Israel Governs Lawlessly
By Stephen Lendman
Israel reflects the worst of rogue state lawlessness. Netanyahu's a world class thug. Knesset members reflect fascist rule. Ethnic cleansing is official policy. So is slow-motion genocide.
Israelis are increasingly marginalized and denied. Neoliberal harshness harms millions. Israeli Arabs have virtually no rights. Praying to the wrong god is dangerous.
Occupied Palestinians face ruthless state terror. It persists out-of-control. In the seven-day period ending July 4, 64 Palestinian civilians were arrested. A PLC member was abducted.
Free expression's endangered. Security forces harass and brutalize peaceful protesters. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed alarm.
Police conduct "warning conversations," it said. Activists are confronted. They're "in the crosshairs." They're targeted ahead of planned demonstrations.
Reports reveal alarming trends. Police "dispers(e) protest vigils and legal demonstrations." Some use masks to hide identities. ID tags are concealed.
Arrests and detentions follow. They're done "without legal grounds." Unjustifiable violence persists. Demonstrators are ruthlessly targeted.
"(S)erious combat equipment" is used. Tear gas, rubber bullets, toxic chemical spray, and live fire are commonplace. According to ACRI attorney Sharona eliahu-Chai:
"The role of police in a democratic nation is to protect citizens' freedom of expression and to permit political protests, not to intimidate protestors and social activists." †
In recent years, "the Israeli public has become more socially and politically engaged. But instead of seeing it as a welcome development in the realization of society's freedom of speech, police behavior during protests discourages people from taking part in legitimate political protests and conveys an unacceptable message that taking part in them is essentially breaking the law."
Daily headlines explain more. International Middle East Media Center recent ones, include:
Settlement construction is lawless. It persists. It does so on stolen Palestinian land. They have no redress.
Israeli soldiers stormed a student's dorm. Ransacking followed. Mahmoud Abdul-Halim At-Talahma was arrested.
Local clashes followed. Soldiers used gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated bullet, and live fire.
Innocent victims were harmed. These type incidents occur regularly. West Bank incursions happen multiple times daily.
Communities are invaded. Families are terrorized. Men, women and children are beaten. Arrests, interrogations, torture and imprisonment follow.
Reports said they "bulldozed large areas of Palestinian lands, and loaded their sand onto trucks before taking it to their settlement."
They commit violence and vandalism regularly. They do so with impunity. They're free to do more. They're encouraged by Israeli policy. It permits unaccountability.
"Army Invades Al-Qarara." It's in southern Gaza. Six armored militarized bulldozers and several armored vehicles uprooted Palestinian farmland.
Last December, Egypt mediated a ceasefire agreement. Israel violates it repeatedly. "(H)undreds of limited invasions" followed.
Farmers are attacked in their fields. Fishermen are accosted at sea. Israeli border guards shoot children for target practice.
They were targeted for speaking freely. They criticized Israel's political agenda. They did so forthrightly.
Over 1,300 Israelis complained. They did so justifiably. They include artists, directors and actors.
Jerusalem's deputy mayor David Hadari challenged the Israeli Khan Theater. It scheduled a July 7 production of "My Name is Rachel Corrie."
She put her body on the line for justice. Israel murdered her in cold blood. Last August, an Israeli court legitimized it.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights expressed alarm. Gazans are collectively punished. Closure and isolation harms them. Around 1.7 million Palestinians are denied free movement.
International law mandates it. Separated families can't visit loved one. Patients needing urgent medical treatment unavailable in Gaza can't travel to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israel, or elsewhere.
Students are denied permission to study abroad. It's been this way for over seven years.
Rafah border crossing remains mostly closed. Gaza's tunnel economy is attacked. Unconscionable pain and suffering continue.
Gaza's current situation reflects "the hardest early years‚§|when Israel closed all crossings‚§|since June 2007. Deteriorated living conditions followed.
They remain dire. Humanitarian aid provided is far to little. Donor fatigue limits it. Closure and isolation prevents enough getting through.
After Egypt's coup, Rafah's International Crossing Point closed. Before closure, severe restrictions applied. They prove Israeli claims about easing conditions are false.
Israeli promises aren't worth the paper they're written on. Occupation harshness is longstanding policy. Gazans face extreme shortages. Medical supplies, fuel, electricity, other basic goods, and some construction materials are restricted or denied.
"According to PCHR's statistics, the goods allowed by Israel into the Gaza Strip do not meet the minimum of the Gaza Strip's needs.
Fuel supplies ran out. Families at times haven't enough gas to cook or heat when it's cold. In recent weeks, prices on permitted construction materials skyrocketed. Doing so makes them unaffordable.
Shutting down Gaza's tunnel economy prevents availability of cheaper supplies. Gazans rely on them for housing and other projects.
Deplorable conditions are exacerbated. Egypt's junta ordered "the continuous detention of dozens of Palestinian at Cairo('s) International Airport."
They're held "in the so-called 'trander room.' " They await Rafah's reopening. It's unclear when or if it'll happen. They want to return home. They can't get there. They're frantic. They're in limbo.
They're held under deplorable conditions. They risk infections and other health problems. Hundreds of other Palestinians abroad can't return. Over 900 are in Saudi Arabia. They came for the Umrah pilgrimage.
It's called the "lessor (or minor) pilgrimage." The annual Hajj is considered "major." It's compulsory for all Muslims in good health able to afford it. The Umrah is recommended. It's not obligatory.
What's ongoing reflects Israeli/Egyptian complicity. Closure and isolation defy rule of law principles. It's official Israeli policy. It's collective punishment. It's got nothing to do with security. It persists unaccountably.
Kamalian Shaath's a longtime Palestinian academic. He's President of the Islamic University of Gaza. He calls isolation and closure like "living on another planet."
Everyone's affected. Gazans are entirely cut off. Conditions are deplorable. World leaders able to help do nothing.
"Life will continue," he said. "The struggle will continue." He hopes for the best. Whatever happens, we'll "continue as we have always done."
A Final Comment
On July 7, B'Tselem headlined "Two Palestinian women to be tried this week for non-violent demonstration."
On June 28, Nariman a-Tamimi and Rana Hamadah were arrested in a-Nabi Saleh village. They're held in Sharon Prison. They're charged with entering a closed military zone.
Charges for this alleged offense rarely follow. Rana's also charged with obstructing a soldier in the execution of his duty. A foreign national arrested was briefly held. He was barred from entering a-Nabi Saleh for 15 days.
Legal procedures are "unprecedented," said B'Tselem. Neither woman acted lawlessly. They committed no violence.
On July 9, proceedings began at Ofer's military court. Two judges watched video footage evidence. They "found no evidence of violent or menacing behavior."
According to B'Tselem's Executive Director Jessica Montell:
"The military prosecution's handling of the matter, and particularly its unprecedented request to remand non-violent demonstrators for the duration of the legal proceedings, raises the suspicion that the military might be exploiting these proceedings to keep Nariman a-Tamimi from carrying on her joint activity with her husband, Bassem, in a-Nabi Saleh's struggle against the village being dispossessed of its land."
She's a prominent activist. She challenges occupation harshness. She does so nonviolently. She has every right to do so.
She's struggling to prevent villagers from losing valued land and water. Her husband Bassem served 13 months in Israel's gulag. He supports the same issues.
"In December 2009, a-Nabi Sahel demonstrations began. Israeli security forces confront them violently.
B'Tselem's been following events closely. Israel acts lawlessly. It employs convoluted ways to deny villagers their rights. Activists supporting them are targeted.
So far, indictments charged violence or intention to commit it. "No such claim" was made in this case. It's "unprecedented."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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