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Red Rag weekly column: superfluous death
By: Gideon Spiro

25 August 2014 (English translation 28 August)

Superfluous death

The killing of two or three of the leaders of the military arm of Hamas was
received with cheers of joy in Israel. The mainstream media praised the army’s
precise intelligence. There is general agreement in Israel that we must strike
and kill the terror leaders. And that little squirt who only recently entered
politics, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, presumes to declare who will live and
who will die. [1] If it is legitimate to assassinate the heads of the terror
organizations, then those who believe that the government of Israel is a
government of state terror are also permitted to carry out targeted
assassinations of its ministers. There is only one small flaw in the
liquidations system: it is no solution. I oppose liquidations, which are
nothing but extra-judicial executions. As a member of Amnesty International I
oppose the death penalty. In the final analysis it solves nothing, because no
person is irreplaceable.

The executions of the Hamas leaders elicited more intensive and accurate
firing of missiles and mortars, one of which caused the death of the four and
a half year old child Daniel Tragerman of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, a beautiful child.
He became the child of the whole country. His picture is in every home in
Israel. He was given a state funeral that moved everyone whose heart is not
made of stone. Now, let us use a little imagination and duplicate the
delightful and beloved child Daniel a thousandfold, and we get about a
thousand Palestinian children who have been killed by the bombs of Israel’s
air force in the three Gaza wars of recent years. Every Palestinian child has
a name, loving parents and dreams. We do not know them and we have not seen
their faces, because in Israel it is forbidden to read out their names on
state radio. The Supreme Court, with a panel composed of the judges
Rubinstein, Hendel and Shoham (two religious Jews, one of them a former
attorney general, and one secular Jew who served as the judge advocate-general
of the armed forces. All together three racists) exhibiting a degree of
insensitivity equal to that of state radio, rejected the appeal of Btselem
against the ban on reading out the names of the Palestinian children who have
been killed.

Daniel’s death was unnecessary, and it was caused by the narrow-mindedness of
the prime minister, who is captive to the statement that Hamas must not be
conceded anything whatsoever. Netanyahu rejected the request to lift the siege
and he rejected the demand to permit the construction of a port in Gaza.
Prestige is more important than Daniel’s life – not to mention the lives of
Palestinians, whose death toll is rising every day. If Netanyahu were a peace-
seeking leader, he would encourage the construction of a port, a multi-year
project that would ensure quiet for years. And as the stronger side in this
conflict, he can afford to make such a gesture, which would be a blessing as
well. But Netanyahu has to stick to the status quo, and the question to
which I have no answer is, when will the world wake up and tell Israel:
“Enough, we’ve had it with you. We’re imposing a solution.”

Meanwhile Israel has adopted the terror methods of the hijackers who brought
down the Twin Towers in New York on 11 September 2001 by dropping bombs on
residential towers in Gaza, which then collapsed like houses of cards. Defence
establishment spokespersons admit that they have no concrete information to
justify such actions, except the suspicion that one of the apartments was used
by Hamas people. An effective way to stop the orgy of killing and destruction
would be an ultimatum to Israel to stop bombing civilian residences along the
lines of the ultimatum given by the US president, General Dwight Eisenhower,
and the Soviet premier, Marshal Nikolai Bulganin, each of whom in his own way
instructed Ben-Gurion to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel
occupied in 1956. Ben-Gurion, who had rushed to proclaim the rise of the Third
Kingdom of Israel, understood what a mess he had gotten into and withdrew
immediately.

Another way would be to set up a task force composed of NATO air forces, which
would enforce a no-fly zone over Gaza, which is experiencing humanitarian
catastrophe, along with an agreement between NATO, Russia and Qatar that the
leader of Qatar should forcefully request that his guest, Khaled Mashal,
chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, order the immediate cessation of
firing at Israel.

This scenario, which is entirely the fruit of my imagination, envisions the
closing of a circle of historical dimensions. The air force of democratic
Germany would participate in a mission to prevent Israel from committing war
crimes.


Haneen Zoabi in the crosshairs

Lieberman’s police have been mobilized for the targeted killing of MK Zoabi. A
camera recorded MK Zoabi upbraiding Arab police officers who were bringing
members of their people to court for prolongation of detention. Their crime:
demonstrating against the bloodbath in Gaza.

Zoabi is heard saying to the policemen: “We should wipe the floor with those
who collaborate against their people,” “be afraid of our youth” and “we should
spit in their faces.” With the approval of the attorney general she was
summoned for questioning, and after the questioning the police recommended to
the attorney general that a charge-sheet be drawn up, which will include
“threats, incitement to violence and insulting a public servant.” Zoabi’s
words are indeed the unfriendly utterances of a person in a moment of anger,
but as I understand the Hebrew language there were no threats or incitement to
violence. And I believe that the police were not sure about that either, and
that is why they used that malicious and dictatorial provision for suppressing
dissent – “insulting a public servant.” That provision should have been struck
from the statute-book on the day Israel became an independent state, but the
bureaucracy takes care of its own and hopes to block criticism under that
provision. The use of that provision is arbitrary and vindictive. There are
innumerable examples of how “Shimon A” sharply criticized the authorities and
was not charged, while “Shimon B”, who criticized the same authorities, but
with great delicacy, ended up being charged with insulting a public servant.

The case of MK Zoabi is all the more absurd because no public servant is a
target of incitement and threats more than Haneen Zoabi herself. MK Miri Regev
of the Likud publicly calls her a traitor and sends her to Gaza (in reply I
have founded the Public Committee to Send Miri Regev to North Korea), but Miri
Regev has not been put on trial. She wraps herself in the flag and everyone
snaps to attention. Those who slander Zoabi will not be put on trial. Zoabi is
a protective flak-jacket for democracy – or what’s left of it, anyway. The
paradox is that through her struggle for equal rights for the Palestinian Arab
minority, Haneen Zoabi is realizing the universal values of Israel’s
Declaration of Independence, whereas Miri Regev scorns them and spits on them.

In solidarity I adopt Haneen Zoabi’s metaphor, and say that those who call for
her to be put on trial, and those who ratify that call and those who – God
forbid – convict her are all a bunch of rags with which the floor should be
wiped.

Disclosure: I do not know Haneen Zoabi. I did not vote for her party in the
elections (because, among other reasons, we’re not allowed to vote for more
than one party). I agree with some of her positions and disagree with others.
I am happy to see her in the Knesset, she is an important and challenging
voice (and let us not forget: Miri Regev to North Korea, where there are
openings for the positions of army spokesperson and chief censor).


Murderers

A terrible crime has been committed in the Hamas entity in Gaza: 20 people
were executed conveyer-belt style, in full public view, on the accusation of
collaborating with Israel. Not one of them was judged in a fair judicial
process. This is the act of a dictatorial regime that tramples human rights
underfoot. Amnesty International strongly condemned this violation of human
rights. A reminder for those who think that Amnesty International only
criticizes Israel. Not true. Amnesty raises its voice and conducts global
campaigns against every regime and state that violate human rights.


Translator’s note

1. Lapid issued a thinly-veiled threat that Israel would assassinate Hamas
leaders abroad:
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184349#.U_yGwaO1GSo

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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