+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

An invitation to Israel's thought police: Haul me in

A Palestinian man from East Jerusalem is summoned by Israeli police for a Facebook status describing his city as occupied.

A Palestinian child sitting in front of a section of the Separation Wall in the refugee camp of Shuafat, East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian child sitting in front of a section of the separation wall that surrounds the Shuafat Refugee Camp, which was annexed to Jerusalem in 1967, Occupied East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

It has been a month since I last visited Occupied Jerusalem. By writing those words, I may be hastening my return to the city, albeit involuntarily.

This week, a Palestinian resident of Occupied East Jerusalem was summoned by Israeli police for describing the city’s mayor, Nir Barkat, as the “mayor of the occupation,” Haaretz reported.

East Jerusalem was occupied by Israeli forces on June 7, 1967. Later that month, some 70 square kilometers of Palestinian East Jerusalem and the West Bank were annexed by Israel and handed over to the Jerusalem Municipality, a move that no country in the world has ever recognized.

In 1980, Israel passed a basic law, which carries the weight of a constitutional amendment, officially declaring occupied East Jerusalem as part of its capital. In response, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution declaring the law “null and void” and called on member states to move their diplomatic missions out of Jerusalem. Since then, no country has established or maintained an embassy in the city.

So why was Ameer Abd Rabbo summoned by police for describing reality? Well, because he’s Palestinian.

I am willing to predict that I, a Jew, will not be summoned for writing the same words in solidarity here – but I’ll give it a shot.

“Nir Barkat, mayor of the occupation.”

Abd Rabbo’s case is far from being the first of its kind.

Late last year, +972 reported on of Razi Nabulsi, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was arrested for Facebook statuses discussing the occupation and racist laws affecting Arab citizens of Israel. The offensive status read: “One day the nightmare will be over.”

A few weeks later, police rounded up 25 Palestinian social media activists in East Jerusalem.

Of course, such restrictions on expression and political opposition to the occupation are nothing new, within and beyond Israel’s recognized 1949 borders. The IDF military government that ruled over most of Israel’s Palestinian citizens until 1966 exercised almost absolute control over political organization and media.

In recent years, the Israeli army has shut down a number of Palestinian television stations operating from occupied territory it controls.

Freedom of information is one of the central values that +972 Magazine and its writers stand behind and which is a driving force in our coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian political arena. In that spirit, and in the spirit of equal treatment under the law, I invite the Israeli Police to summon me too, for describing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat as “the mayor of the occupation.”

Don’t hold your breath, but I’ll update if the Thought Police take me up on my offer.

Israeli police lock up Haifa activist for Facebook statuses
Police besiege, arrest activists planning to commemorate Nakba

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. bob wisby

      Michael states the obvious when he points out that Jews can do things and get away with them in a manner that would be quite impossible for non-Jews. Of course we can, Michael. This is the Jewish State. What do you expect? Discrimination against Jews, as is found in the rest of the World?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Of course, Jerusalem is a city whose eastern half is illegally occupied by Israel since 1967, and which will have to be relinquished to the Palestinians for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be achieved.

      And Nir Barkat, mayor of occupied Jerusalem – go fuck yourself!

      Reply to Comment
      • Khaled Khalid


        Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        There is no such thing as “Israeli-Palestinian” conflict simply because the conflict had started about 40 years before said “Palestinians” were invented by KGB/PLO.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      Nir Barkat, mayor of occupied Jerusalem, capital city of occupied Palestine

      Reply to Comment
    4. bob wisby

      Another mistake Michael makes here, is his choice of titles? ‘Israeli Thought Police’? Really? Is he suggesting that Israelis, and by natural extension, Jews, might be totalitarian in their social impulses. This suggestion is laughable when we remember Jewish public faces such as Jerry Seinfeld, or Woody Allen, to name just two examples. Jews represent wit, kindness, and a sort of cuddly neurosis. That’s how the man in the street sees us. So why is Michael trying to make us sound like Leventri Beria or Yagoda?

      Reply to Comment
    5. We all try to control thought through our discourse and labeling. But not put someone in jail for deviation from our thought. Fully annexed East Jerusalem will have to control an unwanted,unwanting population. The definition of aggressive speech expands over time, for if you think such, what may you then do? “Mayor of occupied Jerusalem” thereby becomes a potential personal threat, justifying this psuedo arrest, not an arrest, so not so bad–if it’s not you, living the label of suspect resident.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Khaled Khalid

      Oh well, I might as well stick my head in the noose as well….

      Nir Barkat, mayor of occupied Jerusalem, capital city of occupied Palestine.

      Reply to Comment
    7. BaladiAkka1948

      Of course Jerusalem is occupied, just as Haifa, Yaffa, Akka, al-Jalil, al-Naqab…..

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mareli

      Written from the only democracy in the Middle East (LOL).

      Reply to Comment