Lieberman escalates incitement against Palestinian lawmakers

Jafar Farah, the director of the legal advocacy group Mossawa, is detained by Israeli police in the northern city of Haifa during a peaceful demonstration against Israel’s massacre in Gaza, 18 May. Farah was hospitalized for serious injuries after his arrest, including a broken leg.

Nadine Nashef

Israel’s defense minister is escalating his incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel, following a police attack on a peaceful protest in the northern city of Haifa.

“Every day that Ayman Odeh and his associates are free to walk around cursing at police officers is a failure of law enforcement authorities,” the minister, Avigdor Lieberman, posted on Twitter. “The place for these terrorists is not in the Knesset, it’s in prison. It’s time they pay a price for their actions.”

Odeh is the leader of the Joint List of parties representing Palestinian citizens in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Lieberman’s attack on him had been prompted by Odeh’s criticism of brutal police actions on Friday night.

Lieberman has previously called for the beheading of Palestinian citizens of Israel who he accuses of being disloyal to the self-described Jewish state.

Police assault protesters

On Friday evening, Palestinian citizens of Israel gathered in Haifa to protest Israel’s massacres of unarmed civilians in Gaza, but the rally was attacked by Israeli police and more than 20 people were arrested.

“Police officers and special forces arrived to the protest armed and equipped to disrupt the peaceful demonstration,” according to a statement published by Mossawa, a legal advocacy group for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Mossawa pointed to videos that it said showed how “police rapidly barged in and charged the crowd, beating the demonstrators without provocation and making sporadic arrests.”

In total, according to Mossawa, police arrested 21 people. It said that many “were brutally beaten by the arresting officers while in custody at the police station and in interrogation rooms, some while handcuffed.”

Broken leg

Four were hospitalized for serious injuries, including Mossawa’s director Jafar Farah, who suffered a broken leg among other injuries.

The statement published by Mossawa said that Farah had been rushed to the emergency room with “a broken knee and severe blunt trauma injuries to the chest and abdomen sustained during a brutal attack on him by police officers while in custody.”

The human rights group Adalah also posted on Facebook video it said showed “police and security forces attacking unarmed demonstrators in Haifa.”

Adalah immediately filed court petitions for the release of the detainees:

On Monday morning, Mossawa announced that all those detained had been released from custody.

But the group said that legal attempts to secure the detainees’ release before then had been delayed by the combination of the sabbath and the Shavuot Jewish holiday, meaning no judge was available to hear the case until Sunday night.

Orwellian

Mossawa also faulted the Israeli mainstream media for its “Orwellian” description of what happened as a “riot.”

“The director of the Mossawa Center, Jafar Farah, is not a ‘riot detainee’ but the victim of Israeli state and police violence to silence peaceful protest, a very core essence of democracy,” Mossawa tweeted in response to the publication Ynet.

There are approximately 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, the survivors and their descendants of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine in order to create Israel.

Nominally they have citizenship rights, including the right to vote for members of Israel’s parliament, but they live under dozens of laws and systematic policies that severely restrict their rights because they are not Jewish.

Impunity

The statement published by Mossawa and endorsed by more than two dozen human rights and civil society groups, expresses “outrage at this brutal conduct by the Israeli police against unarmed protesters.”

In addition to demanding the release of the protesters, the groups call for “a full and independent investigation into the unjustified arrests and beatings of protesters while in police custody.”

However, the impunity that Israeli forces enjoy for attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, has also historically extended to their brutality against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Israeli police are already defending their violence against the protesters, claiming, according to the newspaper Haaretz, that “a preliminary investigation did not find any link between Farah’s arrest and his injury.”

But even Gilad Erdan, Israel’s hardline “public security” minister, conceded that, “if a detainee’s leg is broken when he is under arrest it is hard to say it is not unusual.”

“When the police spoke with the officers involved, none of them said they were in physical contact with Farah,” Erdan stated. “Therefore the facts raise questions regarding the medical findings.”

What Erdan appears to be saying is that the police must be telling the truth, and that it is Farah’s broken leg that is mistaken.

In October 2000, while Palestinian citizens of Israel were demonstrating in support of Palestinians rising up against Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israeli police shot dead 14 unarmed protesters.

No one has ever been brought to justice for those killings.

Ahmad Tibi, another Palestinian lawmaker in the Knesset, responded to Lieberman’s tweet calling the elected representatives of Palestinians in Israel “terrorists” who should be jailed.

“The first person to reach an international tribunal will be you,” Tibi tweeted at Lieberman, who as defense minister has commanded Israel’s deliberate slaughter of unarmed civilians in Gaza.

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Comments

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Protesting Israeli violence to the Israeli government seems pointless and self-destructive, like rattling the bars on a cage. Why shouldn't Gaza, after a referendum, declare itself a country and ask for recognition? Wouldn't a genuine, secular independence movement be the most effective strategy for peace and independence--based on 1967 borders?
http://southsidepride.com/2014...

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Don't 130+ states already recognise a Palestinian state comprising WB and Gaza. It would muddy the waters if Gaza declared a separate state of their own. So much more as a large number of the population wish to return to territories outside Palestine, albeit situated within historic Palestine.

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Of course this is a matter for the Palestinians to decide, but we cannot continue to see the murder of the Palestinian people without crying out in desperation. Abbas and the PA are doing nothing. They are complicit in the Israeli takeover of the WB. They are silent about the genocide in Gaza. Their half-hearted efforts in 2011 to achieve statehood through UN recognition were a sham. They are being paid millions to keep their mouths shut. And Hamas understands that manufacturing martyrs solidifies their support in Gaza. It seems to me the only strategy that would stop the slow strangulation of Palestine by the Israelis is a genuine secular independence movement that was recognized by other countries--enough countries to make BDS an effective tool to challenge Israeli economically.
The question of the Right of Return will only be settled when Palestine exists as a legitimate state and can bargain directly with Israel as an equal. Palestinians must be given the right to return to their homes and compensation must be paid for their damages. And Israelis must be allowed to return to their homes in Gaza.
Now, Gaza is not a country. It is a concentration camp. It is the Warsaw Ghetto, and it is clear the Israelis intend to drive them into the sea.
http://southsidepride.com/2018...

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Don't 130+ states already recognise a Palestinian state comprising WB and Gaza? It would muddy the waters if Gaza declared a separate state of their own. So much more as a large number of the population wish to return to territories outside Palestine, albeit situated within historic Palestine.

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Zionist propaganda repeats the lie that all citizens of the state of Israel enjoy equal rights and equal protection under the law. In this video we see clear proof of exactly how little that guarantee pertains when the right to peaceably assemble and speak freely is exercised. The response is a straightforward police riot. Again and again we see cops and soldiers reacting violently against Palestinian protesters, behaving in a thoroughly thuggish manner. They don't even seem to have a level of training that would enable established protocols to be enacted. They lash out virtually at random, delivering gratuitous blows, kicks and choke holds in a spectacle of ill-discipline. Commanders in the IDF have been voicing concerns that their personnel are acting independently out of sheer malice towards Palestinians. A vicious state is now losing control of its minions. As well, the presence in government of the likes of Lieberman, who's incapable of taking instructions from anyone, indicates a fracturing of the once disciplined political order. Israel is descending into a condition that overtook Rhodesia and South Africa, in which the security services became little more than way-stations for sadists. They can boast all they want about their high tech instruments of repression. But it's their low tech racist mania that will lay them in history's graveyard.

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"Why shouldn't Gaza...declare itself a country....?" Because Mr. Felien, what is illegitimate Israel was once Palestinian land and belonged to the Palestinian people. Declare yourself a country with a Bantustan, while white Jewish/Zionist racists reap the rewards of approximately 90% percent of a nation that was stolen through violence, murder, mayhem, war, the ethnic cleansing of nearly a million Palestinians, et al--what utter nonsense. This sounds like quintessential Zionist hasbara (propaganda), disgusting!

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Mr. Baldari,
Thank you for taking the time to correct me in my folly. But what was your solution to this enigma? I think I missed it. Is it to continue down the same path until the Warsaw Ghetto that is Gaza is finally driven into the sea? Is it to continue Israeli settlements in the West Bank until Palestinians are driven into Jordan? I am suggesting Palestinians fight for their land by using legal and non-violent means to economically isolate Israel. And, I believe, the most effective way they could do this is by forming a nation state. Further, since Gaza has a distinct cultural and social history from Greater Palestine--Philistina, Gaza, was a colonial outpost of the Egyptian dynasties--they should form their own country and reclaim their part of Palestine according to the 1967 borders. That would be a beginning of the struggle, but an essential first step.

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While I tend to agree that an independent state of Gaza, or a single state together with WB, or some federation or confederation is the preferred solution of the West. However, as much as I can make out, the desire of Palestinian refugees is to return to the cities, towns and villages where there grandparents lived 70 years ago makes your proposal inapplicable: Palestinians will find themselves outside the borders you, Western leaders and many others deem should be the territory of a Palestinian state. Simply put, refugees want to resettle inside the Green lines of 1948.

Should they be allowed to return, as per their inalienable right, they will be looking to turn historic Palestine into a Palestinian state, and the consequent eradication of Israel as a Jewish state. This is hardly a secret, and the main reason why the Israeli government, and many of its citizens oppose such a solution. A state in which Jews are not the demographic majority creates paranoia of reversion to the experience of exile and annihilation which was the very basis of a Zionist state.

Until one side or the other is persuaded to amend their current position I agree there is no solution; certainly not a single state with "equal rights for all". Both sides feel an existential threat. Both sides have "hardened their hearts" in a way which is contrary to their core values. The prospects are very dismal.

Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.