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Israel Plans Prosecution of Ameer Makhoul, Uri Blau
By Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam - Make the Wrold a Better Place
12 Jun 2010

http://www.richardsilverstein.com/

The Israeli prosecutor has set a June 21st trial date for Ameer Makhoul, the director of an Israeli Palestinian NGO, who is accused of plotting espionage against Israel. I have joined an international group of human rights activists organizing on his behalf. Iíll make public our plans in the coming days.
I wanted to add a disturbing discovery Iíve made with the help of an Israeli peace activist. That is, the faux-left Israeli Jewish political party Meretz couldnít give a crap about Ameer Makhoul. When queried about the partyís position on the matter, party chair Haim Oron had this to say:
In the Anat Kamm case as in that of Ameer Makhoul, the leadership of Meretz has opposed the use of gag orders. But regarding their arrest, since itís not within our ability to probe these matters or to know whether there is any truth in them, we cannot make any statement about the investigation.
When the Israeli peace activist queried him further, Oron replied:
Itís not clear what sort of pubic effort should be made concerning this matter. The police investigated and filed very grave charges. What should be done? To join those who defame or those who bless [him]? Isnít that what courts are for?
So there you have it. The so-called Israeli left continues to embarrass itself by betraying its values (or at least what its values should be). As my Israeli friend wrote: ďIs it any wonder theyíve gone from 12 Knesset seats to three in recent elections?Ē What do they represent besides furthering their own measly existence at any price. I wouldnít even say they sold out. There was very little to sell. They simply petered out due to a lack of conviction and intestinal fortitude.
Can you imagine Israeli civil liberties, such as they are, under deep threat with two of the most prominent prosecutions in recent memory filed and Meretz goes AWOL? Why do you exist if not to fight for civil liberties? And not just the civil liberties of the good folk, but the rights of those under imminent attack. The ones smeared by the secret police. The ones called traitor and spat upon. The tortured ones. These are the ones who really need you and instead you decide a nap sounds like a better option.
Oronís reply also bespeaks a terrible insularity in Israeli politics. Jews and their parties care about Jews. If youíre not going to vote for them, why should they have anything to do with you? And thatís certainly true of Makhoul and the Israeli Palestinian voting bloc who get short shrift from the likes of Meretz.
I myself queried another Meretz leader (Jewish of course) who wrote in error:
I checked, and the fact is that to my knowledge, none of the MKs, including the MKs from Balad (which I believe Amir Makhoul belongs to) and Hadash (his former party home), have raised the issue in public, for the same reason that Jumes [Oron] writes.
I saw Issam Makhoul, his brother Ė who was an MK for Hadash, at Saturday nightís peace demonstration in Tel Aviv organized by a coalition led by Peace Now, Meretz and Hadash, with Gush Shalom and other activist movements.
He told me that he understands that the charges will be dropped in the near future, and that nothing will come of the whole affair.
So there you have it, the Attorney General has set a trial date and Meretz leadership are fully confident charges will be dropped and nothing will come of the matter. Do I hear burying your head in the sand?
And as for the claim that the Palestinian Israeli political parties have been silent, that too is in error. Balad and and Muhamad Barake of Hadash have spoken out, as has Ahmad Tibi. This proves that my Israeli Jewish interlocutor, someone active in the Jewish peace movement, is so out of touch with his Palestinian counterparts that he doesnít even know what their response has been to the arrest and torture of Ameer Makhoul. This is what the Israeli Jewish left has come to Iím sorry to say. Out of touch and really couldnít be bothered to care enough to know.
Maariv also reports today that the Israeli attorney general plans to prosecute Uri Blau for betraying a military operation. Several months ago, Blauís attorneys had worked out an agreement whereby he would return documents stolen by Anat Kam from the IDF and neither Kamm nor Blau would be charged. The Shin Bet violated that agreement.
Then Anat Kamm called on Blau to return the documents and he did so. But now the Shin Bet has upped the ante. They demand that Blau return EVERY secret document heís ever received (not just those from Kamm). And that is the bone that sticks in the craw for Blau and rightfully so.
The attorney general will prosecute him without regard to his return of the documents. An astonishing statement came from the State that the basis of Blauís crime isnít publishing secret documents, but merely possessing them. So letís parse what heís saying: that in a so-called democracy any journalist who possesses a secret document has committed a crime. And the mere possession of the documents damages state security and endangers life. This is no longer democracy. This borders on police state attitudes.
Keep in mind that what Blau did was ďoutĒ the IDF for killing unarmed Palestinian militants in cold blood and then lying about itĖall in violation of Supreme Court rulings saying killing a man when you could arrest him, or when civilians are present and might be harmed,, was illegal. In addition, Blau held documents which he didnít publish which revealed the scorched earth military strategy that the IDF planned to execute in what became Operation Cast Lead. THIS is what constitutes damaging state security and endangering human life: revealing war crimes.
What kind of country is this? Have they lost any contact with the notion of democracy? Do they not have a clue what a free press means or should mean? American Jews, you must come to understand that your Zionist dream has been reduced to this. What a tragedy.

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