- Israel never embraced democratic values. More than ever
today that's true. Many Jews understand. As a result, they're voting with
their feet and leaving.
- Gideon Levy remarked that "(i)t's really an irony
of history, because Israel was established to become a shelter to the Jewish
people. Now Europe becomes a shelter for the Jews living in Israel."
- So does America. New millennium exodus has a whole new
meaning. Last year, Haaretz writer Bradley Burston headlined, "I envy
the people who hate Israel," saying:
- "....this is not the same country I moved to, so
long ago. I learned when I first came that Israel was not the country I'd
thought I was moving to."
- Now it's worse than ever because "Israel at its
highest level has taken an executive decision. Unable to beat the forces
who want to see Israel as one of the world's primary pariah states, it
has resolved to join them" and succeeded.
- With its paymaster/partner America, it's out in front
leading. Growing numbers know it, Jews and non-Jews alike. A 2008 Menachem
Begin Heritage Center survey showed 59% of Israelis consider leaving by
inquiring about foreign citizenship and second passports. Growing numbers
- In 2005, the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics said
650,000 Israelis away for over a year haven't returned. Most were Jews.
- Moreover, as greater numbers leave, most remaining are
ideologically committed. Many of them are fanatics. Others are indifferent,
aging, unable to leave, or aren't sure where to go. Emigrating abroad isn't
simple. Cost is a factor. Uprooting takes a toll. So does adjusting.
- Nonetheless, growing numbers leave because social injustice
is official policy. So is state terror. Israel's a regional menace, a belligerent
modern-day Sparta, a rogue pariah endangering its own people like others.
As a result, many Israelis fear living in the eye of the storm. Daily examples
- Targeting Free Expression and Silencing Dissent
- On November 20, the International Middle East Media Center
(IMEMC) headlined, "Joint Palestinian-Israeli 'peace radio' station
shut down by Israeli authorities," saying:
- On November 19, Israel shut Palestinian-Israeli broadcaster
Kol Hashalom (Whole Peace), claiming it operated without proper licensing
- "despite the fact that the station broadcasts from the West Bank
and is not under Israeli jurisdiction."
- Founded in 2004 by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups,
it's now closed unless efforts to resume operations succeed.
- Israel's Communications Ministry said:
- "The Ministry carried out wireless supervisory activities
in cooperation with the Israel Police against a pirate radio station, just
as it carries them out against all other illegal stations."
- MK Deputy Speaker Danny Danon demanded the station's
shutdown. He's one of growing numbers of Knesset hard-liners. He also advocates
annexing the West Bank to punish PA officials for pursuing full UN membership.
- Last summer, he invited Glenn Beck to appear before his
Knesset committee and was involved in his "Restoring Courage"
Jerusalem tour that spread the same kind of demagogic hate-mongering he
does in America.
- Shutting down Kol Hashalom is lawless. Palestine's Communication
Ministry licensed it. At issue is silencing peace advocacy. Israel won't
tolerate it. It never embraced peace and doesn't now.
- The entire process was stillborn from inception. Israel
thrives on conflict. Enemies are needed to pursue it. None exist so Israel
invents them. Palestinians and regional neighbors are targeted.
- Kol Hashalom station manager Mossi Raz (a former MK)
will appeal what he calls Israel's lawless shutdown.
- On November 19, the Palestine News & Information
Agency headlined, "Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Concerned About
Arrests of Journalists," saying:
- Concern was raised about more Palestinian journalist
arrests in Jerusalem and the West Bank. RSF said Israel is taking "a
tougher line....toward the Palestinian media."
- On November 16, Al-Quds TV presenter Isra Salhab was
arrested. No explanation was given. A "closed-door" military
court proceeding followed. It's ruling was postponed several days.
- On November 14, Israeli soldiers arrested Radio Marah
presenter Raed Sharif in Hebron. No further information is available.
- In the past week alone, Israel arrested and detained
five Palestinian journalists in prison for doing their job.
- On May 8, journalist Walid Khaled, editor of the Gaza-based
Filisteen newspaper, was arrested and detained six months. In early November,
a Salfit Israeli military court ordered a six-month extension. Earlier,
he spent four years imprisoned.
- The latest arrests came less than two weeks after Israeli
commandos abducted five Freedom Waves to Gaza journalists, covering its
mission to breach Israel's siege and deliver humanitarian aid.
- Last summer, RSF condemned Israel's policy of arbitrarily
arresting Palestinian journalists. They follow a troublesome pattern to
silence dissent. It's now more virulent than ever.
- Punishing Palestinians for Being Arabs
- On November 19, IMEMC headlined, "Report: 'Palestinian
Village Condemned To Live in Darkness," saying:
- After Amenzil village had solar panels installed, its
residents had electricity for the first time. Nonetheless, "Israel
issued a military injunction" to remove them.
- Cooperatively with Nablus-based An-Najah University,
the Spanish NGO Seeba installed them. Villagers finally enjoyed what most
people take for granted. Israel claims construction permits weren't issued.
- Located in Area C, construction in all forms is subject
to Civil Administration Authority approval. Israeli military commanders
have final say. Several Israeli NGOs and the UN want the ruling voided.
Spain's using diplomatic channels to help.
- Village council head Ali Hreizat said:
- "(T)hese solar panels were the ray of hope to residents.
We have been living here since 1948, and have nowhere to go."
- Amenzil is one of many so-called unrecognized villages.
Israel denies them basic services, including electricity, water, roads,
transport, sanitation, education, healthcare, postal and telephone service,
refuse removal and more because under its Planning and Construction Law
their illegal even though Bedouin Arabs are Israeli citizens.
- They're internal refugees, forced from their homes during
Israel's "War of Independence" and prevented from returning.
They're also repressively mistreated, including by dubious zoning restrictions,
prohibiting construction, agriculture, and other legal rights.
- Moreover, many villages are destroyed, their residents
displaced to make way for Jewish only development.
- A Spanish official in charge of the solar panel installation
said permission was requested to proceed. Israeli authorities never responded.
The Israeli Civil Administration said Seeba may appeal, but "refused
to present its case in front of the Appeals Committee."
- However, Israel's military authority may reconsider the
ruling, saying approvals "must be directed through legal channels."
- Given Israeli repression and protracted bureaucratic
process, most likely months or years of trying will end up fruitless.
- Hints of Possible War
- Ahead expect Israel's appetite for conflict perhaps to
be satisfied. Attacking Iran repeatedly is suggested. In mid-November,
Israeli Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz told a Knesset committee about
possible "offensive action" if Gaza rocket fire continues.
- In fact, Gazans respond defensively to repeated Israeli
attacks and provocations. Inverting truth, Israel calls it terrorism. Israeli
media suggested a possible major offensive. Perhaps Cast Lead II is planned.
Israel's been itching for more war. It could happen anytime.
- Targeting Human Rights Groups
- In response to Israel's Knesset attempts to silence dissent,
limit free expression, and wage war on civil society organizations, B'Tselem
published a joint statement issued by 19 of them affected.
- B'Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel,
Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Adalah, Yesh Din, Rabbis for Human
Rights, and others expressed solidarity with activists and organizations
"subjected to threats and acts of violence" by a state claiming
to be democratic. "These acts are intended to intimidate us all and
silence our voices."
- Authorities committing daily repression won't "refrain
from inflicting bodily, even life-threatening harm on Palestinians and
Israelis whose views and actions they consider objectionable."
- In fact, doing so is longstanding official policy. Today,
it's more ruthless and unrestrained than ever.
- Democrats, anti-war activists, social justice advocates,
and civil libertarians have no place in Israeli society.
- No wonder so many Jews vote with their feet and leave.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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