Tony Greenstein | 29 January 2017 | Post Views:


Basel Ghattas is the latest Arab member of the Knesset to come under attack from the Jewish majority 

It is one of the boasts of Israel that it is the ‘only
democracy in the Middle East
’.  Arabs can
vote goes the narrative, therefore we are a democracy.

Of course the idea that a democracy is defined by the ability
to put one’s cross on a ballot box once every 3-4 years is a pretty weak argument.  By this logic Hitler’s government was democratic.  A state that tortures its citizens,
especially if they are part of the minority population, that has a pervasive censorship, which consistently
discriminates against one section of its citizens, that embeds racism within
the very definition of the state as a State of the Jews, that doesn’t even ‘recognise’ the right of non-Jews to live on their land is only democratic in
the most formal of senses. 
Aryhe Deri – leader of Shas, jailed for corruption is now Interior Minister
even the ability to choose their representatives is becoming irksome to the Zionists.  Balad, a radical nationalist party that wants
to see Israel as a state of all its citizens rather than a State of the Jewish People has been under
severe attack recently with its premises
raided, its activists arrested on bogus charges of money laundering and its representatives under continuing harassment.  [Balad
condemns unprecedented Israeli arrests of senior officials
Israel is a state where corruption is epidemic
amongst the Zionist political class.  Prime Minister Netanyahu has received hundreds of
thousands of shekels of cigars and champagne from business associates and has been recorded offering
favours for favourable coverage from the Yediot
newspaper.  The Interior Minister, Aryeh Deri of the Shas Party served nearly three years in prison for corruption when last in office.  Netanyahu’s predecessor Ehud Olmert is still in prison for corruption yet there has never been a time when the Likud party offices have been raided by the Police.  Likewise, when Labour was in power, corruption was rife.  Ehud Barak managed to become wealthy overnight when Prime Minister.
Balad MKs have been under consistent attack.  Haneen Zoabi, a secular Arab woman who has been on a speaking tour of Britain, has been the subject of unheard of villification by Zionist MKs including physical attacks inside the Knesset building.  She was herself suspended for 6 months for making the unremarkable observation that 3 settler teenagers killed in the West Bank weren’t the victims of terrorism.
Racism against the Palestinians is no offence – Bezalel Smotrich MK
On no occasion has any Jewish MK, e.g. its most notorious racist Bezalel Smotrich been expelled or suspended from the Knesset despite for example arguing that Jewish women should be able to give birth in hospital in segregated wards (in fact such wards exist in practice anyway!).  Racism against Palestinians is not a crime.  After all this is a state where it is legitimate to steal and confiscate the land of the indigenous population without any penalty.
In July 2016, Israel passed
a bill
allowing 90 members of the Knesset to expel another member.  We were told that this Bill would rarely if
ever be used.  It was attacked as a naked
attempt to expel Palestinian Israeli members of the Knesset who wouldn’t accept
working within the Zionist consensus.  Like all racist legislation it doesn’t explicitly mention that only Arab MKs will be subject to its provisions.  In theory Smotrich or Uri Ariel or even Netanyahu could be a victim of the Expulsion Bill, but as with so many things in the ‘Jewish’ state, in practice only Arabs are the victim.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered after the Friday noon prayer in Um al-Hiran to bury Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan, but the police refused to hand over his body to his family [Jonathan Cook/Al Jazeera]
Sure enough Basel Ghattas, a member
of Balad, has been stripped of his immunity and now there are proposals to
expel him from the Knesset.  The allegations against him, which he denies and of which he hasn’t even been convicted, was passing mobile phones to Palestinian
prisoners locked up for up to 37 years for killing an Israeli soldier.   Even were he ‘guilty’ so what?  He however denies he passed anything more than printed materials.
One should note that Zionist killer Elor
Azaria, who deliberately shot and murdered an Arab lying severely on the ground,
although he has been convicted of manslaughter is unlikely to serve any time in
gaol.  Instead he has become an Israeli national
hero, with the Prime Minister ringing up his parents to reassure them and
members of the Israeli cabinet, such as Miri Regev and Naftali Bennett calling
for him to be pardoned.
The killing of Palestinians in Israel by the Police or Army is only a crime in theory.  Last week Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan was murdered in Umm al-Hiran, a village demolished in the Negev in order to make way for a Jewish town, by the Police who opened fire on his car.  There was justice of sorts as he then lost control of the car, which went out of control and killed one of his killers.  For this he was branded, without any evidence whatsoever, by the racist public order Minister, Gilad Erdan, a member of ISIS and until a court order, the Police refused even to hand over the body.
shouldn’t be surprised at the hypocrisy of Israel which fetes its killers but damns
Palestinian killers of Israeli soldiers. 
The Israeli Labour Party (Zionist Union plus a few independents) which
opposed the original Expulsion Bill is now giving its MKs a green light to support Netanyahu’s
attempt to expel Basel Ghattas.
the article in Ha’aretz below.
allowing its lawmakers to raise their hands in favor of the law and bring about
Basel Ghattas’ ouster, the faction has brought upon itself a shame that will
never be forgotten.
Editorial Jan 18, 2017 
Zionist Union leaders Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog at the Knesset, January 16, 2017. Olivier Fitoussi
of the most shameful laws the Knesset has ever enacted is now about to be implemented:
For the first time in Israel’s history, there’s a real possibility that a
sitting Knesset member will be ousted by a vote of his fellow legislators.
MKs have already signed on in support of expelling their colleague Basel
Ghattas (Joint List) after he was charged with smuggling cell phones to
imprisoned terrorists. If Ghattas is ousted, the decision will have been made
possible by the votes of members of the Zionist Union faction, which decided on
Monday to allow its MKs to vote in favor of his expulsion if they so choose.
ouster law, which was enacted last summer, states that the Knesset can expel an
MK for incitement to racism or support for armed struggle against Israel. Thus,
based on the wording of the law itself, it shouldn’t apply to Ghattas: He
hasn’t yet been convicted, and it’s doubtful that the charges against him meet
the criteria set in the law.
It’s no
surprise that the right-wing parties support Ghattas’ expulsion. They enacted
the law precisely for this purpose: to eject Arab legislators from the Knesset.
Nor should the Yesh Atid party’s support for his ouster surprise anyone: Party
chairman Yair Lapid has been paving his political ascent with base incitement
against Arabs for a long time now, since this is well known as the most
effective weapon for gathering votes in Israel.
When it
comes to incitement, Lapid doesn’t fall one whit short of Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, the greatest of anti-Arab inciters. And Lapid’s party
colleagues have long since lost both their shame and their independence; they
blindly, automatically obey their leader’s cynical decisions. Some of them know
quite well how dangerous the ouster law is, and how contemptible it is to expel
a Knesset member who hasn’t yet been convicted in court, but they have fallen
silent out of fear of their leader.
Zionist Union is following in Yesh Atid’s footsteps. And even from Zionist
Union, such wretched behavior was hard to foresee. Not even chairman Isaac
Herzog’s denunciation of the law after it passed as “an ugly stain on the face
of this government of hate” deterred him from announcing Monday that he
approves of the stain, in the form of Ghattas’ ouster. And a few other MKs from
his faction hastened to announce that they, too, would vote for the expulsion.
This ugly
stain is now defacing Zionist Union in its entirety. By allowing its MKs to
raise their hands in favor of the law and bring about Ghattas’ ouster – which
requires the support of 90 of the Knesset’s 120 MKs – the faction has brought
upon itself a shame that will never be forgotten. This isn’t the first time the
faction has been dragged after the radical right and the populist center; it
isn’t the first time it has betrayed its trust as the largest opposition party;
and it isn’t the first time we’ve been given proof that Zionist Union under
Herzog’s leadership has completely lost its way.

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Tony Greenstein

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