Tuesday, July 09, 2013



Most of the left and many of my friends love to accuse Israel of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and being a pack of nazis.  I don't buy that, okay?

Don't get me wrong, the zionist state is racist, it is oppressive, it is an occupation force, it is brutal, it is bad news.  If you are a Palestinian, the old "Zionist entity" has displaced you, jailed you, killed you, and uses all that it has to make your life miserable.  I get that...and you have a perfect right to refer to those who do such things to you any way you want.  I get it.

Still, the Israel government, the Israeli State is simply not marching people into the ovens.  They are simply not doing that...period.  

There is no need identify the Israelis with the nazis.  It isn't necessary.  What the State has done is plenty bad enough and deserves universal condemnation...and I condemn it...

Me, back in the 80s I started pushing the two state line and got in trouble for it.  Then the two state position became sort of accepted.  

Today I do not believe in two states.  I believe in a one state solution, a federation state solution, democratic, secular, and a state of all its peoples.

Well, I believe in that if there has to be a state.  I guess ultimately I believe in a no state solution.

Meanwhile, back in the non theoretical and non rhetorical world,  Amnesty International has condemned Israeli authorities   for "bullying and judicial harassment" of Palestinian rights activist Nariman Tamimi, her family, and those who live in her village.  

Tamimi was arrested by the Israelis as she and others walked non violently toward a nearby spring in protest against the loss of their land.  Tamimi was charged with being in a closed military zone.  Rana Hamadah  was also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty.  A foreign national arrested along with the two Palestinian women was released later the same night and barred from entering the village for 15 days.

I should point out that  her brother Rushdi Tamimi was shot in the back with live ammunition by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration last year. He died two days later in hospital. Video evidence shows that Israeli soldiers delayed his family’s attempts to take him to hospital.

On its website, Amnesty International reports:

“This is an unrelenting campaign of harassment, the latest in a litany of human rights violations against Nariman Tamimi, her family, and her fellow villagers.  These arbitrary restrictions should be lifted immediately and the charges should be dropped,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

Following their release on bail on Monday, the court has now put them under partial house arrest. They are not allowed to leave their family homes between 9am to 5pm on Fridays when the weekly protest takes place.

“They have been denied the basic human right to peacefully protest over land illegally seized by Israeli settlers, and the Israeli judiciary has used spurious legal tools to punish them for exercising their basic human right to peaceful protest,” said Philip Luther.

The Israeli human rights organization organization B'Tselem writes:

 The legal proceedings since a-Tamimi and Hamada were arrested are unprecedented, given the minor nature of the offense: the indictment does not claim that the two women acted violently. Furthermore, two military judges who watched video footage of the women’s arrest stated that they had found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior on their part. During the court sessions, Military Prosecutor Maj. Gilad Peretz even acknowledged that one reason for requesting continued remand was to keep the women from participating in demonstrations – unacceptable grounds that cannot possibly warrant detention. The fact that Judea and Samaria Attorney Lieut. Col. Maurice Hirsch himself represented the prosecution at one of the court sessions further demonstrates the military prosecution’s determination to keeping the two women behind bars.

Hamadah told +972 that during her arrest she asked the IDF soldier why she was being handcuffed, to which he replied: “Because I feel like it.” Hamadah said the pair were left handcuffed and blindfolded for nine hours, and were driven around in a vehicle with two male soldiers for seven more hours before being booked in Sharon Prison.
“Seeing the prisoners’ struggle from the inside gives an incredible urgency to their cause,” she said, adding that, “what we don’t see, and easily forget, is that the prisoners really must struggle for every passing minute.”

The following post is from +972.  The post makes the point that what all this is about, what the occupation itself is all about is CONTROL.

The logic of the occupation

As revealed by the arrest of the wife of a well-known Palestinian activist.

IDF arrests Nariman Tamimi at Nabi Saleh weekly protest June 28, 2013 (Activestills)

Nariman Tamimi was due to stand trial today at Ofer Military Prison for a rare charge: violating a closed military zone order. Nariman was arrested in her own village during an unarmed protest, in which not even one stone was thrown. When she was brought before a military judge, it was proved – through video evidence – that she never even resisted her arrest as the army previously claimed. Yet the military prosecution insisted on proceeding with the case.

You can read Mairav Zonszein’s report of the affair here. Despite the light and even absurd charges against Nariman – violating a closed military zone order in one’s own land – the regional military prosecutor himself, Lt.-Col. Maurice Hirsch, represented the prosecution at one of the court sessions, highlighting the gravity the IDF attached to this matter.

What’s the special interest for the army in this case? The definition of a closed military zone in the West Bank is pretty arbitrary and people violate the orders every day. But Nariman is the wife of a well-known Palestinian activist, and one possible explanation has to do with the unifying logic of the IDF’s actions vis-à-vis the Palestinian population in the occupied territory.

The occupation is about control. People often miss that. There are many barbaric and violent moments in the West Bank and even more so in Gaza, but as a whole, Israel is not attempting to exterminate the entire Palestinian population, nor does it currently seek to drive them all out of the territory it controls. Such actions would not be tolerated by the international community, and many Israelis would object them too.

Instead, all of the agencies who deal with the Palestinian population, primarily the army and the internal security services, are looking for the most effective ways to control the population and prevent all forms of resistance.

The methods they use are extremely diverse and they change from place to place and from one period of time to another. Checkpoints or crowd control measures are the most obvious ways. A network of informers and collaborators is another. Handing some privileges to a local and national leadership is another such method. Israeli representatives often take pride in the asylum Israel has granted to some Palestinian gays, but sexual orientation is also used for control, and internal security operatives have been known to blackmail Palestinian gays, threatening that they will expose their identity if they don’t provide information. And so on.

One of the most important aspects of control, which is hardly ever discussed, is the complicated system of permits Israel uses. You need an army permit to travel outside the West Bank, to cross the border to Jordan, to export and import certain goods, to build roads and plant trees, to dig water wells in certain areas, to work in a settlement, to work in Israel, to study abroad, to visit relatives in Gaza, and so on (check out this visual presentation of permit system). Recently, I went with another Israeli friend to cover the weekly protest in a Palestinian village. Not many of the villagers participated in it. In the village square, my friend met a local carpenter he knew. The carpenter is very careful not to be spotted protesting. He has a work permit in a settlement – the very same one that sits on the village’s land, and which is the cause of the weekly demonstration.

The system of control later becomes that ultimate justification for whatever violent action Israel takes against the Palestinians because Israel always gets to operate as the force of peace and order, while the Palestinians become the instigators of chaos and violence. This way, the debate on the occupation is always construed in a way that serves the Israeli interest.

Whatever violent action Israel undertakes against the Palestinian population is justified with something “they did” – a protest, a terror plot, a road block and so on. In the 70s and 80s, when general strikes where a common feature in the Palestinian opposition to the occupation, the army imprisoned local leaders for years under administrative detention, expelled activists and forced merchants to open their shops. When schools and universities mobilized, the army shut them down. Later the IDF moved to act with the same degree of resilience and determination against the mass demonstrations, stone throwing, suicide bombings, rocket launching, and whatever other acts the Palestinian used in their attempt to defeat the occupation. The bottom line is that every opposition to the occupation is forbidden, in the name of peace and stability.

The same logic, by the way, is used against the Palestinians’ diplomatic moves – what Israel now calls “diplomatic terrorism” – and civil society boycott campaign. Effective resistance is always forbidden. Politicians and activists are always viewed as “a threat to peace“ or “instigators,” and they are always blamed with “harming the interests of their own people” due to the catastrophes they bring upon them, in the form of IDF retaliation, of course. The international community, it should be noted, is extremely welcoming to such arguments, since order is always viewed as preferable to chaos, especially in the Middle East, and especially these days.

In Nariman Tamimi’s village, Nabi Saleh, a couple of Palestinians already died during the protests. The army blames the protesters for their own deaths.

Tamimi’s own arrest was the fifth time she has been taken into custody. A mother of four and and a known activist herself, she was held blindfolded and handcuffed for nine hours – standard procedure – before spending nearly four days in prison. When she was finally brought before a (military) judge, Military Prosecutor Maj. Gilad Peretz acknowledged that one reason for requesting her continued remand was to keep her from participating in the weekly demonstrations at her village.

Nariman was lucky. The court decided to put her under house arrest on Fridays instead, thus releasing her from prison but still preventing her from participating in the protests.

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