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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Beating Arabs is not a Crime (unless it causes major injury) - Israeli Attorney General

The following article is from YNet, Yediot Aharanot on-line. It concerns the beating by Border Guards, in a video they themselves took, of 2 Palestinians in Jerusalem for the crime of being Arab. What is so outrageous in this case, and one cannot but recall similar instances of state-licensed beatings - be it in South Africa or Nazi Germany - is that the State has turned down requests to prosecute, because the victims didn't suffer any major injury! Unbelievable but true. Another instance of the deep racism of the Israeli State.

Below this by way of contrast is news of the jailing of Israeli pacifist and gay rights activist Ezra Nawi. He was trying to stop the demolition of Arab houses near Hebron. Again it was videod, but apparently a few seconds were missing from the video when Nawi apparently took it upon himself to attack the assembled thugs! You don't believe it? Neither do I but the judge hearing the case was only more than willing to believe it. And therein lies the rub.

When Israeli Jews identify with the oppression of the Palestinians then they too lose some of the freedoms that come with privilege.

Tony Greenstein

[Middle East News Service comments: Is the Occupation and the treatment of Palestinian Israelis getting worse? The question should naturally be investigated scientifically, but the empirical evidence suggests that it is. Take the recent case in which not even the video evidence taken by the perpetrators themselves showing them bashing Palestinians for no reason (other than being Arab), was enough to get them prosecuted, let alone convicted. Israel Prize Laureate and former Education Minister Shulamit Aloni lashes out at the decision not to prosecute and the context in which that decision took place.

My past experience with Ynetnews’ translation of Aloni has been such that it was necessary on this occasion to compare it with the Hebrew original. There were several omissions, which coincidently or otherwise, toned down Aloni’s comments. I leave it up to readers to decide whether or not the toning down is significant – SS]
Parts in Green are parts of translation not printed

Only Jews deserve dignity?
Shulamit Aloni slams decision not to indict Border Guard officers who abused Arabs
Shulamit Aloni
Published: 10.26.09

On a hot summer day, two Border Guard police officers walked around the holy city of Jerusalem without any particular mission. At one point they decided that it would proper to prove their authority and respectful position to themselves and to the Palestinians. The officers proceeded to nab two Palestinians, yelled at them, and demanded that they salute “their majesties” numerous times.

Next, they made them face a wall [with their arms and legs pulled apart and got on with the task of displaying the beauty the power of Israeli police. They] pulled out a camera, in case their colleagues won’t believe them. They beat the Palestinians on their head and nape time and again, they lifted their shirts, removed their pants, continued to hit them, kicked them in the rear-end, and showed these Arabs [Arabushim (a derogatory term equivalent to “towelheads”) as the Minister in charge of the police called them] how strong they are and how loyal they are to their job as the Jewish Border Guard.

And so, these police officers continued to take pleasure in abusing, beating up, humiliating, and photographing it. They did this until they got tired, and then, satisfied and gleeful, decided to let their victims go.

Such abuse, which is accompanied by photos and glee, must not be disregarded. A representative of the victims turned to the State Prosecutor’s Office and demanded to bring the honorable Border Guard officers to justice on charges of abuse, humiliation, and assault.

Given the photographs and testimonies, these “heroes” indeed deserve to be put on trial for the offenses they committed: Misuse of authority and assault, which carry a prison term of two years or more. Moreover, there are suspicions that additional offences were committed in terms of physical and emotional abuse, as well as acts that border on sexual abuse.

Extraordinary response
Yet here we were surprised: The State Prosecutor decided not to look into the matter. The response was so impressive that it would be proper to distribute in on posters, so everyone will see and know.

According to State Prosecutor’s Office, the materials available in the case, including the videos, indeed show “improper conduct” on the part of the police officers. However, as the case in question involved very light beating that caused no real damage, prosecutors found no basis for intervention, leaving the matter to be treated by the police’s internal affairs unit.

What an extraordinary response. After all, the police officers indeed did not pluck out their victims’ eyes and did not cut off limbs; besides, after all, these victims are [only] Palestinian, and therefore it turns out that abusing and humiliating them doesn’t count. The appeal filed over the decision was also rejected by the State Prosecutor’s Office [which again recommended that the matter be referred to internal affairs department.]

What we have here then is a new method apparently: The army will probe itself and then will let us know how chaste it is. The police will probe police officers, and it will turn out everyone is righteous, and so on and so forth.
[I have recently gone over ten Bills submitted by members of the 18th Knesset. All are very patriotic being preoccupied with Zionism and Judaism and loyalty. They include a demand for a “loyalty oath to the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and Democratic state as well as its symbols and values” not to mention the flag and anthem. All these are necessary for being granted an Identify Card. Seeing that “its symbols and values” indicate that the Jews are the chosen people and ]

In the face of the State Prosecutor’s decision on this matter, which is not unusual, I believe we should be amending the Basic Law: Human dignity and Liberty, and decide that the State of Israel is committed to maintaining the liberty and dignity of a person only if he’s Jewish; Just like we have land that is only for Jews and roads that are for Jews only.

By modifying the Basic Law as suggested, we will know that “dignity and liberty” in the Jewish state are only reserved for Jews.

[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements Please note that while our own comments are not copyrighted we do appreciate acknowledgement. Items forwarded may be copyrighted and are forwarded to alert you of their existence.]

Leftist jailed for 1 month for assaulting police in West Bank

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Wednesday sentenced left-wing activist Ezra Nawi to one month in prison, after convicting him of assaulting police officers during the 2007 evacuation of illegal Palestinian caravans in the southern Hebron Hills.

"Ideology is ideology, but this trial is not about ideology," said Judge Eilata Ziskind. "Wild behavior from the right or the left is inconceivable, even if the goal is to help the weak. Without order, there can be no democracy."

Justice Ziskind described repeated instances in which Nawi threatened police or prevented them from carrying out their activities.

Nawi will serve an additional six months if he participates in similar activities during the next three years, and he was also ordered to pay a fine of NIS 750,000 along with an additional NIS 500 to each officer he assaulted.

Nawi accused the court of authorizing the occupation of Palestinian land for years and said that the court has long been trying to neutralize and silence him. "The punishment doesn't scare me," Nawi said.

The Yesha Human Rights Organization criticized Nawi's one-month prison sentence, saying, "One month in jail emphasizes the selectivity of law enforcement officials in Judea and Samaria, which allow Nawi to run wild, to hurt settlers and their property," in a statement.

Nawi was convicted in March for assaulting policemen during the demolition of illegal Palestinian caravans in the southern Hebron Hills. Nawi, who has prior convictions for sexually assaulting a minor, illegal use of weapons and drug offenses, has been active for Palestinian rights in the southern Hebron Hills in recent years.

Nawi has in recent months received the support of prominent international leftists, including Professor Noam Chomsky, former deputy attorney general Yehudit Karp and author Naomi Klein.

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