Archive for March, 2010

Fmr. Israeli NSC Chief: Time to say “no, we can’t” to Obama’s “appeasing and one-sided” policy [CORRECTED]

March 31, 2010 2 comments

CORRECTION: A reader was quick to point out that Uzi Dayan is a the former head of the National Security Council. The current one being Uzi Arad. See this link for more. Although active in the Likud, Dayan apparently carries no current official position, which of course greatly reduces the importance of his statements. My apologies — my only excuse, though it isn’t a good one, is that the interviewer, one of Israel’s most important journalists, also made the mistake and Dayan did not correct him.

On Monday (March 29 2010) Netanyahu was quick to publicly admonish his inner circle for telling Yediot that

“President Obama and Hillary Clinton have toed the line and have adopted a patently Palestinian line. We’re talking about something that is diseased and insane. The situation is catastrophic. We have a problem with a very, very hostile administration. There’s never been anything like this before. Even veteran officials who tended to the relations with the United States say that there’s never been an administration like this one before. This president wants to establish the Palestinian state and he wants to give them Jerusalem.”


“We’ve got a real problem. You could say that Obama is the greatest disaster for Israel, a strategic disaster. It isn’t only Israel that is worried about Obama, but leaders throughout the entire world are worried about him: Merkel, Berlusconi, even the Russians. Obama is damaging to the State of Israel, no matter which leader is facing him.”

Judging by the interview his National Security Council chief, Major General (Res.) Uzi Dayan, gave to IDF Radio this morning (March 31 2010), Netanyahu was criticizing the tone, not substance. Here’s some of what Dayan had to say (full transcript below):

In our case, we should tell the US President, “no, we can’t” because you start addressing issues that do not only stand for Israeli interests and values, and we are not only right about them, but we are also wise because they do not benefit the issue at hand. […]

Furthermore, we have a real crisis with the US policy because it is appeasing and one-sided.[…]

Look, I believe he [Netanyahu] is saying that [also], but he is justifiably more cautious than I am.  I believe that the stand I am expressing here is not only the Likud view, but it is actually upheld by the majority in the Septet [Netanyahu’s kitchen cabinet] and I believe that the prime minister would agree with the things I said here too.


Interview with Israeli NSC Chief Uzi Dayan

IDF Radio, March 31 2010 09:13 [Click here to listen to recording]

Narrator Razi Barkai:  We wish to discuss these issues with Uzi Dayan, a major general in the reserves, former [IDF] deputy chief of staff, and current head of the National Security Council (NSC) and, I must say, No. 42 on the Likud Knesset list.  Good morning, Mr. Dayan.  We should not have been surprised.  At the conclusion of the Taba talks of 2002, we had the Clinton paper in which he said something that all the American presidents since adopted — whatever is Arab, is Palestinian; and whatever is Jewish, is Israeli — and he was referring to Jerusalem.  Why are we stunned when it suddenly happens again?

Dayan:  We are not stunned, but it is simply time for us to say, “no.”  Every nation has moments when it has to say “no” even to its friends, including strategic friends.  I think it is time for us to tell the USA and mainly its President, “no more.”


Barkai:  Listen, [Haaretz correspondent] Ari Shavit said — and this has not yet been stated publically, except if it were raised in meetings one-on-one — that if you say “no” to the Americans (and you will soon tell us what we say “no” to), the Americans can start taking very small, secret, and painful steps such as, for example, delaying all kinds of weapon shipment, start questioning the $3 billion in aid we receive every year, or start poking us with all kids of small knives on international arenas such as the United Nations.  Does this not bother you?

Dayan:  Of course it does.  The USA is not only our primary strategic ally, but it also has the power [to do these things].  That is correct.  Still, even among friends there are lines you do not cross, which we should say politely but clearly.  In our case, we should tell the US President, “no, we can’t” because you start addressing issues that do not only stand for Israeli interests and values, and we are not only right about them, but we are also wise because they do not benefit the issue at hand.

Look, there were two prominent leaders in our history who said “no” to the United States: Ben-Gurion, when he decided to declare Israel’s independence even though Washington was against it; and Menachem Begin, when facing that trilogy of the bombing of the Iraqi reactor, the attack in Lebanon, and the annexation of the Golan Heights.  Now, we reached this state of affairs, which is not joyous of course, but a nation should know when to say “no.”  Furthermore, we have a real crisis with the US policy because it is appeasing and one-sided. Look, what happened recently?  We agreed to the solution of two states for two nations even though the Palestinians refused to acknowledge the right of the Jewish nation and despite the situation in Gaza, which lends itself at best to three states for two nations; and I am being cynical here.  In addition, we froze construction works in Judea and Samaria, which was never done before; and we agreed to hold indirect negotiations with US involvement.  Let me remind you that when I was personally involved in the process, the Americans were not even in the room with us.

Barkai:  So what are we saying no to — the Jerusalem issue?

Dayan:  Yes, to the Jerusalem issue.  You know what?  Let me add something here.  What did we gain from making these concessions?  We only received more and more demands.  It is time for us to say “no” and insist on negotiations without preconditions.  As for Jerusalem…it is so self evident.

Barkai:  The Americans say to that: Great!  Let’s go for direct negotiations without preconditions, but as we discuss the negotiations and while we conduct them, not facts shall be established on the ground.  One of those facts established, which the Palestinians find incredibly intolerable, is construction in Jerusalem.  You want to come to the table and say Jerusalem is entirely ours, and the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem are ours, and Jerusalem will remain ours in the permanent agreement?  Fine.  But do not establish facts while you are negotiating.

Read more…

Categories: Diplomacy, Jerusalem

Arrested for Post Zionism

March 25, 2010 3 comments

Cross posted from Promised Land.

Editors note: Note how the charge resembles Yuval Diskin’s definition of the Shabak’s mandate.


Chappell and Marti after their release from prison (AP)

Pay close attention to this item. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s an important one:

Two international activists, Ariadna Jove Marti (Spain) and Bridgette Chappell (Australia), who are living in Bir Zeit in the West Bank (it’s near Ramallah, and well within the Palestinian Autonomy), were arrested by the IDF last month. The two were about to be expelled from Israel, and as it happens in most cases, they appealed against the decision to the Israel Supreme Court.

As Chaim Levinson reports in Haaretz, while trying to defend the arrests and deportation, the state argued before the court that the two activists

…belong to the International Solidarity Movement, an organization “that supports an ideology that is anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian and universally revolutionary.”

There are two precedents here, and I can’t overstate their importance:

A. The main charge against the activists had nothing to do with national security, but with the ideas they expressed (the state even presented before the court quotes taken from an internet site!). The “crime” involved words, not actions.

It is, to the best of my knowledge, the first (but certainly not last) attempt to present critic of Zionism or support for the Palestinian cause as illegal, and what’s even worse is that the actual arrest was carried out not by police and under orders from the state attorney, but by the army.

It takes a very flexible definition of democracy to describe a regime which makes questioning the dominant ideology a criminal offense.

B. The arrest of the two activists took place in the Palestinian Autonomy’s territory (area A according to the Oslo agreement). Israel often claims that the situation in the West Bank cannot be labeled as Apartheid, since the Palestinians have their own state-like entity. But as we saw in this case (as well as in others), Israel does not respect this autonomy, and its security forces are acting freely within the Palestinian towns and villages, even in cases which have nothing to do with Israeli national security.


This time, the court was very critical of the “evidence” presented by the state, and it ruled that it will hear the two activists’ plea. However, as we have come to know in the past, courts cannot hold for a long time against government or security forces’ policies. If the current trends continue, we are not that far from a day in which questioning Zionism might lead to imprisonment – something which was unthinkable not that long ago.

I really don’t think people are aware enough of what’s going on in Israel right now. The rise of racism, the rapid escalation in human rights, the attacks on freedom of speech, the campaign against human rights activists – this is a country on a very dangerous path. As Taayush’s Amos Goldberg wrote in Haaretz a few days ago, It is happening here and now.

Searching for scapegoats, Netanyahu now tries to label Kadima a fifth-column

March 25, 2010 6 comments


In May 2007, the current head of Israel’s internal security agency, the General Security Service (GSS aka Shabak and Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, unilaterally revolutionized his agency’s mandate.  Disken was responding to a request by Adalah to clarify the scope of the GSS’s authority to investigate Israeli citizens, Haaretz reported:

The Shin Bet security service believes it is within its charter to carry out surveillance operations, such as phone taps, on individuals deemed as “conducting subversive activity against the Jewish identity of the state,” even if their actions are not in violation of the law.

The announcement was made a month before the 40th anniversary of 1967 war, the moment when Israel became a border-less country embroiled in a never ending internal security war. Under these conditions, it may have been just a matter of time before unaccountable security services inserted themselves into the political sphere of a nation lacking a constitution and a bill of rights. Indeed, Diskin was probably only formally publicizing a long standing practice.

Still, the fact that this development barely registered in the Israeli public debate was remarkable. Part of the explanation for the silence is that those with the power to influence this debate — Jewish Israelis — did not feel threatened. The GSS was investigating the politics of Palestinian citizens. Jews were immune. No comparison and all that, but those who remained silent then are now learning that Martin Niemoller’s lesson, as expressed in “First they came,” is applicable anywhere a society allows the freedoms of minorities to be compromised.

Even when the GSS became a tool in the latest incarnation of the government-sponsored, NGO Monitor-led, campaign to suppress the Israeli human rights community — Im Tirzu’s assault on the NIF — the “mainstream” opposition was nowhere to be found. Nor was the silence broken yesterday (March 24 2010), when politicians called on the security agency to investigate Peace Now for treason, because of the suspicion that it had leaked the embarrassing story of new East Jerusalem construction just ahead of the Obama-Netanyahu summit.


Therefore, it is hard to resist a little Schadenfreude that a senior Kadima leader — Haim Ramon — is the latest victim of creeping fifth-columnization, now apparently a convenient weapon even in run-of-the-mill coalition-opposition fracas.

This morning’s media (March 25 2010) was a PR disaster for Netanyahu: Everywhere  the Prime Minister’s trip to US was billed as a fiasco. Everywhere, that is, except Sheldon Adelson’s Israel Hayom, whose front-page provided a scapegoat (full translated text at bottom):

The senior officials say that according to information recently obtained by intelligence agencies that was placed on the desk of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak, Ramon is working with senior PA officials to prevent negotiations from being launched between Jerusalem and Ramallah.  According to this information, PA sources confirmed this.  It was also said that other figures in Kadima might be partners Ramon’s activity.  Political sources say that Ramon has been urging Palestinian and European figures to wait for Kadima to come to power, saying that this would make it possible to launch negotiations under better conditions for them.

In 2007, by the way, the government was lead by Kadima and Ramon was one of the most influential figures in the party.


Officials: Ramon working with PA to obstruct the start of peace negotiations

Matti Tuchfeld, Israel Hayom, March 25 2010 [front-page]

Kadima Council Chairman Haim Ramon is working to sabotage the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians — say high-ranking political officials.

The senior officials say that according to information recently obtained by intelligence agencies that was placed on the desk of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak, Ramon is working with senior PA officials to prevent negotiations from being launched between Jerusalem and Ramallah.  According to this information, PA sources confirmed this.  It was also said that other figures in Kadima might be partners Ramon’s activity.  Political sources say that Ramon has been urging Palestinian and European figures to wait for Kadima to come to power, saying that this would make it possible to launch negotiations under better conditions for them.

Likud sources recently said that Ramon is surrounded by a number of people with whom he maintains close friendships.   Read more…

MK’s Passover proposal for migrants and refugees: Labor camps

March 23, 2010 9 comments

Fitting that this proposal was circulated in the run-up to Passover by an “observant” MK. It is becoming increasingly clear that for the fundamentalist strain of Jewish Orthodoxy and its secular nationalist allies, the only problem with our history of persecution is that Jews were the victims.

How can this extreme moral exceptionalism be reconciled with the belief of many, if not most, Jews worldwide that our values compliment a cosmopolitan and humanistic world-view?  It cannot. A Jewish schism is just a matter of time.

Work camp, Katzele’s version

Arik Bender, Maariv, March 23 2010 [page 8; Hebrew original here]


The establishment of an “infiltrators’ city” next to the border with Egypt that would be built by illegal residents from Africa, which would be the only place they could live; hiring these refugees and immigrants to do state sponsored labor such as building the new border fence and paving roads for the benefit of the residents of southern Israel — these are just some of the proposals raised by MK Yaakov (Katzele) Katz of the National Union and chairman for the Knesset committee to examine the problems of the foreign workers, to battle the phenomenon of the infiltration of tens of thousands of refugees and African work immigrants into Israel.

In a letter filled with harsh expressions that was circulated by Katz on the web, he explains: “It could well be that these jobs will be hard on the infiltrators and this will cause them to advise their relatives not to follow them to Israel. Tens of thousands of immigrants, the majority from Eritrea, have infiltrated Israel and another million are on the way,” Katz wrote. “In 100 years of labor Israel built a Jewish state here, and in ten years, the infiltrators could cause this all to go down the drain.”

Katz begins his letter with a call to the residents of Tel Aviv to “wake up,” since, by his predictions, within six to seven years there will be about 100,000 illegal infiltrators in the city. He also explains who is responsible for the phenomenon: “The rulers of Sudan and Eritrea, together with the Egyptians, are gradually taking over the State of Israel (…)  the infiltrators move into the Hatikva neighborhood, they deluge southern Tel Aviv and every day they advance a few dozen meters closer to Dizengoff, on their way to Akirov and Ramat Aviv.”

“There is no avoiding the need for the prime minister to declare a state of emergency,” Katzele said, and even called to order IDF soldiers to shoot any infiltrator trying to enter Israel. He also proposes to fine anyone who employs infiltrators from Africa illegally hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Organizations that assist refugees and asylum seekers were shocked by MK Katz’s proposals. Activist Elisheva Milikovsky said that they “express moral obtuseness and cruelty toward asylum seekers who came to Israel because of the danger posed to them in their own countries. We are astounded that on the eve of Passover of all times, Katzele does not remember the biblical injunction ‘because you were strangers in the land of Egypt,’ which expresses our obligation to treat all strangers among us with respect.”

Attorney Oded Feller from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said: “This surreal letter by MK Katz only proves what human rights organizations have been screaming for months: ever since Katz was appointed chairman of the committee for foreign workers, the committee’s discussions have deteriorated to an unprecedented low and have become a display of racist hatred and inconceivable cruelty, led by him. In Tel Aviv, as in all of the State of Israel,” Feller added, “there are Jewish refugees who fled for the lives from Europe, and for them, asking for asylum is a tangible and painful memory.”

Elliot Abrams and local neoconservatives to Israeli public: Obama intends to topple Netanyahu

March 18, 2010 4 comments


In a Tuesday (March 16 2010) interview with the Jerusalem Post, the Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman took criticism of the US administration’s handling of the current confrontation to a new frontier

Israel should immediately battle a charge emerging in the US that its actions are endangering the lives of US soldiers, because it is a particularly “pernicious” argument that “smacks of blaming the Jews for everything.”

Later in the in the article we learn that the purveyor of this blood libel is no other than Vice President Biden himself

US Vice President Joe Biden was quoted by Yediot Aharonot last week as telling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in an angry exchange over the Ramat Shlomo incident, that “this is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Biden was quoted as saying. “That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”


Petraeus and the CENTCOM top brass, however, are the authors

On Saturday, the Foreign Policy magazine Web site ran a story saying that the commander of the US Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, sent a briefing team to the Pentagon at the beginning of the year “with a stark warning: America’s relationship with Israel is important, but not as important as the lives of America’s soldiers.”

This conflation of criticism of Israeli policies with “blaming the Jews,” is dangerous. Think of the position of the family of a US soldier in Afghanistan. They could, quite reasonably, believe both Petraeus’ anlaysis and Foxman’s assertion of its implications. Making them patriotically “anti-Semitic.”

Hopefully, mainstream Jewish-Americans have already realized that they need to curb Foxman’s recklessness and it is referenced here for a different reason: as a prelude to an account of what appears to be a coordinated and aggressive anti-Obama campaign in the Israeli media aimed at the Israeli public.

For an Israeli media consumer, Tuesday morning appeared as the launch of a focused messaging campaign: The crisis was engineered by Obama to subvert Israeli democracy and topple Netanyahu.

A prominent Jewish-American neoconservative, Elliot Abrams, led the charge in an IDF Radio interview [full transcript and link to recording below].

The administration was very hostile to the Netanyahu government. They were hostile before he did anything. So the argument you can make is that they really don’t like dealing with the Netanyahu government and that they want to see if they can get rid of it and bring down the coalition.

In parallel, the front page of Yisrael Hayom, Sheldon Adelson’s Netanyahu fanzine ran two aggressive articles by Israeli neoconservatives.


Under the headline “Facing the international left,” Yaacov Amidror, a retired Israeli General and now a program director at Netanyahu confidant Dore Gold’s Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, asserted (full translated text here)

The administration chiefs, as well as New York and Tel Aviv reporters — those who do not like the fact that a right-wing government was elected in Israel against their will — are trying to seize the opportunity of the regrettable mistake to drive Israel to its knees.  The State of Israel, its government, and it citizens must not crack under this pressure, applied by the international left that is exploiting the mistake Israel made to besmirch and exert unfair pressure on it.


Facing Amidror’s op-ed was another by Dror Idar, Yisrael Hayom’s deputy editor and a fellow at the The Jewish Statesmanship Center for Strategic Planning entitled “Obama’s mistake” (full translated text here)

According to senior government members, the basic assumption when dealing with the crisis is that we are looking a series of premeditated events that are meant to replace the Israeli Government with one that would be more “convenient” for Obama.

Readers of the three items not another underlying message: Obama picked the wrong battle with Netanyahu. The Israeli public will rise up to support him as he singlehandedly defends Jerusalem against the foreign usurper.


Interview with Elliot Abrams

Morning Newsmagazine, IDF Radio, March 16 2010 07:11 [Click here to listen to recording]

Micha Friedman: Elliot Abrams is a name that hasn’t been in the news for some months, because the man, a key figure in the George W. Bush Jr. administration, hasn’t been in the news since the administration went over to the Democrats headed by Obama. Abrams, a warm Jew, who is involved up to his ears in the Israeli-Palesitnian conflict, gave an interview today to Bar Shem Or, our foreign affairs correspondent, and says some particularly harsh things about his president, Barack Obama. Good morning to Bar Shem Or.

Elliot Abrams and an associate

Bar Shem Or: Hello Micha, good morning. Senior officials in Washington continue to attack Benjamin Netanyahu. The liberal media justified the White House’s actions, but this morning we are bringing you different voices from America. We held a special interview with Elliot Abrams, who played key roles during the Bush administration and is considered a foreign relations expert. He is also very close to the former president. Among other things Abrams served as the deputy national security adviser. He was responsible for the Middle East. He is a conservative Republican and has a lot of resentment towards the current president and his advisors, and he is a Jew. This morning he tells us the crisis between Israel and America was not created by Netanyahu’s decisions but only by Barack Obama.Elliott Abrams [English]: The Obama administration is to blame for creating this crisis. There was no real reason for it. If it continues it will turn into a strategic mistake because it will really harm the relationship between the United States and Israel.

BSO [Hebrew]: Blame for creating the crisis is all the Obama administration’s, says Abrams. Obama had no real reason to create it. Therefore if this crisis continues, it will be a strategic mistake that harms the US-Israel relationship. We asked Abrams why he thinks Obama decided to create this crisis, and here is his very surprising answer:

Elliott Abrams [English]: The administration was very hostile to the Netanyahu government. They were hostile before he did anything. So what argument you can make is that they really don’t like dealing with the Netanyahu government and that they want to see if they can get rid of it and bring down the coalition.

BSO [Hebrew]: The Obama administration was hostile to Netanyahu from the beginning, even before Netanyahu had done anything. Therefore the theory I can think of, says Abrams, is that the Obama administration simply does not like, and does not want to deal with Netanyahu, and therefore it is trying to get rid of him and to bring down his right-wing coalition. Beyond political considerations, Abrams claims that the current situation harms the peace process and toughens the Palestinians’ positions.Elliott Abrams: If the White House is saying, ‘this is terrible, this is a crisis,’ of course the Palestinians are going to say the same thing. It’s very bad for the possibility of negotiations because it means the Palestinians will demand more and more preconditions.

BSO [Hebrew]: If the White House claims that building new housing units in East Jerusoing to say the same thing. The latest admonitions by senior White House officials harm the negotiations because they actually make the Palestinians climb up higher trees and demand more preconditions. Abrams claims that during the Bush administration the term “preconditions” did not exist in the lexicon of the negotiation process. But that whole approach was invented by the current administration, and here is a very interesting point that Abrams brings up from the past, which can even be called a kind of full disclosure. When I worked in the White House, Abrams tells us, we knew that we must not demand Israel freeze construction in East Jerusalem.

Read more…

Yediot exposes police lying on suppression of East Jerusalem protests

March 15, 2010 1 comment

After an interlude, the Jerusalem police resumed arrests of Sheikh Jarrah protesters last Friday (March 12 2010.) On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post, like many other Israeli media outlets, ran the police statement on the incident nearly verbatim

Earlier on Friday, about 250 locals and left-wing protesters were stopped by police when they attempted to march toward Jewish houses in Sheikh Jarrah. Police declared that such a march would be illegal and ordered the protesters to return to the site of the demonstration. When they refused to do so, they were pushed back by force. They then began to chant slogans criticizing the Jewish presence in the neighborhood. Eight demonstrators were detained following the incident.

The protest organizers told a very different story and backed it up with photos and video. The media, however, are not usually inclined to fact check official statements. Note how the Post did not even add “police said,” even though the correspondent was clearly not present at the incident.

There are valuable exceptions, however. Last year, Coteret followed Globes columnist Matti Golan as he demonstrated how the IDF spokesperson had become accustomed to Israeli journalists happily filling the role of stenographers. Fortuitously, also on Sunday, Yediot published photographic evidence of blatant lying by the police regarding another incident East Jerusalem incident on Friday: The running over of a teenage Palestinian protester in Ras Al-Amud by a police vehicle. Below is a  full translation of the article, with the photos at bottom.


Hit and whitewash

Ronnie Shaked and Yaron Doron, Yediot, March 14 2010 [page 6; Hebrew original here]

Who really ran over the 14-year-old youth during the demonstrations that took place on Friday in Jerusalem’s Ras el-Amud neighborhood? The police contend that he was hit by a “white Subaru, evidently driven by an Arab,” but the photos shot by Yedioth Ahronoth photographer Atta Awisat expose the truth: the youth is lying underneath the tires of a police vehicle.

When rioting broke out in East Jerusalem prior to Friday morning Arab prayers, police went into action to quell the disturbances. A police vehicle traveling at high speed rushed into one of the streets of the Ras el-Amud neighborhood, in order to catch rock-throwers. En route, the vehicle hit a youth. The police in the vehicle took off in pursuit of rock-throwers, and, after detaining several of them, noticed the youth who had been hit by the vehicle’s rear wheel hobbling away on his injured leg. It later turned out that he sustained a broken foot.

The police arrested the youth, brought him to the Russian Compound and contacted his family. “Your son is under arrest and injured,” family members were told. “Come down to the station to pick him up and take him to the hospital,” the police said. The youth’s uncle, Jamil, arrived at the station. “I entered shed No. 4, and found my nephew sitting on the floor,” the uncle said yesterday. “The investigator asked me to lift him, place him on a chair and bring him into the interrogation room. I did what the policeman asked, and he allowed me to be present during questioning,” Jamil said.

During the questioning, the youth denied throwing stones. “It was a coincidence that I was on that street,” the youth said. “A white vehicle came along very fast and hit me. The police arrested me and brought me to the Russian Compound,” the youth said.

The uncle, who was not yet aware that it was a police vehicle that had hit his nephew, asked the investigator why the police hadn’t stopped the car and attempted to identify it. He claimed that the police officer said, “We were in the middle of operational activity, and during a war we’re not interested in motor vehicle accidents, but rather the mission itself.” The investigator asked the uncle to take the youth to the hospital, and said, “because he’s injured, we won’t arrest him.” According to the uncle, when he asked why the police didn’t take the youth for medical treatment, the investigator answered, We were in the middle of a skirmish, and didn’t notice that he was injured.” From the police station, the youth was taken to Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital. An x-ray showed that he had a broken foot, which was put in a cast.

The photos taken by the Yedioth Ahronoth photographer clearly indicate that the youth was hit by a police vehicle, but the police assert that this is not the case. According to the uncle, the police at the station told him that he was hit by “a fast-traveling white vehicle, which then fled the scene.” One detail in this description is correct: it was a white vehicle. But there’s no denying that it was a police vehicle, according to the license plate.

In an official response, the police said: “The youth, together with several other Arab youths, were throwing stones at Border Police. In his statement to the police, the youth said he was hit by a white Subaru, evidently driven by an Arab. The vehicle fled the scene of the accident. When the youth pointed out to the investigators his minor injuries, he was released for medical treatment at the hospital.” The police also say they are looking for the driver of the vehicle in question.

Yedioth Ahronoth again contacted the police, saying they had solid evidence that the youth had been, in fact, hit by a police vehicle. But police are sticking to their story that it is falsified evidence, intended to heat up an already exacerbated situation. Is the evidence faked? The photos on these pages speak for themselves.

Categories: Impunity, Jerusalem

Einat Weizman: A Jewish and demographic state

March 15, 2010 3 comments

Einat Weizman is an actress living in Tel Aviv. She has a Masters in Culture Research and Political Communications from Tel Aviv University and writes regularly for Maariv.


DNA politics

[Hebrew version here.]

Earlier this month (on March 3 2010) an expanded panel of High Court of Justice judges debated the petition against the “Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law (Temporary Provision).” This is a “temporary provision” that for the past eight years, hour after hour, has been preventing Israeli citizens from being united with their spouses who are residents of the West Bank and Gaza, by barring the latter from entering Israel and residing therein.  The law, which the court refrained from disqualifying in the past on the grounds that it serves a “temporary security purpose,” is presented as security legislation, but it is not intended to protect the residents of Israel against enemy attacks. Its purpose is to protect the vision of the Jewish state against the “demographic threat.”

This is part of the ethno-biological war that the state is waging, in which law and bureaucracy serve as the main weapons. In addition to the many people who have been directly harmed by this war, Israeli democracy can also be counted as one of its victims. The law illustrates in practice the inherent tension in the oxymoronic term “Jewish and democratic state.” In the clash between the two, the legislator has revealed that he prefers a Jewish and demographic state, and to hell with democracy.

In order to soften the long-standing temporary provision, it includes a framework for recognizing irregular cases-a “humanitarian committee,” intended to determine which of the married couples does not pose a danger to the state. But even this “humanitarian” exception shows the ethno-biological significance underlying this legislation, since the few who receive the sought-after permit to stay in Israel are usually ill and elderly people, so that only Palestinians who are incapable of producing offspring are entitled to reside in our midst. All the others are free to fulfill their love-but not in the state of the Jews.

The greatest threat that the law seeks to protect against is not the threat posed by the Palestinians who wish to be unified with their loved ones, but rather the threat posed by their potential offspring, who might, heaven forbid, exercise their rights and even vote. In order to prevent the realization of this horrific vision, the vision of democracy, the law tries to ensure that such children will not be born.

This law, like many others, illustrates the fact that the entire issue of marriage in Israel is subjugated to demographic thinking. This is an attempt by the state to control biology. It is expressed not only in mobilizing the law to protect against the threat posed by the Palestinian womb. In a state that wages battle in the field of biology, it is not surprising that the issue of fertility treatments, genetic fertilization and fetal tissue treatments is one of the most advanced in the world. The Citizenship Law, which was written and intended for the Palestinian population, is only part of an entire legal-technological complex aimed at the political manufacturing of nationality.

This is the flip side of the politics dealing with death and who should be killed, the politics of life-which life the state wishes to create and which life it seeks to prevent. The demographic war is a known matter, but it does not end with the numerical balance between Jews and non-Jews. A key element lies in the effort to prevent the creation of “hybrids,” Jewish-Arabs or Arab-Jews.

For the most part, the Israeli citizens who have been separated by the temporary provision from their family members in the West Bank or Gaza, are Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship (“Israeli Arabs”). But in some cases, this refers to mixed couples who have been waiting for many years for approval of family unification. These are usually Jewish women who fell in love with Palestinian men, and wander from one ministry to another in the hope of winning the state’s approval for a unification that is “out of the question.”

The policy of separation is not only walls that rise several meters high, but also microscopic walls that are built by the state at the level of the chromosomes of DNA. Alongside with the restrictions on Jews marrying non-Jews, the state is working to separate them from their closest neighbors and from their genetic codes, and actually trying to keep them from an exciting and attainable resolution to years of conflict. If, after more than a hundred years of Zionism, it would allow the freedom to create a new, mixed nation, that nation’s demands would be completely different and would require different politics, and a different situation.

Photo: Alon Schuster