Briefing Paper March 2012

Scottish Friends of Palestine AGM

Sunday 15 April 2012 12.30pm to 2.00 pm

STUC Centre 333 Woodlands Road Glasgow G3 6NG

Thereafter to Deir Yassin commemoration plaque in Kelvingrove Park (to the rear of the Art Galleries) for a short ceremony of commemoration (commencing around 2.30pm)

Motions for the AGM can be submitted to the Secretary 31 Tinto Road Glasgow G43 2AL or to or on the day of the AGM


Interestingly enough, when Israelis want to feel authentic, they do not speak in Yiddish or Aramaic; they actually swear in Arabic and eat hummus.

The meaning of it is simple: deep in their hearts the Israelis know that Palestine is the land and Israel is just a state. When Israelis want to bond with Zion they actually plagiarize the indigenous people of the land, for deep inside the Israeli knows that the sky, the sea, al-Quds, Mount Olive, the Sea of Galilee, the Wailing Wall, the Arabic language and the hummus belong to the land. They also grasp that oppression, exceptionalism, supremacy belong to the state – their own Jewish state.

“Two peoples, one hummus” is my image of peace and reconciliation. The land will stay forever; the failing Jewish state is already subject to historical research. The two people will dine together, and they won’t just share the hummus: they might even share the pita bread between them.

Gilad Atzmon

Lifting ban on Palestinian spouses is “national suicide”


Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected constitutional challenges to a law that makes it more difficult for Palestinians to get permission to live with their Israeli spouses inside Israel.

Israel’s parliament approved a law in 2003 that severely limits the ability of Palestinians to gain Israeli citizenship through marriage to an Israeli national. Civil rights organizations and Arab rights advocates filed the appeal in 2007. The ruling was passed with a narrow majority, with six judges voting in favor of maintaining the law late Wednesday, while five were against.

“Human rights are not a prescription for national suicide,” Justice Asher Grunis writes in the majority position. Israeli rights groups and parliamentarians criticized the court ruling that prevents Palestinians married to Arab Israelis from obtaining Israeli citizenship or residency. In contrast, the ruling was welcomed from Israel’s rightwing.

“It is a dark day for the protection of human rights and for the Israeli High Court,” attorneys Dan Yakir and Oded Feller from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a statement. ACRI was one of three rights groups that had appealed to the High Court over a law preventing the Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from obtaining either Israeli citizenship or residency.

At present, Palestinian men over 35 and women over 25 married to Israeli citizens can only obtain short-term permits to be in Israel. They have limited permission to work, but the permits must be regularly reviewed and they get no social benefits.

Arab MP Jamal Zahalka, of the Balad party, said the court “had failed the test of justice.” “This decision will encourage the racist groups in the Knesset (parliament) to enact more anti-Arab, anti-democratic and anti-human rights laws,” he warned. “The court’s ruling pours oil on the fire of racism burning in the Knesset and removes any fear that the Supreme Court will repeal laws on grounds of unconstitutionality,” he added.

Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab MP with the Hadash party, said the ruling proved a “wave of racism” was sweeping through Israeli institutions. “This law, which differentiates between people in a repulsive, racist fashion, sets standards for an individual’s personal life and denies Arabs their right to choose their life partner,” he said.

Arab citizens form roughly 20 percent of Israel’s population, not including approximately 4 million Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Professor of Hate: Israeli “scholar” urges ethnic cleansing of Bedouins

Ali Abunimah 11/01/2012

A prominent Israeli professor at the University of Haifa, Arnon Sofer, is urging the government to act fast to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Bedouins lest Israel be “destroyed” by them.

For years the Israeli state has mobilized all its resources to complete the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins – Palestinian indigenous people – and the “judaization” of their land. Already much of their land has been taken, and the few places they’ve found refuge are under threat. The ethnic cleansing proceeds with the full support or active participation of Israel’s Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund which uses bogus tree-planting initiatives to greenwash the theft of Bedouin land.

The Jewish Agency, for example, recently conceded that the goal of government plans in southern Palestine’s Naqab region “is to grab the last remaining piece of land and thereby prevent further Bedouin incursion into any more state land and the development of an Arab belt from the south of Mount Hebron toward Arad and approaching Dimona and Yeruham, and the area extending toward Be’er Sheva.” All of this is based on the racist notion that Bedouins – who are struggling to hold on to their land and way of life for example in the village of al-Araqib – are actually invaders and that the land naturally belongs exclusively to Jews.

Sofer provides intellectual cover for ethnic cleansing

Enter Sofer (sometimes spelled “Soffer”), the Reuven Chaikin Chair in Geostrategy at the University of Haifa, who has long been in the forefront of warning about the “demographic threat” to Israel from too many non-Jewish babies. In a December speech, reported on 15 December 2011 by The Marker, the Israeli financial publication syndicated by Haaretz, Sofer raised the alarm about the supposed invasion by Bedouins and other undesirable non-Jews and urged the government to act, presumably to expel them and retain the land for the exclusive use of Jews.

Sofer warns that Israel is “filling up” with non-Jews and warns that in certain areas of the country, non-Jews (mostly indigenous Palestinians who are nominally citizens of the state), are already the majority. Sofer speaks of these areas as being “lost” – indicating a view that despite their nominal citizenship, non-Jews can never really be part of Israel. Even worse, Sofer presents the Bedouins as such a threat that Israel is on the verge of being “destroyed.” Naturally so grave a threat obviously warrants Israel acting to destroy it first.

Sofer added that the Bedouin population is managing to take over every clear plot of land, and so it turns out, according to Sofer, that as of today, the percentage of Jews in Israel and in the Judea and Samaria regions comes only to 52%. “In the northern district alone there are 44% Jews, and in the central Galilee there are 23% Jews. What is Nazareth Illit [Upper Nazareth] today? It’s Lower Nazareth. Has anyone heard of the Bedouins in the South? Most of you drive along the road and see only both sides of the road, but in practice, the dimensions are entirely different, and you don’t know where we are living. Have we lost the Northern Negev? We certainly have.”

But it is not just the Negev that the Bedouins have taken over. “As far as Rehovot, around the Weizmann Institute, there are about 19 new Bedouin settlements. In Rishon Lezion there are about 12 Bedouin colonies, and near the Asaf Harofe hospital they’ve already set up a city without us paying heed. It is starting to come to Tel Aviv. The government must start taking action, and not flounder in the defense. We do not have another country. If I am not wrong about this terrible map, and I hope that I am wrong, Israel will simply be destroyed.”

What’s also notable is that the article on Sofer appears in the Real Estate section of The Marker, an indication of the banality and normalization of such racism in Israeli discourse.

Sofer has been active for many years, but what gives him credibility and even an international audience for such raw and primitive racial hatred and incitement is his perch at Haifa University. It’s an example of the complicity Israel’s universities have in disseminating ideologies that confer legitimacy on Israel’s violence, ethnic expulsions and racist policies.

Israel’s High Court doesn’t deserve to be defended

Gideon Levy Ha’aretz 15/01/12

The fight to defend the High Court of Justice from those who would bring it down must stop now. Enough self-righteousness, enough of this masquerade, in which we imagine that we are trying to protect the last beacon of justice and the last bastion of Israeli democracy. Not only is there no longer any point to the struggle – the last-ditch battle has already failed – it is also no longer justified. No more is there reason to defend an institution that issued the shameful rejection of the petition against the amendment to the Citizenship Law.

A court that vets this nationalistic and racist amendment, which discriminates against Arab citizens of Israel solely on the basis of their ethnicity, which in the name of security is prepared to deny basic rights and destroy the lives of thousands of Israeli families, which makes false use of security to try to cover up its racism – is an institution that must no longer be defended. Its name has been taken in vain, and defending it is misleading because it makes it seem to be an institution worth fighting for. It is better to tell the truth: It is not the guardian of the seal of democracy and human rights in Israel. The right wing can continue demolishing it to their hearts’ content; they are only demolishing ruins.

Let’s speak plainly: This is about transfer. Not by the army, the settlers or the extreme right, but expulsion under the aegis of the law and with the court’s seal of approval.

The ruling of the justices in Jerusalem means breaking up thousands of Israeli families whose mother or father will be expelled. Vladimir can marry Yana, but Mohammed cannot marry Sana.

Among the justifications and pretexts of the majority of the bench, from Justice Eliezer Rivlin’s “the damage is for a worthy goal” to Justice Hanan Melcer’s “the law protects the security of the state,” Justice Miriam Naor’s diabolical reasoning stands out: “Protection does not extend to fulfillment of family life specifically in Israel.” And just where will the people of this land who come from Taibeh or Nazareth go? And why should they go? The ink is not yet dry on the Entry Into Israel Law before Israel continues its ethnic cleansing by means of the Citizenship Law. Thus will our encampment be pure. And who shall we thank and bless? The “leftist” and “liberal” court.

In the masquerade of defense of the High Court, one mask stands out as particularly deceitful – that of High Court President Dorit Beinisch. A do- gooder, she voted against the shameful ruling. But she drew out the process until an initial justice on the case who opposed the law, Ayala Proccacia, retired and was replaced by a justice who would say yes to the law. Beinisch wanted to have her cake and eat it too – to seem enlightened while not further kindling the anger of the right against her court. Beinisch understands the limitations of power, her supporters say, and realized that the rope could not be pulled too tight, lest it break.

Well, Madame President, that rope has indeed broken. A court that neutralizes itself with its own hands and abuses its office out of fear of its enemies is not a court. Long before the Citizenship Law, the rope was no more than a broken reed of support for the protection of human rights in Israel, particularly as long as these rights face off against the molech of security, which the court worshiped almost slavishly; the ruling on the Citizenship Law has now only given the final seal of approval to the end of the sham.

Of course, the trumpets of the right hailed the decision: “A good wind is blowing from the court,” they said, which is sufficient to understand that a very evil wind is blowing through it.

After the grotesque demonization of the “planned invasive swarm,” and the danger of terror from the Ajaji family, she from the Galilee and he from Tul Karm; after the self-righteous campaign of “everyone does it,” despicably ignoring the essential difference between foreigners and natives of this land – the sovereign or the occupied part – both of whom are members of one people, the High Court has satisfied the fearmongers of demographics and terror, and crushed the rights of minorities in Israel.

Israeli bulldozer, soldiers destroy entire Bedouin community near Anata in West Bank

Philip Weiss 23/01/ 2012

A tragic night in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers accompanied a bullodozer as it destroyed all the buildings in a Bedouin community near Anata, northeast of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

“People are somber, traumatized, and griefstricken,” says Itay Epshtain of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. (ICAHD) who operate a center on the site called Beit Arabiya, which was also destroyed. “Nearly 100 people are out in the elements now on a cold night. Children, babies, mothers, fathers. Some of us from ICAHD did try to block the bulldozer, but we were beaten back by soldiers.”

The community was first hit with a demolition order in 1994, but it has been regularly targeted by the occupation forces in recent years since ICAHD set up a facility there in an effort to protect the people. The Bedouin community is in Area C, which comprises 60 percent of the West Bank.

Epshtain says the demolition was launched at 11:30 p.m. tonight and is part of a government policy of ethnic expulsion in Area C, aimed at forcing Bedouins into the largely-urban areas of Area A, where they will be under Palestinian Authority control.

Genocide Memorial Day 2012 ‘Memorcide: Crime, Closure & Reconciliation in Palestine’

SOAS London Ilan Pappe 22/01/12

The Professor provided that culturcide & memorcide though linked to genocide often cover a more incremental and slow extermination of people and how important these terms are in relation to discussions of Palestine. These strategies have resulted in the adoption of a view that Palestine comprises of only the West Bank & the Gaza Strip and that Palestinians are the people living there. In reality this reflects only 20% of Palestine & less than half of the Palestinian community globally. He confirmed that the greatest success of Israel with the help of its western allies from early on in the history of the Palestinian issue was to reduce Palestine geographically and demographically to a small size.

He explained that this belief is so widespread that it’s even accepted by some Palestinian politicians and leaders. “The whole idea of the Oslo Process which could not have been possible without a Palestinian partner is based on the premise, that Palestine is only the West Bank and only the Gaza Strip and the peace process is the future of these two territories and then when you divide yourself in the world between someone who supports peace in Palestine and someone who doesn’t support peace of Palestine, you are limited geographically and demographically into that part which is only 20% of Palestine and that community which is less than half of the Palestine community in the world”.

In 1948 the Jewish state was created over 80% of Palestine, “a country Arab in its human landscape, Mediterranean in its natural landscape and mostly Muslim in its civilisation”. He identified that this was a problem as to occupy and colonise a place would not mean that it would immediately lose its nature. “Israel’s policy makers were aware of this, that the land speaks Arabic, trees speak Palestinian, buildings speak Islamic” and as long as this remained in the future, it would be “difficult as the years would go by to justify the creation of Israel on the ruins of these realities. Far more important for the Israelis than the occupation of 80% of Palestine that happened in 1948 and the expulsion of Palestinians which was an essential part of dearabising the part that became Israel which is the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was to make sure you can erase the memory of Palestine as an Arab or Muslim country. That you could transform by force the nature of a country and make it look like something that Europe could identify as part of Europe and not just part of the Arab world”.

The professor confirmed that the idea that Palestine is not actually in the Middle East, not an Arab country and not part of Muslim civilisation was there from the beginning of Zionism & that he could not think of any other modern movement in the 20th century that was as “callous & efficient”. In 1948, within 6 months, 500 Palestinian villages were wiped out, European trees planted and recreational parks built over these villages, Arab houses demolished and names were hebrewsized from Arabic. Recent research found that “30,000 Arab books were destroyed in an attempt to downsize any written & visual legacy of the past”.

In closing he clarified that this strategy has worked on one level and this is where humanitarians must now succeed. This is a level where political, economic, academic and journalistic elites of the west have decided even before the dearabisation of 80% of Palestine was completed to accept the major Israeli claim that 80% of Palestine is not Palestine. “Anyone like you or like me who would say that Haifa, where I was born, may be an occupied place or Tel Aviv is a colony built on the ruins of Jaffa, we would look insane and we still are imagined insane people when we say it…, if realism is denying the Arab nature of Palestine then I am not a realist”.

The professor enjoins upon us to look at those who claim that Palestine is just the West Bank & Gaza strip and that Palestinians are only the people that live there as if they are insane and unrealistic. “Make sure that as the night is clear and as the day is clear, nobody would have any doubts anymore what Palestine was, what Palestine is and what Palestine will be in the future”.

Israel overcome by paranoia

Alex Fishman

Having lost its self-confidence, tiny Israel seeks comfort in large walls and fences

At first glance, one is shocked. The images one recalls of the pastoral desert border between Israel and Egypt have been erased. The landscape is cut by a grey, towering metal fence. At the top of it one sees not only barbed wire, but also sharp knives. Alongside this menacing fence lies more barbed wire, affixed to the earth, with a patrol road nearby.

Some 60 contractors in the fields of construction, imaging, communication and electronic equipment are involved in setting up the fence. About 600 people with heavy machinery are working on it intensely every day. Thus far, the fence consumed 15,000 tons of iron. By the end of the project it shall swallow up 60,000 tons, constituting 15% of Israel’s iron for construction. Everyone realizes that once our border with Egypt is sealed off, the drug dealers, human traffickers and terror operatives will extend their path, cross into Jordan from the Sinai, and from there infiltrate Israel. Indeed, the Defence Ministry and IDF are already planning to complete Netanyahu’s vision by setting up a fence along our border with Jordan as well. Another 200 kilometres of iron, cement, sophisticated electronic equipment, and so on. Granite rocks will have to be blown up. This is a well-oiled machine; just give it money and it will rush forward, while swallowing up billions of shekels.

You could argue that this is a Zionist, incredibly important defence venture. Yet one must admit that this fence is the mirror we look into. This is our face. In the past 20 years we’ve turned into porcupines; we’ve become a frightened nation that imprisons itself behind fences and retreats into defensive walls.

How did it happen to us?

In the year 2000 we built a smart, electronic fence on our northern border. It made sense; after all, Hezbollah is a dangerous and unpredictable foe.

In the past decade we started to erect the West Bank barrier: A cement wall along with an electronic fence equipped with sensors and cameras. We’re still building it today. This made sense; we must curb the suicide bombers and illegal aliens.

In 2005 we also built a sophisticated fence around the Gaza Strip. It monitors the area, fires on its own, and can even sing our national anthem if you want. It made sense; Hamas is also a dangerous foe.

After that we also had to curb terrorism and infiltrators from the Sinai. There is no argument that we need a fence. We also need one on the Golan Heights, after Palestinian refugees crossed the border and rushed into Majdal Shams. So we came up with a proud Zionist response – a sophisticated 15-kilomter fence.

In a few years, once the fence on the Jordanian border is built, we shall complete our disengagement from the Middle East. Who would believe that once upon a time we spoke about integrating into the region? By now we are a tiny state with a large fence. How did it happen to us?

Mental illness

In the past 20 years, we were completely overcome by the national mental illness. All our primordial fears erupted: The whole world is against us. Should our border be breached, everything shall fall apart, the state will collapse, and all of us will be exterminated. So we go into the bunkers. Apparently this is deeply entrenched in our DNA: A persecuted people who seeks cover. This is happening precisely when the country is led by native Israelis, some of them proud generals. Apparently they gauge the public mood: The nation of Israel is no longer willing to fight or pay a price. Half the nation doesn’t even serve in the army. So we fortify ourselves behind fences and invest billions in defensive-political weapons that mostly serve as a tranquilizer. After all, even if we get nine Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, what good will they do in the face of the 200,000 rockets which the IDF intelligence chief spoke of recently, contributing his share to the national paranoia. We are again Diaspora Jews in our own country. There is no wonder that the polls show a religious revival; after all, it is God who shall protect us.

Such society, which loses its self-confidence, does not convey deterrence. With all the bombs and advanced aircraft, this is not a society that conveys a sense of strength. The Americans and Iranians can sleep well; this is not a society that will decide to strike in Iran and pay the price.

Thou Shalt Not Kill (Thyself)

Uri Avnery 18/02/12

This means, to use the popular catch phrase, an apartheid state: a state in which every instrument of power is in the hands of the Jewish-Israeli majority (some 6.5 million people), with limited rights for the 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. The Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, some four million, are granted no rights whatsoever – neither national, nor human nor civil

After the founding of Israel, God appeared to David Ben-Gurion and told him: “You have created a state for my chosen people in my holy land. This merits a great reward. Tell me what you wish, and I will grant it.” Ben-Gurion answered: “Almighty God, I wish that every person in Israel shall be wise, honest and a member of the Labour Party.” “Dear me,” said God, “That is too much even for the Almighty. But I decree that every Israeli shall be two of the three.” Since then, if a wise Israeli is a member of the Labour party, he is not honest. If an honest Israeli is a member of the Labour party, he is not wise. If he is wise and honest, he is not a member of the Labour Party.

This joke was popular in the 1950s. After 1967, another much less funny formula took its place.

It goes like this: many Israelis ask God for their state to be Jewish and democratic, and that it will include the entire country between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. That is too much even for the Almighty. So he asks them to choose between a state that is Jewish and democratic but only in part of the country, or a state in all the country that is Jewish but not democratic, or a state in the entire country that is democratic but not Jewish. To which I would add a fourth option: A Jewish and democratic state in the entire country, but only after driving out all the Arabs – some 5.5 million at this point, and growing quickly.

This is the choice facing us today as it did almost 45 years ago. It has only become more sharply defined. For any foreseeable future, the fourth alternative can be excluded. The circumstances which led, in 1948, to the expulsion of more than half the Palestinian people from the territory that became Israel were unique, and not likely to return in the coming decades. So we must deal with the present demographic reality. The current government is determined to prevent any peace that would compel it to give up any part of the occupied territories (22% of pre-1948 Palestine). There is no one around who would compel them to do so.

What remains? A state that is either non-democratic or non-Jewish. As things stand, the first possibility is certain to be realized, or, rather, to realize itself. This needs no conscious decision, since it is the default situation that already exists de facto.

This means, to use the popular catch phrase, an apartheid state: a state in which every instrument of power is in the hands of the Jewish-Israeli majority (some 6.5 million people), with limited rights for the 1.5 million Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. The Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, some four million, are granted no rights whatsoever – neither national, nor human nor civil.

The present state of “temporary” occupation can last forever, and is therefore ideal for this purpose. However, a future Israeli government, an even more nationalist one, could change the formal situation by annexing these territories to Israel. That would make, in practice, no difference. As many Israelis see it, this situation could go on forever. The official slogan is: “We have no partner for peace”.

But can it really last? The Palestinian population throughout the country is growing rapidly, soon enough it will constitute the majority. The idealists who embrace this as the “One-state Solution” believe that the Apartheid State will slowly turn into a “state of all its citizens”.

If, after decades of oppression, civil war, atrocities and other plagues this really came into being, it would quickly turn into a Palestinian state, with a Jewish minority, like the Whites in present South Africa. It would be a negation of the whole Zionist enterprise, whose core purpose was to have one place in the world where Jews would be a majority. Most Jewish Israelis would probably emigrate.

For an Israeli, this would mean national suicide. Yet it is the inevitable outcome if the state continues on its present course.

If a person wants to kill himself, as is his right, he has many ways to do so: poisoning, shooting, hanging, jumping from the roof etc. As a state, Israel also has several options. Apart from the external ticking bomb (the “One-state Solution”), Israel also has an internal ticking bomb, which may be even more dangerous. Like the first option, the second one is already well on its way. If the first option depends at least partly on outside factors, the second is entirely self-made.

When Israel came into being, Orthodox Jews were a small minority. Since Ben-Gurion needed them for his coalition, he gave them some privileges which looked cheap to him. The Orthodox got their own education system, financed by the state, and were exempted from army service.

Some 60 years later, these privileges have grown to gigantic dimensions. To compensate for the lives lost in the Holocaust, and to increase the Jewish population, the Israeli government has encouraged natural increase by generous children’s subsidies. Since the religious of all shades have reproduced much more than any other Israelis (except Muslim Arabs), their part in the population has grown by leaps and bounds. Orthodox families generally have 8-10 children. All these go to religious schools, where they study exclusively religious texts and don’t acquire any skills useful for working in a modern society. They don’t need them, since they do not work at all, devoting their entire lives to the study of the Talmud. They don’t need to interrupt their studying of the dead texts, because they don’t serve in the army.

If these were marginal phenomena in the early days of the state, they are now rapidly leading to a national emergency. Right from the beginning, almost all government coalitions have relied on the religious parties, because no party has ever won an overall majority in the Knesset. Almost all governing parties had to bribe their religious partners with ever increasing subsidies for children and adults, thus encouraging the growth of a population which neither serves in the army nor does any work.

The absence of the Orthodox from the labour force has severe effects on the economy, attested to by world financial institutions. Their absence from the army – as well as the absence of the Arab citizens, who are not drafted for obvious reasons – means that soon almost half the male population will not serve. This compels all the others to serve three full years, and then to do reserve duty for many more years.

Also, very soon, half the first grade pupils in Israel will be religious children, destined for a life without work, without paying taxes or serving in the army – all this paid for by the taxes of the diminishing number of the non-Orthodox.

Recently, after deepening unrest between religious and non-religious in Bet Shemesh, 25 km west of Jerusalem, the secularists demanded that the town be divided into two, one half Orthodox and the other secular. The Interior Minister, himself a leader of an Orthodox party, rejected this outright. As he candidly explained. since the Orthodox do not work and cannot pay municipal taxes, they cannot sustain a town of their own. They need the secular to work and pay. This grotesque situation exists throughout the state. One can calculate when the whole edifice will come crashing down. International financial institutions as well as Israeli experts foretell disaster. Yet our political system does not make any change possible. The hold of the religious parties is as strong as ever.

Another method of suicide.

A third method is less dramatic. Israel is rapidly becoming a state in which normal people just may not want to live. In his monumental opus on the Crusades, the late British historian Steven Runciman maintained that the Crusader state did not collapse because of its military defeat, but because too many of its inhabitants just packed up and went back to Europe. Though many of them belonged to the 4th and even 8th generation of crusaders, the Crusader state had lost its attraction for them. The state of perpetual war and inner stagnation drove them out. The state collapsed when many more went away than came to join.

The Crusaders felt a stronger sense of belonging to Christendom than to the local Kingdom of Jerusalem. Today, many Israelis feel themselves first of all as Jews, belonging to a world-wide people, and only in second place Israelis. That makes emigration easier.

A state without democracy, without equality, condemned by itself to an endless war, dominated by religious fanatics, with the gap between the abject poor and a handful of immensely rich growing from year to year – such a state will look less and less attractive to bright young people, who can easily find a better life elsewhere, while retaining their Jewish identity.

That, too, is a kind of national suicide.   – – – –   In the Jewish religion, suicide is a sin. It would be ironic if future historians were to conclude that the “Jewish State” committed suicide.

The chilling tale of a Palestinian released from hospital prematurely and placed in police detention.

Ha’aretz Editorial 19/02/12

An unspeakable act took place in Israel. Late one night, an officer of the Israel Police tossed one Omar Abu Jariban – injured, confused and shoeless – to the side of the road and left him there to die.

This chilling story, which took place in the summer of 2008, was reported by Chaim Levinson in Friday’s Hebrew edition of Haaretz. The incident should keep many Israelis awake at night. Serious measures must be taken against all those responsible.

Abu Jariban – who lives in the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, and who was not authorized to enter Israel – was seriously injured in an accident while riding with a friend in a stolen car. He was discharged from Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer – with a urinary catheter still in place, still using adult diapers, and in need of further medical care and rehabilitation – and he was placed in police detention. Hospital and police officials are now trading accusations over who was responsible for his premature and unconscionable discharge from Sheba.

Following failed efforts by the Rehovot and Kfar Sava police stations to identify Abu Jariban, police officials made the decision to get rid of the injured, sick and confused detainee and to take him to the Maccabim border crossing. Three police officers pushed him into a police vehicle. After it reached the checkpoint, whose commander refused to take the injured man, he was thrown from the vehicle in the dark of night onto the shoulder of Route 45, between the Ofer Base and the Atarot border crossing. He was wearing only hospital pajamas and was still attached to the catheter. His body was discovered two days later. “He was simply thrown to the dogs,” Abu Jariban’s brother, Mohammed, said by telephone from Gaza. The brother, horrifically, related the events in precise detail.

In March 2009, after an investigation by the Justice Ministry’s department for the investigation of police officers, it was decided that only two of the officers involved in dumping and abandoning Abu Jariban by the side of the road would be prosecuted, both on charges of criminally negligent homicide. The evidentiary stage of the trial has not yet begun, but one of the defendants has since been promoted within the police. A third officer, who was given a disciplinary trial over the incident, has also been promoted since then.

There are individuals who are responsible for this horrific act, and they must pay for their deeds. It is not sufficient to settle for the very partial recommendations of the police investigations department. The attorney general must order an additional and more comprehensive investigation of the conduct of Sheba and of the police in this incident.

Umm Muhammad Buries Her Third Son After Israeli Missile Strike

Sanaa Kamel 14/03/12

Gaza – Umm Muhammad Asilah (48) never imagined that Israeli airstrikes would take yet another one of her sons. This time, it was her 12-year-old son Ayoub’s turn to join his two brothers who were killed after Israeli war planes bombed the surroundings of the Asilah family house east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza strip. As before, the attack was carried out under the pretext of targeting resistance fighters firing rockets at southern Israeli towns.

The mourning mother could not control her grief when Ayoub’s coffin arrived at the house for the last farewell before his body was laid to rest. She broke into frantic hysteria, unable to believe her young child would never again return to her. Distraught, she called out to him, “Ayoub, where are you going without taking your school bag? Don’t go to school without it. Your teacher will punish you.” Then, she burst into tears.

“I prepared my son’s lunch before he went to school, sensing it would be the last.” Umm Muhammad paused for a moment, lost in thought. Then she shouted at the top of her lungs, “Oh dear God, every year I lose one. What have they done for Israel to kill them? Mercy, dear God, have mercy on us.” She tried to contain her emotions as she spoke about the last moments she spent with her child: “I woke up early with a feeling that something bad will happen to one of my children,” she said. “But, as usual,” she said, continuing, “I prepared my son’s lunch before he went to school, sensing it would be the last.” She prepared the potato sandwiches he asked for.

“My son took the food, ate half of it, and asked me to put the rest away for him because he was late for school,” she said. With tears pouring down her face, she remembered that “before he left, he looked at me with a smile as if he was bidding me farewell.” But he would not leave until she promised that she would buy him a new pair of shoes as soon as his father got paid. A few moments after he walked out of the house, she heard the sound of a missile immediately followed by a loud explosion.

“I instantly felt something bad happened to my son,” she recalled, adding, “I quickly went out and saw his dismembered body. He was dead. I fell to the ground and lost track of what happened after that.”

Overwhelming grief was evident on the faces of those who came to express their condolences, clearly pained by paying their respects to the Asilah family for the third time. In 2008, her eldest son Muhammad, a member of the Army of Islam, was assassinated in Khan Younis along with four of his comrades. The Israelis accused them of capturing Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. His other brother was assassinated by Israeli planes the following year.

Nayif Qarmout

ISM 15/03/12

Nayif Qarmout was murdered yesterday; he was also buried yesterday, in a small cemetery in the heart of Jabalia, the refugee camp where he lived. He was only 14 years old. He was murdered by an Israeli missile while playing football with his friends. He was a handsome young man, the photo on his martyr posters make that obvious. It was something that I never would have guessed at his funeral, looking at his bloody bruised face.

Today, Nayif’s family mourned. The reception line of men lining the entrance to the mourning tent was the most shattered group of men I have ever seen. Their faces were blank, dead, as though Nayif was not the only murdered yesterday. Nayif’s photo was on the wall, he looks so young, a child just turning into a man. We sat down and ate dates as a young man brought coffee around. Nayif’s uncle, Abdullah came over to talk to us.

Abdullah tells us that not only was Nayif a handsome child, but he was also a joyful child. He was always laughing, always making jokes, always helping his parents with his younger brothers and sisters. Nayif was the oldest child; he had three younger brothers and two younger sisters. He was not only the oldest child, but also the oldest grandchild; he was named after his grandfather. After school he worked with his father in family’s pharmacy, helping customers and keeping track of the accounts. Nayif hoped to run this pharmacy someday, after university, when he was a man. That is a chance that Nayif will never have.

Monday morning Nayif woke early. He got dressed and went to school, after school he was supposed to come to the shop to help his father. When he arrived at school, he found it closed because of the Israeli attacks. He met some of his friends; they went to play football before they went home for the day. While they were playing football, an Israeli drone fired a missile at them, at six children playing football on a day off from school. Nayif’s family received a call that Nayif had been injured and was on the way to the hospital. They all rushed to the hospital, but there was nothing to be done, they did not even have the chance to say goodbye to their son, he was dead when they arrived at the hospital.

Nayif’s family is left with their sadness; nothing will bring back their son. Perhaps, though, as Um Nayif asked us, something can be done to save other children, “stop the killing of children, don’t abandon Palestine. Nayif went to the school, he was a student and Israel killed him. I know that now he’s gone to God. His brothers and sisters cry because they lost their elder brother.”


Hugh Humphries


Scottish Friends of Palestine

0141 637 8046

View all →