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Jerusalem police detain 7-year-old Palestinian child

The Jerusalem detained a seven-year-old Palestinian child for alleged stone-throwing, and interrogated him for hours, separate from his father, in direct contravention of the law.

A long time ago, during the First Intifada, I was manning a shift in the Dir Al Balah Civil Administration ops desk, when a stupid army officer radioed me that he detained a “riot ring leader.” I asked for the detainee’s ID number, so as to match it against the list of wanted people. The army officer said he didn’t have an ID. I told him to go to the guy’s house, because they usually left the ID there, and he replied, “No, no, you don’t understand – he doesn’t have an ID. He’s five years old.” Silence. “Repeat that. Did you say ‘five years old’?” “Yes.” I went to wake up my officer, who proceeded to shout at the army officer. The child was released.

Turns out we can do worse. Nir Barkat, the de jure mayor of Jerusalem and de facto military governor of Jerusalem, toured Issawiya yesterday, and the locals, taking a dim view, stoned his entourage (this is an old tradition in Jerusalem: Old King Alexander Yanai, while serving as High Priest on Sukkot, once upset the religious sensitivities of his subjects, so they stoned him with their citrons). Soon afterwards, reported the Palestinian news service Ma’an, policemen detained Muhammad Ali Dirbas, aged seven, carried him off to a nearby police station, interrogated him for three or four hours, and then released him. Further information, obtained by B’Tselem, shows that Dirbas was was detained by YASAM (riot police) at about 4 P.M., and was then moved to a police station at about 5 P.M. His father came to the police station circa 6 P.M., was kept apart from his child until about 9 P.M., and then Muhammad was interrogated in the presence of his father until around 11 P.M., when they were released.

Where to begin? Well, with the fact the police has no authority over children. The age of criminal liability is 12. I find it very hard to believe the police would have detained a seven-year-old Jewish child – the public outcry would reach the heavens, and justly so. But Dirbas is just a Palestinian child, so it’s hard to believe the Israeli media will pay too much attention to the story.

The practice of holding minor detainees without access to their parents or a trusted adult is very common: As B’Tselem reported back in July, the vast majority of detained minors in the West Bank were interrogated in this way – which is contrary to law. An incident in which cops “pick up” a seven-year-old, take him to a police station and then hold him there for hours without the presence of a family member is much more similar to a kidnapping for purposes of terrorizing the neighbourhood than to anything resembling a proper police action.

Officially, Issawiya has been annexed to Israel. However, as this incident shows, the claims that Jerusalem is a “unified city” are a hollow fiction. The police would never have dared to act this way in a “normal” part of Israel. East Jerusalem is an occupied territory and the authorities behave accordingly. It is also worth noting here that the notorious brute Doron Zehavi (AKA “Captain George”), who was dismissed from the security services for conduct unbecoming a torturer, is employed by the Jerusalem police as an “Arab Affairs Advisor.”

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    1. Mikesailor

      Interesting how none of the die-hard hasbaristas have even attempted to justify this activity. What is next for these vaunted ‘security services’? Kidnapping seven month old children? The idea is to sow fear, yes terrorize, the the Palestinian community, nothing more. Unless it is to use the ‘voluntary confessions’ of a seven year old to arrest others. I still have the question: Where is the vaunted Israeli ‘legal’ profession in all of this? Apparently silent.

      Reply to Comment
    2. JDE

      Haredi extremists, reactionary Right Wing conservatives, arresting children…

      Israel is finished.

      Reply to Comment
    3. AYLA

      Thank you, Yossi.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      What’s the shock about? Israel has been arresting and detaining minors for decades. A few years ago (before I quit being an Israeli), I had the misfortune of doing army reserve duty in the Ketziot military prison. This prison, while formally a holding pen for terrorists, also had some minors (they looked around 13-14 years of age to me) living in with the adults. Of course, no Jewish child would be held with adult prisoners. But according to Israel’s racial edicts, Palestinians minors are not equal to Jewish ones and don’t deserve the same treatment. Besides, everyone knows that they are all terrorists anyway, so who cares about this or that Palestinian child.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Mesho

      All of the news sources I’ve read on this have listed the child’s age as six, not seven as the title says. The link to the Ma’an article in Yossi’s article also has his age as six.

      Just want to be sure that we are keeping the story straight.

      Reply to Comment
    6. @mikesailor yes, electronic intifada today states that: NUIS has launched a program to pay Israeli university students $2,000 to spread pro-Israel propaganda online for 5 hours per week from the “comfort of home.”
      So, what are they doing to earn that money? The least they could do is to dig into the past of this child and find evidence of holocaust denial or worse.

      Reply to Comment
    7. aristeides

      That might explain some of the new posters showing up here recently.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mesho, the child is seven years old. I’m relying on B’Tselem investigators who actually met him and his family and took their testimony.

      Reply to Comment
    9. MikeSailor,
      I too have noticed that stories like this tend to be skipped by those one might call rightists or supporters of corporate Israel. Overtime, I have come to discount the righteousness of those protecting the Jewish State as such because of their silence to stories like these. If one truly loves a person one wants to see them do good as well as well. I still believe that good and well can grow together. What I see in stories such as this is direct harm to those who say they are protecting Israel: for they slowing become insensitive to their acts, and treat their targets as cattle.
      .
      Bosko, if you read this, take a stand. There is no rule of law in this.
      .
      Yossi, you are among the bravest at +972; and that says quite a lot.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Bosko

      Greg
      .
      Of course I am against treating 7 year olds like this. What can I say? I never said that everything that Israel does is beyond criticism. But on the other hand, the opposite is true too. Not everything that Israel does is bad. Which is what the purpose of this site is. To give that impression.
      .
      And the same applies to Palestinian Arabs too. Not everything that they do is justifiable or excusable. I only wish that they would at long last exhibit a real willingness to resolve this conflict instead of maintaining this “embrace of death” which harms both peoples in every way possible, including morally. And I am not making that plea as an excuse for the treatment of this child. But I firmly believe that there are SOME on the Palestinian side who are extatic when some Israelis perpetrate such things.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Bosko,
      .
      Dahlia Scheindlin posted a survey a few weeks ago showing a suprising percentage of Israeli Arabs voicing a willingness to engage with the State and its majority Jewish citizens. She was surprised at the result. I think your view of Israeli Arabs may be ill formed; all of our views may be on this. The Palestinian boy of the present post is, Yossi tells us, on annexed territory. That means that he should be treated as a resident alien at worst. In the United States, ideally at any rate, resident aliens hold the same civil rights as American citizens. This is not true in Israel. You are going to have to face that.
      .
      This is not a hate Israel blog. I have seen hate Israel blogs–one by a US citizen in the US. This is a blog by mostly young Israelis who refuse to be blind to the legal shortcomings of their home. I tell you truly: this Yossi will not be wanted in many Israeli homes for what he says and sees. The same was true in the American Jim Crow South and South Africa.
      .
      The Talmud questions itself. I will not despair Judaism (which is not Israel) precisely because of that. What you can say about this little boy is that it shall never happen again. And you can ask yourself what memories he may now have.
      .
      The Catholic church in the Middle Ages held that the death of Jesus provided (I guess) an unlimited merit which absolves otherwise wrong acts. I will not stand silent when I see milenia of Jewish suffering used in the same way. If you want a secure Israel, internally and externally, you must face your opponents as like you. Talk of other Arab States is irrelevant to what happened to this child.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Bosko

      Greg
      .
      I will say it again. Israel is wrong to treat a 7 uear old like this.
      .
      Now, about what you say:
      .
      “Dahlia Scheindlin posted a survey a few weeks ago showing a suprising percentage of Israeli Arabs voicing a willingness to engage with the State and its majority Jewish citizens”
      .
      Give me a link to her article. Or just answer this question: are the majority of the Palestinian Arabs willing to accept Israel as a state of the Jewish people? What that means, in short, that Israel is there as a sanctuary for the Jewish people where there would be immigration policies that safeguards a majority Jewish population. It does not mean that there is no Arab minority with equal rights. Do they accept that or not? Personally I doubt it. And so long as they insist on fighting against that, there won’t be peace between the two peoples.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Dahlia’s thread has gone extinct, I guess; it’s not on the list anymore. You could probably ask her how to recover it; or, if she happens to be “listening,” she might post the link here. I cannot.
      .
      As I have said numerous times on this site: the Declaration of Independence is a constitutional document which enshrines the free ingress of Jews into Israel as well as social equality for all citizens therein. You constantly frame the issue from the public stance of, say, Hamas. That is not the stance of most Israeli Arabs. I didn’t copy the stats, so can provide nothing more substantial.
      .
      I think you will be surprised by the numbers. You are not going to get what you want overnight, but you are much closer than you think. BUT if you continue to frame all Israeli Arabs as against Jewish ingress into Israel you will do nothing but alienate those who, while not your friends, would be willing to live with you (symbolically–you live in Australia). The fight for the principles of the Declaration will be difficult–but if you adhere to social equality, equal protection, and due process, I TRULY believe you will also lock in free ingress of Jews into Israel.
      .
      I really think this. I’m not interested in the standard fights on this issue, and I think you know that.
      .
      I don’t attend this site much anymore because the problems are so enormous and it hurts to see it. Anyway, I’m signing off at 2 am where I am, going to bed, so my failure to answer anything else is not a slight on you.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Bosko – how about living up to the promise of equality first, and then you can ask them to accept Israel defined as a Jewish state? Israel already promised this upon its founding, but has yet to even remotely live up to its promise. I say, begin with a state that does not do this to seven-year-olds. And -lets be perfectly clear – only seven-year-olds of one ethnicity – in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EUUrE8Lm14 kids of roughly the same age are throwing stones on a woman carrying a baby, and there are IDF soldiers present.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Bosko

      Thanks Directrob. Very interesting statistics. I am not surprised.
      .
      Just for the record, I want to say that I have no problems with the Muslim people. I know quite a few Muslims and I am friends with some of them.
      .
      To me, the conflict is more a case of a herd mentality on both sides. As individuals, there are good and bad people on all sides.
      .
      Having said that, I am still very much of the view that because of the history of persecutions that the Jews suffered, as a people, when they were minorities, it is essential to have ONE state in this world where Jews are a majority so they can defend themselves and be masters of their own destiny. NO COMPROMISE on that, no matter what the pressure is to relent!!!

      Reply to Comment
    16. Mikesailor

      Bosko: More BS from a resident hasbarista. I wonder how you can live in Australia with its history of persecutions. Should the aboriginal Australians have “ONE STATE’? They were persecuted horribly by numerous Australian governments. If so, what should their borders be? Should they nurture hatred against the ‘other’ much as you apparently do? Why haven’t you packed your bags and made aliyah? Why do you insist on residing where so much injustice has been done, or do you write and are an activist for Aboriginal rights?
      A ‘Jewish’ state is an anomaly in the present day, much as an Islamic state or a Christian state etc. Even India does not claim to be a Hindu state. So what? Religiously or ethnically pure states never work, history has shown that as an object lesson. For religion is neither tolerant nor amenable to compromise. And ‘ethnicity’ always contains the seeds of its own destruction as different groups within an ethnicity attempt to define the purity of ethnic background and continually redefine such groups within their midst.
      I also continually enjoy your positions wherein, if you don’t ‘condone’ a particular Israeli action, you never expressly condemn it either. You habitually attempt to deflect criticism by attempting to point the finger at another entity who, according to you, performs equally or more dastardly actions. What does this have to do with anything? The police and others involved in this activity should be sanctioned severely. Yet, I never hear you call for such action if the activity complained of was committed by Israelis. I’m sorry, if the action was committed by Israeli Jews. For such are the fruits of a discriminatory approach wherein ‘Jews’ are guiltless because of past events.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Sam

      Ah, the hypocrisy.
      *
      I remember when my car was stoned while driving on Yom Kippur in Haifa a couple of years ago. Some 50 or more teenagers (legally liable) stormed the road and pelted my car with mini-boulders.
      *
      After calling the police, they said “we know, but we can’t do anything about it”. Huh…

      Reply to Comment
    18. Bosko

      Mikesailor:
      “A ‘Jewish’ state is an anomaly in the present day, much as an Islamic state or a Christian state etc”
      .
      Really Mike? Then what about Britain? Is Britain an anomaly too? It is headed by the queen who is head of the Anglican Church and the official state religion of Britain is the Church of England. Do you yell about that too? Or do you just reserve your righteous indignation against a state for the Jewish people?
      .
      Oh, and what about the 22 Arab states, most of which base their constitution on Islam? Do you protest against that too?

      Reply to Comment
    19. Bosko

      Mikesailor:
      “The police and others involved in this activity should be sanctioned severely. Yet, I never hear you call”
      .
      Yes, the police shold be sanctioned for this action. Happy now, Mikesailor?

      Reply to Comment
    20. Danny

      @SAM: If those teenagers had been Palestinians, you would have been able to run them over with your car without fearing any prosecution (as in Sheik Jarrah a few months ago).

      Reply to Comment
    21. Bosko

      Mikesailor:
      “Should they nurture hatred against the ‘other’ much as you apparently do? ”
      .
      Huh? Where did this come from? Are you saying that I hate everyone because I insist that there should be ONE state for the Jewish people?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Mikesailor

      Bosko: The Anglican church makes the UK a ‘Christian’ state. You have to be kidding or woefully ignorant and grasping at straws. The UK us a secular government, no special privileges for members of the Anglican church. And by the way, the queen does not wield any political power in the English system, much like Peres in the Israeli.
      As to Islamic states, the question is how do they govern? You can call yourself Martian for all I care, the real question is discrimination based on religion or ethnicity. Look at the problems in Iraq: Sunni vs. Shi’ite vs. Kurds. They are mainly Muslim, live in an Islamic state, yet ‘ethnicity’ and religion seem more divisive than anything. Are you saying Israel should get a free pass because the Jews only discriminate against all non-Jews, especially Palestinian Arabs and Christians? Why? Religion and ethnicity are the worst foundations of a state for the reasons I stated above. Both, compromise between factions and advancement of the human condition are both anathema to states built on these a bedrock of intolerance which can never change nor adapt. I prefer secular government based on reason and tolerance; governments based on religion and ethnicity never work well.
      As to nurturing hatred, should the aborigines in Australia hate the white (or in your case Jewish) Australians based on the persecutions they suffered. Should they demand their own state? Where? Why have they not demanded revenge? This continual harping on persecutions past, and using them as license to persecute others (especially others who never persecuted you) is abhorrent. This strange group-think which absolves a group of responsibility for present circumstances is insane and leads nowhere.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Bosko

      Mikesailor
      The only discrimination, as you call it, that would be practiced in a Jewish state if there would be peace, would be the following:
      .
      1. Jewish immigration would be favoured over non Jewish immigration (it does not mean that non Jews would not be allowed to immigrate to Israel. It just means that MORE the immigration policy would ensure the maintenance of majority Jews. How is that different than what is happening in Britain? Do you think the Brits would be willing to allow the immigration of say 50 million non Brits into Britain in the next 5 years?
      .
      2. The official state holidays would be Jewish holidays. How is that different than Britain where the official state holidays are Christian?
      .
      3. The official state language is Hebrew. How is that different than Britain where the state language is English, not Pakistani, Hindi or Arabic.
      .
      4. The emphasis is on Jewish culture. How is that differen than Britain where the emphasis is on English culture. There is no reason though why minority cultures and religions can’t be tolerated in both Israel and Britain. And they are tolerated in both places.
      .
      5. The school curriculum emphasizes the teaching of Jewish history side by side with other world history. How is that different than Britain where the emphasis is on British history in conjunction with world history.
      .
      Last but not least, Mikesailor, Israel has been under attack from it’s neighbours, for the last 63 years. It’s existence as a Jewish nation has been threatened. So yes, there is discrimination and there are counter measures, sometimes justifiable, sometimes not, against it’s enemies within and without. How is that any different than how Britain reacted towards it’s enemies when Britain’s existence was threatened by it’s enemies in WW2?
      .
      Or are you saying that it is immoral for Jews to defend THEIR country, but it is OK for everyone else to defend theirs? If you are saying that, then YOU are the hater, Mikesailor.

      Reply to Comment
    24. This is all a bit silly. Jewish ingress into Israel is enshrined in the Declaration. If the Declaration is used for social equality (at least equal protection and due process) then that affirmation also butresses Jewish ingress. Liberals get what they want; Jewish nationalists get what they want. As to langauge, holidays and such, that’s for the legislature to decide. If you have a majority of Jews, Bosko will get what he wants.
      .
      Or you could strive a a constitutional convention and place language and holidays there. I have a feeling that the Declaration is ignored as a political tool somewhat out of fear. Often, we really don’t want equality.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Bosko

      Greg
      I have no problems with what you say. My above post was a response to Mikesailor’s outrageous one sided assertions about how the idea of a Jewish state is racist. In my post, I demonstrated to him that a Jewish state is no more racist than a British state is.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Mikesailor

      Bosko: Try again. When you make sense, or even a semblance of sense, you might actually achieve more. The “..a Jewish state is no more racist than a British state”? You undermined your argument right there. Where does the British state discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion? Yet that is the foundational basis for Israel. Zionism, is predicated on the belief that one group of citizens, the Jews, shall and must dominate all other groups i.e. non-Jews. Democracy, human rights, or even legality be damned if they dare to curb this bedrock of belief in a ‘Jewish’ state. And such ‘foundational basis’ is unchangeable and any modifications, even through ‘democratic means’ will be assiduously opposed by, not only Jews but the ‘security services’ they have created. I have asked you before, as an Australian, would you support the creation of an Aboriginal state in that country? Or should they be considered citizens of that country with full rights and equal protection of the laws? The persecutions they suffered are well documented so, should they have the same right, as Jews have claimed, to occupy land their forbears once inhabited? Their displacement and persecution was actually more recent than yours.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Bosko

      Mikesailor
      I have already answered you. There is no religious or ethnic discrimination enshrined in Israeli laws. Go read my previous post in which I compared various issues in Britain with the same issues in Israel. And please compare apples with apples.
      .
      You can go on asserting that only Jews are racists when they want their own state in which minorities have full rights. But that just makes YOU a racist because you single out only the Jews for criticism. I would have more respect for you if:
      .
      1. You call all other ethnocentric nation states racists.
      2. You accept that none of them are nor is Israel.
      .
      Alternatively, show me my mistake when I compared Israel to other nation states like Britain, in my previous post. And please stop making up your own stories Mikesailor.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Joseph.E

      My comment

      Looks like Israelis jews are not allowed to defend themselves , are only allowed to slice the land , disconnect from their historical heritage of their heartlands , even jerusalem , and to accept in any illegal african and asian immigrants so in the future , they , with the atheists and seculars would enact policies to erase from the biblical land any national jewish character .
      No need Wall Street for “State for sale’ , just Tikkun Daily and David Harris-Gershon whom says about Israel quote ” a country I love,” .

      as posted at

      Posted by Tikkun Daily at 6:25 pm
      January 4, 2012

      In Israel, Riot Police [Illegally] Detain 7-Year-Old Child, Interrogate Him Without a Parent or Adult for Hours

      Cross-posted from Tikkun Daily.

      by David Harris-Gershon
      ( also quoting: As Yossi Gurvitz in +972 Magazine reports:)
      http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2012/01/04/riot-police-illegally-detain-7-year-old-child-interrogate-him-without-a-parent-or-adult-for-hours/

      Reply to Comment
    29. Bosko

      Mikesailor:
      “. I have asked you before, as an Australian, would you support the creation of an Aboriginal state in that country? Or should they be considered citizens of that country with full rights and equal protection of the laws? ”
      .
      1. The Aborigines of Australia have not asked for their own state but if they would, yes I would support their quest.
      .
      2. In the meanwhile, I support full rights for the Aboriginals and most Australians do too.
      .
      By the way, at least you got one thing right. You compare the Jews to the Aboriginals of Australia. You acknowledge both as the original population/owners of the land.

      Reply to Comment
    30. It is my firm belief, Bosko, that Jewish ingress into Israel can best be protected by enabling the social and political equality clause of the Declaration. In my fantasy, a High Court would disallow Knesset restriction of Jewish ingress based on the Declaration. But the stand I suggest means one must risk trust of the other in one’s midst. That is always very hard; and risk means failure and damage are possible. I notice that commentators on both sides of the conflict try to force all risk onto their opponents. This will not work. Risk will have to be assumed, admitted. So when you say, for example, that the terrorist bombings must not be forgotten–I agree completely with you. But remembering is not the same as taking all hope away from the “other.” You’ve seen the survey. There is some evidence that Israeli Arab citizens want to break out of this impass. Why cannot we devote thought to that end? (This is not directed to you as such; you’re just here.)

      Reply to Comment
    31. Bosko

      Greg
      You are well meaning but what you are advocating is not risk. You are advocating gambling with high stakes. The future of Israel which is the last hope of the Jewish people. But what you advocate is not just a gamble for the Jewish people it is a gamble for everyone. Because it is my opinion, and I think that I am not misguided, that if somehow the enemies of Israel would succeed in their aim to destroy the Jewish state, they and many others too will pay a very heavy price for that success and they will rue the day.
      .
      Here is my counter proposal: Why not hasten slowly? Take one step at a time. Make a success of the two state solution. Strive to make both states based on fairness to all and be democratic. Build confidence, foster commercial ties and codependence. Sure all that won’t happen over night but it could happen over time, probably a long time. And who knows what other good things could happen after a couple of generations? Maybe confederation? Maybe more? We won’t know but our children’s children might be cleverer than us.
      .
      That’s my counter proposition Greg. What do you think?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Bosko,
      I normally don’t keep checking back to threads, and often go away for many days, a week or more. But I thought I should check back with you on this one.
      .
      I’m not taking a position on the one/two state “solution.” As I noted above, these (and their Palestinian equivalents, including “right of return”) mostly just force us down great gutters where an outside seems impossible. You seem to be advocating an economic zone. Interestingly, a Palestinian now of some age (his name escapes, but he wrote “Once upon a Country” and was one of the negotiators at Oslo) advocates exactly this. He ways forget about citizenship now, one or two state, but establish economic rights in the West Bank. He knows this will create Israeli business connections which will be less inclined to support the present draconian occupation measures; and his people can grow their economy (present West Bank growth, some Western agency has said, is all consequent of foreign aid; the economy would shrink without it). If the economy truly grows, indpendent of the Authority networks (would you give up your control?), there should be some marignalization of those advocating violence.
      You may find his thought useful. I recall seeing him on Charlie Rose, making this proposal. Look up the book name.
      .
      What I do advocate is a fight within Israel for equal protection of all its citizens. Do not conflate the West Bank with Israeli Arabs. If you look at some of the survey data, you can see that many Israeli Arabs do distinguish themselves from the Bank. You have a clear tendency to place all of these of Arab descent in the same category; this is a mistake if you want social progress WITHIN Israel.
      .
      I see no evidence that the Israeli polity, let alone the Knesset, will move to a real two state solution. What I suspect are your ideological allies are not with you on this. They believe in control creep and, frankly, more than a few of them it’s God’s will; I am not with God when He kills. I do not believe the High Court will act in such a way to favor a two state solution either; they will mostly declare the occupation off limits as a political decision to sustain the security of Israel (I think the Roberts Court in the US would act similarly right now). And, as we see today, the High Court is most hesitant to tackle equal protection of speech within Israel at the moment. Hesitant but you not decided.
      .
      You are not going to get two generations. Many, many Palestinians will say this is just more territorial control creep–and so far nothing in Israel’s behavior suggests otherwise. What you will get, unless real changes are made in the Bank economy and Gaza is somehow opened to grow, are MANY more memories of repression–just as you have (collective) memories of repression. The Israeli kill ratios, often more than 100:1, are not helping your grandchildren.
      .
      The only, tiny, path I see is this: fight for equal protection of all Israeli citizens in a generic matter. So: Arab housing, village growth, educational opportunities, bilingual signs where appropriate (there are municipalities which have IGNORED for YEARS High Court orders to provide such signs–do you see what that does to the rule of law?). The Nabka Law is in my view hysterical thought control; you cannot make someone love a land by law, but you can let them come to love it through a better life. But the dispostion of that law is less important than enabling real livelihood advance among Arabs. If you look at that survey data, you see many of Arab descent within Israel trying to find a way out, maybe through the vague hope of J14.
      .
      It is my view/hope that if you can make real headway in this area new approaches to the greater Palestinian problem will appear. They will come when Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs feel more comfortable with each other and a single rule of law. Frankly, I think the present Knesset right instinctively fears this and wants to keep a tall, tall wall between Arab and Jew WITHIN Israel.
      .
      Fight for this 7 year old Arab. He is under direct Israeli soverignty by its own admission, not occupation. If you want to help others find a new path, just fight for that boy. You know not a new path; nor I. But, as a matter of hope which is faith, I think other paths will appear. And fight for a free ecnomic zone in the Bank.
      .
      I have felt, for probably 20 years, that a repressed Israeli Arab citizenship acts as an example for those that want terrorism. You have to take that example away from them.
      .
      Now, I may not come back to this thread; if not, it is not out of slight of you. Sometimes I just get too fatigued by the cookie cutters we live by, which slice right through people. Break the mold. Somehow. Even in your own community, not Israel abstract. If you find a way to do that yet still adhere to your core principles, you may tweek things in such a way that new ideas emerge later. Experiment with your thought. There is risk in that. Not the collapse of the West, but risk nonetheless.

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      GREG POLLOCK
      “You have a clear tendency to place all of these of Arab descent in the same category; this is a mistake if you want social progress WITHIN Israel”
      .
      Actually, I don’t. And I don’t know what gave you that impression. Perhaps because I am clearly more of a hard liner against the one state solution, East Jerusalem (at least the old Jewish quarter of it) and the right of return?
      .
      As far as Israel’s Arab cotizens are concerned, I want to see them with equal rights. And I do think that they already have equal rights in the eyes of the law except in the areas of immigration. That’s not to say that in practice they don’t suffer discrimination. I am against that but at the same time, you can’t change human nature. Where people are in conflict, there is always prejudice and discrimination.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Yes, and blacks in Jim Crow had equal services too. Your backing off, going to the greater war, and that’s what freezes all of us.
      .
      I’ve put some thought into this for many years. Give me more that you have.
      .
      In the past you have moved from Israeli Arabs to many states for Arabs, one state for Jews. Read Israel’s Declaration of Independence. It will not let you make that jump.
      .
      Your mind is better than this. Find a way in your own core values. You picked out one phrase and igonred the rest. Not good enough for me. Find a way, your way. It can be done.
      .
      I’m ending this thread, though. I expect more from you, and I think I’m not wrong to do so, given your writing. I’m getting old; you most likely have more time left. Find a way. Not my way, but a way.

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    35. Last summer, in Silwan, activists released a cloud of balloons into the sky – one balloon for each neighbourhood child who had been arrested and detained. There was no corresponding cloud floating over Nahalot in commemoration of the Israeli Jewish kids who had been detained, because this isn’t something that happens to Israeli Jewish kids. To my knowledge, the youngest child to have been arrested in Silwan was five-year-old Yahya Rishaq. Then there was seven-year-old Ali Siyam, who was detained without access to his parents or a lawyer. When his lawyer (an Israeli, Lea Tsemel) attempted to push past a policeman into the interrogation room where the little boy was being held, she was arrested herself.
      .
      Some people might argue that it isn’t a fair comparison, as East Jerusalemite children have a different status from Israeli Jewish kids – they haven’t got citizenship, for a start. But this is exactly the point. East Jerusalem has been occupied, but its residents haven’t been accorded civil rights and they receive tough treatment. You can’t occupy people in this way and then expect to be judged only on the treatment you accord to your own citizens, as though an illegal occupation is something that can be neatly tucked out of sight and viewed quite separately from the country’s other policies. It can’t. In the West Bank things are even worse than in East Jerusalem, because martial law has been imposed since ’67. Under the terms of that law there is no age of criminal responsibility, which is why the IDF can pound on the door at three a.m. and take away a ten-year-old boy blindfolded and in handcuffs. (This is a common scenario – the IDF will often come after kids accused of stone-throwing in the middle of the night, as if to create maximum fear.) Under martial law, child detainees don’t receive any of the rights that would normally be accorded to juveniles. They’re effectively treated as adults, and adults under martial law don’t have much in the way of legal rights either. Again, this is not something that an Israeli Jewish child (or grown-up) has to go through.
      .
      Palestinian minors with Israeli citizenship also face discrimination in the legal system. In 2009, Judge Yuval Shadmi noted that the Israeli justice system ‘is working on two fundamentally different enforcement levels in relation to crimes perpetrated by minors’. He called this ‘common knowledge’.
      .
      Child arrest was on my mind this weekend, as I had an unusual guest – someone who is currently a serving soldier (jobnik). At first I was very reluctant to bring him into Bethlehem, as I live with a Palestinian family whose twelve-year-old son was snatched from our doorstep as he played outside with his friends. The IDF shoved him into the jeep, but luckily his mum heard him screaming and came tearing outside to block the vehicle’s path. The soldiers were accusing Daoud of hurling stones over the separation wall. After a tense stand-off, they let him go. He was shaking so much that he had to be half-carried home. This happened just over a year ago, and he is still nervous to go outside on his own. He won’t pass a watchtower unaccompanied now. And here I was bringing a serving soldier into our house (admittedly a jobnik, but Daoud doesn’t make such distinctions – all he knows is that soldiers have guns and power and are liable to grab him unexpectedly). Daoud would have been terrified if he’d known, as being taken away by the army is still such a major worry of his. I did wonder if gently introducing Daoud to Avi and letting them play together might help with his anxiety, but after conferring with Daoud’s mother I realised that it would be too much for him at this stage. Looking back on our rather weird weekend, I’m stunned that we had to go to these lengths in order to protect a child from something that no child should know. We protect him because the law won’t.
      .
      Israeli Jewish kids can sit near soldiers on the bus to the shopping mall without feeling afraid. They don’t expect the soldiers to hurt them (and they usually expect to be one themselves one day). That’s impossible for many Palestinian children. They experience the law very differently. How they experience it will vary depending on which category they belong to – resident of the Territories, ‘permanent resident’ of East Jerusalem, Palestinian with Israeli citizenship – but no matter what their status, they are all aware that they can’t rely on the law to protect them. Even this process of categorisation is a sign of discrimination: you can’t divide people into groups based on ethnicity and religion and geography, govern every aspect of their lives, assign different rights to each group on your own whim, and then ask to be called democratic. You can’t.

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