Police states are defined
by lawlessness, injustice, and contempt for democratic values.
Merriam Webster calls them "political unit(s) characterized by repressive
governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually
by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police
in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs
of the government according to publicly known legal procedures."
Power trumps rights. Crackdowns enforce social control. Arrests, imprisonment,
torture, and abuse are commonplace. Murder is committed with impunity.
State terror is policy.
Palestinians understand well. They've suffered horrifically for decades.
Legitimate resistance is called terrorism. Nonetheless, they persist.
Courageous prison hunger strikers define them. They vow to keep struggling
for justice. On May 9, hundreds of family members, supporters, and human
rights activists protested in front of the UN's Ramallah office.
The international body has done nothing to help. Demonstrators chanted
"(w)e don't want wheat or bread. We want the liberation of detainees."
They demand UN officials intervene for justice.
Released hunger striker Khader Adnan called "surrounding the UN office....a
daring move that aims at sending the detainees' message to the world."
It's also a "move that sheds light on the suffering of the political
After weeks of protest actions, Israel began negotiating. Ahrar Center
for Detainees Studies head Fuad Al Khoffash called it "cheap bargaining."
Israel offers easily reversed concessions. Prisoners are released, then
harassed and rearrested. Promises are made, then broken. Israel doesn't
negotiate. It demands and wants things its way. Since 1967, Palestinians
were denied all rights. Militarized occupation assures none.
Al Khoffash called Israel's move a maneuver. At issue is subverting
unity and breaking the spirit of detainees. They chose "dignity over
food." They won't tolerate manipulation. They've been through this before.
Harshness masquerades as concessions. Those made are then broken.
On May 7, Israel's High Court spurned justice. In response to an urgent
appeal to save Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, they ruled let 'em die.
On May 10, both men reached hunger strike day 73.
They face imminent death. Neither committed crimes. They're wrongfully
imprisoned. So are thousands of other Palestinians.
Israel's High Court won't intervene. Reasons given are spurious. Right-wing
justices work cooperatively with Netanyahu hard-liners. Palestinians
behind or outside prison walls don't have a chance.
On May 8, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) established a hunger
striker "situation room." Plans call for round the clock operation and
cooperative efforts to "to gather and distribute any relevant information
and to enable a public campaign for supporting the demands by the prisoners
to respect their human rights."
PHR-I will provide information for family members, their attorneys,
doctors, and local as well as international human rights organizations
and activists. Local and foreign diplomats will be kept informed. So
will national and international media, as well as the public.
PHR-I listed prisoner demands. They include:
(1) Ending punitive isolation.
(2) Stopping the practice of imprisoning Palestinians in Israel. Doing
so violates international law.
(3) Renewing family visits for Gazan detainees denied them for six years.
(4) Renewing them for West Bank and East Jerusalem prisoners whose families
were denied visitation rights.
(5) Providing proper medical care, including access to independent physicians
and civilian hospitalization when serious medical conditions exist.
(6) Terminating daily punitive, violent cell and strip searches. Usually
done late at night, sleep is disrupted one or more times.
(7) Ending strip searches for visiting family members.
(8) Terminating shackling prisoners during family and attorney visits,
as well as when hospitalized for medical care.
(9) Fulfilling prisoners' right to education.
(10) Ending all severe, disproportional punishments.
(11) Ending violations of other basic rights, including attorney visits
during ongoing investigations and restricting judicial oversight.
PHR-I "supports the prisoners’ struggle and their demand for a full
respect of their human rights. We are acting on several levels in order
to make sure that the prisoners’ rights are maintained in the course
of the hunger strike."
"PHR is making a significant effort to treat and represent people whose
medical condition is the worst, and whose right to health and appropriate
treatment is being violated behind prison walls."
Nearly one-third of uncharged Palestinian administrative detainees have
been held from six months to a year. Another third endured one to two
years of incarceration.
Thirteen have been imprisoned from two to four years, and another two
for over four and half years UNCHARGED. Israel can hold them forever
in limbo harshness.
Nearly all Israeli prison facilities are within its borders. Incarcerating
Palestinians there violates international law. Holding them anywhere
spurns it. They're innocent. They committed no crimes. Free societies
don't govern this way. Police states do. On issues affecting Palestinians,
Israel is one of the worst.
Israel's High Court Affirms State of Emergency Conditions
On May 8, the High Court rejected an Association for Civil Rights in
Israel (ACRI) petition. At issue is canceling an official state of emergency
in force since May 1948 after Israel's war of independence.
In 1992, the Knesset passed Basic Law: The Government which created
an outer limit to the state of emergency for one year reserves the right
for unlimited renewals.
Each government took full advantage despite no justification whatever.
Israel hasn't been attacked for nearly 40 years. Yet a virtual state
of war exists.
As a result, authorities maintain unconstitutional police state powers.
Draconian harshness is enforced. Freedoms are restricted or denied,
including expression, labor and property rights.
The court ruled "Israel is a normal country that isn't normal." The
statement defies logic. Falsely, the decision said Israel "essentially
fulfills its mandate as a Jewish and democratic state."
Jewish, yes, although 20% of its population is Muslim. Democratic, no.
Israel mocks democracy. Arabs have no rights. Even Jewish ones are compromised.
Israel "is not normal," the court held, "in that its existential threats
have yet to be quelled....the battle against terror continues, and apparently
will continue for the foreseeable future."
Israel's only threats are those it invents to impose occupation harshness,
attack neighboring states, and threaten other nonbelligerent ones like
Stop the Wall Activists Targeted
On May 8 at 1:30AM, Stop the Wall (STW) activists issued an "Action
alert: STW office raided by Israeli military," saying:
Ten armored jeeps, dozens of security forces, and intelligence agents
surrounded and raided STW's Ramallah offices. Their property was confiscated.
Seized were two laptops, three hard drives, and 10 memory cards with
files and photos.
Authorities also took "archival material relating to the work that (STW)
does in opposition to Israel's apartheid wall and the attack on Palestinian
human rights that the wall and" settlements represent.
"This is a renewed attack upon Palestinian civil society and their struggle
against the physical and psychological oppression, land confiscation
and ethnic cleansing policies of the Israel."
The raid coincided with High Court injustice condemning Bilal and Thaer
to death. At issue is quashing resistance before further traction is
gained, behind and outside prison walls.
Earlier, STW activists were harassed, raided, and terrorized. Today
they say they're stronger than ever. They have global support. Word
spreads. STW urges supporters tell others, demand their governments
intervene, and "(l)et Israel know that walls cannot isolate anybody!"
A Final Comment
On May 8, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) issued
an "Urgent Alert: Imminent Displacement Risk in the Jerusalem Periphery,"
Palestinian residences in the West Bank's Area C (east of Jerusalem)
face "looming threat of immediate demolition." Those threatened "include
EU-funded residential structures provided in response to previous demolitions
in the area."
Mostly Bedouin communities are affected. They're targeted for ethnic
cleansing to provide land for Israeli residential and commercial development.
Communities were told "they have no option but to leave." It's part
of a larger scheme to steal all valued Judea and Samaria land. Total
Judaization is planned. Arabs aren't wanted. Those unwilling to leave
will be forced out.
Areas most affected include Jerusalem's periphery, the Jordan Valley,
and south Hebron Hills. Israel wants Palestinians excluded. Eviction
orders are issued. Private property is confiscated. Residents have lived
there for decades, some for generations. International law is violated.
Israel's Civil Administration (ICA) falsely claims Palestinian structures
were built illegally. It also calls Area C sovereign Israeli territory.
It comprises over 60% of the West Bank. It contains valued water resources.
Israel wants Palestinians denied them, including on their own private
Since 1997, ICAHD courageously resisted lawless Israeli demolitions.
It also addresses land theft, settlement expansions, Jews-only by-pass
roads, apartheid "closure" and "separation" policies, destroying Palestinian
fruit and olive trees, the Separation Wall, besieged Gaza, and other
It opposes Israel's lawless occupation and repression of Palestinians
wanting to live free, on their own land, in their own country peacefully.
It's their sovereign right.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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