The Guardian View on Israel’s Democracy: Killing with Impunity, Lying without Consequence?

PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 28 Jan 2019

Editorial – The Guardian

The late Amos Oz was right to say ‘even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation’. Israeli voters should heed his words.

A Palestinian demonstrator and Israeli forces at the Gaza perimeter fence during protests in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on 18 January. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

22 Jan 2019 – In the last nine months of 2018, according to the United Nations, Palestinians – many of them children – were killed at the rate of around one a day while taking part in protests along Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza about their right to return to ancestral homes. They included medics and journalists. Most of the dead were unarmed and posed no danger to anyone, with little more than rocks in their hands and slogans on their lips. Yet Israel continued with an immoral and unlawful policy that sees soldiers of its military, which is under democratic civilian control, teargas, shoot and kill protesters, including those who pose no credible threat.

Hospitals in Gaza, which already struggle under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, have been stretched to breaking point in dealing with the flood of patients ferried in from the protests. In its defence, Israel’s diplomats cast Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, as terrorists who are organising demonstrations in “a war zone”. It would appear, sadly, that Israel wishes to conduct a war over the airwaves, as well as one on the ground, against the Palestinians. This blatant disregard for Gazan lives and the lack of accountability is underpinned by a politics of resentment and dissembling that has profound repercussions for Israel. If one can kill with impunity, then can one lie without consequence?

The tensions between judicial and public opinion will be tested in the cauldron of Israel’s general election. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, unexpectedly called for early elections in December in what seems a transparent bid to head off possible corruption charges. The decision by Mr Netanyahu to dissolve the Knesset came days after the state prosecutor’s office recommended that Israel’s attorney general indict Mr Netanyahu on charges of bribery, which he denies. Mr Netanyahu is not only running for a fifth term in office, he is also running for his political life. His lawyers, it is reported, are arguing that a possible indictment be delayed; on the campaign trail Mr Netanyahu casts himself as an embattled leader persecuted by a leftwing elite comprised of lawyers, journalists and human-rights do-gooders. Echoing his friend Donald Trump, Mr Netanyahu has told reporters that Israel can choose its leadership only at the ballot box and not through legal investigations, which are a “witch-hunt”. Like the US president, the message from Mr Netanyahu is that democratic norms, those unwritten rules of toleration and restraint, are for the weak, not for the strong. Yet without robust norms, constitutional checks and balances are less mainstays of democracy than a mirage.

The novelist Amos Oz’s words that “even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation” have been ignored for too long. Mr Netanyahu’s nearest rival brags that he sent parts of Gaza “back to the stone age” when in the military. Mr Netanyahu would dismiss Oz’s warnings; but perhaps he ought to take heed of the recent spat between the historian Benny Morris and the writer Gideon Levy. The former, who made his name by lifting the veil on the ethnic cleansings on which Israel was founded, but drifted rightwards to say that these heinous crimes did not go far enough, and the latter, a leftwing columnist, agree that the two-state solution is a fading prospect. Mr Netanyahu lulls the public with the notion that a two-state solution will wait until Israel deems the conditions to be ripe. He hints that new friends in Washington, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will come up with a proposal the Palestinians will swallow. This is pure cynicism. There is no new plan – just a rebranding of the status quo, maintained by force by Israel, and with Palestinians within and without Israel’s borders subjugated and dependent. Israelis must turn away from the occupation, which is debasing their society and suffocating the Palestinians.

__________________________________________________

This article was amended on 25 January 2019 to refer expressly to teargas, and to omit a reference to shelling after the UN acknowledged error in its published material on which the reference to shelling had been based.

Go to Original – theguardian.com

 

Join the BDS-BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS campaign to protest the Israeli barbaric siege of Gaza, illegal occupation of the Palestine nation’s territory, the apartheid wall, its inhuman and degrading treatment of the Palestinian people, and the more than 7,000 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children arbitrarily locked up in Israeli prisons.

DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel. DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

7 2 9: BOYCOTT FOR JUSTICE!


Share this article:


DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Comments are closed.