SINCE 1964, THE NEWS WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Israel & Palestine Undernews
Global Research - Sami Miaari was looking for a new home for his family when he first made enquiries about moving to Misgav, in Israels north, two years ago.
The first step for the lecturer, who works at Tel Aviv University, was to approach the offices of the Misgav Regional Council. There, he thought, hed find the forms to apply to one of Misgavs Admissions Committees the bodies that screen potential new residents of Israels small community towns.
But the staff at the office, Miaari told Middle East Eye, said they couldnt help. He should go, they said, directly to the villages themselves.
Miaari did just that. But at the first village, he was again told that the forms he needed were unavailable. At a second community town, he says, he was directed back to the offices of the regional council. In a third, he found another dead end. The door to the communities of Misgav, it seemed, were barred shut.
Wondering where the problem lay, Miaari asked a Jewish friend for some help. The admissions offices are lying, the friend told him. They dont want to give you the documents.
Thats when I got to the point where I thought: I really need to start legal proceedings against these communities, Miaari said. He believes he was prevented from living in Misgav because he is Arab a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Misgav Regional Council did not respond to Middle East Eyes request for comment on the claims.
Since he was refused, Miaari has been working with Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, to fight his case. They hold that Admissions Committees like the one operating in Misgav discriminate against minorities: people with disabilities, gay people, Mizrahi Jews and, most of all, Arabs. Since 2011, Adalah has petitioned for the cancellation of the Admissions Committees Law, which legitimises these institutions, arguing that its primary objective is to marginalize Arab citizens and prevent them from accessing housing on state land in many communities.
The fight, however, has just been dealt a serious blow: last week, Israels Supreme Court voted to uphold the Admissions Committees Law, enshrining the legality of the controversial legislation.
That means that 434 community towns in the Negev and Galilee will continue to screen new arrivals, accepting or rejecting applications to allow them to settle in these small communities. Decisions are made by a committee that includes representatives from the World Zionist Organisation and the Jewish Agency. The committee bases its choice on a range of criteria, including suitability to the communitys social life and the social and cultural fabric of the town.
Mairav Zonszein, NY Times - The aggressive silencing of anyone who voices disapproval of Israeli policies or expresses empathy with Palestinians is the latest manifestation of an us-versus-them mentality that has been simmering for decades. It is based on the narrative that Palestinians are enemies who threaten Jewish sovereignty and are solely to blame for the failure to achieve peace. The Israeli peace camp which remains obsessively focused on stopping settlement expansion and pursuing the ever-elusive two-state solution while ignoring Israels failure to separate religion and state and guarantee equal rights for Arab citizens has been incapable of challenging this mentality.
Israeli society has been unable and unwilling to overcome an exclusivist ethno-religious nationalism that privileges Jewish citizens and is represented politically by the religious settler movement and the increasingly conservative secular right. Israels liberal, progressive forces remain weak in the face of a robust economy that profits from occupation while international inaction reinforces the status quo. In their attempt to juggle being both Jewish and democratic, most Israelis are choosing the former at the expense of the latter. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story
Israel has never, for example, genuinely addressed the fact that non-Jewish Arabs who generally identify as Palestinian account for about 20 percent of the population (this excludes the approximately three million Palestinians living under Israels control in East Jerusalem and the West Bank). Israel has also never clearly defined its borders, preferring to keep them vague and porous. Nor has it defined what it means to be Israeli, as distinct from being Jewish, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by nationalist and religious ideologues.
This has allowed the us-versus-them mentality to bleed into Israeli Jewish society. Us no longer refers to any Jewish citizen, and them to any Palestinian. Now, us means all those who defend the status quo of occupation and settlement expansion, including many Christian evangelicals and Republicans in America. And them means anyone who tries to challenge that status quo, whether a rabbi, a dissenting Israeli soldier or the president of the United States.
Perhaps this shouldnt come as a shock. For most of Israels existence, the majority of Israelis have allowed the state, in the name of Jewish sovereignty and security, to violate Palestinians basic human rights including access to water and the freedom of movement and assembly. The state has killed unarmed protesters and then failed to carry out investigations; it has allowed settlers and soldiers to act with impunity; and it has systematically discriminated against non-Jewish citizens. After so many years of repressing those who stand in the way, the transition to targeting one of your own isnt so difficult. Now it is the few Jewish Israelis who speak the language of human rights who are branded as enemies.
Zeev Sternhell, a political scientist and an expert on fascism, believes that radical nationalism and the erosion of Enlightenment values have reached new heights in Israel. To grieve for the loss of life on both sides is already a subversive act, treason, he told Haaretz. Mr. Sternhell has experienced Jewish extremist violence firsthand; in 2008, a settler planted a bomb in his home that wounded him.
Tikun Olam - 43 reserve members of the IDFs prestigious intelligence group, Unit 8200, signed a letter refusing to take part in operations targeting Palestinians or in furthering the military Occupation. Activists whove paid attention to Israeli military affairs over the past decade or more know that hundreds of soldiers and inductees have similarly refused military service in the West Bank. But this group is different. Unit 8200 is the equivalent of the NSA. It is one of the most critical weapons in the IDF arsenal to defend the nations security. It participates in myriad ways supporting, and even initiating IDF operations. It is the biggest intelligence unit in the Israeli army. This is the first time any such officers have publicly protested.
These refusers are not Edward Snowden. They are not spilling secrets or naming names. But their motivation for protesting against Israeli intelligence operations is almost the same as Snowdens. They claim that there is virtually no oversight or restraint against spying on Palestinians. That there is no distinction made between innocent and guilty Palestinians. That their goal as intelligence operatives was to subvert Palestinian society from within.
... Unfortunately, in one sense the refusers are on shaky legal footing regarding their claims. Not because theyre not correct in substancethey are. But because, similar to the NSA (which has virtual carte blanche regarding foreign citizens), Palestinians have no standing under Israeli law. They are not citizens and therefore are not afforded even the minimal protections offered to Israelis. One can argue that Unit 8200, like the NSA should have constraints on its operations against non-citizens. But thats not the case.
... In terms of how the intelligence personnels participation in this letter will be seen by the populace, they will be treated as the Justice Department has treated Snowden. They will be seen as oddballs and in certain circles as traitors.
... I cant exaggerate how brave these officers have been. As those who read this blog regularly know, service in Unit 8200 is a steppingstone into Israeli high tech. It offers a wide array of professional opportunities that are not available to those who dont serve there. Veterans network amongst each other and its like a Good Old Boys club, only more so. The signers will be blackballed. They will lose privileges, friendships, promotions. This is a big step for them.
The names of the signatories have so far been shielded from public knowledge. Though clearly the IDF knows who they are since the did sign their names to the original letter. I predict that the prime minister will find a way to leak the names
Carter criicizes Netanyahu, Obama
Israeli police torture handcuffed Palestinian
Road to Apartheid: a new documentary by a South African and a Jewish Israeli
Budrus is an award-winning documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israels Separation Barrier.
END THE OCCUPATION
God appointed America to save the world in any way that suits America. God appointed Israel to be the nexus of America's Middle Eastern policy and anyone who wants to mess with that idea is a) anti-Semitic, b) anti-American, c) with the enemy, and d) a terrorist." - John le Carr, London Times, 2003