Distinguished analyst Marzuq Al-Halabi, Palestinian citizen of Israel, explores the different currents of Palestinian-ness from a a focus on political rights through withdrawn concentration on identity to a quiet effort to integrate. Given the threat from the Right he urges an alliance with democratic forces.
This posting on Palestinian writer and thinker Emil Habibi, who coined the term ‘opsimist’, is included now because of the posting above about currents in Palestinians’ thought. Habibi died in 1996.
Ignore the belligerent words of PM Netanyahu and defence minister Ya’alon. The words and the shoot-to-kill policy are intentional provocation of Palestinians argues Samah Sabawi, al shabaka [as well as messages for international ears and jittery Israelis]. In fact they are confident this ‘intifada’ can only confirm settlement expansion and martial law in the West Bank.
Israel has imported many migrants to replace the labour of Palestinians. Parents can be deported quickly, but what of their Israeli-born non-Jewish children? Confusion and anger grow.
Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, based in Haifa and a human-rights activist, has been goaled by Israel for nine years for alleged espionage. A ‘confession’ obtained while Makhoul was held incommunicado and probably tortured was admitted in court; the information allegedly conveyed by Ameer Makhoul was publicly available (under the Israeli penal code, people can be charged with “espionage” even if the information passed onto an “enemy agent” is publicly known…)
Why the increased insistence of Israel as a Jewish state today? “It appears” writes Ben White, “that Palestinian assertiveness in demanding equality (in Israel) and freedom from military rule (in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) has prompted the Israeli establishment to engage in nationalistic measures and rhetoric as a form of “pushback”.” The irony of this is that it “is prompting a resurfacing of questions about Palestinian-ness” among Israel’s Arab citizens.
Seamus Milne writes: “The focus of the Palestinian-Israeli struggle has shifted over the last 40 years from Jordan to Lebanon to the occupied territories. With the two-state solution close to collapse, it may be that the Palestinians of Israel are at last about to move centre stage. If so, the conflict that more than any other has taken on a global dimension will have finally come full circle.”
“Readers: This is a long post, so here it is in a nutshell: I argue that in his recent book, Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis, Senior Vice President at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, implicitly endorses the involuntary expulsion of Israeli Arab citizens in the future as a way to solving what he calls “Israel’s conundrum”, i.e., what to do about its Arab citizens. I try to understand what leads Dr. Gordis, a well-known rabbi and author with whom I agree on many things, to this conclusion…”
Police weighed in with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets against Palestinian Israelis protesting at a right-wing march though the Arab town of Umm al Fahm. It was organised by groups allied to Kach, a movement (banned in 1994) that demands the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and the occupied territories.
Some 1,500 police were reported to have been stationed in the town yesterday to protect the march and special paramilitary forces were used against the Arab counter-demonstration, as well as an undercover unit usually deployed at Palestinian protests in the West Bank…
In the 1990s the Q’aadan’s wanted to build a house in Katzir on government land leased to the Jewish Agency. But they were not Jews. It took 5 years and a case to the Supreme Court to get a ruling in their favour. But Katzir refused to implement the ruling and it took another seven-and-a-half years to get their land. End of story? No: a new bill has just been approved by the Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset. It is nicknamed the “Q’aadan bypass bill”…
Jeremiah Haber writes: “Israel’s ‘Arab Problem’ was not the inevitable creation of Zionism, or even of the Jewish state idea. It was created by the specific kind of Jewish state that was founded in 1948, a state that embodied the exclusivist ethnic nationalist ethos of the founders, who passed and implemented ethnically discriminatory laws and policies in the early years of the state – and in recent days.” In subsequent postings he will investigate the various solutions on offer from transfer to replacing the Jewish ethnic state with a liberal democratic state…
“On the one hand, the state is saying to us that, as Arabs, we are a danger and not welcome here,” said Said Abu Shakra, the director of Umm al-Fahm’s art gallery. “But on the other hand, we are constantly asked to prove our loyalty to the state.”
Richard Silverstein writes: “I am usually loathe to use words like “fascism” in this blog to denote anything about Israel since the term is loaded, incendiary and draws fierce rebuke from apologists for Israeli policy here. But when I read polls like this one and see powerful graphics like this one published with the poll, then I realize there are many thoughtful Israelis who are thinking and publishing the same thoughts I have.”
Israel’s new loyalty oath is seen by Lieberman as a step towards land and population exchange; and Minister of Interior Eli Yishai declares his intention to strip Palestinian citizens of Israel of their citizenship if they are convicted of ‘disloyalty to the state’. At the same time: “We will not be citizens of a fascist state purporting to be Israel” declare hundreds of Israeli academics and public figures; and Gideon Levy writes that “Swearing an oath to a Jewish state will decide its fate. It is liable to turn the country into a theocracy like Saudi Arabia…”
Ahma Tibi, MK, writes: “Whether in the United States, Israel or the occupied territories, equal rights before the law is a powerful and crucial concept. And it is one that should be at the forefront of the next round of talks. Obama is a marvelous American choice to deliver the message to an Israeli “democracy” decades late in implementing fundamental legal equality….”
In this posting Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions reviews Israeli policy towards the Palestinians both within the occupied territories and in Israel itself – and the gap between words and deeds.
George Bisharat & Nimer Sultany bring home the discriminatory nature of Israeli society in which Adalah, the Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel, counts more than 35 Israeli laws as explicitly privileging Jews over non-Jews – while other Israeli laws appear neutral, but are applied in discriminatory fashion…
Janan Abdu writes about the persecution of her husband Ameer Makhoul, chair of the Public Committee for the Protection of Political Freedoms and director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab-Based Community Associations, a coalition bringing together 84 nongovernmental organizations. He was arrested, held incommunicado, tortured and is now to be tried for spying. Abdu accuses the Israeli government of trying to break his spirit and refusing him a fair trial…
You are punishing me out of vengeance,” Hanan Zuabi told fellow parliamentarians. “When you threaten the Arab MKs and the Arabs’ protectors, you threaten democracy and co-existence between Jews and Arabs.”
“I have the right and the duty to fight for my rights and my values,” she continued, adding that “my positions are often different from those of the Likud, Kadima and most of the MKs. That’s why I don’t represent Kadima, the Labor Party or the Likud, but those who voted for me and in my case I represent the consensus of the Arab MKs.”
Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s far-right foreign minister, set out last week what he called a “blueprint for a resolution to the conflict” with the Palestinians that demands most of the country’s large Palestinian minority be stripped of citizenship and relocated outside Israel’s future borders…