|By: Gideon Spiro|
23 February 2012 (English translation 5 March 2012)
The victory of a non-violent struggle
After a 65-day hunger strike, his life hanging in the balance, Khadr Adnan, a 34-year-old resident of Araba, near Jenin, succeeded in defeating the Israeli Empire. Adnan’s struggle was as just as could be. His hunger strike was in protest against his administrative detention and the torture and humiliating treatment he underwent in the detention rooms of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet). On the 65th day of the strike the government of Israel announced that Adnan’s administrative detention would not be extended and he would be freed on 17 April. The hunger strike ended.
Adnan is a member of the Islamic Jihad (IJ), an extremist religious organization that raises the banner of armed struggle against Israel. Many of IJ’s leaders have been murdered by Israel in so-called “targeted killings”.
Nevertheless Adnan has proven that non-violent struggle for a just cause will receive international support and produce results. Adnan’s demand to be freed from administrative detention was supported by Israeli and foreign human-rights organizations as well as representatives of foreign governments.
Adnan has put the issue of administrative detention on the public agenda again. Administrative detention, according to which people are detained without trial, is a dirty practice characteristic of dictatorial regimes. Israel has made widespread use of it, and during 45 years of Occupation thousands of Palestinians have been subjected to administrative detention. Over 300 Palestinians are under administrative detention today.
The detention is carried out by means of an order by a military commander, and after the person has been arrested the detention is submitted to a court for ratification. The trials – or rather, the “trials”, within quotation-marks – is conducted such that the detainees and their lawyers cannot see the evidence on which the detentions are based. The ISA representatives show the judges the “secret evidence” that the detainees and their lawyers are barred from seeing, so they cannot challenge the detention. The result is that not surprising: in 99.99 percent of cases the courts approve administrative detention under the flexible umbrella of “security considerations”.
The Adnan case exposed both the military and medical Establishments in all their ugly moral degeneracy. On the 59th day of the hunger strike the military judge, Col. (Res.) Moshe Tirosh, saw fit to release the decision of the military that ratified the administrative detention, adding for good measure a cynical comment about the hunger strike. The decision is one that is obtuse and foolish in the sense conveyed in a decision by former Supreme Court Vice-President Haim Cohen, who wrote the following in the case of Criminal Appeal 523/72: “In our modern language, the adjective ‘foolish’ (metumtam) serves to point to the obstruction of channels of thought, either in general or on a specific matter; and it makes no difference if a person has come by that obstruction by nature or from a perverse heart or gluttony or drunkenness or (as maintained by some) from exercising authority. Either way, it is a humiliation and a disgrace for a person to have his channels of thought obstructed, for in what way is such a person superior to a beast?”
Adnan was hospitalized in four hospitals during his hunger strike: Assaf Harofeh in Ramle, Maayanei Hayeshua in Bnei Brak, Bikur Holim in Jerusalem and Ziv in Safed. In each one of them he was chained to his bed. Not one righteous man was to be found among the hospital administrators, who would tell Adnan’s security escort that the chaining of a patient to a bed would not be tolerated in an area for which he was responsible. Apart from the principle that patients should not be chained to beds because it is an attack on human dignity, chaining also makes it difficult to provide proper medical care. The absurdity and humiliation are particularly egregious in the specific case of Adnan, for what “security danger” could be represented by a man on a hunger strike, whose body has been so weakened that he is a shadow of his former self? The ethical code of the Israel Medical Association contains a provision against the chaining of patients to beds, but that dissipates in the face of another provision according to which the views of security agents must be taken into consideration. As these lines are being written Adnan continues to be chained to his bed in the Ziv hospital in Safed.
It is most fortunate that there is in Israel an organization called Physicians for Human Rights.  PHR combines a commitment to human rights with commitments to the rights of patients and the right to health as a whole. In the Adnan affair PHR has marked one of its finest hours.
Employees and doctors of PHR have worked diligently around the clock to protect
Adnan’s rights. The organization submitted a judicial appeal against the chaining of the patient, but as these lines are being written, the judge has not yet handed down a ruling.
I hope that Adnan, after he returns to his strength (a process that is neither simple nor devoid of danger after a hunger strike of 65 days) and his release from detention, will advocate among his comrades and his movement in favour of nonviolent struggle against the Occupation.
Army-certified kosher Zionist sperm
There are four sperm-banks in Israel. One of them conditions sperm-donation on the donor’s having served in the military. What is the connection between military service and sperm? Does military service improve the quality of the sperm? Is the fecundity of sperm enhanced by the willingness its donor to kill people? Is the sperm of a pacifist who refused to serve in the army inferior? And what about a donor who served in the army but later came to the conclusion that he was no longer willing to serve the Occupation – does his sperm then become defective?
Of course there is no connection between military service and sperm. This is yet another example of Israeli institutional madness and distorted judgment that combines racism with the idol-worship of the army. Another way to ensure that Arabs are not among the donors.
Another interesting detail: one of those Israeli sperm-banks has forged ties with a Danish sperm-bank, because many Israeli women who patronize that bank want tall blond children with blue eyes. How ironic that the Aryan ideal of Nazi racial theory has been adopted in Israel.
Who is a fascist?
The extreme right-wing organization “Im Tirtzu” that is conducting a McCarthyite hunt against left-wing university lecturers in Israel has launched a libel suit against a group of left-wing activists who set up a Facebook page called “Im Tirtzu is fascist” . The suit is for 2.5 million shekels.
“Fascists – us?” – dissemble the Im Tirzu people. By the standards of Israeli NGOs, Im Tirtzu is rich. It receives millions of shekels in donations from groups, organizations and individuals of the fundamentalist American Right, Jews and Christians alike. Its members can pay high lawyers’ fees and court costs in their struggle to eliminate the Left in Israel. A left-wing group that is being sued must solicit donations from sympathizers to pay for lawyers. The
Im Tirtzu people have assessed that the justice system has undergone a process of shifting to the Right, and that they have a chance of winning.
There is no doubt in my mind that in the context of the campaign of invective that the movement is conducting against the Left, signs of fascism have adhered to Im Tirtzu. Opinions were sent to the court from various experts on the subject. A wise judge will dismiss the suit and assign the plaintiffs homework on democracy, saying that the court is not a suitable forum for contention in the marketplace of political ideas.
The sad thing is that such wise judges are a rare commodity on the contemporary Israeli scene. And if a settler-judge – a fascist like the plaintiffs – is assigned to the case, all the conditions will be in place for a ruling to the effect that Im Tirtzu is not fascist. We will thus be witness to another Israeli absurdity: a fascist will issuance a seal of approval to other fascists by ruling that they are not fascists. Anti-fascists of the Left will have to stage a big fundraising event to finance the fine that they will be imposed on them.
At this stage the Im Tirtzu movement wants to avoid being labeled as a fascist movement, because of the associated negative connotations. But it is only a matter of time until a conceptual revolution takes place in Israel and badges and stickers saying “I am a proud fascist” will be seen on our streets.
By a majority of six judges to three, the Supreme Court voted to disqualify the Tal Law, which effectively excuses yeshiva students from military service. Outgoing Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, who wrote for the majority, anchored her ruling in the principle that “the rights to equality and human dignity deserve the broadest protection in our jurisprudence.” Madame President has a macabre sense of humour. Is there any institution more destructive than an army in general and an army of occupation in particular when it comes to the crushing underfoot of human rights? Equality and human dignity are concepts foreign to the military, the specific expertise of which is in their denial and violation.
In vain does Madame President bear the standard of equality and human dignity. Only a few weeks ago the Supreme Court handed down a judgment that bars Palestinian citizens of Israel from living in Israel with their spouses from the Occupied Territories. On the day that ruling was published, the settler Noam Solberg, who lives as a member of the Master Nation in one of the settlements in the Occupied Territories, and accordingly is a party to war crimes and the trampling underfoot of human dignity, began to serve on the Supreme Court.
Regarding the issue of the conscription of yeshiva students into the army, what is needed is new legislation that excuses from military service those who declare that military service is against their religion or conscience. Instead of cancelling the exemption enjoyed today by yeshiva students, it should be extended to include pacifists. In any case, as long as the Occupation persists, it is the duty of all who are committed to human rights to support any measure that will reduce the roster of soldiers available for the Occupation; certainly not to increase it.
War crimes in Syria
There can be no doubt that the acts of slaughter carried out by the Syrian Army and intelligence agencies justify international intervention; but that will be prevented as long as the regime enjoys the support of one or more powerful states. Syria enjoys the support of Russia and China, and under those circumstances international intervention under UN auspices is not possible. This recalls the times of conflict during the Cold War when each superpower had its dictators who enjoyed their support. The US, for example, supported a fascist dictator who carried out an anti-democratic coup in Chile, and the USSR had its own clients as well.
The use to which Bashar al-Assad puts the air force for sewing death among a civilian population should not be foreign to Israelis. For in that regard what is the difference between the Baathist government of Syria and Israel’s Kadima-Labour-Likud government, which used the air force to slaughter a civilian population in the Gaza War? Just as today the world does not intervene in Syria, neither did it intervene when Israel was slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza, because Israel enjoyed the support of a powerful state.
Intellectual honesty compels us to mention the fact that there are many points of similarity between the methods of oppression employed by Assad in Syria and those employed by Israel in the Occupied Territories. And the terminologies used by the two regimes of oppression are also similar. Assad, exactly like the leaders of Israeli governments during the past 45 years of Occupation, always accuses his opponents of being terrorists. Thus do they both justify the oppressive measures they employ.
Certainly Bashar al-Assad, the ministers of his government, the commanders of his armed forces and the heads of his clandestine services should be put on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And the same should be done to the leaders of Israel, the commanders of its armed forces, the heads of its clandestine services and its judges (the settler-judge Solberg, for example) who have had a part in Occupation, killing and violations of human rights.
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent