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Will Israelis ever hear about attacks on Gaza's fishermen?

These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Hamas militants did not infiltrate the border between Israel and Gaza on Thursday morning. However, four Israeli military bulldozers did cross the border near Rafah in southern Gaza Thursday, Ma’an reported. On Wednesday, Israeli forces entered the northern Strip to neutralize a bomb, according to Ynet. The IDF Spokesperson did not provide a specific reason to for Thursday’s operation, aside from a claim of “suspicious activity.” The incident did not appear in the Hebrew media.

Neither Israeli military nor civilian boats were attacked near Gaza. Nevertheless, the Israeli Navy attacked a Gaza fisherman’s boat, causing it damage. The IDF Spokesperson did not comment on the event to either Ma’an or +972 Magazine. Like the previous incident, the attack was not mentioned in the Hebrew media.

Just two weeks ago, soldiers killed Tawfik Abu-Riala, a 34-year-old fisherman from Gaza. At first, the army reported that Abu-Riala left the six-mile maritime zone in which Israel allows Palestinians to fish. It later turned out, however, that Abu-Riala was well within the zone. Despite the unnecessary death, head of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg, decided that the firing was justified, and that no one would be put on trial for it. According to the al-Mizan Center for Human Rights, two fishermen have been killed by Israeli soldiers since the end of Operation Protective Edge, while at least 49 have been arrested, 17 wounded and 12 boats have been confiscated.

These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip. They are the everyday aspects of living in a giant prison controlled by Israel. But we barely hear about them.

It is obvious that if things were the other way around, and navy boats were being fired upon, or if Palestinians had crossed he border into Israel, the incidents would have been top news item on every news outlet. Not only that, it would have lead to a major public discussion on Palestinian aggression, the lack of a peace partner,...

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Spitting in the face of Israel's Arab citizens

The success of the Joint List is the Arab public’s message — an outstretched hand — to its Jewish compatriots, which is the antithesis of the message it received in return.

By Haggai Matar and Yael Marom

Nearly one quarter of Israeli voters cast their ballots for a prime minister whose central message to the public on election day was that Arab citizens of Israel are the enemy.

An almost equal number of people cast their votes for: the guy who joined him in delivering that message, the head of the most right-wing party in the Knesset (Naftali Bennett); the guy who based his entire campaign on incitement against Arabs (Avigdor Liberman); the guy who said he would not sit in a government that relies on the votes of Arabs (Moshe Kahlon); and, the guy who rejected an outstretched hand from the Arab parties offering to form an alliance of the oppressed (Arye Deri). Their levels of support are even higher if you look only at the Jewish voting public.

Meet the 34th government of Israel, ladies and gentlemen.

Do not discount the message delivered at the ballot box on Tuesday, especially considering the massive victory of the Joint List, the third-largest party in the next Knesset. With 14 seats representing over 400,000 voters, and with above-average voter participation, the success of the Joint List is the Palestinian public in Israel’s message to its Jewish compatriots, which was the antithesis of the message it got in return.

For weeks, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh has been all over Israeli television, radio, newspapers and every type of online media. He broadcast a message of openness, of partnership, of striving for equality, of democracy, of a struggle for social justice — for all Israelis. He spoke of reconciliation and of turning a new leaf.

Tuesday night, when Israeli television was busy interviewing every politician in the land, save for those gathered in Nazareth, long before there was a clear picture of the results, Odeh and MK Dov Khenin sent a message to Isaac Herzog. They told him they would recommend him as the next prime minister if he took them on as partners. It could have been historic.

That outstretched hand should not be taken for granted. These elections came after two years in which the Knesset did everything in its power to broadcast to the Arab public...

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A glimmer of hope in Israeli elections

Three months ago, I would have told you that the Right will sweep the elections. But this election cycle has shown that people are looking for an alternative, and that the Left still has a lot of work to do.

Regardless of the results of Tuesday’s election, these last few months have signaled a positive change: a question mark, a reminder of summer 2011, a leftward turn.

When elections were announced three months ago, no one truly understood what they were about or why they were even necessary. Only few doubted that the next Knesset would look significantly different from the previous one, and it seemed that, one way or another, Benjamin Netanyahu would remain the prime minister. A Channel 10 poll published around that time showed that Likud would win 22 seats, Jewish Home would get 17, while both Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahlon would receive 12. All in all, a total of 63 seats for the Right, and that’s before taking into account the ultra-Orthodox parties.

A wave of splits and unifications (Zionist Camp, Shas-Yachad, Yachad-Otzma Yehudit, The Joint List), Yisrael Beiteinu’s corruption scandal and the party primaries created a feeling of uncertainty, especially after delaying the launch of the campaigns, which got off to a start with bizarre videos and weak billboards.

The Right incites, the Left offers hope

But things are looking differently as we approach the finish line. Netanyahu may very well be declared Israel’s next prime minister, whether in a Right/ultra-Orthodox coalition or in a unity government with Zionist Camp. But this is no longer the only option. Likud is feeling the heat, and the entire right-wing camp is now putting out negative messages that offer no hope: the Iranian threat, refusing peace, incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel (whose very democratic right to vote is seen as a threat, by the prime minister) and zero social justice. According to the polls, Bibi is no longer King, while Bennett — the rising star of the last few years — has been dealt a blow over his party’s outwardly homophobic platform and Liberman is coming close to not passing the election threshold that he himself called for.

It seems that the other parties, however, are making hopeful gains. The rise of Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon — both of whom are running on an economic ticket — is a sign...

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The Israelis who are giving their votes to Palestinians

The ‘Real Democracy’ campaign provides a platform for those living under Israeli rule without voting rights to cast a ballot on Tuesday. In the last elections many Palestinians asked their Israeli proxies to boycott the ballot box; this time they are largely supporting the Joint List.

Dozens of Israelis last week announced that they will give their votes in Tuesday’s elections to Palestinians in the occupied territories and asylum seekers. The “Real Democracy” campaign, launched by the One World movement, is intended to protest the fact that millions of people live under Israeli rule and are directly affected by the government’s policies — yet have no right to vote themselves.

The campaign’s Facebook page includes videos showing asylum seekers and Palestinians in the West Bank explaining why they are asking Israelis to give them their votes, as well as Israelis who accept their challenge. Dozens of Israelis have already either written on the page or sent private messages to the organizers, expressing their desire to give up their votes.

This is the second election in which the “Real Democracy” campaign has connected Israelis interested in abdicating their right to vote and those who are not allowed to vote (the 2013 election only included Palestinians). In the next elections, promise the organizers, Israelis will also be able to give their vote to Iranian citizens, who may come under Israeli attack, or to Filipinos, who are harmed by climate change that Israel is partially responsible for. The campaign is organized by “One World,” a movement that seeks to create a worldwide federal system, in which every global citizen has an equal voice in political and economic matters.

“People are donating their voice without knowing who they will be asked to vote for, although there aren’t many parties who care for Palestinians and African refugees,” explains Shimri Zameret, one of the campaign organizers. “In the last election, most of the Palestinians supported Hadash or boycotting, few supported Balad, Meretz and Ra’am-Ta’al. I boycotted the previous elections at the request of Palestinian from Hebron.”

“This time we are seeing a lot of Palestinians feeling excited about the Joint List, and far fewer are asking us to boycott,” says Zameret....

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For the IDF, marriage isn't a 'humanitarian need'

What kind of future is Israel offering Palestinian women when they can’t even obtain permits to leave the country in search of a better life?

Amira Hass published an article in Haaretz last week about the Israel government rejecting a request by a young woman from Gaza to travel to Turkey in order to get married and live there. The young woman turned to Israel’s District Coordination and Liaison Office through the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee for permission to exit through the Erez Crossing into the West Bank. From there should would first travel to Jordan before taking off for Turkey.

According to the government’s response, weddings simply do not meet the criteria for humanitarian needs. Of course, under Israel’s policy of siege and blockade, only those with real humanitarian needs — at least as defined by Israel — can exit the Gaza Strip. After all, why should we let a young bride marry if she isn’t bringing down the Hamas government?

Meanwhile, Ma’an News Agency published an article last Monday about the number of babies born to long-serving Palestinian prisoners (through smuggled sperm) rising to 35. Rula Matar, the wife of Palestinian prisoner Fadi Matar (no familial relation – H.M.), who was sentenced to 10.5 years in Israel jail, gave birth to twins using sperm smuggled from prison to a fertility clinic in Nablus.

As opposed to the treatment of Israeli prisoners — including Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 — the state prevents Palestinian prisoners from conjugal visits, and refuses to recognize their right to bring children into the world. This only leads to an increase in sperm smuggling.

These two women have not been accused of anything. They do not endanger the security of the region. They are neither members of the Islamic State nor nuclear engineers in Iran. All they want to do is lead normal lives. The woman from Gaza wants to get married and leave Gaza — to live her life far away from here. Rula Matar gave birth eight years ago, she wanted another boy or girl (and in the end got both). Meanwhile, Israel can arbitrarily prevent these women from enjoying the most basic aspects of a normalcy.

These are small, day-to-day examples of Israel’s control over the West Bank and Gaza. There are many others. What can we say to these women? What can Israeli...

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Who really profits from Israel's permit regime?

The number of work permits the Israeli army gives to Palestinian workers nearly tripled, a new Bank of Israel report reveals. Did all those people suddenly become less dangerous, or do the permits serve interests other than security?

The normative framework for viewing Israel’s permit regime is that it stems purely from the state’s security needs — a tool that allows the state to differentiate between those Palestinians who threaten Israel’s security, and those who do not.

This notion remains largely unchallenged despite the fact that, time after time, its arbitrariness is made clear: during every Jewish holiday the permits are canceled and a full closure is imposed on the occupied territories. People who are otherwise considered non-threatening workers are jailed for a few days in the West Bank. During every major Muslim holiday, and especially during Eid el-Fitr, all of a sudden the checkpoint gates swing open, allowing thousands of Palestinians to enjoy one day at Al-Aqsa Mosque or at the beach in Tel Aviv. And then they return to their previous classification as “dangerous,” as if they didn’t pose a threat during the holiday. And all that is without even getting into how work permits and medical procedures as a way to extort Palestinians as collaborators — to use Palestinian society against itself.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Israel published statistics on the increasing number of Palestinian workers in Israel. Over the last seven years, the number of workers with permits nearly tripled, while the number of workers who entered the country without permits nearly doubled. What led to the rise in permits? According to the Bank of Israel, the reason is the Israeli government’s decision to increase the size of the construction and agriculture workforce, as well the “relative quiet” in the West Bank.

While “relative quiet” is a security determination, it applies exclusively to the collective, rather than individuals. It is a political determination that punishes Palestinians for “disturbing the peace,” rewards them for “keeping the peace,” but has nothing to do with any individual person. The fact that there were 21,000 Palestinian workers with permits in 2007, and 59,000 Palestinian workers with permits in 2015 does not mean that there were 38,000 very dangerous Palestinian workers seven years ago, who have since rehabilitated their dangerous ways.

Furthermore, the fact that Israel has 33,000 Palestinian workers without permits — who likely pass through...

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No, Arab MKs don't 'care too much' about the occupation

Israel’s Arab politicians are often attacked for ‘dealing too much’ with the Palestinian issue. But if they don’t speak up for a people who lack even the most basic civil rights, who will?

One of the most-repeated criticism of Israel’s Palestinian members of Knesset, which always come up around election time, is that they “deal too much” with issues relating to Palestinians in the occupied territories, yet they neglect their voters — the Arab public in Israel.

This criticism was raised, yet again, in Haaretz’s poll [Hebrew] published last week, which raised both these issues, as if they contradict each other. A plethora of articles published in the Hebrew press have repeatedly raised this issue over the past week. Asking what the Arab MKs do for their public is a legitimate and important question, and it has good answers, which are not all reflected in legislation and presence in Knesset committees. But I would like to focus on the second half of the equation.

Arab members of Knesset are often criticized for making hollow gestures or, at worst, being traitors. The general assumption is that the Palestinian population is “external” to Israel, and that its struggle — from its day-to-day protection against the violence of both the military and the settlers to its struggle for independence — has nothing to do with Israel’s parliament. This is where the typical Israeli conversation starts.

And that is precisely where the problem lies. Israel has ruled the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea for nearly 50 years. There are certain areas where Israel has delegated responsibility (though rarely authority) to others, but Israeli sovereignty is bar none. Whether a Palestinian in Gaza can build his home or leave the Strip to study is up to government officials in Jerusalem and members of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. A resident of the West Bank who wants to travel abroad for work or drive to East Jerusalem for medical purposes — and sometimes simply wants to work his land — needs the approval of the Israeli government. Tax collection, control over electricity and water, currency, the population registry, natural resources, movement of people and goods — all of it remains in the hands of the Israeli government.

Democracy for beginners

These people, nearly four million of them, have no representation in the government...

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PHOTOS: Pepper spray and arrests as Bil'in marks decade of struggle

Text by Haggai Matar
Photos by Yotam Ronen, Shiraz Grinbaum, Miki Kratsman / Activestills.org

Nearly 1,000 protesters — Palestinians, Israelis and internationals — marched to celebrate 10 years of popular struggle in the West Bank village Bil’in. Soldiers responded with tear gas, pepper spray and arrests. One Palestinian was badly wounded. Meanwhile, activists marked 21 years since the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, and called to open Shuhada Street to Palestinians.

Approximately 1,000 protesters, most of them Palestinian, 100 Israelis and dozens of international activists took part in a large protest in Bil’in on Friday, marking ten years of popular struggle against the wall, the settlements and the occupation. Meanwhile, hundreds marched in Hebron to mark 21 years since the Cave of the Patriarchs Massacre, and demanded that the Israeli army open Shuhada Street to Palestinian traffic.

Over the last ten years, Bil’in has become an international symbol of popular, nonviolent resistance to the occupation, the settlements and the separation barrier. The village’s main road was decorated with photographs taken by Activestills, who have accompanied the struggle since day one. Decorations made of spent tear gas canisters were also hung. By 10 a.m., members of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee — who lead the struggle in Bil’in — were joined by committee members from other villages; Israeli activists; journalists; members of the Joint Arab List MK Dov Khenin and Aida Touma-Sliman; and member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mustafa Barghouti.

The march to the separation wall began shortly after noon, using the same route the residents have taken week after week for the past decade. The original separation fence kept some 1,950 dunams (480 acres) of Bil’in’s land on the Israeli side, for the purpose of expanding the Modi’in Illit settlement. The High Court, however, ruled that the fence must be moved, and after four years of waiting, the Israeli government built a new wall that only swallows some 1,300 dunams (320 acres) of the village’s land.

Friday’s protest was lead by a group of Palestinian scouts, who carried Palestinian flags and drums. They were followed by the demonstrators, who sang songs and chanted against the wall, the settlements and the occupation. As opposed to previous weeks, when Israeli soldiers greeted the protesters and tried to put down the demonstration at the site of the old route of the fence, this time soldiers waited behind...

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'A consciousness free of occupation': Bil'in marks 10 years of popular struggle

The village that managed to unite the world behind the spirit of nonviolent Palestinian protest marks not only a decade of tear gas, night raids and tragedy, but also of co-resistance and victories in its struggle against settlements, the separation barrier and the occupation.

Anyone who has visited the West Bank village of Bil’in on a recent Friday might think, just for a second, that they were back in 2005. At first glance, it seems like nothing has changed since the days of the first protests, which began 10 years ago this month.

Now, as then, the protesters — mostly villagers, some supportive Israelis and internationals — gather in the heart of the village following the Friday noon prayers. We march and chant until we passed built-up part of the village. Now, just like then, the soldiers are waiting on the hill across the valley. They don’t waste any time shooting large volleys of tear gas in order to disperse the protest. Some of the protesters quietly break away, while village youth respond to the soldiers by throwing stones; the soldiers continue with the gas, charging toward the village in their jeeps in order to chase away the protesters. Within two hours it is all over.

But in reality, much has changed in Bil’in. Over the course of the past 10 years, hundreds of protesters have been to the village. The Israeli Defense Ministry cleared olive trees from entire tracts of land and erected the separation barrier. A petition the villagers filed in Israel’s High Court of Justice succeeded in moving the fence — and to some degree, the soldiers. Only recently did they return to the previous route of the fence — the same one the court ruled against. Hundreds have been wounded, two protesters were killed, hundreds have been arrested and imprisoned for years at a time.

Over the past 10 years the struggle has seen ups and downs. Its biggest achievement was winning back hundreds of dunams of agricultural land, a victory which made Bil’in a symbol of popular resistance to the separation fence, settlements, and military rule in the Occupied Territories across the world. A film made by one of the villagers was nominated for an Oscar. Former presidents and prime ministers from far away lands journeyed to the village. Deep friendships developed among the activists. Those who were small children at...

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Palestinian activist explains the Israeli elections

Bil’in protest leader Abdullah Abu-Rahme: If Israelis must decide between Labor and Likud, they might as well just vote for Liberman instead.

The residents of the West Bank village Bil’in are in close contact with the Israeli state. For the past ten years, they have been waging a popular struggle against the separation barrier that has cut them off from most of their land, while withstanding heavy oppression from the army, including arrests, tear gas, raids on the village, and more. As non-Jewish subjects of military rule in the occupied territories, the residents of Bil’in have no right to vote in the elections, and thus cannot decide who will make the up the next government that will decide their fate. However, some of them know very well who they would like to see in the Knesset.

“We hope that the Joint List succeeds, and that it will be the third largest party in the Knesset. It is simply wonderful that the Arab factions are running together,” Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a central organizer of Bil’in’s nonviolent protests, told +972. “I also hope that Meretz succeeds, despite the fact that they are losing their strength. I hope that the Palestinians on the ‘inside’ [Palestinian citizens of Israel, H.M.] go out and vote, because anyone who does not vote only strengthens the right.”

Abu Rahmah, who was recognized by the European Union as a Human Rights Defender, was recently levied a fine and a suspended sentence after being convicted last October of interfering with the work of a soldier for an incident in May 2012, when he stood in front of a bulldozer that was clearing land to build the separation barrier near Ramallah.

“Today there are over 600,000 settlers, and their influence on Israeli politics is only growing,” says Abu Rahmah, “The answer to this is the Joint List and Meretz, who I hope will get seven seats so that Gaby Lasky is elected.” Lasky is a human rights attorney who has worked on many cases pertaining to Palestinian and Israeli anti-occupation activists, including that of Abu Rahmah. “It is true that Lasky supports us as an attorney, but we need her in the Knesset alongside Dov Khenin.”

“It is necessary to have a large bloc of leftists and Arabs. And yet, if Labor wins… it won’t be so good. There is no real difference between Labor...

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Do Israelis have any idea how bad it is in Gaza?

Nearly two million Gazans are living in a state of poverty and shortages, with few options of leaving and even fewer options for work. Nearly two million people who live in a giant prison, and Israelis cannot even begin to fathom how terrible their situation is.

“I’m extremely concerned that if you leave Gaza in the state it’s currently in, you’ll have another eruption, and violence, and then we’re back in a further catastrophe, so we’ve got to stop that,” warned Quartet envoy Tony Blair during a visit to the Gaza Strip on Sunday. It was his first trip to the Gaza since the last war, and Blair spent his time meeting with ministers and surveying the progress – or lack thereof – toward rehabilitating the Strip.

The scope of destruction in Gaza remains enormous. According to the UN, over 96,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed by Israeli air strikes. The donor states that have pledged to transfer money have yet to do so, re-building is going nowhere, many are still seeking refuge in UNRWA schools and the winter storms have only increased the damage to the homes and neighborhoods that survived.

Read also: The casualties of the next Gaza war

The Israeli blockade, which prevents exports, economic development and importing building materials not previously approved by Israel, and which includes firing at fishermen, continues to choke the Strip. Furthermore, the Egyptian government has only tightened the blockade on its end over the past months. Egypt has destroyed all the tunnels into Sinai, keeps the Rafah crossing closed on a regular basis, and has destroyed large parts of Rafah in order to create buffer zone between the city and its Gaza counterpart. And all this after the Egyptian government banned Hamas’ military wing, calling it a “terrorist organization.”

Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, which killed over 2,000 people, including hundreds of children and entire families, lead not only to destruction, but also to a breakdown in Palestinian reconciliation. Fatah and Hamas continue to find reasons not to make reconciliation a reality: Fatah refuses to pay the salaries of Hamas members (partially because Israel has frozen the tax revenues it owes the Palestinian Authority), Hamas is blaming the situation in Gaza on the unity government and attacks on members of Fatah are becoming routine.

According to...

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Knesset candidates plant olive trees with Palestinian farmers

Palestinian activists build new protest camp near Jerusalem to protest displacement of West Bank Bedouin, settlement expansion; the Israeli army dismantles the camp.

Over 100 Israeli activists, among them four Knesset candidates in the upcoming elections, joined Palestinian farmers in from the West Bank village of Kfar Yassuf to plant olive saplings to mark the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat. The activists planted the trees near the Israeli settlement of Tapuach, an area where olive trees have been uprooted time and again, allegedly by settlers. Israeli soldiers prevented the farmers and activists from reaching the area in which they had planned to carry out the action.

The action was planned by the “Olive Harvest Coalition” and Rabbis for Human Rights. Also taking part were Hadash members MK Dov Khenin, head of the Arab Joint List Iman Odeh and Aida Touma-Suliman, as well as Meretz candidate and former MK Mosi Raz.

“We came to Kfar Yassuf because it suffers from a relatively large number of incidents of uprooting trees, and we wanted to bring a message of peace in response to the messages of hate, said Rabbi Kobi Weiss of Rabbis for Human Rights.

“Olive trees are the main source of income of the village, and they are a symbol of peace,” MK Khenin wrote on his Facebook page, adding that the tree planting was the first such action by Hadash list for the next Knessset. “With these seeds we planted more seeds of joint struggle, seeds of peace and a normal life, for a future of independence and justice for the two peoples in this land.”

Under the pretext of lack of coordination, Israeli soldiers refused to allow the activists and Palestinian farmers from entering the area designated for planting, according to a statement from Rabbis for Human Rights. The land is privately owned by the Palestinian villagers.

New protest camp against displacement of West Bank Bedouin

Palestinian activists have been struggling for a small peace of land outside of Jerusalem. Activists belonging to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee showed up on the piece of land near Abu Dis on Tuesday and erected an encampment called the “Jerusalem Gate.”

The action follows a similar project two years ago, at “Bab a-Shams,” in which Palestinian activists reclaimed a plot of land near Mishor Adumim. Around 100 activists took part and dozens remained until the Israeli army cleared the...

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High Court: State can continue restricting Mordechai Vanunu's freedoms

Nearly 11 years after he was released from an 18-year prison sentence for leaking information on Israel’s top-secret nuclear program, Mordechai Vanunu is still prevented from doing just about anything an average citizen can. 

Three High Court justices ruled earlier this week that Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu will able allowed extremely limited contact with foreign nationals, despite allowing the Israeli government to continue and limit almost all of his freedoms.

Nearly a decade after his release from prison, where he sat for 18 years for leaking secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons program, Vanunu is still unable to leave the country; enter the West Bank; approach border crossings, ports or airports; and is heavily restricted from communicating with foreign nationals. Vanunu is also required to obtain special permission from the Shin Bet in order to meet with a foreigner, which according to several sources is his partner.

Vanunu was employed as a radiation technician at the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, which according to foreign sources is a facility used to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons. Vanunu was fired in 1985 due to his left-wing political activism. In 1986 he provided extensive details regarding the Negev facility to British Sunday Times reporter Peter Hounam, along with pictures he took without authorization. The Mossad later lured Vanunu to Rome where Israeli agents kidnapped and renditioned him back to Israel. He was convicted of treason and espionage, and sentenced to 18 years in prison – 11 of which were spent in solitary confinement.

Before submitting his previous appeal, Vanunu was completely forbidden from communicating with any foreign nationals. In the appeal, Attorney Michael Sfard claimed that these decade-long restrictions are akin to Vanunu’s social exclusion, since he claims that the vast majority of Israeli citizens do not want to communicate with him. Furthermore, Sfard stated that East Jerusalem (where Vanunu resides) is full of foreign nationals, and Vanunu cannot ascertain whether every person he meets is a citizen or not.

Sfard further claimed that 30 years after the end of Vanunu’s tenure at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, and since the time he passed on classified information to Hounam, his client poses no security threat.

However, in the wake of an appeal hearing in September, the state decided to slightly lessen the restrictions on Vanunu’s communication with foreign nationals:

Vanunu and Sfard claimed that this is a harsh measure that...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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