Rassegna stampa in inglese: Cisgiordania e Gerusalemme a rischio di nuova pulizia etnica.


Rassegna stampa in inglese: Cisgiordania e Gerusalemme a rischio di nuova pulizia etnica.

Israeli groups fight orders allowing army to jail West Bank residents

Israeli human rights campaigners claim Palestinians or foreigners could be labelled infiltrators

Israeli human rights groups say that Palestinians and any foreigners living in the West Bank could be deemed 'infiltrators' and deported within 72 hours or jailed for seven years if they are found without the correct permit under the new orders. 

Israel's leading human rights groups are trying to stop two new Israeli military orders which will make any resident of the occupied West Bank who does not have an Israeli-issued permit liable for deportation or jail.

The new Order Regarding Prevention of Infiltration and Order Regarding Security Provisions, which comes into force on Tuesday have “severe ramifications,” the rights groups say. Palestinians, and any foreigners living in the West Bank, could be labelled infiltrators and deported within 72 hours or jailed for seven years if they are found without the correct permit. It does not define what Israel considers a valid permit.

“The orders … are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants,” said the 10 rights groups, which include Ha-Moked, B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Until now the vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have not been required to hold a permit just to be present in their homes, the groups say.

“The military will be able to prosecute and deport any Palestinian defined as an infiltrator in stark contradiction to the Geneva conventions,” they said. The law broadens the definition of an “infiltrator” and could allow Israel to transfer some Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza, or to deport foreign passport holders married to West Bank Palestinians, or to deport Israelis or foreigners living in the West Bank. The groups said tens of thousands of Palestinians were in those categories.

Israel effectively controls the Palestinian population register and since 2000, apart from once in 2007, the Israeli authorities have frozen applications for renewal of visitor permits for foreign nationals, or applications to grant permanent status in the occupied territories. As a result, many Palestinians live in the West Bank without formal status and are now vulnerable under the new orders. The human rights groups wrote to the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, today asking him to delay or revoke the orders, which they said were “unlawful and allow extreme and arbitrary injury to a vast number of people”.

The Israeli military said the purpose of the orders was “the extradition of those residing illegally in Judea and Samaria,” an Israeli term for the West Bank. The orders had been “corrected” in order to “assure judicial oversight of the extradition process,” it said.

However, Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the orders would make it easy for Israel to imprison or expel Palestinians from the West Bank. “These military orders belong in an apartheid state,” he said. “They are an assault on ordinary Palestinians and an affront to the most fundamental principles of human rights. Israel's endgame is not peace. It is the colonisation of the West Bank.”


This is what living under occupation means: you can't move from one place to another in your own country, you can't marry, you can't choose your University, you can't work… The Occupation Statutory book  becomes more and more unacceptable even 43 years later, and on and on…What next? Fight back! Resist! Refuse to obey such orders of tyranny! Pressure up worldwide to make occupation vanish from the page of time! International solidarity, support BDS movement!



By Haaretz Editorial

A new military order will take effect this week, enabling the army to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank and prosecute them on infiltration charges, which carry long prison terms. The order, uncovered by Amira Hass in Haaretz yesterday, bears the signature of Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni in his previous capacity as commander of the Israel Defense Forces in Judea and Samaria.

The order's vague language will allow army officers to exploit it arbitrarily to carry out mass expulsions, in accordance with military orders which were issued under unclear circumstances. The first candidates for expulsion will be people whose ID cards bear addresses in the Gaza Strip, including children born in the West Bank and Palestinians living in the West Bank who have lost their residency status for various reasons.

This would be a grave and dangerous move, unprecedented during the Israeli occupation. For years, Israel has used a heavy hand against the Palestinian population registry, trampling basic human rights such as the freedom to move one's residence within the occupied territories. Many Palestinians' lives have thus been made very difficult because they have been cut off from their previous places of residence without being able to return or legally register their new addresses.

The right of all Palestinians to choose where to live in the West Bank or Gaza marks a very low threshold for defining their human rights. Israel, which justifiably prevents Palestinians from returning to where they lived before 1948 and does not offer them fair compensation for their property (while enabling Jews to recover property from the same period, as has happened in Sheikh Jarrah), cannot expel Palestinians from the occupied territories on the basis of dubious bureaucratic claims.

Implementing this new military order is not only likely to spark a new conflagration in the territories, it is liable to give the world clear-cut proof that Israel's aim is a mass deportation of Palestinians from the West Bank. While all Jews can settle wherever they wish, in Israel or in the territories, Israel is trying to deprive the Palestinians of even the minimal right to choose where to live in the West Bank or Gaza. The prime minister and defense minister should immediately shelve this military order before the IDF feels free to begin carrying out expulsions.

Fayyad: New IDF orders threaten to empty West Bank of Palestinians 



The Palestinian leadership on Monday protested against Israeli military orders that could see tens of thousands of Palestinians deported from the West Bank.

On Sunday Haaretz revealed that a new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

The measure, due to come into force on Tuesday, “threatens the emptying of large areas of land from its Palestinian inhabitants,” Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said in a statement.

Ten Israeli human rights organizations have appealed to Defense Minister Ehud Barak to freeze the orders, which were issued on October 13, 2009, with the provision they come into force within six months.

The military orders class people living in the West Bank without the proper documentation as “infiltrators”.

“The order targets thousands of Palestinians from Gaza who work and live in the West Bank and could lead to their forced deportation to the Gaza Strip,” Fayyad said.

Also affected are Palestinians who have identification papers from neighboring countries as well as foreign women married to Palestinians residing in the West Bank.

Fayyad said the measures contradict International Humanitarian Law as well as UN Security Council decisions which condemn forced deportations.

With the measures, Israel “aims at deepening the hold of the occupation in the West Bank and facilitating more Israel land-grab,” the prime minister said.

Earlier Monday, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa also condemned the Israeli move, telling reporters in Damascus that “it is hard to establish real peace in the region due to the Israeli measure.” His comments followed a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We reject such measures and we call on the international community to bear responsibility,” Moussa said, adding that an Arab League meeting will be held to discuss the situation.

IDF order will enable mass deportation from West Bank
By Amira Hass

A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.

When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.

Given the security authorities' actions over the past decade, the first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new rules will be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip – people born in Gaza and their West Bank-born children – or those born in the West Bank or abroad who for various reasons lost their residency status. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians.

Until now, Israeli civil courts have occasionally prevented the expulsion of these three groups from the West Bank. The new order, however, puts them under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts.

The new order defines anyone who enters the West Bank illegally as an infiltrator, as well as “a person who is present in the area and does not lawfully hold a permit.” The order takes the original 1969 definition of infiltrator to the extreme, as the term originally applied only to those illegally staying in Israel after having passed through countries then classified as enemy states – Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

The order's language is both general and ambiguous, stipulating that the term infiltrator will also be applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, citizens of countries with which Israel has friendly ties (such as the United States) and Israeli citizens, whether Arab or Jewish. All this depends on the judgment of Israel Defense Forces commanders in the field.

The Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual was the first Israeli human rights to issue warnings against the order, signed six months ago by then-commander of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria Area Gadi Shamni.

Two weeks ago, Hamoked director Dalia Kerstein sent GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi a request to delay the order, given “the dramatic change it causes in relation to the human rights of a tremendous number of people.”

According to the provisions, “a person is presumed to be an infiltrator if he is present in the area without a document or permit which attest to his lawful presence in the area without reasonable justification.” Such documentation, it says, must be “issued by the commander of IDF forces in the Judea and Samaria area or someone acting on his behalf.”

The instructions, however, are unclear over whether the permits referred to are those currently in force, or also refer to new permits that military commanders might issue in the future. The provision are also unclear about the status of bearers of West Bank residency cards, and disregards the existence of the Palestinian Authority and the agreements Israel signed with it and the PLO.

The order stipulates that if a commander discovers that an infiltrator has recently entered a given area, he “may order his deportation before 72 hours elapse from the time he is served the written deportation order, provided the infiltrator is deported to the country or area from whence he infiltrated.”

The order also allows for criminal proceedings against suspected infiltrators that could produce sentences of up to seven years. Individuals able to prove that they entered the West Bank legally but without permission to remain there will also be tried, on charges carrying a maximum sentence of three years. (According to current Israeli law, illegal residents typically receive one-year sentences.)

The new provision also allow the IDF commander in the area to require that the infiltrator pay for the cost of his own detention, custody and expulsion, up to a total of NIS 7,500.

The fear that Palestinians with Gaza addresses will be the first to be targeted by this order is based on measures that Israel has taken in recent years to curtail their right to live, work, study or even visit the West Bank. These measures violated the Oslo Accords.

According to a decision by the West Bank commander that was not backed by military legislation, since 2007, Palestinians with Gaza addresses must request a permit to stay in the West Bank. Since 2000, they have been defined as illegal sojourners if they have Gaza addresses, as if they were citizens of a foreign state. Many of them have been deported to Gaza, including those born in the West Bank.

Currently, Palestinians need special permits to enter areas near the separation fence, even if their homes are there, and Palestinians have long been barred from the Jordan Valley without special authorization. Until 2009, East Jerusalemites needed permission to enter Area A, territory under full PA control.

Another group expected to be particularly harmed by the new rules are Palestinians who moved to the West Bank under family reunification provisions, which Israel stopped granting for several years.

In 2007, amid a number of Hamoked petitions and as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, tens of thousands of people received Palestinian residency cards. The PA distributed the cards, but Israel had exclusive control over who could receive them. Thousands of Palestinians, however, remained classified as “illegal sojourners,” including many who are not citizens of any other country.

The new order is the latest step by the Israeli government in recent years to require permits that limit the freedom of movement and residency previously conferred by Palestinian ID cards. The new regulations are particularly sweeping, allowing for criminal measures and the mass expulsion of people from their homes.

The IDF Spokesman's Office said in response, “The amendments to the order on preventing infiltration, signed by GOC Central Command, were issued as part of a series of manifests, orders and appointments in Judea and Samaria, in Hebrew and Arabic as required, and will be posted in the offices of the Civil Administration and military courts' defense attorneys in Judea and Samaria. The IDF is ready to implement the order, which is not intended to apply to Israelis, but to illegal sojourners in Judea and Samaria.”


Israelis Could Expel Thousands of Palestinians from Palestine

New Israeli regulations allow authorities potentially to imprison or expel from the West Bank tens of thousands of Palestinians.

The Israeli right has long favored “transfer” (i.e. ethnic cleansing) as a means of dealing both with Palestinian-Israelis and with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Given the extreme-right character of the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, it is no cause for wonder that practical steps are now being taken toward expulsions and deportations of anyone who even peacefully opposes the government’s systematic colonization of the West Bank.

The Guardian summarizes objections of Israeli peace groups who complain that “Palestinians, and any foreigners living in the West Bank” would be liable to deportation within 72 hours if they lack the right permit. “Valid permit” is not defined by the Israelis.

Rory McCarthy writes, “The orders … are worded so broadly such as theoretically allowing the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants,” said the 10 rights groups, which include Ha-Moked, B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and Rabbis for Human Rights. Until now the vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank have not been required to hold a permit just to be present in their homes, the groups say.”

The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 requires two things of Israel, the Occupying Power in the Palestinian West Bank:

“Art. 49. Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive . . . The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Aljazeera English has a video report:

Meanwhile, Palestinians have begun a petition drive to collect a million signatures asking President Obama to end their Occupation. There is an increasing push among Palestinians to simply declare statehood within the next year or two, in hopes of forestalling the complete destruction by the Israelis of Palestinian nationhood.

Video: Israeli ID order set to criminalise Palestinians


April 11, 2010

Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank may soon be evicted or face criminal charges by Israeli authorities, the Israeli daily Haaretz has said.

An amendment to an Israeli military order on “preventing infiltration” could soon stipulate that residents of the West Bank without ID cards may now need one issued by the occupying authorities.

Anyone without such a document could either be expelled or jailed.

Haaretz said the new order would likely be used first against Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza ID cards and the foreign spouses of Palestinians living in the territory.

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland explains.

:: Article nr. 64996 sent on 12-apr-2010 02:13 ECT

Military order targets thousands for deportation
Published Sunday 11/04/2010 (updated) 12/04/2010 09:28

Bethlehem – Ma'an – Two signed military orders awaiting implementation give military officials broad and almost total control over the deportation of Palestinians whose residency status in the West Bank is called into question.

Specifically, the Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual alleged that the order will be used to deport residents of Gaza from the West Bank, and will likely also target foreign passport holders and non-Palestinian spouses of West Bank residents.

The center said tens of thousands of Palestinians and West Bank residents could be caught in the net of the orders, which Israeli journalist Amira Hass said in a Sunday report were “expected to clamp down on protests in the West Bank.”

The new orders, by substantively changing the definition of an “infiltrator,” HaMoked said in a statement “effectively apply [the term] to anyone who is present in the West Bank without an Israeli permit,” noting “the orders do not define what Israel considers a valid permit,” and that “the vast majority of people now living in the West Bank have never been required to hold any sort of permit to be present therein.”

The amendments apply to a 1969 order issued following the start of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem. The order was first amended in 1980, when an infiltrator was defined as “a person who entered the Area knowingly and unlawfully having been present in the east bank of the Jordan, Syria, Egypt or Lebanon following the effective date.”

In the latest order, an “infiltrator” is defined as: “A person who entered the Area unlawfully following the effective date, or a person who is present in the Area and does not lawfully hold a permit.”

The presumption that the orders will be used to clamp-down on Palestinians participating in popular protests against land confiscation and the construction of the separation wall follows a series of failed measures by the Israeli army to stifle the increasingly broadly supported actions.

In March, Israeli forces entered the villages of Ni'lin and Bi'lin to post orders declaring the zone typically used as a protest site a “closed military zone” from that day until August. Once an area is declared a closed zone, Israeli forces say they have the power to make arrests. Protest sights are often declared closed zones as demonstrators gather.

The pending orders also recall the case of Bethlehem University student Berlanty Azzam, a Gaza Christian only one semester away from graduation. The business administration student was pulled from a shared taxi on the Ramallah-Bethlehem road because her ID card had her registered as a Gaza resident. Berlanty had left Gaza on a legal permit three years before and traveled to the West Bank to study.

Without appearing before a judge, Berlanty was bound, blindfolded and driven directly to the northern Erez crossing at Gaza and told to re-enter the Strip. Human rights lawyers challenged the deportation, saying Israel had no right to determine where Palestinians lived, particularly when they were moving from one Palestinian-controlled area to another.

The second amendment, the HaMoked statement said, will allow the Israeli military to “prosecute and deport any Palestinian defined as [an] infiltrator in stark contradiction to the Geneva Convention,” and noted that “there is a possibility that some of the deportees will not be given an opportunity for a hearing before being removed from the West Bank.”

According to the orders, the deportation may be executed within 72 hours whereas it is possible to delay bringing a person before the appeals committee for up to eight days from issuance of a deportation order.



Human Rights Groups Warn of New Powers for Israel

Published: April 11, 2010

JERUSALEM — A recently amended military order that allows Israel to remove people from the West Bank if it does not recognize their legal status could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians, Israeli human rights groups warned Sunday.

The amendment — to a 1969 order on dealings with those judged to be infiltrators of the West Bank — was signed by military officials last October and is due to take effect on Tuesday.

In the original document, issued two years after Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, “infiltrator” was defined as a person who entered the area illegally from a neighboring Arab country. The amendment redefined the term to refer broadly to anyone who entered the West Bank “unlawfully” or who “does not lawfully hold a permit.” The permit required is not specified.

“The wide definitions are the problem,” said Elad Cahana, a lawyer for HaMoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual, one of 10 groups appealing for a delay on the change in the order. The group estimated that tens of thousands of Palestinians could theoretically be at risk.

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, denounced the change. “These military orders belong in an apartheid state,” he said. “Extensive in scope, they make it infinitely easier for Israel to imprison and expel Palestinians from the West Bank.”

But Capt. Barak Raz, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that there had been no change in policy regarding the extradition of illegal residents from the West Bank, and that “anyone who has the right paperwork” allowing residency “has nothing to worry about.”

Mr. Cahana said the concern was less of a mass expulsion than of the military deporting those officially registered as residents of Gaza, as well as Palestinians or their spouses who moved to the West Bank from abroad.

When the military currently tries to remove such individuals from the West Bank, it often faces difficulties in arguing the cases before Israel’s Supreme Court. The amended order could help the military overcome those difficulties, Mr. Cahana said.

Under the revised order, a deportation cannot be carried out until 72 hours after legal papers have been issued, and until the person served has had a chance to appeal in a military court.

Those convicted under the order could now face up to seven years in jail.

In the past, deportation orders could be carried out the same day they were served, with no appeal, so Captain Raz, of the Israeli military, said the amendment could actually help those without legal residency.

“It makes it easier for people without the right paperwork to appeal,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 12, 2010, on page A8 of the New York edition.

Ref: 25/2010

Date: 12 April 2010

Time: 11:00 GMT

PCHR Condemn New Israeli Military Orders Aimed at Expelling West Bank Palestinians

 Tomorrow, 13 April 2010, two new Israeli military orders will come into effect, potentially turning all West Bank residents into “infiltrators”.

 Order No. 1650 regarding Prevention of Infiltration and Order No. 1649 regarding Security Provisions were issued in October 2009 as amendments to an old military order (1969) which declared “infiltrators” coming from Jordan, Syria, Egypt or Lebanon (the so-called “enemy states” at the time of the issuance of the order) liable to imprisonment and deportation.

The new orders define an “infiltrator” in such generic terms that virtually any person currently present in the West Bank could potentially fall under that definition and consequently incur criminal liability and/or be subject to deportation.

An “infiltrator” is defined as “a person who entered the Area unlawfully” or “a person who is present in the Area and does not lawfully hold a permit”. The ‘Area’ refers to the occupied West Bank.

Pursuant to Military order No. 1650 any person who unlawfully entered the area shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment, whereas an individual who has lawfully entered the area but does not “hold a permit” shall be sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Moreover, regardless of whether the “infiltrator” is charged with an offence under the Order or not, the military commander may order the deportation of the person from the area; the issuance of the deportation order shall be considered as an arrest order and serve as the “legal source for holding such infiltrator in custody pending his deportation”. The deportation can be executed 72 hours after the order, and in some cases even sooner.

As a consequence of the dramatic expansion and ambiguity of the new definition of “infiltrator” the Order not applies to people coming from so-called “enemy states”, as in the past; it now applies to every Palestinian, both those who were born in the West Bank and those who lawfully moved to it, for instance from Gaza or from abroad.

The new regulation establishes that every person without a document or permit is “presumed to be an infiltrator”. According to Order 1650 the permit is a document issued by the military commander, or a person appointed by him in accordance with security legislation, or by Israeli authorities under the Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952. As has been highlighted by Hamoked

Center for the Defence of the Individual, the broadness of the definition suggests that the Order applies to every person currently present in the West Bank regardless of his status, identity, or nationality.

In fact over the past number of years, thousands of applications made by persons living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since decades in accordance with the Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority or by Palestinians seeking family reunification have been illegally “frozen” by the Israeli authorities who refused to grant them status in the oPt.

Additionally, since 1967 thousands of Palestinians moved to the West Bank from the Gaza Strip  and they were never required to have a written permit, as there was no requirement under the military legislation to hold a written permit.

It appears that pursuant to the new military orders thousands of residents in the West Bank will be potentially subject to immediate deportation.

Such a practice would constitute a breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and in particular of Article 49, which prohibits any kind of forcible transfer as well as the deportation of protected persons (civilians) from the occupied territory.

It must also be noted that pursuant to military order No. 1649 regarding Security Provisions a person can challenge the deportation order before a committee appointed by the military commander (“The Committee for Examining Deportation Orders”) which shall be established accordingly.

The Order does not regulate the modalities pursuant to which the appeal can be brought before the Committee; however, it is established that the person who is held in custody pursuant to a deportation order “shall be brought before the Committee as soon as possible and no later than 8 days from the date of issuance of the deportation order”.

It is evident that this system is intrinsically flawed: first of all PCHR stresses again that no genuine judicial system is possible pursuant to the Israeli military system (see the most recent PCHR Report “Genuinely Unwilling” of February 2010).

Second, according to Order No. 1650 the deportation order can be implemented within 3 days (or even less in certain circumstances), long before the 8 day time frame established for appeals hearings by Order No.1649.

It can be expected that in most of the cases the person will be deported without any possibility of challenging the order pursuant to which he has been arrested and deported.

Such a system is a blatant breach of international human rights standards, which require that every provision involving restriction of liberty must be subject to judicial review.

PCHR strongly condemns the issuance of these new military orders and calls upon Israel not to implement them.

These orders form part of the criminal policy that Israel has developed over the years against the Palestinian people; this policy combine occupation, apartheid, colonization and forced displacement of the population.

The contents of the new military orders are in blatant violation of international human rights standards and international law principles and represent one more tool in the hand of the Israeli occupation forces to control and alter the demographic composition of the oPt and ultimately impose a Jewish majority in Israel and the occupied territory.

These new orders – ostensibly enacted as ‘security measures’ – are, in fact, aimed at legitimising the forcible transfer and deportation of the civilian population of the oPt.

Israel, through its military commanders, is taking unlawful measures to eradicate the Palestinian people from their territory and take overall control of the area.

PCHR is seriously concerned about the implementation of these orders which could amount to individual or mass forcible transfer, as well as deportation of protected persons, measures absolutely prohibited under Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

PCHR calls the international community to take action and put an end to the illegal population transfer, segregation and displacement that is taking place in the oPt and to impede the implementation of these new unlawful tools. PCHR remind that States Parties to the Geneva Convention have the duty to ensure respect for the conventions in all circumstances.

Immediate action must be taken if the international community is to prevent the aggravation of the criminal policy pursued by Israel in the oPt.

Public Document


For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org


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Joint Advocacy Initiative

Urgent Call – 12 April 2010

Action Alert

Threat of massive deportation of Palestinians!

Two signed military orders with new amendments awaiting implementation give military officials broad and almost unlimited control over the deportation of Palestinians whose residency status in the West Bank is suspected! Orders were signed on the 13th of October 2009, and are due to come into affect in the West Bank on the 13th of April 2010!

Read more about the orders, some of their consequences, reports, and JAI call for urgent actions!

Anat Kam: I stole IDF documents to expose West Bank war crimes
By Ofra Edelman and Haaretz Service

Classified documents reveal that the Israel Defense Forces had committed war crimes in the West Bank, Anat Kam, the former soldier indicted for espionage over an alleged theft of top secret material, told the court earlier in the year, according to police documents released allowed for publication Monday at the request of Haaretz.

In the newly released material documenting court hearings surrounding Kam's arrest, the journalist and former IDF soldier said that the motivation behind her removal of sensitive military material was to expose “certain aspects of the IDF's conduct in the West Bank that I thought were of interest to the public.”

Kam added that her thinking behind taking the top secret papers was to ensure that “if and when the war crime the IDF was and is committing in the West Bank would be investigated, then I would have evidence to present.”


Kam said that she didn?t think that transferring the documents would endanger the country, as she did not think “the journalist would focus on the details of the military actions, but rather on the principles and the policies that were behind the the top officers' decisions.”

Kam also explained that she turned to Israeli journalists because she assumed that “the censorship would not allow the publication of information classified as top secret or that is dangerous for publication.”

Referring to the possibility that she would be penalized for the theft, Kam said that when she “burned the material [onto a CD] I thought that in the test of history, people who warned of war crimes were forgiven.”

“I didn't have the chance to change some of the things that I found it important to change during my military service, and I thought that by exposing these [materials] I would make a change,” the former soldier said, adding that it was for those reasons that “it was important for me to bring the IDF's policy to public knowledge.”

The state has decided to prosecute Kam for the most serious crimes of espionage: passing on classified information with the intent of harming state security, charges which carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Kam faces other charges, including gathering and possessing classified materials with intent to harm state security, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.

Presiding Judge Ze'ev Hammer wrote that “in order to inform the public of several aspects of IDF action in the West Bank, or to investigate war crimes in the West Bank, there is no need to gather and steal thousands of classified documents from the IDF which deal with the various military planning and action.”

“Kam admitted during her investigation that her computer is not guarded and that she did not take interest into where the Haaretz reporter Uri Blau would store the documents or who would have access to them,” Hammer added.

“She disrespected their [the document's] safekeeping and the importance and secrecy of the information,” Hammer added.

Attorneys for Blau, Mibi Moser and Tal Leiblich said in response that “we consider this to be a positive development. Blau's attorney's will meet with Kam's attorneys in the coming days in order to evaluate the offer and take a stance following consultations with Blau.”

On Sunday, Kam's defense attorney Avigdor Feldman told Haaretz that his client would relinquish her journalistic immunity as the source of Haaretz reporter Uri Blau and that she was calling on him to return to Israel from London with all the documents she has given him.

Feldman said that “the message we relayed to him is for the sake of Anat he should come back to Israel.”

“We are working hard to convince Uri Blau through indirect ways to return to the country with the documents. I did not speak with him directly but we relayed a message to him. I think that he did not reveal the documents because he wants to protect her. Now she gave up her immunity as a source, and I am asking that he return, and his return, as far as I understand, will minimize the affair,” Feldman said.

“I do not think he will be tricked,” Feldman said. “I believe he will bring back the documents, he will not be harmed and the affair with Anat will also come to an end, I hope, quickly.”

Journalist whistleblower faces life imprisonment, or worse

Jonathan Cook, The Electronic Intifada, 9 April 2010

Israeli forces have extrajudicially executed hundreds of Palestinians during the past several years. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

What is misleadingly being called in Israel the “Anat Kamm espionage affair” is quickly revealing the dark underbelly of a nation that has worshipped for decades at the altar of a security state.

Next week 23-year-old Kamm is due to stand trial for her life — or rather the state's demand that she serve a life sentence for passing secret documents to an Israeli reporter, Uri Blau, of the liberal Haaretz daily. She is charged with spying.

Blau himself is in hiding in London, facing, if not a Mossad hit squad, at least the stringent efforts of Israel's security services to get him back to Israel over the opposition of his editors, who fear he will be put away too.

This episode has been dragging on behind the scenes for months, since at least December, when Kamm was placed under house arrest pending the trial.

Not a word about the case leaked in Israel until this week when the security services, who had won from the courts a blanket gag order — a gag on the gag, so to speak — were forced to reverse course when foreign bloggers began making the restrictions futile. Hebrew pages on Facebook had already laid out the bare bones of the story.

So, now that much of the case is out in the light, what are the crimes committed by Kamm and Blau?

During her conscription, Kamm copied possibly hundreds of army documents that revealed systematic law-breaking by the Israeli high command operating in the occupied Palestinian territories, including orders to ignore court rulings. She was working at the time in the office of Brig Gen Yair Naveh, who is in charge of operations in the West Bank.

Blau's crime is that he published a series of scoops based on her leaked information that have highly embarrassed senior Israeli officers by showing their contempt for the rule of law.

His reports included revelations that the senior command had approved targeting Palestinian bystanders during the military's extrajudicial assassinations in the occupied territories; that, in violation of a commitment to the high court, the army had issued orders to execute wanted Palestinians even if they could be safely apprehended; and that the defense ministry had a compiled a secret report showing that the great majority of settlements in the West Bank were illegal even under Israeli law (all are illegal in international law).

In a properly democratic country, Kamm would have an honorable defense against the charges, of being a whistle-blower rather than a spy, and Blau would be winning journalism prizes not huddling away in exile.

But this is Israel. Here, despite a desperate last-stand for the principles of free speech and the rule of law in the pages of the Haaretz newspaper today, which is itself in the firing line over its role, there is almost no public sympathy for Kamm or even Blau.

The pair are already being described, both by officials and in chat forums and talkback columns, as traitors who should be jailed, disappeared or executed for the crime of endangering the state.

The telling comparison being made is to Mordechai Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who exposed Israel's secret nuclear arsenal. Inside Israel, he is universally reviled to this day, having spent nearly two decades in harsh confinement. He is still under a loose house arrest, denied the chance to leave the country.

Blau and Kamm have every reason to be worried they may share a similar fate. Yuval Diskin, the head of the Shin Bet, Israel's secret police, which has been leading the investigation, said yesterday that they had been too “sensitive to the media world” in pursuing the case for so long and that the Shin Bet would now “remove its gloves.”

Maybe that explains why Kamm's home address was still visible on the charge sheet published yesterday, putting her life in danger from one of those crazed talkbackers.

It certainly echoes warnings we have had before from the Shin Bet about how it operates.

Much like Blau, Azmi Bishara, once head of a leading Arab party in Israel, is today living in exile after the Shin Bet put him in their sights. He had been campaigning for democratic reforms that would make Israel a “state of all its citizens” rather than a Jewish state.

While he was abroad in 2007, the Shin Bet announced that he would be put on trial for treason when he returned, supposedly because he had had contacts with Hizballah during Israel's attack on Lebanon in 2006.

Few experts believe Bishara could have had any useful information for Hizballah, but the Shin Bet's goals and modus operandi were revealed later by Diskin in a letter on its attitude to Bishara and his democratization campaign. The Shin Bet was there, he said, to thwart the activities of groups or individuals who threatened the state's Jewish character “even if such activity is sanctioned by the law.”

Diskin called this the principle of “a democracy defending itself” when it was really a case of Jewish leaders in a state based on Jewish privilege protecting those privileges. This time it is about the leaders of Israel's massive security industry protecting their privileges in a security state by silencing witnesses to their crimes and keeping ordinary citizens in ignorance.

Justifying his decision to “take the gloves off” in the case of Kamm and Blau, Diskin said: “It is a dream of every enemy state to get its hands on these kinds of documents” — that is, documents proving that the Israeli army has repeatedly broken the country's laws, in addition, of course, to its systematic violations of international law.

Diskin claims that national security has been put at risk, even though the reports Blau based on the documents — and even the documents themselves — were presented to, and approved by, the military censor for publication. The censor can restrict publication based only on national security concerns, unlike Diskin, the army senior command and the government, who obey other kinds of concerns.

Diskin knows there is every chance he will get away with his ploy because of a brainwashed Israeli public, a largely patriotic media and a supine judiciary.

The two judges who oversaw the months of gagging orders to silence any press discussion of this case did so on the say-so of the Shin Bet that there were vital national security issues at stake. Both judges are stalwarts of Israel's enormous security industry.

Einat Ron was appointed a civilian judge in 2007 after working her way up the ranks of the military legal establishment, there to give a legal gloss to the occupation. Notoriously in 2003, when she was the chief military prosecutor, she secretly proposed various fabrications to the army so that it could cover up the killing of an 11-year-old Palestinian boy, Khalil al-Mughrabi, two years earlier. Her role only came to light because a secret report into the boy's death was mistakenly attached to the army's letter to an Israeli human rights group.

The other judge is Ze'ev Hammer, who finally overturned the gag order this week — but only after a former high court judge, Dalia Dorner, now the head of Israel's Press Council, belatedly heaped scorn on it. She argued that, with so much discussion of the case outside Israel, the world was getting the impression that Israel flouted democratic norms.

Judge Hammer has his own distinguished place in Israel's security industry, according to Israeli analyst Dimi Reider. During his eight years of legal study, Hammer worked for both the Shin Bet and Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Judge Hammer and Judge Ron are deeply implicated in the same criminal outfit — the Israeli security establishment — that is now trying to cover up the tracks that lead directly to its door. Kamm is doubtless wondering what similar vested interests the judges who hear her case next week will not be declaring.

Writing in Haaretz today, Blau said he had been warned “that if I return to Israel I could be silenced forever, and that I would be charged for crimes related to espionage.” He concluded that “this isn't only a war for my personal freedom but for Israel's image.”

He should leave worrying about Israel's image to Netanyahu, Diskin and judges like Dorner. That was why the gag order was enforced in the first place. This is not a battle for Israel's image; it's a battle for what is left of its soul.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.


by Suzanne Weiss  –  10 April 2010

In Canada, Holocaust Memorial Day has been established by Heritage Canada to be on April 11. It is a good opportunity to review what we learn from the Holocaust experience and how we apply these lessons to the troubled situation in the Middle East.

This year, students in more than 60 cities took part in educational meetings on conditions in Palestine as part of Israeli Apartheid Week, held March 1–7. It is a controversial event, not popular in Canadian government circles. It is criticized for supposedly dishonouring the victims of Hitler’s holocaust.

I am a survivor of the Jewish Holocaust, the Nazis’ mass murder of Europe’s Jews. The tragic experience of my family and community under Hitler makes me alert to the suffering of other peoples denied their human rights today – including the Palestinians.

True, Hitler’s Holocaust was unique. The Palestinians are victims of ethnic cleansing and apartheid. Hitler started with that, but went on to extermination. In my family’s city in Poland, Piotrkow, 99% of the Jews perished.

Yet for me, the Israeli government’s actions toward the Palestinians awaken horrific memories of my family’s experiences under Hitlerism: the inhuman walls, the check points, the daily humiliations, killings, diseases, the systematic deprivation. There’s no escaping the fact that Israel has occupied the entire country of Palestine, and taken most of the land, while the Palestinians have been expelled, walled off, and deprived of human rights and human dignity.

Many levels of government have recently been attacking the movement against Israeli apartheid, saying that it is anti-Jewish in character. This is bizarre. When Nelson Mandela opposed South African apartheid, was this anti-White? No, Mandela proposed that all South Africans, Whites included, join on a basis of democracy and equality in freeing the country from racial oppression. And that is precisely the proposal that the movement against Israeli apartheid makes to all inhabitants of Israel/Palestine.

We are told that Israeli Jews will never accept such a democratic solution. Why? Is there something wrong with their genes or their culture? The very notion is absurd – in fact, its logic is anti-Jewish. Opposition to Israeli apartheid is based on hope – a hope founded on the common humanity of the region’s Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants.

Hope from Holocaust Resistance
My family and their community in Piotrkow, Poland, suffered a hard fate under Hitler. The Nazis forced the city’s 25,000 Jews into the first ghetto in occupied Poland. The resistance movement in the ghetto was unable to link up with resistance outside. Only a couple of hundred Piotrkow Jews escaped death.

But my mother and father then lived in Paris. They were active in the ‘Union des Juifs,’ a Jewish resistance organization closely linked to socialist parties and other anti-Nazi groups. When the Nazis started rounding up Jews in France, the Union des Juifs hid thousands of Jewish children among anti-Nazis across the country. My parents were killed. But a brave peasant family in Auvergne, at great risk, took me in and hid me. And that is why I am here today.

The Nazis were routed, and the resistance dealt blows to racism that are felt in France even to this day.

There is a lesson here for us today. Hitler seemed all-powerful at the time. But he could not crush the resistance, a broad people’s alliance embracing many religions and many political viewpoints.

We need that kind of alliance in resisting oppression today – including the oppression of the Palestinians.

Jewish Values Are Not Those of Israel’s Apartheid
The United Nations has defined apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

The apartheid concept was found in North America when indigenous peoples were confined to reservations in remote corners of the lands stolen from them. The South African Dutch settlers and Israeli government further developed the concept.
Eliminating Israeli apartheid involves three simple measures:

The right of exiled Palestinians to return to their country.

An end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

The right of Palestinians within Israel to full equality.

On July 9, 2005, 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the institutions of Israeli apartheid. The BDS movement helped to end the crime of South African apartheid. Since 2005, the BDS movement against Israeli apartheid movement has won wide support around the world.

Nelson Mandela, the great leader of BDS against South African Apartheid, said, that justice for the Palestinians is “the greatest moral issue of the age.”

Support from Jewish Community
I recently discovered that my name is included in a website list of “7,000 self-hating Jews.” Why are Jewish supporters of Palestine labeled as “self-hating”? Because those who make this charge have redefined Judaism in terms of the present policies and character of the Israeli state. They see Judaism as nothing more than a rationale for oppressing Palestinians. What an insult to Jewish religion and culture!

As for the 7,000 self-haters, they need to add a couple of zeros to that total. In my experience, support of Palestine is stronger in the Jewish population than in society as a whole. And Jewish people work alongside their Palestinian brothers and sisters as a strong component of the Palestine solidarity movement.
Holocaust Awareness Week is an appropriate time to review our proud history as Jewish universalists, welcoming and encompassing humanity. We, as Jewish supporters of the Palestinians, stand on the finest traditions of Judaism, its great contributions to human religion, philosophy, science, and solidarity through the ages. The rights we expect for the Jewish people, we demand for all humanity – above all, for the Palestinians that the Israeli government oppresses in our name.

Suzanne Weiss is a Holocaust survivor and member of Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Against Zionism and of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid. You will find a collection of some of her articles in pamphlet form here.



April 11, 2010 at 18:20 (DesertPeace Editorial, Ethnic Cleansing, Flashback…. from the archives, Genocide, History, Holocaust, Israel, Oppression, Palestine)

Before you read the following post, please read this  one …. THE FORGOTTEN CHILD OF THE HOLOCAUST

Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

It is difficult to not remember the holocaust if you live in Israel…. it is not only something that occurred in history, it is something that is unfolding right here, right now. We read of the horrors in our history books…. we continue reading about them in our daily newspaper reports…



Those are two of the most famous quotes associated with the holocaust. Two quotes that have completely lost their meaning. They are literally shoved down our throats every day by the ADL and other groups associated with AIPAC…. not in the context of what they mean…. but as justification of the crimes committed by the zionists today.

The second quote ‘Never Again’ has also lost meaning…. never again to whom? If we look at the suffering of the holocaust victims in the death camps of Eastern Europe… we see the same suffering in the death camp known as the Gaza Strip today. The quote does not go … Never again, EXCEPT…. it’s Never Again! Yet it is happening again…. by the very people that coined the phrase in the first place.

To even associate what happened in the past to what is happening today is immediately labeled as anti Semitic. Is trying to salvage the one time good name of the Jewish people anti Semitic? Is trying to prevent the horrors of yesteryear from becoming a reality once again anti Semitic?? What would groups like the ADL do if we were all silent and allowed this to continue? Who would they prey on with their cancerous venom of hatred?

The very name of that group is deceiving… Anti Defamation League… the word defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressively stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Perhaps the group should be called the Defamation League, as that is what they do best….

The actual survivors of the holocaust living in Israel today are a forgotten species. Their needs are ignored by the government forcing many to return to their native Germany. Israel seems to have gotten what it wanted as a result of the holocaust, those that suffered can continue to according to the state.They are ‘paraded’ by various organisations at Holocaust Remembrance ceremonies to remind us of the suffering they endured…. but their present suffering is kept pretty quiet by these groups.

In ending, I want to stress that I am not saying not to remember the holocaust, but rather let us learn from it…. learn that it must NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN…. anytime or anywhere. TO ANYONE!



April 12, 2010

Can Lebanon Clean Up Its Act?

Hiba's Story



Ein el Helwe Palestinian Refugee Camp, Lebanon.

More than six decades after their expulsion from Palestine, Lebanon’s unwanted refugees just might be granted some basic civil rights. Granting even the most elementary and normally taken for granted civil rights to Palestinians in Lebanon won’t be easy and it may not be pretty. Yet there is undeniable and growing Lebanese and international resolve for Lebanon’s politicians to end a dark bleak chapter in Arab brotherly relations.

The disturbing paradox of Lebanon depriving its refugees of the most elementary civil rights, some of which are even granted Palestinians by their arch-nemesis, the Zionist occupiers of their own country, is increasingly being condemned in Lebanon. In addition, there is the gaping contradiction between the sweet words and the clarion trumpeting calls by groups wanting to liberate Jerusalem and all of Palestine and enforce the internationally mandated Right of Return (UNSCR 194), while at the same time appearing to avert their eyes from the very ones seeking to return and who exist in abject squalor, humiliation and indignity, thus appearing to tolerate their brothers and sisters’ degradation. These contradictions are motivating an expanding panoply of Lebanese leaders, civil society organizations, side by side with local and international NGO’s, to demand civil rights legislation from the current Cabinet and Parliament. What civil rights advocates seek is compliance with basic international law and indeed Lebanon’s Constitution, both sources of law mandating civil rights for Palestine refugees including the right to work and to own a home.

In plenty of Lebanese neighborhoods, polite society often avoids the subject of ‘haydoulik’ (‘they’) when a foreigner mentions the teeming and squalid Palestinian camps, or brings up the subject of yet another local media or NGO’s report detailing the alarming and accelerating deterioration of the world’s oldest and largest refugee population. Close to half of Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees are crammed into 12 camps and 27 unofficial ‘gatherings’. Of the original 120,000 who were forced across the full length of the Palestine-Lebanon border during the 1948 Nakba, their offspring now number close to 450,000—some 425,640 of whom are registered with the United Nations Refugee Works Administration (UNRWA) as of April, 2010, and some also with the Lebanese Ministry of Interior. Since 1948, roughly 22 per cent of the refugees in Lebanon have left loved ones and family members to seek jobs abroad so as to remit their foreign earnings back to the fetid camps. Lebanon leads the world in the amount of per capita in bound remittances, a significant contribution to its Gross Domestic Product.

The Untouchables

According to a Sunni Muslim family in the Sanayeh area of Beirut who has a long history of support for the Palestinians, including two sons who fought with the PLO against Israeli forces in 1982-83, a father who used to hide sensitive PLO documents inside his apartment walls as Israeli forces searched West Beirut house to house in the fall of 1982, and a mother who prepared home cooked meals during the summer of 1982 for ‘Abu Ammar’ (Yassir Arafat) and ‘Abu Jihad’ (Khalil al Wazir) and their office staffs, between 90-95 per cent of Lebanese have never been inside a Palestinian camp. A teen-age member of the same Beirut family snarled to this observer, “Not since the ( 1982 ) Sabra-Shatila Massacre has a group of our Lebanese brothers visited a Palestinian camp!”, referring to the right wing Phalange Lebanese groups who conducted the camp slaughter after being egged-on and equipped by the occupying Israeli military leadership including Israel’s then Minister of Defense, Ariel Sharon.

With the exception of Druze leader, MP Walid Jumblatt, and a couple of Hezbollah members of Parliament, and one from the Saad Hariri Future Movement, not one member of the 128 member Parliament or the 30 Member Cabinet has acknowledged visiting a Palestinian refugee camp in the past five years, according to a March 2010 survey taken by the Sabra Shatila Foundation and the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon. For some of Lebanon’s population the very idea of “ going inside” a camp in enough to produce an exaggerated grimace.

As shocking as it is true, Lebanon by refusing to even allow Palestinians the right to work in dozens of professions or to own homes, stands in clear violation of no fewer than 43 international legal obligations contained in treaties, conventions, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Lebanon played a major role in drafting, international customary law, and indeed its own Constitution.

The arguments against granting civil rights to Palestine refugees are numerous, with some as imaginative as they are spurious. They vary widely depending on who from which of the 18 confessions is discussing the subject.

Some arguments for the status quo currently being heard by advocates working to change Lebanon’s right to work and home ownership laws include the following sampling:

“If we grant civil rights to our Palestinian Refugees it could interfere with their Right of Return!”

“How are Palestine Refugees in Lebanon deprived of the civil right to work since some do manage to find a job illegally.”

“The Palestinian refugee population poses a security risk for Lebanon and before any civil rights are discussed this must be resolved.”

“Palestinians are Sunni Muslim and giving them civil rights will interfere with the fragile sectarian balance among Christian, Druze and Shia Muslims.”

“Why shouldn’t Lebanon take more time considering civil rights for the Palestinian Refugee families? At least their children are being looked after in UNWRA schools and are fine. Their elders must be more patient and haven’t the Palestinians caused many of their own problems.”

“Lebanon needs more time to straighten out the “situation” with the Palestinians. Also, don’t forget, Lebanon is quietly issuing Identification Cards to the 5000 plus Palestinian refugees who have never had either UNRWA or Interior Ministry registrations subjecting them to arrest at any time. So aren’t we making solid progress?”

“Since all other foreigners need work permits, how has the requirement that Palestine Refugees obtain a work permit unfairly affected Palestinians right to work in Lebanon?”

“Lebanese women also are deprived of civil rights. They must get theirs before Palestine Refugees are given any.”

“Palestinian refugees don’t contribute to Lebanon’s economy so why should Lebanon allow them the right to work?”

“ Lebanon is a very small country and we cannot afford to allow refugees to own a home, given our limited available housing space.”

“If Lebanon grants civil rights to the Palestinian Refugees, they may become too comfortable and seek permanency in Lebanon via Naturalization (Tawtin)”

An analysis of these and other arguments against granting civil rights to Palestine refugees will be considered in a future instalment of this discussion but should any of these arguments prevail with Parliament, a least a quarter million Palestinian refugees in Lebanon will remain deprived of achieving much more than subsistence during their wait and struggle to return to Palestine.

Miss Hiba Hajj

One of the hundreds of thousands wretched refuse facing continuing condemnation is a gifted 15 year old named Hiba Hajj, born and raised in the teeming 90,000 plus resident Ein el Helwe Palestinian Camp, in the 6000 year old town of Saida Lebanon.

Hiba, is a savvy, totally charming, hijabed Palestinian youngster who lives with her large family near the Sharia Bustan Yahoudi (Jewish Park Street) area of Ein el Helweh (‘Eye of the Beauty’ or ‘Source of sweet water’). Hiba’s neighborhood is named after the Jewish community that used to live in the quarter before Zionist colonials invaded Palestine. Most Jews who stayed in Lebanon after 1948 left during the 1982 Israeli invasion and the subsequent 18 year occupation-fewer than 30 are thought to remain in the country today.

To this foreign observer, when Hiba (‘gift from God’) relates her story of dreams defered, she becomes every Palestinian Refugee in Lebanon and her personal and anguished narrative embodies the urgency and historical imperative for Lebanon to immediately grant the most elementary civil rights for her and Hiba’s close to 450,000 fellow Palestinian refugee.

Like many of her friends, Hiba, reputed to be one of the best female teenage football players and long distance runners in Lebanon (she runs an approximate 5 minute 20 second mile on her slower days) is considering dropping out of school to help support her family , whose income has plummeted since the recent fighting between camp factions because, as she explains to an American visitor, people are too afraid to enter the camp to have their cars fixed at her father’s auto repair shop. The American Embassy has instructed the Lebanese army which has blocked off seven entrances to the camp and mans checkpoints at the four remaining entrances to Ein el Helwe, not to allow American passport holders inside the camp “for their personal safety”.

Hiba often spends her free time at her sister Zeina’s home, filled with four squirming babies, which is located in the explosive no-man’s-land known as Taamir, between the boundary of Ein al-Hilweh and one of the Lebanese army checkpoints that overlooks the camp.

Hiba’s peers consider her an expert on the camps factions, that range from the Saudi Wahhabi Takfiri groups who she says, “want to kill us Muslims and anyone else who don’t follow their Wahabist version of our religion”, to Osbat al-Nour (League of Light), Ansar Allah (Followers of God), Fatah al Islam remnants on the lam from the 15 week battle at Nahr al Bared in the summer of 2007, Jund al-Sham (Soldiers of Greater Syria) Islamic Jihad, Asbat-al-Ansar (League of Followers) seven or eight Palestinian factions including Fatah, Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Jebril’s Syrian bankrolled Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the defunct Saiqa, along with some upstart secretive and well armed global jihadist cells sporting new heavy weapons from Iraq according to camp officials, courtesy of US military inventory “shrinkage.”

“Hiba acts crazy sometimes,” her older sister anguishes, “ and our family worries about her. I have seen her walk into the center of a gathering of young fighters, many of whom she knows from rival gangs while they are yelling and threatening to shoot each other. Just last month she grabbed a boy’s AK-47 from him just as he took aim at a rival and she screamed at the boys to go home and read the Koran!” And they left without firing one shot”

Hiba needs to stay in school where she is an excellent student but like so many Palestinian teenagers she sees no point because she can do nothing with an advanced education. For all her energy and ‘don’t blame others just make your own life the way you want it’ attitude Hiba grows introspective and seems sad as she explains to visitors what she would like to do with her life.

Like all Palestinian refugees born in Lebanon, Hiba is stateless and unprotected, brought up in the misery and hopelessness of a Lebanese Palestinian refugee camp. This sweet kid, like all Palestinian refugees, has no civil or political rights in Lebanon. She is barred from working in over 70 professions, cannot own or inherit property, is subject to I.D. checks every time she enters or exits the camp, and has no access to public healthcare or public education.

No Palestinian need apply

Her brother Ahmad explains: ” To start off, if you are a ‘camp kid’ in Lebanon that is a big strike against you. For us we feel there is nothing here. Our country is there (he points in the direction of the Palestinian border 35 miles South). There is nothing to do here, maybe play games on the internet if you can find somewhere with a connection-if you go and play games at the internet place, you're happy that you did something for the day. Some of my friends accept a small salary and join a militia group.”

Refugee-camp teenagers like Hiba once fuelled the anger and resistance to Israel occupying their land. “Not now” says Ahmad “Much of that anger has turned into depression, increasing drug use, gang violence, dropping out of school, domestic violence, feelings of hopelessness. “

“My sister wants to become an eye doctor”, he explains, “She has no chance”.

Today, Palestinians in Lebanon continue to suffer from draconian measures which the Lebanese state claims are needed to prevent them from becoming permanent guests.

As of February 10, 2010, the following dozens of jobs remain off limits to Palestinians in Lebanon per Ministry of Labor Regulation No. 10l1–either because they are restricted to Lebanese nationals, or are forbidden due to the Reciprocity requirements. Since Palestine is not recognized by Lebanon as a country it is impossible to fulfill the Reciprocity requirement, since the job seeker must be licensed in his recognized country and his country must allow a Lebanese to work at the same job. In addition, a Palestinian job seeker must have been a very expensive and difficult to obtain work permit by the Lebanese government.. The Minister of Labor can theoretically exempt a person from the laws for certain jobs if the job-seeker:

* has been residing in Lebanon since birth

* has a Lebanese mother

* has been married to a Lebanese woman for more than one year.

* or if he or she is from a recognized country that allows Lebanese nationals to do the same job, i.e. the barrier of Reciprocity again.

The jobs that Hiba and her fellow refugees are barred from include the following updated forbidden careers:

“Archeology Guide, Banking and administrative work of all kinds, particularly: Manager-Assistant manager-Staff manager-Treasurer-Accountant-Secretary Manager Clerk-Documentalist-Archivist, Computer worker-Commercial representative-Marketing representative-Forman-Warehouse keeper-Salesman-Jeweler-Tailor-Darning worker with the exception of darning carpets-Electrical installations-Mechanics and maintenance-Painters, Glass panes installer-Doorman-Watchman-Driver-Waiter-Hairdresser-Electronic work-Arabic food chef, All technical professions in the construction sector and its derivatives such as tiling, coating, plastering, installation of aluminum, iron, wood or decoration works and the like-Teaching at the elementary, intermediate and secondary levels with the exception of foreign language teacher when necessary, hairdressing, Ironing and dry-cleaning upholstery, publishing, printing, Engineering work in all specialties, Smithery and upholstery work. All kinds of work in pharmacies, drug warehouses and medical laboratories. In general all occupations and professions which can be filled by Lebanese nationals- money changer, real estate agent, attorney, physician, dentist, taxi driver or driver training instructor, registered nurse or assistant nurse, or other job in the Medical field, dentistry, health controller, any job in the engineering field, licensed health controller, medical laboratory worker, clinical health industry jobs, prosthetic devices fitter, certified accountants, dental laboratory science technician, jobs relating to nutrition and meals, topography, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine.”

The only four jobs listed by the Lebanese Ministry of Labor that are open to Palestinian refugees are:

1. midwife

2. financial brokerage firm owner

3. roving photographer

4. land surveyor.

All Palestinian job seekers for the “available” four jobs are required to have been issued the nearly impossible to obtain work permit.

“This scheme by Lebanon is among the most egregious easily preventable massive human rights violations imaginable, given what the largest and oldest refugee population on earth has been through”, according to Dr. Suoheil El-Natour, long time analyst of the Palestinian camp populations in Lebanon, and director of a Human Development Center (HDC) in Mar Elias camp.

Meanwhile, Hiba has promised her family and the Palestine Civil Rights Campaign-Lebanon that she will stay in school through the current academic year to see what Parliament will do about allowing Palestine refugees some basic civil rights. She has joined the PCRC from her camp and recently emailed her colleagues in Shatila Camp to get to work on the Petition drive to Parliament with the following message:

“Failure is not an option for us, our only choice is success.”

The online version of the hard copy Petition can be signed at: http://www.petitiononline.com/ssfpcrc/petition.html.

Franklin Lamb is a researcher and volunteer with the PCRC in Lebanon. He can be reached at fplamb@palestinecivilrightscampaign.org


Talking Palestine to power

Sonja Karkar, The Electronic Intifada, 12 April 2010


Today, there is no excuse for not knowing the truth about Palestine, especially what is happening in Gaza. Even taking into account the disinformation spread in mainstream media, there are enough glimpses one gets of a ravaged Gaza and a brutalized people that should compel us to ask questions. There are enough websites and blogs easily available for anyone to learn more, even if it requires sifting through and evaluating the available information. Certainly, the alarm bells should be ringing when our political leaders declare undying fealty to Israel or cavalierly wear it as a badge of honor, despite the documented reports of Israel's war crimes by human rights groups and official enquiries.

But the world lacks courage from government leaders, acquiescent mainstream media, nongovernmental organizations dependent on government support, academics looking for tenure and populations too long fed on a diet of Zionist myths. People are terrified of being labelled anti-Semitic, a mendacious charge against anyone criticizing Israel. Palestinians too, afraid of being further shunned and disadvantaged in countries that give them refuge, so often remain silent. Not only do people fear repercussions, but speaking the truth or even just hearing it has a way of taking people out of their comfort zones. They fear their troubled consciences may require them to act and so they bury their heads deeper into the sand where they hope even the sounds of silence might be extinguished.

This then is the challenge for advocates the world over. How does one talk Palestine to power if one cannot even talk Palestine to the people who are in fear of the powerful?

In the face of media saturation with Zionist viewpoints and the new “Brand Israel” campaigns, many wanting to advocate for Palestine might feel defeated, but time and again we see that the power of one can be enormously effective.

The great scholar and public intellectual Edward Said showed more than anyone else that individuals can make a difference in the public defense of Palestine. He particularly saw the intellectual's voice as having “resonance.”

But one does not need to be an intellectual. Said's words can just as aptly apply to any one of us. He said avoidance was “reprehensible” and in his 1994 book Representations of the Intellectual, described it as “that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming too controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is … to remain within the responsible mainstream … .”

In 1993 when almost everyone else thought the handshakes at the White House steps would seal the negotiated Oslo accords and at long last give the Palestinians their freedom and bring peace to the region, Edward Said saw that these accords would merely provide the cover for Israel to pursue its colonial expansionism and consolidate its occupation of Palestine. However, he knew to criticize Oslo meant in effect taking a position against “hope” and “peace.” His decision to do so flew in the face of the Palestinian revolutionary leadership that had bartered for statehood.

Although Said was denounced for his views, he was not prepared to buy into the deception that he knew would leave the Palestinians with neither hope nor peace. And just as he predicted, each fruitless year of peacemaking finally exposed the horrible reality of Oslo as Palestinians found themselves the victims of Israel's matrix of control, a term first used to describe the situation by Israeli professor Jeff Halper in 1999. And this domination of one people over another without any intention of addressing the injustices against the Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their homeland, has undeniably reduced Israel to an apartheid state.

The Palestinians have nothing left worth calling a state and they are facing an existential threat on all fronts. Yet, some intellectuals are still talking about a two-state solution in lock step with politicians, a mantra that is repeated uncritically, even mendaciously, in the mainstream media.

This pandering to an idea for decades has been undermined by the furious sounds of drills and hammers reverberating in illegal settlements throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the catastrophic societal ruptures engineered in Gaza. Now those sounds are muffled by the rhetoric of “economic peace,” “institution-building,” “democracy,” “internal security” and “statehood.” They are words that must be challenged at every opportunity, for they are not mere words, but dangerous concepts when isolated from truth on the ground.

It is no use talking about “economic peace” when industrial estates built for Palestinian workers are intended to provide Israel with slave labor and cheap goods. It is useless to support “institution-building” when Israel continues to undermine and obstruct those programs already struggling to service Palestinian society. It is a lie to speak of “democracy” when fair elections in 2006 had Israel and the “international community” denying Hamas the right to govern. It is a charade to accept “internal security” when arming and training Palestinians to police their own people covers for Israel's and America's divide-and-conquer scheme. It is hollow to speak of “statehood” when Israel keeps stealing land and building illegal settlements that deprive the Palestinians of their homes and livelihoods while herding them into isolated and walled-in ghettoes.

Edward Said was proven right. Now, it is our turn to speak the truth and act fearlessly, regardless of the censure we are likely to encounter. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is believed to have said that truth passes through three stages: “first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Today, we are at the third stage: the 11 million Palestinians living under occupation, apartheid and as stateless refugees are the living truth. That is Israel's Achilles' heel.

The Palestinians are no longer the humble shepherds and farmers that Zionist forces terrorized into fleeing to make way for the Jewish State of Israel. A new generation wants justice and it is demanding it eloquently, nonviolently and strategically. Their message: no normal relations with Israel while it oppresses Palestinians, denies their rights and violates international law. And boycott, divestment and sanctions have to be legitimate tools for challenging a state that claims exceptionalism no matter how extreme and criminal its actions.

The temptation of course is always to opt for the path of least resistance. Therefore, we must appeal to the individual, not even to sacrifice for others, but to recognize that no matter where we live in this global village, we are all vulnerable if we do not stand up for universal human rights and uphold the principles and application of international law.

Despite his own Zionist affiliations and loyalty to Israel, Justice Richard Goldstone saw the danger of tailoring his UN-backed report on war crimes in Gaza to exonerate Israel. He had the decency and courage to put the rule of law and humanity ahead of the savage condemnation he knew would come from talking truth to power.

The same can be said of Richard Falk, the Jewish professor emeritus from Princeton University and UN special rapporteur in the occupied Palestinian territories, who was denied entry into Israel because he described Israel's siege on Gaza as a “Holocaust in the making” (“Israel deports American academic,” Guardian, 15 December 2008). Israel's treatment was insulting enough, but now shamefully, the Palestinian Authority has asked the Human Rights Council to “postpone” his report on Gaza and, as Nadia Hijab reported, is asking him to resign (“PA's betrayal of human rights defenders the unkindest cut,” Nadia Hijab, 14 March 2010).

These are honorable men, but we too can stand on principle in smaller ways, whether that is refusing to buy Israeli goods at our local store, boycotting an Israeli-government sponsored event or exposing and protesting the collusion between governments and corporations with Israel. That is what it means to become part of a worldwide civil movement that will do what our leaders will not: pressure Israel to dismantle the matrix of control on Palestine and make reparations for the decades of injustices it has perpetrated against its people.

It is indeed possible for all of us to “squeeze out of reality some of its potentialities,” the reality that University of Melbourne Professor Ghassan Hage has said is found in those utopic moments that come from challenging our own thoughts, fears and biases. In that space lies the untapped power we seek, to speak the truth without fear or favor. In that space lies the potential for political change. In that space, there will always be hope for Palestine.

A version of this essay was originally published on the website of Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East (UK)

Sonja Karkar is the founder and president of Women for Palestine and one of the founders and co-convener of Australians for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia. She is also the editor of www.australiansforpalestine.com and contributes articles on Palestine regularly to various publications. She can be contacted at sonjakarkar A T womenforpalestine D O T org.


Alarming Racism In Israel

By Stephen Lendman

12 April, 2010

Mossawa means equality, the Mossawa Advocacy Center promoting it for Israel's Arab citizens – about 1.5 million, comprising 20% of the population. Established in 1997, it “strives to improve the social, economic and political status of (Israeli Arabs), while preserving their national and cultural rights as Palestinians.” It also promotes gender equality “in all spheres of society.”

Its September 29, 2009 press release headlined the “High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens (an organization representing Israeli Arabs) call for a general” October 1 one-day work stoppage to protest deteriorating conditions they face, and Israel's failure “to bring justice to the families of the 13 Arab victims that were killed by security forces during the events of October 2000,” the start of the second Intifada.

The Committee asked all Arab institutions, organizations and businesses to honor it in opposition to Triangle and Negev area home demolitions; Galilee and Triangle area settlement building; discrimination in allocating resources; police violence, intimidation, racial, and political incitement; and the right of Arab citizens “to exist and live in dignity in their historic homeland.”

Mossawa Center Calls the Current Knesset the Most Racist in History

A March 21 Jack Khoury/Dana Weiler-Polark Haaretz article headlined the above accusation, saying Mossawa's report shows “that in 2008 there were (12) bills (not 11 Haaretz reported) defined as racist,” followed by 12 more in 2009, specifically against Israeli Arabs. Report authors Lizi Sagi and Nidal Othman said:

“There has never been a Knesset as active in proposing discriminating and racist legislation against the country's Arab citizens.”

They accused right-wing MKs of being “unhindered via proposed legislation,” many in violation of Supreme Court rulings, including cosmetically altering illegal bills to get them passed. Others trying to harm Arab citizens, segregate them from Jews, and “even call for the expulsion of the (entire) Arab population.”

Further discriminatory measures target services, benefits, and imposing a year's imprisonment for anyone publishing or saying something that would “bring contempt upon or discomfort to the country.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz wants road signs traditionally in Hebrew, Arabic and English changed solely to Hebrew to erase their historic identity. But doing so violates the Supreme Court's recognition of Arabic as an official Israeli language.

Other measures target those who can buy land and the so-called Nakba law, watered down from its original version to exclude imprisonment, but including a provision to withhold public funding for any state-supported body holding Nakba commemorations. Arab school curricula exclude its mention, and outright banning it denies Israeli Arabs their collective identity, memory, and right to freely express opinions, especially about something this important.

The Incitement Law threatens prison for anyone denying Israel's existence as a Jewish, democratic state, and the proposed Loyalty to Israel Law rescinds citizenship for anyone unwilling to pledge it. Still another measure bans demonstrations near public officials and service provider homes as well as others responsible for public welfare. It's one step short of prohibiting all demonstrations critical of government policies.

The Prevention of Inflation Law includes provisions denying protections and care for asylum seekers, and long prison terms for convicted “infiltrators” and human rights activists helping them. Other measures affect free expression, housing, political involvement, and Bedouin rights in so-called unrecognized villages, the home for tens of thousands living under appalling conditions, compounded by involuntary dispossessions to Judaize the Negev and Galilee.

Mossawa Center's 2009 Racism Report

It began saying “almost every day” another Israeli Arab is victimized by racist actions. Mossawa documented 271 cases in various categories, confirmed by media and police reports. “Most documentation refers to events,” not individuals, but their total number far exceeds the events mentioned.

Mossawa was alarmed that Occupied Territory (OPT) abuses have incrementally crossed the Green Line. Since the second Intifada's onset (after Ariel Sharon's provocative September 28 Al-Aqsa Mosque visit), few Israeli – Arab citizen confrontations occurred until Acre, Galilee's October 2008 violence. Incidents now “create separation between communities that used to” coexist peacefully. As a result, Israeli Arab citizens face disruptive social, economic and cultural futures.

Besides Acre, organized groups attacked Arab civilians in Jerusalem, Tiberias, Nazareth Illit, Carmiel and other cities – suggesting more to come unless measures are taken to curb it.

Specific Mossawa Findings

From 2000 through 2008, 42 Arab Israelis were killed. Only once was a police officer indicted and convicted, sentenced only to six months in prison for murder. Another accused officer still serves, “receiving support” from his commander.

Since trials of two officers began in 2006, judges have delayed ruling, six months after proceedings ended. As a result, 13 families of initial Intifada killings await justice despite clear Or Commission recommendations (established to investigate them) not implemented by the Attorney General.

Two Jews who killed Arabs were admitted to mental hospitals and declared unfit to stand trial. Four years after Natan Zadah killed four Arabs, investigations continue. After his death, 15 Shefaram residents were arrested on suspicion of their involvement. Four East Jerusalem Palestinians were killed after being repeatedly shot “even after they were clearly paralyzed.” No investigation was conducted.

Police attacked and injured 17 Israeli Arabs, a 300% increase since 2008. During the Gaza war, police intensified violence and arrested 700 Arab citizens. Yet a small number of them were indicted.

Jewish civilians were involved in most racist incidents (about 70), up tenfold from the previous year. Most targeted Arabs and involved attacks and property destruction. The October 2008 Acre incidents resulted in over 80 people evacuated from their homes, most after being “repeatedly injured.” Despite making arrests, police “failed to prevent massive confrontations” and didn't arrest youths involved in Acre and Carmiel attacks.

Knesset members, other public figures, and rabbis were involved in 29 racist incidents, especially during the Gaza war, and in the run-up to elections through mass media reports. The Central Elections Committee (CEC) took no action.

The New Israel Fund and Football Union reported 39 racist incidents during contests, not against Arabs but dark skinned targets – compared to 32 recorded 2008 cases. Another 15 incidents of “racial profiling and discrimination in services” were reported, showing a drop because courts now fine business discrimination on the basis of race.

The Supreme Court, however, hasn't addressed airport profiling.

Ten cases of religious discrimination were reported, included cemetery destruction and holy book burnings.

The 2008 Knesset introduced 12 discriminatory bills, and the Supreme Court failed to disqualify the 2003 temporary Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, renewed every six months. It makes West Bank and Gaza Palestinians ineligible for residency permits if they marry an Israeli citizen, a measure harmful to thousands of families yearly.

Israeli Arab leaders have been systematically delegitimized. “Israeli political leaders, the government, the police and government legal advisors use the demographic threat to force their political positions on Arab minority leaders,” including prohibiting their visits to regional states that don't diplomatically recognize Israel. Also forcing them to accept Israel as a Jewish state to qualify as MKs, or in other words, renounce their own heritage.

Arab leaders violating these terms are investigated to persecute and delegitimize them. During the Gaza war, police and security services made numerous arrests as a warning to local Arab leaders. In addition, for the third time since the early 1990s, the Central Elections Committee (CEC) disqualified two Arab political parties from participating in national elections. Though the Supreme Court overruled the decision, the Arab community got a chilling message, suggesting harsher measures to come.

Jews as well experienced racism, specifically Russian and Ethiopian immigrants as well as gays.

Summary of Mossawa's 2008 and 2009 Racist Incidents

— police violence since October 2000 killing Arab Israelis: in 2008, 41; in 2009, 42;

— other police violence against Arab Israelis: in 2008, 6; in 2009, 17;

— Jewish civilian attacks against Arab Israelis: in 2008, 7; in 2009, 70;

— racial incitement: in 2008, 27; in 2009, 29;

— religious discrimination: in 2008, 8; in 2009, 10;

— discrimination in public services: in 2008, 26; in 2009, 15;

— football related racism: in 2008, 32; in 2009, 39 through March;

— delegitimizations of Israeli Arab political leaders: in 2008, 15; in 2009, 23;

— racist Knesset bills: in 2008, 12; in 2009, 12; and

— discrimination against Russian and Ethiopian immigrants as well as gays: in 2008, 6; in 2009, 14.

Totals: in 2008, 180; in 2009, 271.

Mossawa was alarmed that Israeli Arabs are increasingly being persecuted like Occupied Palestinians – perhaps one step short of facing targeted killings, much greater dispossession rates, mass incarcerations, and torture. They're already denied rights afforded solely to Jews.

Civilized societies accept all citizens as equals, or are supposed to. Israel rejects that standard, including for disfavored Jews, shunned for more privileged ones the way America treats minorities, the poor, disadvantaged, undocumented Latino immigrants called illegal, and Muslims persecuted as terrorists.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.




Breaking in with intent to terrorise

By Haggai Mattar
Dimi’s notes

There was one point that stood out for me in Uri Blau’s recollection of his pursuit by the Shin Bet in the Anat Kamm affair. Blau, Haaretz’s outstanding investigative reporter, recalls how as he was traveling in the Far East he got a call saying his house was broken into. “It looks like they were looking for something,” said the policeman on the phone. Reading this reminded me how they broke into my home, too.

It was about 8 years ago. I was active for the Shimnistim Letter (a statement of refusal by conscientious draft objectors), and I was one of those tasked with coordinating the signatories’ name lists. One day, my parents’ home was broken into, and my computer was taken. Nothing else. Computers belonging to other family members, money, valuables were all spared. In the same month, break-ins took place in the homes of prominent activists in Courage to Refuse and Yesh Gvul, two other conscientious objection organisations. The houses were all turned upside down, and in all of them the only items missing were computers with CO name lists.

I remember being appalled – not really comprehending back then how Israeli “security forces” operated – and as the years went by, I learned to smile back at my naivety. But reading Blau’s account today got me wondering. Why, come to think of it, do they need to break into our homes? After all, there are legal routes to obtain search warrants and confiscate computers, in a perfectly orderly manner. If they could legally confiscate “Anarchists Against the Wall” t-shirts from the home of one of my friends, or if they found an ex-Mossad, friendly judge to discuss the gag order on the Anat Kamm affair – in other words, if the law is on their side, they could’ve knocked on our door and confiscate everything legally. So why burgle?

The answer is that breaking in signifies the deeper truth about the nature of their work. Like the policeman who handcuffs a demonstrator, beats him up out of the camera’s sight and then claims he used reasonable force; or like the Mossad that murders people in faraway countries without ever admitting it – the innermost essence of the Shin Bet is embedded into such break-ins. A break-in like that is a statement: “We are the law, and we are above the law, and under the radar of the law, as we please”; and also, “you know it’s us, and there’s nothing you can do about it”; and at the end of the day, “we are everywhere in your life, all the time, and don’t you forget it.” It’s breaking in with intent to terrorise.

Not too long after the break-in I was already in jail [for conscientious objection – D.R.], and my room and belongings have been searched many times. And still, few experiences can be as humiliating as finding out someone roamed over your things without your presence. It’s not for nothing that the law says searches must be conducted in the presence of two witnesses; and it’s not for nothing that this law doesn’t apply in the Occupied Territories, where activists, academics, farmers, workers, teachers and children are dragged from their beds into the streets in the dead of night, and are only allowed to return once their home has been thoroughly turned upside down. I’ve seen them: Coming back and digging through what had been a wardrobe, a bed or a chest of drawers, trying to figure out what had survived, and trying to second-guess the thoughts of these demigods, omnipotent and omnipresent, who went through their belongings and left but destruction in their wake.

Uri Blau is in exile in Britain, his email and his phone are tapped, and he is threatened with interrogation and arrest if he dares to return to Israel. He is also awaited by his upturned flat, a silent testimony to the terror hovering over all of us.

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