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Red Rag column: No to Roni Alsheikh for Israel Police Commissioner!
By: Gideon Spiro
28 September 2015 (English translation 6 October 2015)


No to Roni Alsheikh!

The settlers have captured another stronghold: the Israel Police. This latest
appointment makes one shudder, it portends evil. Roni Alsheikh, still the
deputy head of the Israel Security Agency, [1] will be the next Commissioner
of the Israel Police. He is 52 years old and for the last 30 years he has
worked as an ISA man in the Occupied Territories. What world of values will he
bring with him after ruling in the Occupied Territories? He comes from a
colonial-dictatorial-racist reality in which there are no human rights. He
represents the arbitrariness of corrupt military rule. He decides whom to
torture, whom to expel, whose house will be blown up, how many children will
be woken up in the middle of the night and pulled out of their beds to be
arrested, he recruits collaborators with a blend of threats and sweet talk,
and then some of them after are thrown to the dogs after being used once, a
phenomenon that corrupts not only the occupier but also the occupied. The
reality that he comes from is violent and criminal and I fear that we are on
the verge of a blossoming of violent police. The fact that Alsheikh has lived
for years in a settlement near Ramallah adds sin to crime. The combination of
knitted-kippa-wearer and settler is likely to be deadly and I do not propose
to examine the matter but to apply preventative medicine.

The appointment of Alsheikh points to danger of the Shabakization [2] of the
police, in line with accepted practice in dark regimes where the difference
between the covert services and the police is blurred. And then elections too
will be a farce. I doubt that this is the appointment that will restore
confidence in the police. The police is a civil institution and if they want
to bring a candidate from outside, they should be sought among prosecutors who
have demonstrated a degree of commitment to human and civil rights.

You may ask: “What will you say if your concern turns out to have been a false
alarm?” My reply: I will be happy to be proven wrong, but my essential
approach will not change. In general the ISA is not a source of democratic
leadership. Given a choice between an arms dealer and a dictator from the ISA.
I will not vote.


Children of the Stones –glorious heroes

Three sessions of the Government, five meetings of the Security Cabinet, ten
meetings of security experts and dozens more discussions by leadership of the
police and the ISA, all dedicated to one subject: how to suppress the children
of Palestinian Jerusalem’s Intifada of stones. This collective of brains,
after hundreds of hours of discussions, failed to come up with even one line
of creative thought. All is familiar and superficial: more of the same. More
shooting at children, more arrests and more fines. This is the scenario of a
bully who cannot think in other categories. The government passed a law to
increase the sentence for throwing stones that includes fines on the parents,
withholding social security benefits and a minimum sentence of four years.
Judges have no discretion. An 11 year old child who throws a stone will be
sent to prison for at least four years and come out a fervent Zionist. And
what will be the fate of Jewish children from the settlements who throw stones
at Palestinian cars? Don’t worry. They almost certainly will not be put on
trial and they will be praised in the settlement synagogues as brave Jewish
children who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the Jewish People. And
if the incredible happens and they are put on trial then it will be under some
anemic clause that does not carry a minimum sentence and they will end up
getting a mild reprimand. Apartheid works overtime.

Yet another marvel from the ISA: within a few days the ISA identified four
Palestinian youths, one of them a minor, as those who threw stones at the car
of Alexander Levlovitch, who lost control and was killed.

But when it comes to the Jewish terrorists who burned to death a family that
had not harmed anyone the Defence Minister says that “we know” the group from
which the murderers came, “we just do not know” who is the person who carried
out the attack. What do we have an ISA for? Apply to the Jewish group the
interrogation techniques that are employed on Palestinians and the confessions
will flow like water. Meanwhile the murderers sit back, smiling, maybe also
smoking dope, until the next attack. Because apartheid is working overtime and
going full steam ahead.

Stones can kill, say supporters of harsher punishments. True, there have
indeed been such cases, but that not the rule but the exception. I have
participated in more than a few demonstrations in which stones were thrown at
armed and armoured soldiers and police, and I never saw a soldier harmed by a
stone, but I have seen many demonstrators bleeding from Occupation forces’
fire and inhaling tear gas in quantities that required hospitalization. The
number of those harmed by Occupation forces’ fire is much higher than the tiny
number of those harmed by stones.

But most important of all is to understand that we are not talking here about
rampaging children throwing stones for the fun of it. Every day these children
experience the Occupation, poverty, settlers invading residences in their
neighbourhoods not due to any housing shortage but in order to dispossess, and
the humiliation of their parents. The stones are an expression of their war of
liberation from the Occupation, and so I adopt the metaphorical term
“liberating stones”, as opposed to the stones of the children of the settlers,
which are “stones of subjugation” or “pagan stones” which block the channels
of rational thought. And even if the police and the ISA succeed in lowering
the frequency of stone-throwing to of what is called in military argot “a
tolerable level”, increasing punishments is not the solution, at the most it’s
a pause for recharging the batteries, for the reasons for the struggle – the
Occupation, the discrimination, poverty and hardship – persist. I trust that
the creative imagination of the Palestinian children will find a substitute
for the liberating stone.

Does this mean that we will be devoured by the sword forever?

There are a number of ways to end the conflict. One is military. Set up
Palestinian army equipped on same scale as the Israeli army. It will have an
air force with advanced fighter planes, highly accurate guided missiles,
missiles so smart that they know to explode in a building and in a room in
which a meeting of the IDF General Staff is taking place or a meeting of the
government in Jerusalem, ground-to-air missiles that will neutralize the
Israeli air force, as well as two super-modern submarines. The Palestinian
army will be equipped with deep-penetrating missiles that can split the
concrete walls of the reactor at Dimona. The Israeli intelligence services
have confirmed that the Palestinian army is storing in one of its basements a
nuclear bomb ready for deployment, a gift from the Pakistani people, which can
neutralize Israel’s nuclear arsenal. The Palestinians have a long list of
Israelis who are candidates for “targeted assassination”, and they consider
any Israeli who has been connected to the Occupation to be a legitimate
target. The settlements will of course be a target for the missiles and bombs
of the Palestinian air force. Israel will evacuate all the settlements of
their non-combatant civilian populations. The Palestinian army will hit Israel
like Operation Solid Cliff. The destruction in Israel will grow, as will
discontent among the population. Everyone who has dual citizenship has left or
plans to leave. Morale hits rock-bottom. Suddenly, out of the dark comes a ray
of light: the government of Israel announces that it has decided to accept the
Saudi peace plan, which requires Israel to withdraw to the borders of the
Green Line and to absorb an agreed number of refugees of the Nakba. Public
anger against the leaders of the settlers gathers momentum. The public begins
to understand the meaning of the crime of the settlements. Settler leaders,
along with the criminal body known as the Rabbis of Judea, Samaria and Gaza,
do not show their faces in public. They are lying low, some of them have
already left the country. Once again it has been proven that Israel
understands only the language of force.

This terrible scenario scares me too. Could it come true? It could conceivably
happen. The Palestinian diaspora comprises over four million people, most of
them youths, who will readily volunteer for such a project, an initiative to
establish a professional and well-armed and trained Palestinian army. For that
purpose, a country is needed that will be willing dedicate part of its
territory to the project, and such a country can be found. Also needed is a
big power that will be willing to finance, train and arm it. Israel now finds
itself in the midst of a slow but steady process of becoming the leper of the
world. If the Occupation reaches its 50th year without clear signs of ending
soon, is this terrifying scenario will appear on the horizon and Israel will
likely face such a reality.

There is another, non-violent way – of negotiations, but they must be serious
negotiations that are not meant just to buy time and mislead the public;
otherwise they will produce the same outcome as the violent route. One way
will lead to much bloodshed, and the other will prevent grief and spare human
lives.


LET HIM GO

My friend Mordechai Vanunu recently broke his silence of 30 years in an
interview with Channel 2, the most-watched in Israel. For the first time
citizens of Israel could watch the man who has been talked about so much and
about the truth behind whose courageous act – the realization of the important
democratic principle of the public’s right to know what its government is
doing in the dark behind their backs – so little is known. The propaganda
machinery of the government of Israel and its servants in the media has
completely distorted his image, and now to the surprise of hundreds of
thousands of viewers the real Vanunu has been revealed in this interview: an
educated, thoughtful man, speaking with eloquence and moderation and directly
answering every question, as hard as it may be, and moreover a responsible man
who respected his commitment not to reveal anything about the nature of his
work in the reactor. His message was clear and compelling:

Nearly 30 years ago I carried out an act I thought it was my duty
to do. In closed judicial proceedings a court sentenced me to 18 years
imprisonment, which I served in full, including 11 years in isolation. Since
my release from prison in April 2004 the ISA has imposed on me restrictions
that prevent me from living as a free man. The ISA’s claim that I possess
information is groundless. All I knew I gave to the newspaper, and nuclear
scientists who questioned me confirm it. The restrictions, including a ban on
leaving the country, which are renewed every year, are nothing but revenge
against me because I have not apologized. My mission ended the day the
newspaper published the information. A few months ago I married my wife, a
theology professor at the University of Oslo, and my sole objective now is to
live a quiet family life in that quiet city. I hope that the judges who
consider the appeal at the end of October will grant my request.


This is Vanunu’s position, as summarized by me.

Even though the interview was approved for broadcast by the censor and no
security information was leaked, the vindictive people at the ISA and the
Prosecution Service went into action immediately and arrested Vanunu on
suspicion of having disclosed secret information. His computer and telephone
were taken and he was given 7 days house arrest for no crime he committed. A
democratic state does not treat its citizens with vengefulness. Judge Mishal
Heshin, who recently departed from this world, once said into a microphone in
his authoritative voice that “the court is my home, and I will cut off any
hand that is raised against it.” I adopt this statement and the intention of
its author, and hereby declare that the principles of human rights are my
spiritual home, and I will cut off any had that is raised against them.


Translator’s notes

1. Israel’s internal intelligence agency and security police. Also known by
its first 2 Hebrew initials, Shin Bet.

2. The Israel Security Agency’s three initial letters in Hebrew form the
acronym “Shabak”.

Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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