Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Deteriorating Conditions for Israeli Arab
By Stephen Lendman
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 12, 2010
In April 2010, the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens
in Israel published a report titled, "One Year for Israel's New Government
and the Arab Minority in Israel," assessing the climate for Israeli Arabs
- citizens comprising 20% of the population but none of the rights and
protections afforded Jews.
Mossawa calls them "a potentially
formidable force for peace and coexistence between Palestinians and
Israeli Jews" if only they were respected as equals. They're not and face
systemic discrimination, despite their wanting to be active participants
and partners for peace in a nation as much theirs and Jews. Why not! They
lived there for centuries without persecuting the minority Jewish
Like earlier governments, the Netanhayu regime denies
them - its key portfolios openly hostile, extremists in them endorsing
schemes to collectively expel them to a future undefined Palestinian
state, either outside Greater Israel or in isolated cantons, surrounded by
hostile Jewish settlements, incrementally stealing their land.
the past year, discriminatory legislation institutionalized inequality,
political delegitimization, and incitement against them. Also, their needs
and rights have gone unaddressed, including violent racist incidents, at
times involving killings.
Mossawa examined Israel's current
political climate, "the issue of racism, violence and incitement against
(Arab citizens) by public institutions, security forces and (Jews), as
well as in legislation. In addition, the current socio-economic situation"
they face, including the marginalized status of women. Budget allocations
are also considered and how they short change Arab communities.
Analysis of Netanyahu's First Year
His election created an
"extreme religious-nationist coalition government, dominated by Likud and
Yisrael Beiteinu, (Israel is our Home)" - the latter party founded in 1999
by Avigdor Lieberman, an ultranationalist, revisionist Zionist, and
current Foreign Minister.
In contrast, the political left
weakened, but the presence of Labor in the government denotes its
acceptance of belligerent, racist policies, however its members vote or
may split. Even the opposition is a "mosaic of extreme right, center and
left parties," unable to block extremist measures, harmful to Arab rights.
The election marked the low-point of Arab-Jewish relations. Ahead of
it, Acre clashes caused damage and destruction to over 100 Arab and Jewish
shops and properties, some burned to the ground (a mini- Kristallnacht
mostly affecting Arabs).
The incidents signified a political
agenda to Judaize Arab neighborhoods by transferring Jews to towns and
cities across Israel. Racial incidents, violence and other incitement
followed, Acre signaling worse to come.
Throughout 2008, political
incitement against Arab communities occurred. Then the Gaza war that
affected Arab Israelis, especially from repression of anti-war sentiment
at the time and greater Arab hostility.
On January 12, 2009,
Israel's Central Election Committee (CEC) banned two of three Knesset
parties representing Arab communities - the United Arab List Ta'al and
Balad - from participating in the February elections, claiming they don't
recognize the Jewish state and call for armed uprisings against it.
Although the Supreme Court overturned the decision, it showed an
increasing infringement of Arab Israeli civil, human, and political rights
as well as alarming racism and discrimination by state authorities.
Post-election, key portfolios have been dominated by ethno-nationalistic
politics, legitimizing discriminatory ideology and legislation,
threatening peace, Israeli Arab rights and security.
provocation also comes from former settlers, moved to Acre, Jaffa, Ramle
and other mixed areas after Sharon's 2005 Gaza disengagement, now
encouraged to incite violence against Israeli Arabs. Politicians like
Avigdor Lieberman aid them by racist slurs and charging Arab political
leaders with disloyalty when they disagree with government policy.
For example, on August 5, 2009, Lieberman accused MK Ahmad Tibi, United
Arab List head, of being "more dangerous to Israel than the Islamic
Resistance movement, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad (and that Israel's) main
problem is not the Palestinians but Ahmad Tibi and others like him."
During the 2009 election campaign, Liberman advocated transferring Israeli
Arabs (1.5 million citizens) to a future Palestinian state in exchange for
new West Bank Jewish settlements. As Foreign Minister, at home and abroad,
he voices the same idea - an illusory two-state solution based on mass
In early 2010, deputy Foreign Minister Danny
Ayalon suggested a land for peace deal, involving northern Israeli towns
and villages ("the triangle") for new West Bank settlements, coming anyway
because they're planned.
In addition, other Israeli officials
showed open hostility to Israeli Arabs, including Internal Security
Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, caught on film using the term "Araboosh,"
highly derogatory slang for Arab, similar to calling Jews "kikes" or
On July 2, 2009, Housing Minister, Ariel Atias,
advocated for preventing Arab Israeli dispersion in various parts of the
country, saying: "I see (it) as a national duty to prevent the spread of a
population that, to say the least, does not love the State of Israel."
Speaking to the Israel Bar Association, he stressed that "populations that
should not mix are spreading (to Jewish areas) I don't think appropriate."
The term "demographic threat" is used to further government
policy favoring separatism and exclusivity, rather than assuring equal
rights for all citizens. As a result, Jewish only cities have been
created, like Nevatim and Habahadim in the Negev, areas for military use
with only Jewish housing.
On July 26, 2009, settler Rabbi Dov Lior
called for Judaizing Nazareth Illit, saying: "....much like in Hebron, it
takes a determined Jewish community to transform an area that has always
been Jewish and that is currently inhabited by Arabs, into an area of
emerging Jewish life and Jewish revival." No matter that its residents
lived there for centuries.
For decades, extremist Jews targeted
the city of Umm Al-Fahem. On February 10, 2009, the day of state
elections, ethno-nationalistic Jewish National Front leader (and member of
the banned Kach party), Baruch Marzel, planned to supervise ballot
collections in the city. Local resistance prevented it, one council member
saying "we welcome any other Jewish person who does not wish to expel us."
Yet over 3,000 security personnel protected their racist demonstration
against the city's Arabs, supporting it by showing contempt for its
Similar incidents are commonplace, including
in Rahat, Israel's largest Bedouin city, when provocative right wing
extremists marched in protest (on July 26, 2009) against "illegal"
construction. The irony is galling - Arabs prevented from building
legally, but sanction illegal West Bank settlement construction, at the
same time "Death to Arabs" graffiti is openly displayed, not banned or
removed throughout Israeli towns and cities.
result, including a 66% 2009 increase on football fields because offenders
aren't punished. Also in Israeli communities, at times originating from
the highest political levels to incite violence within and between Israeli
Arabs and Jews.
Discriminatory legislation follows, earlier
examples include the 1950 Law of Return, the 1952 Citizenship Law, and
same year Entry into Israel Law - granting Jews worldwide automatic
citizenship on arrival, a benefit no other country affords or should.
In 2009, 21 discriminatory bills were introduced that undermine Arab
legitimacy, a population Lieberman calls the "enemy within." While all
bills didn't pass, proposing them shows how 1.5 million citizens are
threatened - dispelling peace and reconciliation hopes, notions past
Israeli governments spurned, let alone the current one, introducing
extremist measures, including to let the Interior Minister revoke
citizenship rights of anyone deemed disloyal, with no right of appeal to
the Attorney General.
The current one, Eli Yishai, said if the
bill passes he'll revoke MK Azmi Bishara's citizenship as well as for 34
other Israeli Arabs - but not Yigal Amir's, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's
killer. For Israeli extremists, he's a hero.
In 2003, the
Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law became a temporary measure,
thereafter renewed annually. It denies citizenship and Israeli residence
to Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens. Although in theory applying to
all Israelis, it's been used disproportionately against Arabs - despite
being in violation of the unanimously adopted UN resolution on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination that upholds fundamental
international human rights law.
In December 2009, Yisrael
Beitneinu MK, and Chaiman of the Knesset Constitution, David Rotem,
introduced an amendment with 44 other MKs to the Basic Law Human Dignity
and Freedom, to eliminate its incompatibilities with the racist
Citizenship and Entry in Israel Law. It was rejected, but if adopted,
would have institutionalized Basic Law racism, the closest thing Israel
has to a constitution. Its mere introduction, however, set a dangerous
precedent, suggesting future efforts that will pass.
are also outrageous, including the attempt to prohibit Nakba
commemorations on threat of cutting off funding for institutions
supporting it. Another bill criminalizes denying Israel's right to be
called a Jewish state. It's not. It's a Zionist one, the distinction some
orthodox Jews acknowledge, but not extremist MKs. If passed, offenders
will be imprisoned for up to a year, and Arab citizen inequality and
discrimination will be institutionalized.
Rotem also introduced a
Loyalty Oath bill, requiring citizens pledge it to a "Jewish, Zionist, and
democratic State," to its emblems and values, and to perform military
service or an equivalent as a condition for a national identity card
signifying citizenship. So far, it's rejected but may be reintroduced in
new form, given the dominance of extremist MKs.
A May 2009
"Principles of the Agreement between the State and the JNF" (Jewish
National Fund) proposed its ownership of "available and unplanned" land in
the Negev and Galilee - in the heart of Arab communities as a way to
displace them for Jews.
Other laws, introduced or passed, favor
Jews over Arabs. In addition, legitimized violence has grown alarmingly in
the past decade resulting in dozens of Israeli Arab deaths. Prominent Arab
leaders have also been arrested during peaceful demonstrations, and human
rights groups ("deemed biased against Israel") have been threatened and
targeted by hostile legislation to restrict their funding and freedoms.
In January 2010, the Zionist student group, Im Tirtzu, accused the
New Israel Fund (NIF) of bearing direct responsibility for the Goldstone
Report. NIF responded, saying it "became the latest target of what appears
to be a coordinated effort to stifle dissent and shut down the human
rights community in Israel."
Over the past decade, Arab MKs have
been investigated - some indicted on charges of incitement for
participating in nonviolent protests against discriminatory government
policies. Over the same period, Jewish MKs introduced bills comparing Arab
Knesset members to Nazi collaborators, proposing transferring them
to a future Palestinian state.
For some time, systematically
curtailing Arab civil and political liberties has continued, all Israeli
Arabs endangered by a nation affording rights solely to Jews.
Historic Analog - Nazi 1930s Violence Against Jews
Early on, the
Nazis institutionalized violence to force its will on all aspects of
society - its plan to solidify power and establish despotic rule. The
Gestapo and SS enforced it against declared enemies of the state,
including communists, social democrats, gypsies, homosexuals, and, of
Right after the March 1933 elections, Nazis
institutionalized violence, riots beginning in the Ruhr and spread
nationally. Jewish businesses, enterprises and stores were picketed,
handbills saying "Germans, don't buy at Jewish shops." SA stormtroopers
broke into Jewish homes, mistreating and arresting their occupants.
Hitler launched a nationwide boycott against Jewish enterprises, doctors
and lawyers. Entrances to their establishments and offices were blocked.
Anti-semitic graffiti was put up and windows smashed. It was a precursor
of worse to come, including propaganda to institutionalize public anger
against Jews as enemies of the Third Reich.
By 1935, Jews were
publicly humiliated, banned from certain towns, and party activists
assaulted the orthodox, cut their beards and shaved their heads to vilify
them and Judaism.
Racist legislation followed, including the
infamous "Nuremberg Laws" discussed below. Landlords were forced to break
leases with Jewish tenants. By 1936, distinctions were removed between
harming Jews physically and using legal measures to destroy their
businesses and livelihoods.
By 1938, violence escalated, starting
with the Austrian Anschluss in March. A wave of anti-Jewish measures
followed, aimed at Austrian Jews. Nazi policy enforced "Aryanizations,"
confiscations, arrests, and physical violence against Jews. In November,
the infamous Kristallnacht pogrom occurred, directly incited by Hitler and
Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda.
They exploited the
attempted assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris on
November 7. Violent riots followed. The entire party apparatus was
involved. In most German cities and towns, enterprises and Jewish homes
were looted; 200 or more synagogues and 7,500 Jewish enterprises were
attacked, burned and destroyed; and when it ended, 680 Jews were dead and
nearly 30,000 interned in concentration camps.
In addition, the
ministerial bureaucracy and Gestapo intensified enforcement of Jewish
emigration and keeping Jews and Aryans totally apart. Violent anti-Jewish
acts were exempted from German law. Many occurred, including murders,
rapes and other sexual assaults, organized pogroms, public humiliations,
vandalism, anti-semitic graffiti, boycotts, confiscations, looting and
other forms of theft - virtually anything to vilify and remove German
On the eve of WW II, German society was accustomed to
anti-semitic violence. It was the genesis of the 1941-45 holocaust,
facilitated by the 1935 "Nuremberg Laws" that:"
"German Blood and German Honour";
-- prevented marriage or sexual
relations between Jews and Aryans;
-- declared persons with any
Jewish blood no longer citizens and denied all rights;
Jews from holding professional jobs to exclude them from education,
politics and industry;
-- segregated Jews from Aryans;
punished them financially, effectively bankrupting Jewish enterprises;
-- prohibited Aryan doctors from treating them;
Jews from becoming doctors;
-- excluded Jewish children from
state-run schools; and
-- effectively denied Jews all rights
afforded Aryans - a prelude to Nazi genocide, what Palestinians have
incrementally endured for decades by racist laws, persecution, land theft,
dispossession, exclusion, isolation, mass imprisonment, torture, targeted
assassinations, violence, and wartime slaughter - most recently, Cast
Lead, and now an extremist government targeting them and Israeli Arabs, by
persecution, removal, or perhaps annihilation. A historic analog shows the
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