Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Report damns Israel's suppression of Gaza anti-war protests

Apologists for Israel are fond of describing the settler state as the 'only democracy in the Middle East', but the repression meted out against anti-war protesters during Israel's 22-day war on the Gazan population, should help to put that lie to rest. There's no democracy in Israel if you are an Arab 'citizen'. 'The only apartheid state in the Middle East' would be a more accurate description of Israel.
A new report from Adalah shows how the courts and police attempted to stamp out opposition to Operation Cast Lead. "This is a time of war, and every incident harms the people's morale."

This was not a sentence in a right-wing journal, but rather a statement by an Israel Police representative during Operation Cast Lead seeking to persuade the Tel Aviv District Court to block anti-war protesters from the city...

...Here are some of the pearls in Adalah's new report: "Prohibited protest - how the law enforcement authorities limit the freedom of expression of opponents of the Gaza military attack." The document, being published for the first time here, was written by attorneys Abeer Baker and Rana Asali. They reviewed and analyzed hundreds of rulings and detention requests, interviewed dozens of human rights activists who were arrested and threatened during the Gaza attack, and documented the behavior of Israeli academia during the moments of truth last winter.

The Adalah report was completed a few days before the Goldstone report was released. It harshly criticizes the damage to freedom of expression and the lack of tolerance for protests, primarily by Arab Israelis, against the attack on Gaza's civilian population. The report shows that enforcements officials did not learn from the October 2000 riots, and did not internalize the Or Commission recommendations...

...The Adalah researchers found that detentions during fighting became a goal in and of themselves. The police and the State Prosecutor's office vehemently refused to consider releasing even minors from detention or restrictive conditions...

...At many protest vigils, large numbers of police showed up and dispersed the gathering with force, under the pretense that the gathering was illegal. The testimonies clearly indicate that not all the protests required a police permit.

In some cases, the police conditioned the release of protesters on their not taking part in more protests. Police used harsher threats to disperse legal anti-war protest vigils when there were also right-wing protesters there voicing support for the operation...

...The report accuses intellectuals and academics of standing by during the violence in Gaza and overlooking the collective arrests of peace activists. Only a few lecturers mustered the courage to publicly protest the military operation. Academics who protested the collective arrest of settler teens did not speak out against the suspected IDF war crimes and the collective detainment of protesting minors.


Adalah can also be found on Facebook

Israeli racists speak out against 'Arab' Obama

On display in all its inglorious colour are some Israeli racists responding to questions about Obama and the 'peace process' by an Al Jazeera correspondent.
Barack Obama, the US president, is getting ready to host Israeli and Palestinian leaders for a meeting he hopes might get peace talks started again. But Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has made his position clear, saying he will defend settlement expansion, which is the big sticking point. Al Jazeera's Clayton Swisher has been out on the streets of Jerusalem to find out what Israelis think about Obama and his plans.