On the afternoon of 16th August a man was brutally assaulted by light train security officers at Damascus Gate station in Jerusalem for not holding a valid ticket on his journey. The security personnel dragged him against the bench and later the fence violently while he was posing no resistance. Three and four were wrestling against the passenger, holding his neck, pushing the elbow against his face and pulling the passenger hands while another hit him with his hand. There was a friend of the passenger trying to calm the security personnel down but he was forced to sit down on the bench.
When one of the officers saw they were being filmed he shouted ‘What are you doing there? What are you doing? As far as I am aware and seen in several website the security personnel have no official authority to pose any measured or unmeasured force and not acting as if they were the police.
Dov Hanin from Hadas party ( former Tel Aviv mayor candidate) participated in the Committee for Interior Affairs and Environment Protection which has already spoken out against issues of violence by train security personnel. http://portal.knesset.gov.il/com5pnim/he-il/Messages/
This article from Haaretz written by Oz Rosenberg on April 2012 already covers a similar stories to the one shown in the video. ( Heb only http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/education/1.1683846)
Witnesses later confirmed that a dozen more officers arrived at the scene and dragged the passenger to the floor.
Daniel Ayalon video claims that, despite endless aspects of Palestinian life continue to be dictated by Israeli military from 1947-64 in Israel proper and ever since the 67 war in the West Bank and Gaza, there is no occupation. Ayalon’s remark about a lack of understanding about Israel’s right to these ‘disputed lands’ comes under real scrutiny.
It doesn’t required to be a scholar on international law or history to laugh at his argument commonly found in hasbara circles. As the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel has taken up the challenge to revise history, he pretends to be taken seriously, at least in a way that the whole world is to believe his revisionist stance on the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
His views are all a very usual right wing practice of cherry picking sections of international law and historical facts to draft one’s narrative justifying one side of the story while blatantly denying the other.
Here is some of the wrongs he claimed as his ultimate truth:
1) min 0.55 He claims there is never a Palestinian nation or a Palestinian state.
It is truth that there wasn’t any state anywhere across the whole Middle East before the arrival of the Brits and French after the First War World. They brought nationalism to the former Ottoman Empire, however, yes there was a flourishing Arab Palestinian culture and the literature on the topic is vast – denying is simply ignorance. Arabs have lived on this land continuously for the last 1300 years. Palestinian ancestors date back long before that, to the ancient Canaanites and Philistines, who inhabited this land even before the Hebrews arrived. Even looking into ancient history: the Zionists are claiming their rights to Palestine based on the Bible, but Palestinian might be able to prove that their presence here predated theirs.
2) min 2.02 The name of Judea and Samaria is a biblical term used exclusively by Jews. The West Bank of the Jordan river makes a differentiation of the East Bank of the Jordan River. Since the Jordan river was there even before biblical times I cant see how this is an invention but more of a geographical identification of the area. Jordan did indeed occupied the West Bank giving all its residents citizenship and the Arab League declared the annexation a temporary, practical measure and that Jordan was holding the territory as a “trustee” pending a future settlement that also the Brits had no problem on recognizing.
3)min 2.16 The Brits offered the Hashemites what would become Jordan during at McMahon-Hussein Correspondence in 1915 way before Sykes-Picot and Balfour so Ayalon comment that Jewish had to compromise already a big part of the land is his absolute interpretation of international relations.
4) Ayalon claim that the 49 lines armistice lines have no political significance as they later become the 67 border but how is this possible when UN,US, EU, Quartet and all political stakeholders in the conflict actually recognised them.
5) He also claims the West Bank and Gaza are disputed. Again it is only disputed if you decide to ignore international law, of which Israel is a signatory. Also ignoring Geneva and Hague Convention only makes the pro-Israeli defense collapse under current legal frameworks. Sharon and Olmert have publicly said there is an occupation – why is Ayalon suddenly playing the part it is not?
6)Settlements and outpost are illegal under the same law that determines Israel status on the Palestinian territories. Not only they are illegal but stolen land from the Palestinians under the auspices of security. Lately, Migron, Ulpana, Susya and Hebron among other hundreds of location have cause outrage unanimously by the international community but the dear Deputy Prime Minister fails to see this.
Yet, in rejecting this made-up revionist story, we’re apparently supposed to believe that it’s the Palestinians who aren’t being reasonable.
Israel inability to change its status quo in the West Bank and Gaza has become, as endless diplomats across the world political spectrum claimed, unsustainable. Not only there are no signs in the horizon challenging the military occupation and human rights violations but the unconditional support of AIPAC, the UK Board of Deputies, worldwide Zionist Federation and other powerful bodies dominated by right wingers and Arab haters do not offer anything positive to overcome Israeli policies in the oPt. Internally, the national unity coalition, instead of attempting to fight its own delegitimization, it works opposite in the opposite direction by allowing more settlement construction and perpetuating violations against Palestinians. Two days ago a report by religious Zionist former judge Edmund Levy stated there is no occupation and building in the West Bank is legal and should be encouraged. May this report be endorsed by the Knesset it will change the dynamics of this conflict to unprecedented levels.
What hope is there for Israelis and Palestinians to live under normalcy in any near future if an all-out-war is to be avoided before any dramatically shifts the geopolitics of the Middle East?
The J14 protests against social justice offer a small light of hope to change the dynamics of the country under this Zionist neo-liberalism attitude. Many would argue that the protest wont make a difference but three weeks ago the civil uprising became violent after the arrests of one of its leaders seeing the arrest 89 people. The week after the protesters were appeased and no other than a very orchestrated staged protest, with a massive security upgrade, walked down the streets of TLV rather peacefully extinguishing the violent sparks from the summer return of J14’s first week. Last Saturday it seemed a little more agitated, if not split into two different protests, where some odd thousand call for the welfare state to be dictated by universalistic militarism. J14 is in a process of transformation and yet to be defined but whether it challenge the wrongs of the country entirely is yet to be seen. After conversations with many Israelis they have assured they will use their military training to threat the government if their conditions are not met as they claimed to refuse to obey the state if politicians keep strangling them. Maybe just talk but nothing of the sort heard before.
The downside of the J14ers is the exclusion of 20% of the Palestinian population that makes it alongside the militaristic call from last week a rather grim scenario where only Jews’ social justice is relevant. Despite the Palestinian population will benefit from any social justice arrangements may those be offered to them, their lack of participation and exclusion make J14 not nationally cohesive. It is perhaps too early for the movement to include issues about the occupation, especially now that it is in the process of shaping its narrative. However, supporters to expand solidarity to include Palestinians either inside or outside the oPT are generally branded as anarchists, criminal, traitors or self-hating Jews – besides the police harassment and media refusal to cover their calls making a real case for social justice rather hard to digest. Only time will tell whether J14 will become a genuine platform for social or political justice or just a demand for the Jewish middle classes to obtain a fairer share of their taxes.
Another force of change is the BDS movement, a civil society movement attempting to bring accountability to Israel for its crimes in the oPt by boycotting, divesting and promoting the style of sanctions once worked against apartheid South Africa. BDS calls for an end to the occupation, equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and a solution to the refugee problem. It was established in 2007 and so far it has had a fair deal of success – none that Israel should or is worried about but its causes distress internationally as it makes the Israeli international PR machine more difficult to operate freely. The movement is highly demonised in Israel as anti-Israeli rather than pro-Palestinian and consequently the Knesset has invested in an ‘anti-delegitimization’ campaign fruit of the Reut Institute to counter-balance BDS. The creation of the well known hasbara groups are the exclusive result of this campaign with money being poured into facilitating the ‘support for Israel’– making serious high profile campaigns denying Palestinian rights and existence but exposing them all as terrorists and foreign to their land. This is sadly today’s pro-Israeli narrative: the so-called Israel Right or Wrong and it is gaining ground so fast its popularity levels in the social media are incredible. Incitement on both is blatant but how will BDS making hard for local Israelis to support – also taking into consideration the law that fines Israel for calling any boycott on produce from any territory under Israeli control. As an external force it is important civilians rise issues politicians seem to be sleeping on but as opposed to South Africa what positive changes will BDS bring whilst the US gives 3 billion for military warfare to Israel on the yearly basis.
BDS alone is not enough to dismantle the security apparatus of the occupation, the settlements, outposts, to stop house demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. J14 has no interest at this stage to go in the political direction. While these forces shaped and work towads change The army continues its grip in this approaching to fascist society where almost half of its annual budget its dedicated to this military enterprise/security and the willing of the people is almost forgotten.
Even a two-state solution wont bring justice to the Palestinians today and will further indoctrinate the religious military Zionism sentiment becoming mainstream in Israel. The picture seems rather depressing…waiting more will only make it worse or will J14 or BDS liberate us from this burden?
House demolitions are probably one of the worst evils of the occupation – yet this practice has existed in Israel since its foundation. Recently, the cases of Susya and Migron made headlines in the news. From the talkbacks and forums discussing this topic, some seem to justify that if Jews are evicted from the houses why shouldn’t the Palestinians.
Comparisons are often tedious but in the context of house demolitions in Area C it can not be done symmetrically. Those falling into this trap must be aware it is Israel’s responsibility to provide the Palestinians the resources of living while maintaining the occupation of Area C – 60% of theWest Bank.
There are similarities between Susya and Migron – both located in Area C with about 45 families of 300 people living in 50 structures, approximately. Both places appear in the bible, belong privately to Palestinians and most importantly face demolition. Nevertheless, the demolition of Susya has no paragon with the demolitions of Migron and here is why.
Susya residents have lived in the area peacefully for generations as a farming community in their privately own land until 1986 when they were expelled after Israeli archeologists found the remnants of a synagogue. They moved to a nearby terrain belonging to them and still they face eviction for a fifth time. This is a common case of law breaking as demolishing these structures while not providing any planning schemes for the population is a violation of international law. Adding the lack of accountability in over 50 cases of settler violence against the residents of the village makes matter worse.
Migron residents have a different agenda than the Palestinian farming community of Susya. They are religious Zionist and claim G-d gave them the land – when G-d couldnt provide the valid documents asked by the Court to prove land ownership the documents were forged – a punishable crime in most western democracies. Yet, despite setting up illegal structures, expanding them and forging documents they have the unconditional support of the government including benefits such as water, electricity and security the residents of Susya can dream of. The Israeli government is enforcing the law by evacuating the illegal outpost. Sadly,Israel cannot enforce its own laws as the Knesset is now compensating the residents by relocating them to another illegal outpost, costing the Israeli taxpayer millions of shekels, and discarding both Israeli and international law.
Regavim, an Israeli organization is at the core of these disputes. The organization’s role is supposed to preserve the natural resources of the State of Israel so why has Regavim petitioned to demolish the structures in Susya while petitioned against government destruction of the illegal outposts of Migron.
The irony of their work and the response of the state are beyond rationale as petitions to demolish the village of Susya sees the green light while unconditional commitment to the support of the illegal outsposts persists.
How can anyone possibly compare the two? Law breaking and law enforcing should not be compared. The decisions to relocate and compensate extremist religious settlers for building illegally on Palestinian land not only bypass the High Court of Justice rulings but undermine the very essence of any democratic and liberal stand of the Israeli entity, Needless to say what it means to demolish a farmer community village to make room for more settlers.