Monday, 12 April 2010

Israel: nothing left but more draconian force

The spectrum of Israeli repression seems to be expanding as its claim to being a 'civilised democracy' diminishes ever further.

While the OECD considers Tel Aviv's membership application, Israel's own shock doctrine of neoliberal militarism permits no room for peaceful development. As one analyst puts it, "the business model of the Israeli economy... is constant conflict."

And, with it, more brutal crackdowns by military, judicial and intelligence forces on Palestinians and their moral witnesses.

Provisions shortly to be introduced will allow the army sweeping new powers to deport and incarcerate West Bank Palestinians suspected of being there without a permit. This latest draconian act will give military officers, rather than the courts, permission to send "infiltrators", as Israel terms them, back to Gaza or impose punitive prison sentences.

The edict has been widely condemned by international human rights groups as a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the expulsion of civilians from occupied land.

Many families are already being broken up through such measures, but the new enactment will put tens of thousands more Palestinians at immediate risk.

Meanwhile, Anat Kam, a courageous ex-army whistleblower, is facing trial and a lengthy prison sentence for exposing the IDF's gross abuses. The information she passed to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau has forced the latter into hiding in London. Pursued by Mossad, he, like nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, also faces the full wrath of the Israeli state if located and returned.

Encouragingly, international condemnation of such acts is growing.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has called on the UK government to "rethink trade relations with Israel". His statement comes in response to damning evidence that Israel cloned UK passports as part of a Mossad plot to assassinate a leading Hamas figure in Dubai.

Urging David Miliband to initiate legal action against Israel, Salmond said on BBC's Question Time:
"You can't have normal relationships if you believe another country has been involved in what Israel has been involved in."
Salmond's comments come on top of an intensive campaign to stop an Israeli medical trade exhibition at the Holyrood parliament.

Reeling from increased exposure of its aggressions, the exhibition is an attempt to promote Israel's 'humanitarian' and 'technological' profile. As one of its key sponsors, Labour MSP Ken MacIntosh, claims:
"We have a lot of negative views on Israel that are not helpful, many are poisonous and damaging. Rather than responding to the rhetoric, I thought it would be better to show positive side of Israel and acknowledge the huge contribution it has made."
Rejecting MacIntosh's spin, the event has been strongly condemned by a group of leading Scottish doctors:
"An open letter by a dozen doctors says celebrating Israeli technology is a "shameless PR exercise" coming so soon after its bombardment of Gaza last January, in which an estimated 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed. Thirteen Israelis died."
Boosting the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a sheriff has thrown out charges against five SPSC activists accused of racist conduct following their disruption of a concert in Edinburgh by the Jerusalem Quartet. In his judgement:
"Sheriff Scott added that if persons on a public march designed to protest against and publicise alleged crimes committed by a state and its army were afraid to name that state for fear of being charged with racially aggravated behaviour it would render their rights under the Convention worthless. Their placards, he said, would have to read "Genocide in an unspecified part of the Middle East", "Boycott an unspecified state in the Middle East"."
The ruling makes a mockery of the Crown's claim that the action was racially motivated or anti-semitic in purpose:
"The campaigners had been accused of making “comments about Jews, Israelis, and the State of Israel”, but during a three-day legal debate at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, a BBC audio recording of the event revealed that there had been no reference made to “Jews”. Comments included “They are Israeli Army musicians”, “End the Siege of Gaza”, “Genocide in Gaza”, and “Boycott Israel”.
Sheriff James Scott ruled that “the comments were clearly directed at the State of Israel, the Israeli Army, and Israeli Army musicians”, and not targeted at “citizens of Israel” per se. “The procurator fiscal’s attempts to squeeze malice and ill will out of the agreed facts were rather strained”, he said."
Such rulings, actions and condemnations help illustrate the gathering political, legal and civil rejection of Israel's aggressive conduct, all part of the growing momentum for a just prosecution of its human rights violations and racist crimes.

Which only seems to intensify Israel's lust for violent oppression.


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