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Avi Dichterís Spanish Self-Expulsion, 1492/2010
Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam
26.10.10

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Avi Dichter: `Those Spaniards can`t expel me, I`ll expel myself first!`

One of the most traumatic events of Jewish history was the Spanish expulsion of its large Jewish community beginning in 1492 by the newly triumphant Catholic monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand. This event marked the beginning of the infamous Inquisition, one of the darkest moments in European history.

Israeli MK, Avi Dichter faced his own self-induced expulsion from Spain recently after he was invited by a Spanish NGO to address a conference about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. When the Spanish justice ministry informed him that it could not guarantee him immunity from arrest for his role in the Salah Shehade murders and Operation Cast Lead, he angrily cancelled his trip, thus expelling himself from Spain before he even arrived.

But most entertaining is this ridiculous self-aggrandizing statement from Dichter quoted by Yediot Achronot, which shows that the movement for international accountability for possible Israeli war crimes is powerful and effective in that itís getting their attention:

ďThis is not the first time Iíve encountered a situation that entails such a risk, entering a foreign nation and not being certain whether I would be able to leave amicably, without getting arrested. It is important to remember that this is not merely a threat to Avi Dichter; such an arrest also has the ramification of a threat to the nation itself. Itís strange that it is people from the Palestinian Authority, who operated there as part of the Palestinian security mechanisms, and have a very dubious record, can enter the country without trouble. The Spanish must assume responsibility for this matter and I am optimistic that we will extricate ourselves from this in the end.Ē

He is only partially right: of course this is both an attack on Avi Dichter and his political record and on the Occupation policies of the State. No, it is not a ďthreat to the nation.Ē Thatís where the self-aggrandizement comes in. This is a threat to the nationís current policies. A threat, by the way, that will largely evaporate when the nation changes those policies. The article notes that Mohammed Dahlan was to be one of the Palestinian participants. In this, I agree with Dichter. Dahlan too should be in the dock at the Hague along with Dichter.

As for extricating itself from the issue as Dichter so confidently predicts, there is one way to do that: negotiate a settlement along the lines of the Saudi Initiative. Till then, Israel and its apparatchiks like Dichter will remain entangled in this thicket of their own making.

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