were destroyed when word began to leak out that they existed? Remember Jose Rodriguez, the CIA officer who destroyed them, who wasn’t even investigated, let alone punished for obstruction of justice?
We are no better than Israel in this, which is what makes it all the more tragic.
- Shin Bet exploit family to pressure detainees? (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
- Israeli Supreme Court Rubber Stamps Shin Bet Impunity (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli occupation offers the deportation of five Palestinian prisoners for two years (alethonews.wordpress.com)
A little over a year ago, the Israeli Knesset passed the Nakba Law, stating that institutions who receive state funding are not to permit any commemoration of the Palestinian catastrophe in 1948. During Israel’s War of Independence, 80 percent of the Arab population in what later became the State of Israel was displaced. Some of the Palestinians fled battle grounds, others were forcefully removed. None were allowed back, and their property was confiscated by the State of Israel. Palestinians mark their national catastrophe on May 15, the day following Israel’s declaration of independence.
A couple of years ago, the Knesset passed a bill aimed at limiting the discussion and commemoration of the Nakba entirely. The original bill ordered any person organizing a ceremony in memory of the Nakba to face criminal charges and a prison term of up to three years. The Knesset ended up passing a softer version of the bill, stating that any institution – even a Palestinian one – could lose state funding if it was to sponsor a Nakba-related event.
Tel Aviv University has permitted a Nakba memorial ceremony planned by Jewish and Palestinian students, but ordered it to take place just outside the university gates, in the main plaza. The university also forced the students to pay for the security expenses of the ceremony, contrary to the practice in all other events organized by students within the campus. The university cited the Nakba Law as the reason for this decision.
Haaretz reported today that Israel’s Minister of Education, Gidon Saar, urged Tel Aviv University to cancel the event altogether.
Needless to say, these developments cast a shadow on Israel’s self-perception as a democracy even within the Green Line. When mentioning an historical event at an academic institution is outlawed, one wonders what is truly left of freedom of speech.
- Tel Aviv University imposes restrictions on Nakba Day events (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Knesset to discuss bill authorising settlers’ seizure of Palestinian landIsrael’s Knesset (parliament) is due to hold a special session on Wednesday to discuss a bill which would authorise Jewish settlers to build on private Palestinian land, especially in the Migron settlement outpost and other such places. All Jewish settlements, “outposts” or not, are illegal under international law. That the Israeli parliament even gives time to debate such a law is a strong indication of the contempt in which it holds international laws and conventions, and the international community at large.
The parliamentary session will take place because MK Danny Danon, of the ruling Likud Party, has been able to collect the signatures of 25 MKs for this purpose; this is required during the parliament’s Passover recess.
The bill drafted by Danon proposes compensation for the Palestinian owners of land where settlements are to be built. This would cover dozens of families as such a law would give legitimacy to many settlement outposts.
The right-wing members of the Knesset are seeking the support for the bill from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has announced his intention to strengthen Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
According to Hebrew media sources, Danon’s efforts follow the Supreme Court decision to cancel an agreement between the Israeli government and the settlers in the Migron outpost which would require them to be re-housed somewhere else. Danon has also been motivated by the decision of Defence Minister Ehud Barak to evict Jewish settlers from a Palestinian house that they seized recently in Hebron.
“The Supreme Court is trying to prevent the government from working,” said Danon, “and we are trying to prevent the evacuation of Jews from their homes. We will not accept another court decision such as the one on Migron and we will not accept an evacuation process such as the one in Hebron.”
Arab MKs expect the Knesset’s summer session to witness a race by right-wing parties in the Knesset for laws supporting settlement construction in the occupied West Bank, including the illegal (even under Israeli law) outposts, especially in light of hints about early parliamentary elections.
- Jewish settlers stealing Palestinian water springs: UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli settlers storm into Palestinian home, occupy residence (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers Install New Outpost Near Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Study: Israeli ‘state land’ illegally taken from West Bank (alethonews.wordpress.com)
In the Zionist Entity: The Authorities and the Public would prefer to outlaw Human Rights Organizations
By Adib Kawar – May 25th, 2010
“Promised Land”– news and opinion from Israel – Ma’ariv (p. 12) by Arik Bender, wrote an article dated April 29th 2010 entitled Knesset moves to outlaw human rights organizations in Israel, “Something very troubling is happening to “the only democracy in the Middle East”.
“More than 20 MKs, including members of opposition party Kadima, proposed a new bill which will make it possible to outlaw important human rights groups in Israel. Among the organizations mentioned in the proposed bill are Doctors for Human rights, The Coalition of Woman for Peace, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel, and Adalah: the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights. All these organizations receive funds from the New Israeli Fund.
The article proceeded by saying:
“According to a report in Maariv, the new bill will outlaw any organization “which is involved in activity intended to lead to the prosecution or arrest of IDF officers and government officials for war crimes.” The word “involved” gives it a very broad definition.
Note the phrase with which the article was started with: “Something very troubling is happening to “the only democracy in the Middle East”. Isn’t this more than true? More than probably it is, when we see that more than 20 MKs of the “Israeli Knesset”, which is the “Israeli” parliament, “proposed a new bill which will make it possible to outlaw important human rights groups in Israel”, and more than half of those who are considered “Israeli” support limiting and curbing activities of Human Rights organizations!
So what is left of democracy if the activities of human rights organizations are limited, curbed and illegitimated, especially in what is claimed to be the only democracy in an entire region and a central part of the world?
We mean the rights of the occupied people being trampled on by a certain group of people, including the occupier taking the liberty of restraining freedom of expression in addition to limiting the human rights of other people by denying them free movement. The occupiers, citizens of the Zionist state, illegally occupy and steal land other kinds of property, and have been doing so continually. Not only is property their concern, but they take the lives of the occupied people, be they young or old, by any sort of assassination or targeting. Let us not forget how they demolish and then take possession of the property of Palestinian Arabs and throw their residents in the street to be replaced by Zionist racist invaders.
We mean in an entity where the death penalty by its courts is banned against its citizens, but where its executive body and its elected juridical body, including its supreme court of justice, the highest judicial body, permits its executive body to overturn law to permit assassination of those it chooses by its armed forces or intelligence, whether internal or external. This means that the death penalty is not permitted by law against the entity’s first class citizens belonging to a certain religious faith, which the state claims to assume this religious character, but it certainly may be imposed on other categories of citizens and occupied non-citizens who belong to other religious faiths and ethnicities.
We mean this entity which permits itself to threaten its neighbors in Arab and non-Arab states and resistance forces and punishes them just because they dare to arm themselves. An occupied people is entitled to arm themselves by prescriptions of international law so as to enable themselves to defend their sovereignty with effective arms and weapons. They do this because it is their right. They must simply “break the existing balance of power with an illegal entity” that uprooted an entire population from its ancestral homeland, an entity that owns formidable conventional and unconventional arsenals of arms and weapons. These arsenals have allowed this rogue entity to wage an unending series of wars and terror operations against the indigenous population of the land it occupied with the aim of replacing them, as well as threatening its Arab neighbors and far away non-Arab and non-neighboring countries with demolition and destruction, just because they want to develop their lands and strengthen their citizens.
We mean this entity that issues an order it calls No 132 by the strength of which it is legal to put infants on trial and imprison them.
A public opinion poll published in the “Israeli” daily Haaretz showed that the majority of Jews in occupied Palestine desired to curb the activities of human rights organizations, and wants to punish those who uncover unethical and illegal military activities and also to strike the press that publishes information about that. The results of this poll simply demonstrate how undemocratic the Zionist entity is and what little interest and respect for human rights its first class citizens have. This extends as well into the public and governmental bodies, at all branches, executive, judicial and legislative.
We mean in this entity where prisoners of war who number about 8,000 in the prisons and detention camps of Zionist occupation who suffer from catastrophic health conditions and health care that is almost unavailable, and in most cases the detention is harmful for their health if not deadly, which the occupation authorities subject them to in order to achieve certain special aims. Reports said that in addition to that Zionist doctors who practice various types of torture against the prisoners of war, these doctors use them for experiments for “Israeli” pharmaceutical companies. Also proved reports said that the Zionist entity and those belonging to it steal organs of Palestinian Arab martyrs and these organs become valuable merchandise.
This poll showed that a majority of the Jewish inhabitants of occupied Palestine are Zionist by all means of the word, and not simply people who belong to the Jewish faith and respect human rights and human dignity irrespective of their religious faith or ethnicity.
The published poll results exposed the racism of the vast majority of Jewish faith inhabitants though many of their presence in occupied Palestine is illegal in every international statute regarding occupation.
The poll said that the vast majority of “Israelis” want to severely curtail, or in a less drastic, but still scandalous way, they at least support limiting activities of Human Rights organizations, and believe it is just to punish not the perpetrator of human rights abuses but rather anyone who uncovers unethical and illegal military actions. They believe it is crucial to bar the press from publishing anything about that.
The poll revealed that almost six “Israelis” out of ten, a massive 58% of those canvassed, declared that human rights organization should not be allowed to uncover unethical “Israeli” practices nor should they be permitted to practice their activities freely, while half of them, 51%, said that there is excessive freedom of expression in “Israel”.
56% said that that “Israelis” who support punishing the “Jewish state” or boycotting it should themselves be punished.
73% support severely punishing journalists who publish reports that uncover information about unethical and illegal activities committed by the “Israeli” army and/or the (Shabak).
64% see that the “Israeli” press should not be allowed to publish reports that security bodies consider to cause danger to public security.
42% said “Israelis” should not be allowed to publish reports of Palestinian sources, which puts the army in a negative position, even if what was written had proven to be correct.
We ask ourselves and we ask you, is it not time to outlaw an entity that has such little tolerance for human rights and democracy before this tendency brings more suffering and disaster to the region?
Original Arabic on http://gulagnik.wordpress.com
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