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Home arrow Blog arrow November 2007 arrow November 26, 2007

November 26, 2007
WAWA Blog November 26, 2007: "...their acts not only prove Israel to be undemocratic, they also create a country in which fewer and fewer Jews will ever want to live."-D in Israel  updated 8 AM EDT 11/26/07

"We have yet to begin to IMAGINE the power and potential of the Internet."-Charlie Rose, 2005

When I heard Charlie say that, I did begin to imagine the power and potential of the Internet. Yesterday I received the following email from D, a justice and peace activist in Israel.

“According to the regulations, whoever is declared a terrorist or a terrorist organization will be informed about this only after a declaration is made. This will allow them to appeal the decision but not defend themselves against the declaration.”

Dear All,

The passage of this law (if and when it happens, and it probably will) will reveal that Nuremberg is here!  After the Knesset passes a law that allows foreign groups to be classified as terrorists, it will be a small step to doing the same for Israeli organizations, and most certainly for Israeli-Palestinian organizations.  The ‘authorities’ will then move on to outlaw blogs, emails, and books that criticize Israel.  We’ll all be imprisoned or deported!  No one will be safe.  The security officials (i.e., Shabak) will see to it that anyone even slightly suspect of criticizing Israel will be put in ‘cold storage,’ where there will be absolutely no contact with the outside.

There is a slight tinge of the positive in this.  The further to the right and to criminal acts that Israel’s lawmakers go, the more they show fear.  They know that something is rotten in the state of Israel, but don’t want others to know.  Yet their acts not only prove Israel to be undemocratic, they also create a country in which fewer and fewer Jews will ever want to live.

Annapolis?  The act of outlawing organizations speaks Israel's intentions far more loudly and distinctly than the show at the US Naval Academy ever could.


 Ha’aretz Update Sunday, November 25, 2007

State to be allowed to declare foreign groups terrorists


Hebrew: [Oddly, I have found nothing on this subject in Hebrew in either today’s or Friday’s print or electronic editions. D]

By Shahar Ilan

The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee will begin deliberating new regulations Sunday that would enable the authorities to declare foreign organizations and citizens terrorists.

These regulations are designed to conform to international declarations on terrorism used by the United Nations and in the West.

Two years ago, the Knesset legislated a ban on funding terrorism, which is punishable by a 10-year term in prison and the confiscation of property belonging the the convicted organization or individual.

There has been a long delay in presenting the new regulations to the approval of the Knesset, which stems in part from disagreement between security officials over who or what constitutes a terrorist.

The security authorities would like to be the ones to decide who is a terrorist, and this issue has not been resolved. At this stage, the authority deciding the issue is the "one appointed by the prime minister."

Another point of contention remains between the state and the banks, and the method through which the authorities will inform the financial institutions that they have declared someone "terrorist."

The regulations do offer guidelines for the following: the details that will be included in the declaration of a person or an organization as "terrorist"; the ways such information will be released; the ways an appeal may be filed.

According to the regulations, whoever is declared a terrorist or a terrorist organization will be informed about this only after a declaration is made. This will allow them to appeal the decision but not defend themselves against the declaration.


Why can’t Palestinian residents of Israel drive despite strict security checks?

Tali Nir,7340,L-3472829,00.html

Imagine a father, and imagine a physically disabled son. Imagine the need for physiotherapy, hospitalization, and even just going to the local shopping mall. Imagine that you have to do all that without a driver’s license. This isn’t the case because the father doesn’t know how to drive, or because he is suffering from some kind of disability. It’s not even because his license expired, but rather, it’s because he’s a Palestinian Arab.


In Israel, where any tourist can get a driver’s license, Palestinians are not allowed to drive. This ban is relevant to thousands of Palestinians who are allowed to live in Israel because they are married of Israeli citizens. The reason for this ban is, as usual, security considerations.


Even if we’re able to barely understand the link between driving and security, as well as the more meaningful question of why being Palestinian is enough to designate one as a security threat, we must recall that a comprehensive solution to the security threat is already in place, even without revoking one’s license: All Palestinians married to Israelis undergo comprehensive security checks every six months as a condition for extending their resident permits. If intelligence information points to suspicions of a security threat by any of them (or their extended family,) the partner is removed from his or her family immediately and sent back to the territories. The security apparatus works all the time.


However, the security establishment is not satisfied with that. It views every driving Palestinian as dangerous. Nationality is the only criteria. The thorough security screening of those who were allowed to live here is insufficient. It appears they forget we’re dealing with people who must live, raise children, and who ultimately have plenty to lose even if they as much as think about making trouble.

Waiting for an ambulance

For example, take the Abu Kaled family from the town of Lod. The father, Nahil, who originated from the West Bank, has been married for 10 years now to Najia, an Israeli citizen. Ever since they got married they live in Lod, where they raise four children. The eldest, who is nine-years-old, suffers from a severe disability and is mentally handicapped. On occasion he needs urgent medical attention.


This is the case, for example, when he suffers an epileptic seizure in the middle of the night. But Nahil is not allowed to drive. This means waiting for an ambulance and paying for it every time his kid has an attack.


Najia talks about the terrible fear and sense of helplessness when her son suffers a seizure, the ambulance fails to show up, and there’s nothing they can do. Besides that, she and her children are deprived from having a normal life. As he’s unable to drive, Nahil cannot find a job. Without the ability to drive, he cannot take the kids anywhere, even though they really want to go on trips or to the swimming pool.


“Children are important for the State of Israel, isn’t it so?” she asks. “So why don’t they take care of my kids too?”


And this is indeed the question. Why? After all, as noted, Nahil undergoes a security check every six months. Besides that, the Licensing Authority can grant Palestinians driving permits on “special grounds.” One would think that this possibility would be utilized in humanitarian cases. However, in this story is doesn’t work like that.


In a hearing last week before the High Court of Justice it turned out that to this day, not even one special permit has been granted. Criteria for special grounds have never been defined.


Tali Nir is an attorney in the Association for Civil Rights in Israel


UPDATED 8 AM EDT 11/26/07
Dear All,

Yesterday I received 2 objections to my introductory remarks, particularly with regard to Nuremberg.  Since it seems to me that perhaps others also might have similar thoughts about my comments on this issue but be too inhibited to express them, let me please clarify.  Following the clarification is an article of interest, at least to me.

One of the comments, was not about Nuremberg but rather objected to my writing introductory remarks.  Let me explain my intentions with these.  I do not write them  because I have time on my hands.  I write these because my purpose is to inform, not merely to send material that anyone could find by him/herself.  To inform means calling attention to those aspects that one wants to inform about, their implications, their accuracy, and so on and so forth.  No one, of course, is forced to read the introductory remarks.  Furthermore, for readers who do read them, you have every right and even obligation to disagree with my analysis, and I respect everyone who informs me of this.  I try to respond (though it might take some days), and on occasion I have agreed with the correspondent.  I always appreciate corrections and remarks that can help me improve.


The other 3 comments were on the substance.

One of these objected to inaccuracy and pointed out the difference between the specific laws passed at Nuremberg in the 1930s and the proposed Israeli legislation that gives the state the right to designate international groups as terrorist, and to outlaw them or imprison their members.  The particulars of the one do not of course coincide with those of the other.  But that is not the point.  The point is that there is the similarity of aim, i.e., outlawing and banning elements the ‘state’ sees as undesirable, not because these elements are really undesirable  (in the same way as criminal activities are) but because the ‘state’ wants to paint them as such.


Kenneth Burke in his astute analysis of Mein Kampf (“The Rhetoric of Hitler’s Battle,” 1939) points out that among the ingredients that a movement must have to succeed in uniting followers from among discordant and divergent bands is “its devil. . . . Men who can unite on nothing else can unite on the basis of a foe shared by all.”  Hitler chose the Jews (Burke believes that this choice was not merely pragmatic but that Hitler probably was anti-Semitic; however this is beside the point). Israel and much of the Western world choose (for their purposes) “terrorists.”  These have become the accepted “devil” by many individuals in the Western world, just as at one time witches were.  Thus, anyone that can be branded a terrorist (whether one is or is not such is irrelevant) is branded undesirable, and in the eyes of the majority is criminal.  Situations as these enable a government to do to undesirables anything without much opposition.  Nazi Germany proved this.  Israel is also proving it with Gaza (using as excuse the Qasams shot from there) and by other acts, including legislation.


The parallel of Nuremberg to the present proposed legislation is accurate also in another sense: the Nuremberg laws were not the initial step to Germany becoming fascist, but were a big step towards realizing its fascist intentions.  So also is Israeli legislation as the proposed one to outlaw certain international organizations.  Mind you, not all the criteria have yet been set. But, one criterion apparently has been. It is noted at the end of the report: “ According to the regulations, whoever is declared a terrorist or a terrorist organization will be informed about this only after a declaration is made. This will allow them to appeal the decision but not defend themselves against the declaration.”  This speaks loudly and clearly.  It essentially denies the principle of Habeas Corpus.  One thing is clear: the principles of being informed after a declaration has been made outlawing an organization or individual, and then not being allowed to defend itself/oneself—democratic principles, these are not.

Finally, it has been pointed out to me that such laws have already been passed in other countries as the US, Australia, New Zealand.  This is sad, but does not make the proposed Israeli legislation less fascist.

With respect to the article below, the issue might not or might not be crucial.  The question that arises in my mind is not why are foreigners buying apartments in Jerusalem, and not why people are selling (with the prices cited below, it’s hardly a wonder that one would sell), but the question that interests me is: where are the people who are selling moving to?



Ha’aretz Monday, November 26, 2007

Central Jerusalem is quickly turning into a ghost town

"Large parts of ny neighborhood look desolate at night, no one is out on the street and the houses are dark. The building where I live has eight apartments. Only three are occupied continuously through the year, while the owners of the other apartments come to visit for a few weeks a year," explained Jonathan Levirer, a resident of Jerusalem's exclusive Talbieh neighborhood.

According to the first study of its kind ever conducted on the subject of foreign ownership in Jerusalem, a third of all the apartments sold in Talbieh in 2007, and 40 percent of those in certain of the city's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods were sold to foreign residents. The study, conducted by Levirer's Kiryata Municipal Consulting company showed that 20 percent of all apartments in the center of town are already owned by foreign residents, and stand empty for most of the year.

In 2007, about 10 percent of all the apartments sold in Jerusalem; a total of 1,800 residences were bought by foreigners.

The Jerusalem neighborhood with the highest percentage of foreign-owned apartments is Romema, with almost 30 percent, according to the study. Next came Talbieh, with 20 percent foreign ownership, and then the German Colony and Rehavia, with about 14 percent foreign ownership each.

What is drawing in all these foreigners?

Rehavia and Talbieh are within walking distance of the Old City, and the latter is especially desirable for its many old Arab buildings with gardens. Foreign buyers are often prepared to pay almost any price for them.

Up until three years ago, those prices were in the $5,000-to-$7,000 per square meter range, but today they often reach as high as $13,000. These prices are out of reach for the average Israeli, and have left the high-end market to rich, mostly Orthodox foreigners, more ofthen than not from Belgium or France.

Though the situation was until recently a curiosity, during the past year the situation has become much worrying. "The laundrymat in the neighborhood has closed down," said Levirer. "There is still a small grocery store, but I assume that the nursery schools and kindergartens will close in the future since there will no longer be a need for child care. The small businesses too will disappear," warned Levirer.

"Also in social terms there is a problem. What young couple would want to buy an apartment here? Those remaining are the older population and the foreigners."

Other problems include safety and security, said another resident. Empty apartments invite burglars. On the plus side, wealthy foreigners tend to pay their building fees on time and are willing to spend money to keep their buildings maintained. Parking is less of a problem now too.

But the real impact is that the center of Jerusalem is emptying out, especially as the foreign residents are able to leave their apartments empty most of the time when they are absent, and not rent them out.



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