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Balad

  • Almost a year later, Israel still refuses to return Palestinian bodies

    Palestinian rights groups call decision to hold onto the bodies of 13 Palestinian attackers and alleged attackers a 'violation of the right to dignity.' Since beginning of recent wave of violence, over 220 Palestinians have been shot dead by Israeli security forces. For 300 days Israel has been holding onto the frozen body of Tha’er Abu Ghazaleh, one of 13 East Jerusalem Palestinian attackers and alleged attackers whose bodies Israeli authorities, since October, are refusing to return to their families for burial. [tmwinpost] In mid-October 2015, the Israeli security cabinet decided to stop its practice of returning bodies immediately to the deceased’s families.…

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  • The Israeli Right still hasn't internalized that Palestinians exist

    Arabs are more present than ever in the Israeli public sphere, but attempts to marginalize them are growing at an even faster pace. A new law aimed at pushing Arab representatives out of the political system could wind up changing the rules of the game — in the worst possible way. The Knesset this week passed a law that will enable it to expel Arab MKs from their positions as elected representatives. The same day, a storm erupted over a program on Army Radio that examined a poem by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. Both events have one thing in common:…

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  • New Israeli law seeks to expel ‘misbehaved’ Arab parliamentarians

    Plenty of democratic countries have mechanisms for de-seating elected representatives, but those countries don't have rich histories of trying to ban politicians of one ethnic group. And their laws weren't designed to target specific unpopular politicians. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with the “Expulsion Law” passed by Israel's Knesset early Wednesday morning. Lots of other parliaments have mechanisms for expelling elected representatives. In the U.S. Congress, all you need is a two-thirds majority vote determining that a member is guilty of “disorderly behavior.” What is wrong with Israel’s new law is that it targets one particular parliamentarian and her…

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  • Israel's national scapegoat

    Since members of Israel's parliament can't take out their anger about the Turkey reconciliation deal on Netanyahu, they go for the easiest target around — Haneen Zoabi. For all nine years of my childhood in Iran, I never personally encountered anti-Semitism. We lived in a mixed neighborhood, I studied at a Jewish high school along with non-Jews, and I cannot remember even a single instance where I was insulted or attacked for being Jewish. [tmwinpost] From time to time I would hear stories from older family members about quarrels with the neighborhood hooligans who would harass them for being Jewish.…

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  • On our way out of the apartheid closet

    By advancing legislation to exclude the Arab minority from the Knesset, Israel is showing the world that its political system is really only intended for one group. By Marzouq El-Halabi The so-called "suspension bill," which passed its first reading in the Knesset several weeks ago, constitutes another step by the Israeli Right to exclude Arab representatives from Israeli politics. The bill, which gives the Knesset the authority to temporarily or permanently suspend elected members, stems not from a worry over the fate of Israel's democracy, but is part of the Right's slow effort to maliciously and intentionally harm it. The ultimate…

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  • Israel's Knesset just voted on a very dangerous law for democracy

    The draft law, which passed the first of three votes on Monday, would allow the expulsion of Arab MKs from the Knesset. It is one of several recent steps by the Netanyahu government to limit Palestinian political participation. Minutes before leaving for the spring recess Monday night, Israel’s Knesset passed the first reading of a law allowing legislators, with a three-quarters super-majority, to expel other members of Knesset for making statements they deem beyond the pale. The law is widely understood to have been drawn up to specifically target Arab-Palestinian members of the Knesset, particularly of one faction, a legislative…

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  • The problem with calling Hezbollah a terrorist organization

    In Israel the question of whether Hezbollah is a terrorist group or an army boils down to the racist idea that Arabs do not have the right to defend themselves. Even asking is considered treasonous. By Lilach Ben-David The Balad (National Democratic Assembly or A-Tajamou') Hadash and Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality or Al-Jabhah) parties, the respective liberal-nationalist Palestinian and socialist parties in Israel’s parliament, publicly condemned a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) decision to define Hezbollah a “terrorist organization” last week. [tmwinpost] The announcement gave the Israeli media another chance to join the merriment of incitement and lies…

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  • The domino effect of persecuting Arab politicians

    The government’s latest attempts to oust Balad from the Knesset are part of an intensifying campaign against Arab political movements, regardless of their different stripes. Three months ago, when the Israeli government outlawed the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, Palestinian citizens of Israel feared that they were witnessing the beginning of an intensified campaign against Arab political groups. Many suspected at the time that the government’s next target would be the Balad party, the nationalist faction of the Joint List, which has been in the crosshairs of consecutive Israeli governments since the 1990s. [tmwinpost] Those suspicions were confirmed last…

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  • Jewish politicians meet with terrorist families too

    Netanyahu wants to kick Arab MKs out of the Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinian terrorists. Will the same standard be upheld for those who meet with Jewish terrorists? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to punish Palestinian members of Knesset for meeting with families of Palestinians who have carried out deadly attacks against Jewish Israelis. But could his initiative backfire and end up punishing members of his own government? [tmwinpost] The prime minister announced on Sunday that he would be promoting legislation to bar three MKs who met with families of terrorists from serving in Knesset. His announcement came…

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  • When every fire is a potential arson attack

    As incitement against the Israeli Left grows, it is no surprise so many people believed right-wing arsonists were behind the fire at the offices of Israel's oldest human rights organization. Preliminary investigations by Israeli Police and Israel Fire and Rescue Services indicated that the fire that erupted Sunday night in the Jerusalem offices of Israeli human rights group B'Tselem was not the result of arson. The police and fire department published detailed explanations on their findings, according to which the fire was a result of a short circuit in the office's acoustic ceiling. The fire reportedly burned the entire ceiling…

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  • The real danger of outlawing Palestinian political movements

    Banning and persecuting political groups like the Islamic Movement and Balad has the effect of disengaging Palestinian citizens of Israel from the state and its political system. That is very, very dangerous. The Israeli government has done very few things that worry me more than its ongoing assault on the country’s Palestinian citizens’ political representation. In the latest such move, the government outlawed the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and seized assets and properties belonging to 17 affiliated organizations on Tuesday. One of the things that enables Jews and Arabs to live together in this country, which despite everything…

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  • In Israel's democracy, dissent has always been off limits to Arab citizens

    The banning of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement may seem like a new low, but a closer look at history reveals how the state has been at war with Palestinian political organizations since its very inception. Israel’s Palestinian citizens have never had an easy time organizing politically. The government’s decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement is only the latest — and perhaps most significant — example of the hurdles Arab citizens must face in their struggle for equality. The state has been pushing for the ban for years, accusing the organization of maintaining links…

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  • In natural gas debacle, the Joint List just can’t win

    The slate of Palestinian parties in the Knesset, aligned with neither the coalition nor the opposition, is quickly — and at times clumsily — discovering its own power. Lessons from Israel's natural gas debacle. By Samah Salaime There’s an old joke about a tyrannical lion who abuses a monkey in the jungle. Every time the lion sees the monkey he gives him a hard, loud slap, and asks him, “why aren’t you wearing a hat?” After a few good, hard slaps, the monkey decides to fight back against these unprovoked injustices. He starts to organize, enlists some animal rights organizations,…

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