of Ahmed Tibi, a member of Ta’al and the Joint List in the Knesset, Israel is a
democratic state for Jews but a Jewish state for Arabs. Perhaps this should be corrected to
acknowledge that for Jewish opponents of Zionism Israel is also becoming less
Friday 18th May, in response to Israel’s premeditated murder of over
60 Palestinians in Gaza, Israeli Palestinians held a small demonstration in the
city of Haifa.
of protecting the demonstration from the usual right-wing thugs, Israeli police
launched a savage attack on it and the democratic rights of Arab citizens of Israel,
thus demonstrating that equality between Jew and Arab in Israel is purely
The Times of Israel report Activists say police broke knee of Arab-Israeli arrested at protest in Haifa quotes Ayman Odeh condemning not only the “brutal dispersal” of the demonstration but the police conduct during a demonstration of some 200 people on Monday against the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A number of MKs from the Joint List took part, including Odeh.
“The wild attack on us by police in Jerusalem and the attack and arrest of the demonstrators in Haifa, over claims that raising the Palestinian flag constitutes incitement, is untrue and also illegal.”
According to reports in the Hebrew-language media, Odeh confronted police officers on Saturday outside the Bnai Zion Medical Center where Farah was being treated, calling one of them a “zero.”
Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli also condemned the Friday incident, calling Farah “a partner in the struggle for equality and peace.” In a tweet, the opposition lawmaker said his treatment at the hands of police was “frightening,” and vowed she would demand an explanation from Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan next week.
demonstrators were arrested and one, Jafah Farah, had his knee broken by the
Police in custody. There can be no doubt about this since he was filmed walking
when being arrested. Jafah is the CEO of the Mossawa Advocacy Center For Arab
Citizens In Israel.
UN Human Rights Council last Friday also called for an Inquiry into the
shootings, which Israel rejected calling the Council biased etc. No doubt they were also anti-Semitic. The EU also made a mild call for an investigation
into the arrests in Haifa, a call instantly rejected by Gilad Erdan, the Public
Security Minister and an arch hawk.
Erdan it was who described Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan , a maths teacher who was murdered
in January 2017 by Police, in the Bedouin village of Umm al Hiran in the Negev,
as a ‘terrorist’. Police had been
protecting bulldozers which had been sent in to demolish the village to make
way for a new Jewish town when they opened fire on his car, which then rolled
into the police line killing one member. Even the subsequent Shin Bet inquiry couldn’t
substantiate the false claim of Erdan and the Police.
Jafar Farah being led away under arrest – he had no difficulty walking whilst under arrest
EU also called on Israel to cancel the deportation order on the Director of
Human Rights Watch in Israel, Omar Shakir. His ‘crime’ was
having supported BDS as a student. Only in the ‘democratic’ State of Israel do
people get deported because of their ideological views. As representative of
HRW stated“Compiling dossiers on and
deporting human rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian
security services’ playbook.”
None of this stopped Israel’s fascist
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beteinu, from attacking the head
of the Joint List in the Knesset, the third largest bloc, which represents Israeli
Arabs. ‘Every day that Ayman Odeh is not in prison is a failure of law
enforcement,” Apparently Odeh, who
the Police fired a rubber bullet at during the demolition of Umm al-Hiran in
January 2017, had cursed the Police watching over Jafar in the hospital. In the minds of this racist thug (only in Israel
can someone found guilty of assaulting a child – a Jewish child no less in the
settlements – become a senior government minister) beating someone up and
breaking their leg in custody is far less serious than cursing the police who
carried out this act.
The greater significance of what happened in Haifa is that it shows that Israeli
‘democracy’ for its Arab citizens is non-existent. Israel is a security state
and when military actions are undertaken against the Palestinians in the
Occupied Territories, there is a consensus from the Zionist right to left, Likud
to Yesh Atid and the Israeli Labour Party that you don’t query the Israeli military.
Anyone who disturbs that consensus can expect to be violently dealt with. Gilad
Erdan proclaimed, of course that Israel was ‘”the only democracy in the Middle East (and) does not need moralistic warning calls from a biased and obsessive
body like the EU.”
a democracy of course the Police do not violently attack demonstrations,
beating up the participants and then breaking their legs, to say nothing of
keeping those detained in handcuffs over night.
However Israel is a democracy of a special kind.
Israeli Arabs protesting the killing of Gazans were
arrested Friday in the northern Israeli city of Haifa. Dozens participated in a
demonstration in the city’s lower commercial area. Police said those arrested
were suspected of public disorder offenses. Protesters held up Palestinian flags, according
organizers of the demonstration, a group of young activists, decided to hold it
without a permit. The call to protest was spread across social networks, and
its exact location was given two hours before it started. Some activists were
warned prior to the protest not to participate in it, according to the
organizers. One of the activists was interrogated last week after a similar
protest and was sent home for a three-day house arrest.
it will let the demonstration “continue
and allow the public to fulfill the right to protest and free speech, in
accordance to the caveats and instructions of the law, but will prevent any
attempt to disrupt the public order and endanger the safety and security of the
One of the
activists who was detained during the protest is the CEO of the Mossawa
Advocacy Center For Arab Citizens In Israel, Jafar Farah. Farah’s relatives
and Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, accused
the police Saturday of breaking his leg while he was under arrest. The
police said they cannot provide details about his medical condition, but that
the case will be looked into.
In a video
from the scene, Farah can be seen being escorted away from the protest by
policemen. On Saturday, he was hospitalized in Haifa. Police said that “one of the detainees was taken to a checkup
at the hospital after he claimed he was injured in his leg,” and the
Bnei Zion hospital in the city confirmed that Jafar was hospitalized but said
that due to medical immunity, more details regarding his condition could not be
the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, who met the detainees at the police station said
forces brutally oppressed the protest without any explanation. Netanyahu’s
government wants to silence any voice of resistance and dissent coming from
here, to silence any voice that embarrasses it and its actions. I am full of
appreciation for the protesters tonight and the immense sacrifice of the
detainees. No police brutality will succeed in silencing us.”
Touma-Suleiman (a member of Hadash, one of the parties making up the Joint
List) also spoke up against the arrests of participants in Friday’s
demonstration, saying that “the
attempts to scare and silence people will fail again!”
violence exerted on protesters was unchecked. Interrogators continued to beat
up the detainees after they were arrested without any explanation or
justification. As a result, some of them were injured. Jafar Farah’s leg was
broken. All this happened while they postponed the detainees’ meeting with a
lawyer and withheld medical care from them, all in order to prevent the
documentation of the recklessness with which the police behaved,” she
Touma-Suleiman also called for the opening of an investigative committee that
would look into the police’s conduct in those arrests.
getting arrested at a Haifa protestHaaretz/ YouTube
statement released in response to the arrests, Adalah said the police dealt
with the demonstration “like a war.”
Adalah accused the police of closing in on the demonstrators, beating and
arresting those who attempted to escape, and denying detainees from meeting
with lawyers for over an hour after their arrest.
detainees were handcuffed for the entire night and kept sitting on the police
station floor. Many of them experienced serious bruising to their wrists.
Adalah considers these arrests to be illegal, as the police violence in Haifa
was unprecedented and unprovoked,” the group wrote, calling for the release of
Around 1,000 Gazans gathered Friday
around the Israel-Gaza border for the eighth weekly protest in the “March
of Return.” Dozens got close to the fence, burning tires and threw rocks.
Israel Defense Forces responded with tear gas and occasional gunfire. 56 were
wounded in the protest, 25 of which by live gunfire, the Gaza Health Ministry
Human Rights Council on Friday called for an international inquiry into the
state of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West
Bank and Gaza. Jerusalem blasted the decision and the council as
being biased against Israel.
The European Union condemned the Israeli police’s crackdown on Israeli
Arab protesters in Haifa after they demonstrated against the high death toll at
the border with Gaza on the day of the dedication of the U.S. embassy in
Jerusalem. The demand prompted the anger of Israel’s police minister.
As many as 21 activists were detained by police following the march in Haifa,
including the head of the Mossawa Advocacy Center Jafar Farah, who was
allegedly injured after being arrested by police.
In the statement, the EU also said it was important Israel conducts “a swift investigation into
circumstances surrounding events last week in Haifa which appeared to result in
serious injury of Jafar Farah, Director of the NGO Mossawa, the Advocacy Centre
for Arab Citizens in Israel”.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan responded to the EU’s demand, saying
that “Israel, as the only democracy
in the Middle East, does not need moralistic warning calls from a biased and
obsessive body like the EU.”
Erdan also called out what he called the “hypocritical campaign of persecution against Israel and the attempt to
stain its good name. I suggest the EU not get involved in Israel’s internal
In the meantime, the police have questioned under caution the police
officer involved in the arrest.
“The European Union continues to
stand for an open and conducive environment for civil society, within Europe,
in Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory and around the world,” the statement said.
The EU called on Israel to reverse its decision to revoke the work visa of
Mr Omar Shakir, the local director of Human Rights Watch who was accused of
anti-Israel activities and involvement in the BDS movement.
In a mildly worded statement issued
on Tuesday, the EU says it “expects
the Israeli authorities to reverse their decision, as otherwise Israel would
join a very short list of countries which have barred entry to, or expelled, Human
Rights Watch staff”.
Omar Shakir, a U.S. citizen who previously worked for the New York-based
rights group in Egypt and Syria, was given two weeks to leave the country
when he was notified of the revocation of his visa on May 7. Fifteen Israeli
human rights organizations immediately condemned the move at the time.
Criticizing the decision of Israel’s Interior Ministry, Human Rights
Watch quoted a representative of the organization as saying that “Compiling dossiers on and deporting human
rights defenders is a page out of the Russian or Egyptian security services’
Interior Minister Arye Dery said the decision was based on a
recommendation from the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which had collected
information about Omar Shakir.
In March 2017, Israel passed an amendment to
its Entry into Israel law, empowering the authorities to refuse entrance to
those they claim to be activists in the BDS movement. Shakir, however, would be
the first one to be deported rather than being denied entry to the country on
the backdrop of the law.
“Every day that Ayman Odeh is
not in prison is a failure of law enforcement,” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said
of the chairman of the Joint List, the third largest bloc in the Knesset.
Interior Minister Gilad Erdan — who lost no haste in pronouncing Yakub Abu
al-Kian, who was shot dead by police in Umm al-Hiran, a terrorist —
quickly joined in. He announced that he would ask the attorney general to
launch a criminal investigation against Odeh, who cursed out a police officer
at the hospital where Jafar Farah, the director of Mossawa Center, the Advocacy
Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, was being treated while under arrest in connection to a
protest in Haifa.
Lieberman — whose ongoing public career is the real failure of law
enforcement — and Erdan — whose right-wing street cred has suffered as a result
of what has been seen as his inadequate support for Benjamin Netanyahu during
the investigations of the prime minister — illustrate just how grave the
situation has become in Israel, which is marching confidently into a Judeo-nationalist
future. These cynical politicians know that in today’s Israel, the easiest and
safest way to drum up public support is through racist incitement, which has no
place in a democratic country. That is how they chose to respond to a small
demonstration of Arab citizens protesting the killing at the border of the Gaza
Erdan and Lieberman simply learned a lesson in dangerous cynicism from
their leader. One of Netanyahu’s great successes is in persuading the majority
of Israeli Jews that the country’s Arab citizens — who account for around 20
percent of the population — are a fifth column that must not under any
circumstances express solidarity with their Palestinian brethren or criticize
The frequent assertions according to which the Joint List’s lawmakers
should limit themselves to civil matters, such as “infrastructure and
education,” constitute political suppression and outright racism couched as
rationalist argument. Citizens in a democratic state may and should engage with
their national identity and are permitted to criticize the government and to
demonstrate against it. Israel has a duty to find ways to contain the complex
relationship of Israel’s Arab citizens to the state and it must demonstrate
sensitivity, particularly during moments of escalation of the
The claims regarding the behavior of Odeh, who was prevented from
visiting Farah, who was injured at the demonstration, fall into that category
of racism and distortion of the truth. Given the brutal suppression by police
of a demonstration by minority members, focusing on Odeh’s curses creates a
false symmetry in the equation of violence. Odeh and the Arabs are the victims
of the state, not the other way around.
Any citizen who seeks to live in a democracy should be disturbed by the
wanton, racist incitement by Israel’s leadership against the Arabs.