The Last White Helmet Of Idlib

ٍSouth Front

05.02.2020 

Israeli media are celebrating.

Asghar Bashpour, a top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its assassinated leader, Qassem Soleimani, has reportedly died in battle in Syria. Bashpour, who was overseeing Iranian operations in Aleppo, was killed at the forefront of clashes against “opposition forces” on February 3, reports said.

Israel has long been on the side of ISIS and al-Qaeda freedom fighters battling the oppressive Assad regime and Iran. At the end of the day, Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly said that Iranian entrenchment inside Syria is ultimately aimed at harming Israeli security and interests, while, it must be noted, the ISIS offshoot, that has for years existed just meters away from the Israeli-controlled Golan Height, hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israeli troops. Now that ISIS is defeated, the sole democracy of the Middle East is in danger.

However, there are even more clouds hanging over the region.

Late on February 4, Assad forces broke through the defenses of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Turkistan Islamic Party and their colleagues southeast of Saraqib and captured over 110km2, including the villages of Sheikh Edris, Balisah and Kafr Amim. Nearby Turkish observation posts observed this with tears in their eyes. Ankara just declared that its military had delivered a devastating blow to the regime with dozens of strikes. Turkish troops just did not expect such a cowardly attack from the defeated pro-government forces.

Fortunately, Mr. Recep Erdogan promised that his country would not allow the regime to gain more territory in Idlib. He is probably planning to flood the Saraqib-Tal Toqan road, Afs, Resafa and Sarmin with Turkish troops who will thus gain the opportunity to sacrifice their health and even their lives protecting innocent al-Qaeda members hiding in Saraqib from Assad’s aggression. A minor flaw in this approach is that the Syrian Army, supported by the Russians, can advance from more than one direction, and the danger may come from the north. What a cunning plan!

So, forces of law and order should unite to protect Idlib rebels and their leaders, and they are doing so. The United States, France and the United Kingdom called for a United Nations Security Council session to condemn the unreasonable aggression perpetrated against the al-Qaeda book club in Idlib. On top of that, the United States employed its most powerful weapon. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus, which incidentally is located outside of Syria, changed its cover photo to demonstrate a strong determination to oppose “the continued, unjustifiable, and ruthless assaults on the people of Idlib by the Assad regime, Russia, Iran, and Hizballah”.

But that’s not going far enough. To demonstrate solidarity with the Idlib peace activists, US diplomats, including Mike Pompeo and Kelly Craft, should wear white helmets and carry little black flags during all briefings and events related to the conflict in Syria. Mr. Pompeo himself could visit the city of freedom, Idlib, where he could take the opportunity to drink a cup of tea with leaders of all these groups and organizations which the State Department supports so fiercely. For sure, members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham will be glad to hear Pompeo’s explanations for the nebulosity of the US approach towards them. It is a bit unclear why the US officially recognizes them as terrorists, when its diplomacy is aimed at supporting them.

Last but not least, the US, France and the UK can accept as refugees all these Idlib freedom fighters whom they support so that they will no longer be oppressed by the Assad regime but can enjoy real democracy.

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

 

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

انكشاف المرشّحين العرب في انتخابات «الكنيست»: طلب المقاعد ولو بـ«الأسرلة»!

لم يدرك قادة الأحزاب العربية أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان (أ ف ب )

دخلت إسرائيل، منذ يوم أمس، مرحلة الصمت الانتخابي قبيل انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22» التي تجري غداً. صمتٌ تبدو فائدته الوحيدة في أنه لجم ألسنة المرشحين العرب الذين دأبوا على إطلاق تصريحات معيبة، بدءاً من إبدائهم استعدادهم للتحالف مع جنرالات الحرب وجزّاريها، وصولاً إلى دعوتهم مَن يرفضون «اللعبة الديمقراطية» من الفلسطينيين إلى أن «يهجّوا من البلاد»! كلّ هذا في كفّة، والحملات الدعائية التي تقودها جمعيات مدعومة من اللوبيات الأميركية في كفّة ثانية.

«نحن أبناء الأقلية العربية، المواطنين في هذه الدولة، علينا ممارسة حقنا في الاقتراع وإسقاط الفاشي بيبي (رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو)، وأن نمنح الثقة للقائمة العربية المشتركة التي ستعرض قضايانا في الكنيست، صارخةً بأعلى الصوت لاستحصال حقوقنا وحمايتنا ضد جرائم العنف، ولتحسين الأحوال الاقتصادية الصعبة، ولمنع هدم بيوتنا…». ما سبق هو خلاصة التنظير الذي مارسه دعاة التصويت في انتخابات «الكنيست الـ22». تنظير يعودٌ بالذاكرة إلى مرحلة (في العقد الأول بعد النكبة) كان فيها كوادر الأحزاب «الحريدية» يتجولون في قرى الجليل، وخاصة في معاقل «الحزب الشيوعي»، داعين الأهالي إلى عدم التصويت للأخير الذي هو في نظرهم «مجموعة كفّار وملحدين»، فيما الأحزاب الدينية اليهودية «تؤمن بالله، وذلك سبب كافٍ لتستحق أصوات العرب»، وفق ما يروي كبار السن.

العبرة من تلك الرواية أن النظام الاستعماري العنصري عامل فلسطينيي الـ48، ولا يزال، على أساس نظرة دونية تُصنّفهم كمتخلّفين ومحدودي الإدراك وفاقدي القدرة على تحديد مصيرهم. المفارقة اليوم أن مَن ينتهجون هذا النهج قيادات «القائمة العربية المشتركة» التي يقف على رأسها مَن يدعو صراحة إلى التحالف مع «جزّار الحرب في غزة» (بني غانتس) بذريعة إسقاط نتنياهو، فيما تكاد الفروقات تكون معدومة بين المتنافسَين. أما ما قاله المرشح منصور عباس، قبل أيام، خلال اجتماع انتخابي موثق بالصوت والصورة، من أنه «يؤيد المقاطعين ويكنّ لهم الاحترام، ولكن في هذه المرحلة من لا يريد المشاركة في اللعبة الديمقراطية عليه أن يسلّم هويته ويرحل»، فيُذكّر بشعار حملة «إسرائيل بيتنا»: «لا انتماء لا مواطنة». هكذا، ينسف عباس، الذي اعترف قبل بضعة أشهر بتلقي «المشتركة» المال السياسي من «الشرق والغرب»، هو وعودة وغيرهما، الخطاب الوطني الذي أخذ منحىً تطبيقياً منذ أواخر الستينيات، ليبلغ أسمى مرحلة له في بداية الألفية الثانية، قبل أن يتهاوى تدريجاً ليأتي اليوم من يحمل خطاب «الأسرلة»، ويحثّ على تقبّلها كـ«قدر حتمي».

الجمعيات المشبوهة: يدٌ يمنى للأحزاب

منذ فشل نتنياهو في تشكيل الحكومة عقب الانتخابات الأخيرة، ومن ثم حلّ «الكنيست» والتوجه إلى جولة إعادة، وجدت «المشتركة» التي كانت قد تفتّتت وخسرت ثلاثة مقاعد برلمانية فرصة جديدة لإعادة توحيد صفوفها، علّها تستعيد ما خسرته. لم يدرك قادة هذه الأحزاب أن ما خسروه إنما هو ثقة فلسطينيّي الـ48 بهم، وبنتائج «نضالهم السياسي» في البرلمان، الذي ثبت أنه بلا تأثير يذكر؛ إذ إنه لم يفلح في الحدّ من جرائم العنف التي راح ضحيتها منذ عام 2000 إلى الآن أكثر من 1170 قتيلاً، كذلك فإنه لم يستطع إيقاف هدم بيت واحد من بين 50 ألف بيت عربي مهدّدة بالهدم، أو إحقاق المساواة غير المشروطة، بل إنه في عهد «المشتركة» سُنّت عشرات القوانين العنصرية، وعلى رأسها «قانون القومية».
على هذه الخلفية، يبدو واضحاً، منذ ما لا يقلّ عن شهرين، أن فلسطينيّي الـ48 يميلون إلى خيار مقاطعة الانتخابات. خيارٌ، إن لم يكن الدافع إليه تأييد أصل المقاطعة، فهو الرغبة في معاقبة الأحزاب العربية، أو اليأس من الحالة السياسية العامة. ولذلك، سارعت الأحزاب العربية إلى إعادة تحالفها، مستنفرةً ما بقي من كوادرها لعقد مهرجانات انتخابية داخل البلدات والمدن، من دون أن ينجح كل هذا الجهد في تغيير استطلاعات الرأي التي كانت تشير في معظمها إلى أن «المشتركة» ستحافظ على مقاعدها الـ10، أو في أحسن الأحوال ستزيدها واحداً.

اللافت أن «المشتركة» لم ترتدع عن استخدام أيّ أسلوب في محاولتها تعبئة الناخبين. نموذجٌ من ذلك أنها نشرت لافتاتها على أساس مناطقي وطائفي. ففي مدينة أم الفحم مثلاً، ارتفعت صور المرشح الإسلامي منصور عباس، أما في حيفا، فبرزت صور المرشحَين المسيحيَّين عايدة توما – سليمان وإمطانس شحادة. اللافت أيضاً، أن عشرات الجمعيات الداعية إلى «العيش المشترك» بين العرب واليهود ضخّت، على مدى الشهرين الماضيين، كمية هائلة من الإعلانات الموجّهة والمدفوعة الثمن على وسائل الإعلام ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي، بهدف تضليل الرأي العام ودفع العرب إلى التصويت، على قاعدة أنه «مش مهم لمين تصوّت. المهم تصوّت». ويقف على رأس تلك الحملات أشخاص محسوبون على أحزاب «المشتركة» أو أعضاء فيها، وآخرون مقربون من أحزاب اليسار ويسار الوسط الإسرائيليَّين. ولم يقتصر عمل هؤلاء على وسائل الإعلام، بل إنهم نزلوا إلى الأرض، حيث تجوّلوا بلباس حملاتهم لجمع أكبر قدر من «التعهدات» بالتصويت. حتى إن الممثل هشام سليمان ظهر في شريط إعلاني، واضعاً سبّابته على فمه وقائلاً لمن لا يريد المشاركة في التصويت: «هُش»! علماً أن سليمان، الذي شارك في مسلسل «فوضى» الصهيوني مؤدّياً دور «أبو أحمد» (القيادي الأسير في حماس إبراهيم حامد)، هو من مؤيّدي تجنّد شباب الـ48 في جيش الاحتلال.

تفتقر الحملات إلى الخطاب الوطني، وتعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»

يُضاف إلى سليمان «نشطاء» آخرون لم يمانعوا «قبول تمويل من بعض الأحزاب الصهيونية، ومن الجاليات اليهودية في أميركا، بهدف إنقاذ ديمقراطية إسرائيل، وتعزيز حظوظ حزب أزرق أبيض، بعدما خرّب نتنياهو علاقة يهود إسرائيل بيهود الولايات المتحدة»، وفق ما يقول مصدر مطلع لـ«الأخبار»، وهو ما اعترف به منسّق حملة «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين»، رئيس جمعية «التخطيط البديل» سامر سويد، في مقابلة مع «راديو مكان» الإسرائيلي. الحملة المذكورة، التي تقف خلفها سبع جمعيات، تعرّف نفسها بـ«التزام الحياد»، و«عدم الانحياز لرأي»، و«الالتزام بالأنظمة وفق قانون الجمعيات»، إلا أن مدير «المؤسسة العربية لحقوق الإنسان»، التي أدارت «حركة حق الشبابية» التي خُنقَت ومُنع التمويل عنها بسبب تأييدها حركة المقاطعة العالمية، محمد زيدان، يرى أن السبب الأهم لعدم كشف «17/9 هاي المرّة مصوّتين» (التي سرقت نشيد «إضرب والريح تصيح» للمنشد اللبناني علي العطار وأسقطت عليه كلمات «صوّت والريح تصيح») مصادر تمويلها (الذي بلغ ملايين الشواكل) «أنهم يعملون وفق قواعد وضرورات قانون مصدر التمويل السري حتى الآن». وترفض الجمعيات والمنظمات العربية الكشف عن مصادر تمويلها في الوقت الحالي، على رغم أنه بحسب القانون يجب عليها تقديم الكشوفات المالية لمسجّل الجمعيات في إسرائيل.

فضلاً عما تقدم، انتشرت، منذ أسبوع، لافتات في عدة مدن فلسطينية أساسية، تدعو الأهالي إلى المشاركة في استفتاءات رأي تُنظَّم عند مداخل المدارس ومراكز الاقتراع. وتقف وراء تلك اللافتات جمعيات مموّلة من المصادر نفسها، تستخدم الأسلوب الذي استُخدم في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية الأخيرة، المعروف بـ«المصيدة»، الذي يستهدف الواقفين على الحياد وغير الراغبين في التصويت. وتستغلّ الجمعيات، في أسلوبها هذا مواضيع تشغل الناس، كـ«الهوائيات المسببة للسرطان، والبنى التحتية، والخدمات الصحية والاجتماعية…»، من أجل جذبهم إلى أماكن الاستفتاءات حيث يجري «اصطيادهم» لإقناعهم بالتصويت.

بالنتيجة، تعكس حملات الأحزاب العربية الضحالة الفكرية لمن يقفون خلفها، وافتقارهم إلى الخطاب الوطني في حدّه الأدنى. كذلك فإنها تعكس حجم المأزق الذي تعيشه «المشتركة»، التي ربما رفعت بأساليبها عدد المصوّتين الفلسطينيين للأحزاب الصهيونية من 130 ألفاً إلى أكثر من 150 ألفاً.

«سيدي الرئيس… أنا جندي تعيس»

استخدم حزب «أزرق أبيض»، النائبة المرشحة عن الدروز ضمن قائمته غدير مريح، للتوجه إلى الناخبين العرب عموماً والدروز خصوصاً. إذ أنتجت الماكينة الإعلامية للحزب شريط فيديو يبدأ بتوجيه العتب إلى رئيس الوزراء، بنيامين نتنياهو، وفق نمط أغنية «سيدي الرئيس» التي أنتجتها شركة «زين» الكويتية في رمضان الماضي، وينتهي بظهور مريح وكأنها المخلّص أو المنقذ الذي سيحقق العدل والمساواة، ويعيد للخادم العربي في جيش الاحتلال «إسرائيليّته»، علماً بأن الخادمين في الجيش (من الدروز وغيرهم) عانوا من السياسات العنصرية عينها التي عاناها أقرانهم غير الخادمين ورافضو خطاب الأسرلة. وأثارت الأغنية، التي حملت عنوان «لأننا إسرائيليون»، ردود فعل كثيرة؛ لعلّ أبرزها ما نُشر في صفحة الدروز الرافضين لقانون القومية، حيث كتب أحدهم: «كان بإمكان حزب أزرق أبيض أن يمنع قانون القومية، غير أن مسؤوليه كانوا أول من خطّوا النص». وأضاف: «لا اختلاف بين الفرق الكشفية، لا أريد إرسال ابني للكشاف ولا للجيش ليحرس إيتمار بن جفير (النائب اليميني في حزب «قوة يهودية») يوم السبت، بينما يدرّب أبناؤه المستوطنين».

حتى «الأرزّ»… وسيلةً للدعاية!

من بين الحملات المشاركة في الدعاية «العربية» في الانتخابات الإسرائيلية، حملة «معاً للأبحاث» التي تقول إنها تضمّ «مجموعة غير سياسية وغير حزبية من الباحثين»، علماً بأن صفحتها على «فايسبوك» لا تحتوي أثراً لتلك الأبحاث، بقدر ما تبثّ دعوات متواصلة للعرب إلى التصويت. إلى جانبها حملة «صوتك مستقبلك» التي تتلقى الدعم المادي من المصادر المشبوهة نفسها التي اعترف بها سويد وعباس، والهدف منها هو «دعم الجهود الوطنية لزيادة التصويت عند العرب». هناك أيضاً حملة «نقف معاً»، التي تعرّف عن نفسها بالقول: «شركاء وشريكات من كل أنحاء البلاد ــــ شباباً وشيباً، يهوداً وعرباً، نساءً ورجالاً، من المركز ومن الأرياف ــــ انتظموا معاً بإرادتهم الحرة لكي يعملوا معاً بشراكة»، وهي تدعو إلى التصويت على قاعدة «المهم تصوّت». أما حملة «أنا امرأة… أنا أنتخب» فتقف من خلفها بحسب الرصد الذي أجراه زيدان «جمعية نسوية» مجهولة الهوية، وتستبطن شعاراتها استغلالاً واضحاً لقضية العنف ضد النساء من أجل دفعهنّ إلى التصويت، وكأن من «لا تصوّت حتماً ستقتل». وإلى جانب ما تقدم، يشار إلى «حملة بدنا نصوّت» المدعومة من شركة إعلامية وتجارية تحمل صور ممثلين وشخصيات، وتدعو الناس إلى التصويت بحجة أنه «اجتك كمان فرصة، المهم تصوّت، مش مهم لمين». حتى مصنع «أرز تلس» انضمّ إلى تلك الجوقة، إذ بثّ إعلاناً عبر الإذاعات المحلية، تخبر فيه امرأة زوجها أنها مدعوّة إلى تناول المنسف المصنوع من «أرز تلس»، ليجيب الزوج بالقول: «ما دمت معزومة ع منسف من أرز التلس، باجي معك وبصوت لجماعة أهلك».

 

Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep

Image result for Israel’s Hands Spread Wide and Dig Deep
Brian Cloughley
August 6, 2019
© Photo: Flickr / Official Photo by Caleb Smith

In the US House of Representatives on 23 July there was an overwhelming vote condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement which has the objective of encouraging the government of Israel to meet “its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully comply with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”

There is nothing morally or legally questionable in any of these aims.  But the United States Congress does not concern itself with morality or legality if these are inconsistent with its policy concerning Israel, which, as enunciated by Representative Lee Zeldin of New York, is based on the conviction that “Israel is our best ally in the Mid East; a beacon of hope, freedom & liberty, surrounded by existential threats.”  Fox News reported that the condemnatory resolution “has been pushed by AIPAC, the influential Israel lobby in Washington,” which explains a great deal, as AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a very powerful organisation, with deep pockets and wide-spreading hands.

In February 2019 The Intercept noted  that “AIPAC, on its own website, recruits members to join its ‘Congressional Club,’ and commit to give at least $5,000 per election cycle.” In a film called The Lobby “Eric Gallagher, a top official at AIPAC from 2010 to 2015, tells an Al Jazeera reporter that AIPAC gets results.”  A secret recording revealed that “Getting $38 billion in security aid to Israel matters, which is what AIPAC just did. Everything AIPAC does is focused on influencing Congress.”

And AIPAC influences Congress and other agencies extremely efficiently, even to the extent of managing to have Al Jazeera refrain from broadcasting the US-focused version of The Lobby.The Director of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, Clayton Swisher, said that pressure included “pro-Israel lobbyists in Washington threatening to convince Congress to register the network as ‘foreign agents,’ and false accusations of anti-Semitism against the producers of the documentary.”  That’s all you need:  the mere mention of anti-Semitism makes everyone suck their teeth, roll their eyes, and leap out of the way.

It so happened that the day before Congress condemned an initiative aimed at having Israel recognise the rights of Palestinians and abide by international law, the Israelis carried out an operation of destruction that was specifically aimed against the rights of Palestinians and was contrary to international law.  As the BBC reported, it involved 200 Israeli soldiers and 700 police, weapons at the ready, deploying to the Palestinian village of Wadi Hummus at 4 in the morning of July 22, along with bulldozers and excavators that proceeded to destroy Palestinian homes.

There wasn’t a word of objection from the US Administration whose Tweeter-in-Chief had made his views on Israel crystal-clear on 16 July when he announced that the four non-white female Members of Congress whom he loathes to the point of psychosis are “a bunch of Communists [who] hate Israel.”  Moreover, they “talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of   thugs, not victims of the entire region.”  On the other hand, the European Union stated that “Israel’s settlement policy, including actions taken in that context, such as forced transfers, evictions, demolitions and confiscations of homes, is illegal under international law. In line with the EU’s long-standing position, we expect the Israeli authorities to immediately halt the ongoing demolitions.”  Fat chance of that — just as there is no possibility that the United states or the United Kingdom will support pursuit of international law when it is violated by Israel.

Britain is on its way out of the European Union, so has no say in EU policy, but in any case it wouldn’t agree about criticism of Israel because the governing Conservative Party fosters an organisation called ‘Conservative Friends of Israel’ (CFI) whose members constitute some eighty per cent of Conservative Members of Parliament.

Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump-loving new prime minister, is a fervid supporter of CFI which supported him in his bid to be head of the Conservative party. On 23 July, after his selection to be leader and thus prime minister, the CFI’s Chairmen, Stephen Crabb MP and Lord Pickles, and Honorary President Lord Polak declared that “From his refusal to boycott Israeli goods in his time as Mayor of London through to his instrumental role as Foreign Secretary…  Boris has a long history of standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel and the Jewish community. Mr Johnson continued to display his resolute support… reiterating his deep support for Israel and pledging to be a champion for Jews in Britain and around the world.”

One of Johnson’s first ministerial appointments was of Ms Priti Patel to be Home Secretary. She had resigned from the Cabinet of PM Theresa May in November 2017 because it had been discovered that she had been telling lies, which wasn’t in itself unusual, but the circumstances were intriguing.  As the BBC headlined about the then head of International Development :  “Priti Patel quits cabinet over Israel meetings row” which involved her apologising to the prime minister “after unauthorised meetings in August with Israeli politicians — including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — came to light. But it later emerged she had two further meetings without government officials present in September.”  Not only that, but in a media interview “she gave the false impression that the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, and the Foreign Office knew about her meetings in Israel.”

It’s one of these irregular verbs which were met with much laughter during the marvellous BBC series ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ — ‘I make a misstatement;  she gives a false impression;  he is in prison for telling lies.’

And it was decidedly strange that the egregious Lord Polak, he of the statement that Boris Johnson stands “shoulder to shoulder with Israel” accompanied Patel at 13 of her 14 meetings with Israeli officials during August and September. What on earth could have been going on?

Of course she had no reason to worry about having to resign for telling lies, because at the time of her disgrace Boris Johnson told the BBC that “Priti Patel has been a very good colleague and friend for a long time and a first class secretary of state for international development. It’s been a real pleasure working with her and I’m sure she has a great future ahead of her.”  The man has the gift of prophecy.

Then Johnson appointed Michael Gove to his Cabinet as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a weird appointment that gives a lot of power and very little responsibility. Gove had been demonstrably disloyal to Johnson during the first leadership struggle, in what the Daily Telegraph called a “spectacular act of treachery” but all was forgiven because, as recorded approvingly by the Conservative Friends of Israel he believes that anti-Zionism and antisemitism are “two sides of the same coin”, which means that anybody who criticises Israel’s nationalistic persecution of Palestinians is an anti-Semite. He believes that “the test for any civilised society is whether it stands with the Jewish people, and whether it stands with Israel. It is a pleasure to stand with the Jewish people. It is a duty to stand with Israel.”

The Palestinians are not going to get one tiny bit of support from either the United States or Britain when their houses are bulldozed to rubble.  They can expect no criticism from Washington or London when their children are killed in Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

The West Bank of the Jordan River, between Israel and Jordan, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Then it annexed East Jerusalem. Both areas are defined in international law as occupied territory.  Although this is ignored by the US and Britain it was intriguing that in a minor but telling legal finding in Canada on 30 July, a judge ruled that wines made in Jewish settlements in the West Bank should not carry labels that say “Product of Israel” because of course the settlements are built on Palestinian land.

But there’s no point in telling that to the Israeli-supporting wine connoisseur Donald Trump or the US Congress or any member of Britain’s governing Conservative party, because international law means nothing when there are other priorities.

Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible

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Are Democracy and Despotic Racism Compatible? An Analysis (12 April 2019) by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Israeli Model and Its American Supporters

On 25 February 2019, the Jewish American publication Forward, printed a remarkable opinion piece by Joshua Leifer. Leifer, who had worked in Israel for the anti-establishment +972 Magazine, is currently an associate editor ofDissent. His piece in the Forward was entitled “Wake Up, American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism for Years.”

Leifer begins by saying that the Israeli rightwing political parties have always been racist, though there was a time, back in the 1980s, when they objected to being too upfront about this. Thus, for the sake of public relations, they held their violent and despotic fringe—the Kahanists—at arm’s length. As Leifer puts it, what was frowned upon was the style rather than the substance of “explicit, violent racism.” That objection is now gone. The goal of a “Jewish supremacist state” is out in the open—an explicit political goal. And the Palestinians, including those who are Israeli citizens, are to be condemned to “forever live subjugated under military occupation, confined to isolated Bantustans, or … expelled.” Those Jews, both Israelis and diaspora Jews, who object to this process will be labeled as “traitors.”

Having established these facts on the ground, Leifer asks “how has the American Jewish establishment responded?” His answer is, they have either been silent or, more often, have actively sought to enable the power of Israel’s despotic racism. They have cooperated with, lobbied for, and raised money to underpin Israel’s racist policies. Of course, a Zionist is sure to assert that the lobbying and money are pursued for the sake of Israeli security. Yet, today’s Israeli leaders don’t define security, with the possible exceptions of Gaza and the Lebanese frontier, in terms of borders. Instead security is defined in terms of achieving and maintaining Jewish supremacy in all territory under Zionist control. This is why all of Israel’s Zionist parties have pledged never to include the token number of Arabs in the Knesset in a governing coalition.

In their effort to support Zionist Israel, America’s establishment Jewish leaders have proven themselves willing to undermine the constitutional freedoms of their own native country, as has been the case with their relentless attacks on the right of free speech as practiced in the boycott Israel movement—BDS. In the end, there can be no more convincing proof that these organizations serve as de facto agents of a foreign power, than to see how their leadership willingly discards the modern principles of civil and human rights found in the U.S. Constitution—to say nothing of international law—in order to support a state that openly pursues apartheid ends.

Leifer offers two possible reasons for why establishment Jewish organizations in the U.S. have chosen this path. The first possibility is “willful ignorance,” that is, a psychological inability to face the truth about a state that they, as American Jewish leaders, have always seen as an ultimate haven if a new Holocaust threat arises. The second possibility is that the leadership of the American Jewish organizations are themselves conscious racists when it comes to a Jewish supremacist state. According to Leifer, “No one exemplifies this better than Ambassador David Friedman, whose rhetoric—calling JStreet “worse than kapos”—mirrors the kind of rhetoric popular on the Israeli right.”

Part II—Racism Beyond the Israeli Right

This is a strong, and quite searing, condemnation of Israeli society and its American Jewish allies. Still, things can and do get worse. On 4 April 2019 the British anti-Zionist Jewish writer Tony Greenstein posted an essay entitled “There Is Nothing That Netanyahu Has Done That Labour Zionism Didn’t Do Before Him.” Greenstein begins by citing an 11 March 2019 piecein Haaretz written by Amira Haas, one of the few prominent non-Zionist Jewish journalists still working in Israel. Haas draws attention to the fact that “when Israeli governments in the 1960s and 1970s worked hard to steal Palestinian land while quoting God’s promises to atheists, they paved the way for parties promoting Jewish supremacy.” Thus, as Greenstein puts it: “It is often forgotten that it wasn’t Likud but the Israeli Labour Alignment which helped to launch the settler movement.” The remorseless absorption of Palestinian land and the oppressive treatment of its native population is not the work solely of the Israeli right wing. From the beginning, all of the major Zionist political parties, left and right, supported these policies as a way of fulfilling Zionist destiny.

Haas is unflinching in her characterization of their actions. For her, this “racist messianism” smacks of the policy of “Lebensraum” or “the urge to create living space.” Haas goes on to lament the fact that “we thought that in the end, the heads of the Labour movement would learn from the expansionist impulses of other nations. After all, they were the sons and brothers of the victims of Lebensraum.” In other words, at least in this policy of expansion and expulsion, all Israeli governing coalitions have adopted behaviors toward the Palestinians reminiscent of those practiced by the persecutors of Europe’s Jews.

Part III—The Question Answered

Considering that Israel and its supporters often proclaim that it is a Western-style democracy, and given the bit of history laid out above, we can ask if democracy and racist despotism can in fact be compatible. And, while the example of Israel serves as our backdrop for this query, we can consider the question generically. Can any democracy prove compatible with racist despotism?

Historically, the answer is an obvious yes. All that needs to happen is that a powerful group within the nation identifies itself as a privileged elite and reserves democratic procedures and privileges for itself, while condemning others to discrimination, segregation, or worse. Again, this posture has nothing to do with Jewishness. Any ethnicity or self-identified group can adopt it—based on color, religion, gender, or something else. The much-idealized ancient democracy of Athens did it based on gender and citizenship linked to birth.The United States ran as a selective democracy/racist despotism that practiced slavery until the middle of the 19th century while statutory discrimination persisted until the 1960s. Recent events indicate a revival of virulent white supremacism.

If there is a remedy to this it is in the rule of law functioning as an enforced regulatory process—one linked to a tenets of human rights. The U.S. Bill of Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are good, if incomplete models. Politics, including democratic politics, has to be constitutionally regulated to assure equity (much like economies), and the regulations have to be applied consistently until they become ingrained as natural expectations within the consciousness of the citizenry. This probably requires generations of equalitarian practice. And, even then, what you achieve is the minimizing of the infiltration of corruptive bias, and other such variants corrosive of genuine democracy, into the system. The truth is that you probably cannot eliminate the threat altogether.

Getting back to Israel: under the present circumstances, there is no reason to believe that the outcome of the recent 9 April 2019 Israeli elections would have changed the fate of either the the country’s Jews or the Palestinians. And, now that we know that Benjamin Netanyahu and his rightwing Likud Party will lead the next coalition government, it is certain that the illegal Zionist colonization of the West Bank, and its accompanying oppression, will continue apace. This, by the way, is simply the maintenance of a long-standing status quo—a conscious policy in its own right. And, it is a policy that reflects the fact that “for years, most Israelis have passively or actively allowed values of equality, justice, and yes, peace, to go by the wayside.”

So what is the legacy of Zionism? Is it the establishment of a genuine democracy in the Middle East? Is it even the realization of a haven for the world’s Jews against the next Holocaust? No, it is neither of these. It is rather the melding of an elitist pseudo-democracy with racist despotism—the realization of an elitist fortress from which Israel maintains distinctly undemocratic control of a hinterland full of conquered people. To paraphrase the odious Israeli Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, this whole setup smells nothing like democracy. It smells to me like fascism.

About Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Palestine Report: Israeli Elections 2019

April 09, 2019

by Lynda Burstein Brayer for The Saker Blog

In Israel today, April 9, 2019, out of a population of approximately 8,452,841 million people, 6.3 million people have the right to vote at one of the 10,000 voting stations prepared for their convenience. The voting is executed with paper votes with voting slips and envelopes already prepared in the private voting booths. After exiting the booth the envelope is slid into a sealed box. Several people from different parties man each voting station and the possibility of cheating at this level is nil unless a box is lost or destroyed. This year voting cards were not distributed to the population but rather the information regarding the voting station for each person was to be found on line after entering one’s ID number. All Israelis carry identity cards which are used to access any and all information that the authorities or they themselves might need, particularly services provided by the state, such as national insurance, health insurance, driving licenses and any and all sundry services provided within the private sector, particularly subscriptions, and credit card services, and voting stations! In America the obligatory carrying of an ID card is a hugely controversial issue concerning freedom and privacy discussed under the rubric of “big brother is watching you,” but after Snowden it surely must have less traction. Be that as it may, ID’s are a matter of course in Israel and for many services provides a short cut towards availability. In addition, and probably not surprisingly, seeing as Israel is at the forefront of this field and the fact that its army is totally dependent on such services, the digital networks and services available in Israel are not only extensive but extremely efficient, providing instant information the access to which can be made by individuals without having to go to government offices or any other public office. There is also no discrimination whatsoever in these services.

The Israeli electoral system is proportional in practice to reflect proportional representation. There are no constituencies nor is there division of the country into separate voting areas. It is national and unified in its scope. The problem with this system is that it gives rise to a multiplicity of parties because there is never a clear-cut winner, such as in the two-party system. In the past there were sometimes more than twelve parties sitting in the Knesset at one time and governments have always had to be formed through coalitions, a situation which continues to prevail today, often giving the smallest party enormous power over a much larger party, enabling it to extract power quite out of proportion to its actual representation of the general public. Therefore, once again, a new law was passed which qualifies this carte blanche freedom. The law provides a caveat in the form of a proportional threshold which each party has to overcome in order to enter the Knesset. After the counting of the votes and the registration of invalid votes, the percentage of the votes can be calculated, that is, the minimum number of votes required for the party to enter the Knesset. The electoral threshold in the elections to the 21st Knesset stands at 3.25% of the valid votes, and ensures that parties with less than four seats will not be seated in the Knesset.

This latest caveat was introduced originally in order to block the smaller Arab parties from entering the Knesset, but then the Arabs wised up and formed a “Joint List” combining different parties into one party and received thirteen mandates. Ironically today the new Jewish Rightest parties are threatened with extinction by this very law. The Right has undergone several splits in this election, one of the reason for this being the multiplication of ultra-right parties gunning for the annexation of the West Bank and the prevention of the creation of a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state. Another reason lies in the religious-secular divide: the “national religious” sector of the religious Jewish population believing in a Greater Israel as the original gift of God to Jews as per the Torah even until the Tigris and Euphrates River, whilst the secular Jews tend to support the Jewish claim to a Greater Israel as far as the Jordan river on pragmatic grounds, i.e. the Arabs will never accept the Jewish state, so what we can conquer and keep through force we will maintain through force. We cannot expect them to give up their claims. In other words, it is the “might is right” assertion.

I would like to interject a personal opinion at this point. Israel, the Jewish state, has been mired in a situation of political stasis for decades now with regard to the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians. The Palestinians of Israel constitute that native Arab population living in Greater Syria and then Palestine before the Jews took over part of Palestine. The Israelis refer to Palestinians living in Israel as “Israeli Arabs” but they refer to themselves as “Palestinians living in Israel.” The Israelis distinguish between the Palestinians living in Israel, the Palestinians in Gaza, who are not allowed to travel to Israel nor the West bank, the Palestinians living in the West Bank, the Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Palestinians living abroad and the Druze who are Palestinians or Syrians living in the Golan Heights. Before the conquest of Palestine by the Jews, the Druze were merely a heretical Islamic sect located in Greater Syria whose language and traditions were purely Arab although their religion was of an eclecticism such that many did not consider it a legitimate sect of Islam. Israel chose to separate them off from the local Palestinian population and has imposed obligatory military service upon them, an obligation which was not imposed upon the general Palestinian Christian and Moslem populations, but which was actually nixed in the 1950’s because of the enthusiasm of Palestinians to serve in the Israeli army!! This is a system of divide and rule in order to weaken the population – a classical colonial approach refined by the British! As a result of this stasis the Palestinian issue not even appeared on the billboards or in the electoral campaigns except very, very sotto voce– it is the elephant in the room which no Jewish party wishes to tackle. The Meretz party which originally began as a Zionist Leftist party and therefore not so nationalistically inclined, has now “declined” into a real, authentic Jewish Palestinian party which does not shy away from the Palestinian issue although its solution of the conflict via a two-state solution is no longer viable, if it ever was.

Be that as it may this brings me to the electoral campaign as such. I confess that I do not have a television set and have therefore been protected from the uncouth, unchivalrous campaigning in which Netanyahu specializes. He has accused the head of the new Blue-White party (the colors of the Israeli flag and therefore oh, so Zionist Jewish) of being mentally ill – and this despite the man, Bennie Gantz, being a former Chief of Staff under Netanyahu with whom Netanyahu has an excellent working relationship. This accusation probably comes against the background that Netanyahu’s wife, Sarah, is actually mentally disturbed but who nevertheless interferes in all and sundry political affairs despite her total lack of qualifications. The background to this interference was the exposure of an extra-marital affair in the 1990’s of Netanyahu, who, rather than allow the tape recording of the information to go public, took the pre-emptive action of informing the public of the tape, its potential blackmailing capacity, apologizing to his wife, “saving” his marriage and probably, far more importantly for him, saving his political career. It seems to be common knowledge that an agreement was signed between the pair giving her total control of his movements, which we see in the public relations concerning her accompanying him to each and every trip abroad, a habit not common at all with former Israeli prime ministers.

The lack of chivalry in human relations and particularly between rivals is one of the unchanging features of Jewish life everywhere and is accompanied by a lack of the concept of honor, both notions characteristic of European mediaeval culture and of course, the laws of war. What this behavioral and moral lack accomplishes in the relations between Jew and non-Jew, or goy, is to be found in Jewish history, Zionist politics and much else which may be left to the imagination, but naturally nothing positive can be attributed to it. In Israeli politics, the Jew-goy divide materializes in the to-date iron law that no Jewish party, right, left or center, will ever take an Arab party into a coalition.

This lack of chivalry has occurred in other campaigns. On a poster of the Identity party, a new ultra-Right party, displaying a picture of its leader, Moshe Feiglin, a former member of the Likud party, the following was the accompanying text:

Why do more than half of National Insurance Institute expenditures go to the sector responsible for most of the murders, fatal accidents, car thefts, agricultural theft and illegal construction?

This announcement obviously refers to the Palestinians living in Israel. However it is presented tabula rasa of course, with no reference to the reality of lives of these people who constitute twenty percent of the overall population of Israel, being the descendants of the rump population left in the Jewish state following the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians during the War of Liberation [sic] or War of Independence [sic] in 1947-1949. The poster does not mention the police distribution of weapons into this population for the deliberate purpose of causing such problems, nor does he add the qualifying rider that the police are not available in the Palestinian population to serve them. In fact, in the Palestinian area in which I live, known as the little Triangle, the only official police station where one can lodge a criminal complaint is located in an island of territory surrounded by high fences between Palestinian villages and is not accessible from both sides of the inter-city highway. My own two complaints lodged there were closed with the laconic “no interest to the public” and “a neighbor’s conflict”, in other words, not worthy of public interference nor protection. The question of unlicensed house building derives directly, and as a result of the politically-informed lack of town planning in Palestinian villages, leading to a near total freeze on housing. Homes are then built under duress without a license to take care of what the Jews call “natural growth” but which does not, under any circumstances apply to Palestinians. Home demolition is one of the leading administrative characteristics of compassionate Zionism. Also not mentioned, naturally, is the theft of over 85% of the land from its rightful owners and its transference to Jewish ownership, private and public, and the clear and absolute discriminatory government budgets which have never ever allocated a proportional amount of the budget towards its development and needs. What is interesting in this announcement is that it is characteristic of most Zionist Jewish discourse about Palestinians – it has no historical or material context and is completely one-sided. The Jewish component contributing to situations is totally absent as always and the slice of reality is always and unfailingly partial!

What the poster does not mention is that the leading aspiration of this party is the rebuilding of the Temple of Sacrifice, the Temple of Zion, on what is known as Temple Mount by the Jews and Haram al-Sheriff by the Moslems, the sanctuary in which is located the Dome of the Rock, originally completed in 691-692 CE the al-Aqsa Mosque built in 984 CE both of which are obviously part of World Heritage landmarks, besides their religious significance. The el-Aqsa mosque – meaning the “furthest mosque” is the place from which the Prophet Mohammed, pbuh, ascended into heaven, an event remembered as the Night Journey, which is taken to be his experience of Tawhid, or the Oneness of God, or Unity with God, very much like the experience of theosis as described in Christian Orthodoxy by the Saints. In other words, after Makkah and Medina, this is the third holiest sanctuary for Islam with connections to the most fundamental of Islamic beliefs. Anyone with even only a capsule of common sense must understand that any deliberate damage done to this site could have, and probably would have, unforeseeable but enormous violent consequences. Feiglin has stressed his demand for the legalization of marijuana rather than the rebuilding of the Temple, but only for secular consumption, a demand the irony of which is highlighted both by his stance vis-à-vis the Muslim holy sites and the fact that drugs are haram or absolutely prohibited for Moslems as is alcohol, the reason being the Islamic belief that the human brain and human consciousness are God-given gifts which we have the absolute duty to protect. Intoxication is precisely that – the poisoning of these gifts and therefore an act rejecting God. It is expected that this party will enter the Knesset with five or more mandates.

But the heart of these elections is to be found in the person of the prime minister himself, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu. He is an unlovable person, rather cold and superior and considered to be very intelligent and well-read. On more than one occasion people have pointed out that he is a psychopath, without feelings and without a moral compass. I consider this to be quite an accurate description of him. He comes from a revisionist family, that is a family who supported the philosophy of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and then Menahem Begin, the first revisionist prime minister, who made peace with Egypt. This is a Rightist political program based on power, believing that the Jews have a right to Palestine if only the basis of need and power. The religious co-efficient of the bible plays the rôle of nostalgia, or of a so-called collective memory or collective dream “Next year in Jerusalem” recited each New Year in the Jewish calendar.

However, I believe that Netanyahu has one great virtue! He is, thank God, a coward! While he calls for the destruction of Iran and wars here, there and everywhere, he is very hesitant when it comes to the actual opening up of full-blown warfare. His politics are racist, divisionary, based on continually sowing the seeds of hatred and disdain in the midst of the Israeli population and using covert actions all his perceived enemies of Israel. In other words, whilst he is a coward, he is in no wise a man of peace. Quite the contrary!

However, it is important to note that he called these elections prior to the full term of governance awarded by law after elections, a period of four years. Netanyahu is suspected of bribery and corruption and breach of faith and three charge sheets based upon solid evidence are being prepared against him. He was hoping that the elections would stall this process, but he was wrong! He will be given a hearing with his lawyers present as his opportunity to deflect those charges, but the chances of his succeeding are nil. The Attorney-General once served as the secretary of the Government, that is of Netanyahu himself, and has been more than cautious in compiling the evidence. Therefore it is obvious that he would never have come this far in terms of the accusations against Netanyahu had they not been fully corroborated by documentary evidence, material evidence and the evidence of witnesses. Now it seems that Netanyahu, if he wins the election and is called to form a coalition government and well he might, is hoping to pass the “French law” which apparently states that a serving prime minister cannot be placed on trial, although I personally do not know of this law.

However, since the calling of elections, a much worse scandal might be unfolding with regard to Netanyahu which concerns bribery, corruption and possible treason with respect to the purchase of nuclear war ships from Germany in contradiction of the findings of the Defense establishment, together with his secret agreement given to the Germans to the selling of such vessels to Egypt without telling the Chief of Staff and others of the Defense Establishment. This latter issue will definitely have very wide repercussions and as a result, all the opposition parties have banded together under the rubric “Bibi must go!” leaving very little time and space for serious social issues during the campaigns.

The results of the elections will be fascinating partly because Netanyahu’s alleged crimes do not seem to have affected his electoral base. The other interesting aspect is how the Blue-White party will fare, being led by three former Chiefs-of-Staff, supported by others, and sporting a leader, Bennie Gantz, who is far more personable than Netanyahu with absolutely no intimations of greed or corruption attached to his person. If there has been one complaint against Gantz, it is that he lacks a “killer instinct”, although as the Chief-of-Staff during the hideous 2014 Gaza war called Zuk Eitan, or Invincible Rock, such a description seems to fall rather short!

But then this is Israel, and we are still attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Lynda Burstein Brayer was born in South Africa to a Jewish family, attended Jewish school and came to Israel to study at the Hebrew University, where she obtained two degrees – in the humanities and in law. She began life as a nice Jewish girl, became a wife and then mother to three children who have great problems with her as she has become a not nice old Muslim woman living in a Palestinian village in Palestine/Israel. She is extremely grateful for the twenty five years she lived and prayed as a Christian and the thirteen years as a human rights lawyer representing Palestinians in the Israeli courts but is even more grateful that she has found refuge in tawhid – the ONENESS of God as understood in Islam. Needless to say, many have deserted her for her breaches of community, but at least she feels she can sleep at night without nightmares.

 

Netanyahu Rival Speaks of Possible West Bank Withdrawal

Benny Gantz

 February 6, 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s main rival in an April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, in remarks published Wednesday that drew right-wing criticism.

Benny Gantz, the former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of IsraelI pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005, in his first interview since launching his election campaign last week.

The Gaza withdrawal had been “approved by the Israeli government and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way”, he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

“(One should) learn from it and apply it to other places,” he said.

Gantz did not explicitly mention the West Bank in his remarks and refrained from outlining the conditions for any pullback from the Palestinian territory.

The 59-year-old launched his campaign on January 29 in a speech promising to keep the strategic Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank under Israeli rule, along with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and east Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Although he did not say so in the interview, Gantz could support a withdrawal from wildcat outposts that are not approved by the Israeli occupation authorities.

Gantz’s comments drew criticism from right-wing parties.

“We told you Benny Gantz would form a leftist government with the help of” MPs of the Arab-led Joint List who hold 13 seats in parliament, said a spokesman for Likud.

His remarks were also attacked by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a newly founded ultra-nationalist formation that favors the partial annexation of the West Bank.

“Gantz has thrown off the mask and overtaken Avi Gabbay (of the centre-left Labour party)… and wants to expel Jews from their homes through a unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank),” Bennett said.

Since founding his party, Gantz has emerged as the most serious challenger to Netanyahu, who has been prime minister since 2009 as well as between 1996-1999.

Source: AFP

So much for the ridiculous claim that israel is a democracy: israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

Israeli Supreme Court Refuses to Allow Discussion of Full Equal Rights & ‘State of All Its Citizens’ Bill in Knesset

By Adalah,

The Israeli Supreme Court early this afternoon, Sunday, 30 December 2018, dismissed the petition filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel on behalf of Knesset Members Jamal Zahalka, Hanin Zoabi, and Joumah Azbarga (Joint List) against the Knesset Presidium’s decision to reject their proposed bill Basic Law: State of all its Citizens. In doing so, the Supreme Court refused to even allow a discussion of equal rights and a state for all of its citizens in the Knesset.

The Knesset Presidium refused to allow the submission of the bill – which declares Israel a “state of all its citizens” – based on the claim that Israel is a Jewish state.  This bill was initiated by Zahalka, Zoabi, and Azbarga in response to the new Basic Law – The Nation State of the Jewish People, passed by the Knesset in mid-July 2018.

The judgment follows a hearing on the petition last week, Monday, 24 December 2018, during which the justices received an announcement of early elections, and the decision to dissolve the 20th Knesset.

Adalah General Director Hassan Jabareen (center with hat) speaks to journalists together with Arab members of Knesset on Monday, 24 December 2018, prior to the hearing on their petition at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mati Milstein)

Chief Justice Hayut, who headed the three-justice panel hearing the case, hinted then that the court would consider the MKs’ petition, filed six months ago and not heard to date, as theoretical. Today, the petition was indeed dismissed for these reasons.

As the petition also attacks the constitutionality of the very bylaws used to disqualify the bill, there is no justification for the court’s decision to consider the petition as purely theoretical in nature, in Adalah’s view.

The court today chose to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s decision to prevent its own Palestinian Arab minority members from initiating a bill and a debate to promote democratic values on the basis of equality for all.

Adalah responded immediately to the court’s decision:

“This decision violates the basic right to full equality for Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. This judgment is the second in six years that the Israeli Supreme Court has decided to uphold the Knesset Presidium’s authority to prevent Arab MKs from submitting bills and initiating debate that challenges Israel’s character as a state of the Jewish people only. In both of these cases, the court exploited the announcement of early elections as a justification to dismiss these cases.

“This petition confronts a matter of principle – the right to equality and a state for all its citizens – that will certainly remain in the public discourse and as a key political platform of Arab MKs, and it is not expected to change.”

Adalah’s General Director Hassan Jabareen and Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury represented the Arab MKs in this case.

The original source of this article is Adalah

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