by Stephen Lendman
Multiple daily incidents reflect Israel's true face. Israel is no democracy. It's a ruthless, racist police state.
On November 26, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined "In 2 Crimes of Extra-judicial Execution and Excessive Use of Force, Israeli Forces Kill 3 Palestinian Civilians in Yatta, South of Hebron."
These type incidents happen with disturbing regularity. Western media ignore them. PCHR strongly condemned what it called further proof of "Israeli forces' disregard for" civilian lives.
Two nonviolent Palestinian civilians were targeted north of Yatta. They posed no threat. They were driving a white Subaru.
They were traveling along a dirt road. A Renault Kangoo vehicle followed them.
"The Subaru was about to reach (a) bypass road where an Israeli infantry unit had been deployed in the farmlands around," said PCHR.
"Israeli soldiers directly opened fire at the vehicle, and in the meantime, other soldiers opened fire from the Renault vehicle as well."
Two Palestinians died from multiple gunshot wounds. They were struck in the chest, head, neck and pelvis.
"Half an hour later Israeli forces killed (another nonviolent) Palestinian south of Hebron."
They surrounded his house. They opened fire. They did so for several minutes. They used an explosive device to blow open his door. They shot at a by-passer.
These crimes reflect cold-blooded murder. Israel commits them with impunity. Under Fourth Geneva's Article 147, they constitute war crimes. Prosecutions don't follow. Palestinian lives don't matter.
On November 27, Al Haq published a report titled "Institutionalized Impunity: Israel's Failure to Combat Settler Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
It's longstanding. It rages out-of-control. Israeli security forces do nothing to stop it. Settlers are free to terrorize Palestinians with impunity. They take full advantage.
Al Haq director Shawan Jabarin said these type attacks are systematic. They're commonplace. They're institutionalized. Israeli policy encourages them.
"The obligation of Israeli authorities is to protect Palestinians under occupation," said Jabarin.
"They are not. They are closing their eyes and facilitating the violence against Palestinians."
Third party states are obligated to intervene. They're mandated "to combat organized crime by ensuring that support, financial or otherwise, is not being lent to violent settler groups by private and public entities within their jurisdiction."
"It is time for action against these groups and the settlers in general, as well as the leaders, such as settler councils."
Settlers regularly target Palestinian farmers. They destroy hundreds of olive trees monthly. They commit arson and other types of vandalism. They terrorize Palestinian children.
Violence includes "price tag" attacks. Settlers use the term to describe retaliations relating to Israeli government actions limiting their political goals.
In the last decade, thousands of incidents occurred. Palestinian Authority security forces do virtually nothing to stop them. They're complicit in enforcing Israeli policy.
Ordinary Palestinians live in a virtual war zone. They're on their own to survive. Al Haq called Price Tag attacks intense and severe.
Many forced Palestinians from their land. It's done to support settlement construction. According to Jabarin:
"Price Tag attacks have allowed settler groups to successfully mobilize a public campaign advocating for the use of physical violence against Palestinians."
"Israel's legislative and administrative regime in the West Bank, coupled with its institutional unwillingness to prosecute offending settlers, has created a climate of impunity allowing such violence against the Palestinian population to intensify."
Extremist settlers get active support from Israeli educational, social and religious state institutions. Israel's government provides its own.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 2011 settler attacks increased by about one-third year-over-year.
They were over 140% greater than in 2010. In 2011, settlers destroyed or damaged 10,000 olive trees. At the same time, dozens of Palestinian families were displaced.
Israeli authorities turn a blind eye to most complaints. Investigations, when conducted, are whitewashed.
Settlers are free to terrorize Palestinians with impunity. They take full advantage. They get plenty of help.
On September 11, 2011, Haaretz headlined "French JDL (Jewish Defense League) recruiting Jews with military experience to 'defend' Israeli settlements."
The French JDL group is an offshoot of Meir Kanane's racist Kach party. Israel banned it in 1988. It called it a "threat to national security." It's banned in America. France tolerates it.
Haaretz cited its spokesman Amnon Cohen. He explained a mission planned for late September 2011. Five groups of 11 people each were involved. They operated in different Israeli settlements.
Unidentified French donors defrayed all costs. Participants included men and women. They ranged from age 23 to 34. They all had military training. It was a prerequisite.
According to Cohen, JDL's mission wasn't to "provoke the Arabs." It was to "be on hand in case the settlements nee(ed) (help in case) Arabs attack(ed) at this precarious time."
Suggesting it was ludicrous. Palestinians don't attack settlements. They're vulnerable to regular settler attacks. They're blamed for defending themselves.
JDL is a violence, racist group. Its West Bank presence is provocative. It has nothing to do with protection. It's about terrorizing Palestinians lawlessly. France offers tacit support.
In November 2004,Yasser Arafat died in a Paris hospital. He was poisoned. Israel killed him. Before his death, JDL extremists publicly chanted: "Arafat, bastard, the Jews will have your skin."
Cohen said JDL's organizing efforts went smoothly. Things were coordinated with designated settlements. Everything was arranged in advance.
Palestinians face ongoing terror. Its internal and imported from abroad. World leaders able to help turn a blind eye. Millions of Palestinians are on their own to survive.
Thursday was like most other days. Israeli soldiers invaded multiple Palestinian communities. Eight nonviolent West Bank civilians were kidnapped. So were three others in Gaza.
Israel attacks injured many others. Settlers uprooted dozens of olive trees. The previous week they destroyed over 100.
Since June 1967, Israeli soldiers and settlers destroyed nearly one million olive trees. The extent of state-sponsored vandalism accompanied by violence is shocking. It continues day-to-day without end.
On November 24, extremist Israeli settlers desecrated the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They did it many times before. Police do nothing to stop them. Failure to act reflects complicity.
On November 28, dozens of extremist Israelis entered the mosque's compound. They did so provocatively. Police escorted them.
They performed religious rights under armed guard where they're not welcome. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib heads Islamist endowment and mosque affairs.
He denounced the incident. He called it a raid. He said the Al-Aqsa compound situation deteriorates daily.
Israeli authorities want control where they don't belong. Al-Aqsa is Islam's third holiest site. Invading it is entirely provocative. At times, violence follows. Palestinians are blamed for Israeli crimes.
In early November, Knesset members considered letting Jews pray provocatively on the mosque's compound. Israeli deputy religious affairs minister Eli Ben-Dahan supports doing so.
Al-Aqsa is in East Jerusalem. It's internationally recognized as occupied Palestinian territory. Israel considers Jerusalem its exclusive capital. Confrontations occur often.
On September 28, 2000, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon provocatively entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Around 1,000 security forces accompanied him.
The second Intifada followed. Thousands of Palestinians were killed. Many thousands more were injured.
Perhaps Israel plans recreating what happened. Lawlessness reflects official policy. Palestinians are persecuted ruthlessly.
Security forces terrorize them. So do extremist settlers. They're on their own to survive.
A Final Comment
Israel's government is its most extreme ever. On November 17, Knesset members approved a draconian anti-infiltration measure.
It oppressively targets asylum seekers. It's an amendment to the Law to Prevent Infiltration. Human rights groups denounced it.
It calls for one year imprisonment. It subjects legitimate asylum seekers to forced Negev detention. The new measure is even more draconian than an earlier version.
In September, Israel's High Court unanimously overturned it. Knesset members want the new measure enacted swiftly.
Around 2,000 men, women and children are being held in harsh detention. Their fundamental rights are denied.
According to Citizenship and Residency Program director Oded Feller, imprisoning asylum seekers ignores a Supreme Court ruling.
"Nine justices (unanimously) reasoned that the provision is illegal because it violates the right of freedom. Imprisonment under these circumstances, whether for one year or three, is prohibited."
Israel systematically violates international law. It ignores its own High Court rulings. It does what it wants. It does so with impunity.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein endorsed a new bill. It compromises free expression. It surfaced before. In 2011, the Public Defender's Office introduced the idea. Harsh public criticism killed it.
It's nicknamed the "concealment law." It prohibits publicizing information about a criminal investigation.
It does so even if it doesn't compromise the privacy of people being investigated. It especially targets journalists.
Weinstein and Justice Ministry officials want publication of diaries, medical, and financial information prohibited. The Privacy Protection Law currently protects this type material.
Invasion of privacy criminal and civil prosecutions are permitted. Israel wants the Courts Law amended. Why it must explain.
At risk is compromising free expression. Authorities want legitimate criticism prohibited. It wants it during ongoing investigations. It wants it after cases in question are concluded.
If enacted, it'll violate Weinstein's pronouncement that "the public will read and judge." It'll compromise fundamental press freedom.
It'll deny the public access to information it has a right to know. How will people know if their government acted lawfully or otherwise?
How will they be able to judge the legitimacy of prosecutions? How will unfairly targeted people be able to defend themselves in the court of public opinion?
No Israeli law enshrines free expression. It's a fundamental right. At stake is free, fair, unbiased news and information coverage. So is concealing crimes committed by public officials.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Truth is the ally of justice. It's the enemy of lawlessness. It's essential in free societies.
In summer 2011, Israel enacted an anti-boycott measure. Critics called it outrageous, shameless and anti-democratic.
It criminalizing boycott supporters. Persons or groups targeted can sue without having to prove harm caused.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) called the measure "one of the most concerning (ever) anti-democratic propositions."
At issue is boycotting Israeli products, persons and activities connected with Occupied Palestine and settlements. Enactment was politically motivated. Section 2 stipulates:
"It is prohibited to initiate a boycott of the state of Israel, to encourage participation in a boycott, or to provide assistance or information with the purpose of promoting a boycott."
Individuals or groups accused of doing so face criminal and/or civil prosecutions.
Police states operate this way. Israel violates numerous civil and human rights. It wants them compromised or eliminated.
Occupied Palestinians have no rights. Israeli Arabs have few. Jews too critical of government policies risk trouble.
Boycotts are a legitimate right. So is press freedom and other free expression forms.
Criminalizing them is unprecedented in democracies. Protecting opposition opinions is fundamental in legitimate ones.
Israel more than ever is a lawless police state. America operates the same way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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