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Crossing a border from enemy territory is not "nonviolent"

I’ve got the post-Nakba Day blues. It really showed how screwed up this region is. How disrespectful people are of each other. How hateful.

Lorry, Lorry, Hallelujah

Nakba Day got off to a great start with a terror attack in the middle of southern Tel Aviv. A truck driver smashed into everything in sight, his rampage went along a route longer than 2 kilometers. One person was killed, several badly injured.

Nowhere did I hear condemnations from Arab MKs or left-wingers (if there were – please point them out to me). The family and friends gave the usual “it must have been an accident” excuse. Please. Don’t insult our intelligence. A guy gets on a truck, on Nakba Day, “loses control” for 2 kilometers, and when he gets off he smashes a girl in the head with a traffic light while yelling “Alla hu-Akbar” – and you’re still not sure it’s a terror attack. No wonder the mainstream calls us “extremists”.

Mind the gap

Then the storming of borders started.

First they came over in the Golan. They actually climbed over the fence, and walked into Israel. Now, I know a lot of you aren’t going to like what I say here, but if you want to come in to a country, you do it through a border crossing. And if you can’t pass through a border crossing because you’re in a state of war with that particular country, you wait till there’s a peace agreement. But if you just can’t wait and feel like you have to come over, understand this: you’re a trespasser.

Not only that, if the sovereign state behind you, with army and police in check, allows you to cross that fence – then I will treat you as their emissary, acting on their behalf, and see it as an act of war. An act of aggression. The farthest thing from nonviolent demonstrations I can think of. When I think of nonviolent protest, I see the pics from Selma, picket signs, sitting on the ground and praying. That’s nonviolent. Use the word correctly please. You can be unarmed, yet you can still be violent, or commit a violent act. It’s not an act of civil disobedience. It’s aggression. Period.

Cross the fence – prepare to die. It’s as simple as that.

And I don’t care whether it’s moral or not. Is the Golan occupied territory? Yes. Should it be given back? Hell, for all I care they can give it back all the way to the Sea of Galilee for a peace accord. Is the fence the real border? I couldn’t care less. It’s a barrier. A barrier between me and an enemy country. A barrier between an enemy country and my family. My kids. All you need is for one of those many hundreds who passed that fence to be carrying explosives under their shirt, and you got yourself a terror attack.

Were they all unarmed? Are any of you willing to bet your life on that? I’m not willing to, and definitely not the life of my children.

So yeah, screw morality, and screw purple lines, cease fire lines or all the semantics. Cross the barrier into Israel “proper”, where my family, is without permission – I shoot. It’s not like these guys are crossing over from Canada into the States.

Heck, one of them got all the way to Jaffa. He was a nice one. Are we lucky? Are we sure all of them have left Israel? Are we sure all of them are innocent as this guy was, unarmed?

And I’m tired of all us lefties just being “fine” with Syrian armies and Lebanese armies just sitting back and doing nothing. You want to give Palestinians their due sovereignty? Than you demand other sovereign countries to keep their citizens in line. Otherwise it’s a military act of aggression.

As for what happened in Lebanon, apparently there were no border crossings there. Still, charging the fence is an act of aggression. And trust me, Hizballah was fine with it. And they are the rulers of the land, let there be no doubt about it.

Inshallah the Arab spring will take Assad and Nasrallah soon, and spare us all of their stupidity, matched only by Netanyahu’s. Maybe they’ll take him away, too.

Apartheid galore

So, you might ask: Ami, then you probably don’t mind the IDF reacting violently in Qalandiya? Actually, I do mind. Because that’s inside Israel. Those people are under our rule. I am their caretaker, and I have done nothing to take care of them for over 40 years, except brutally occupy them. Shooting at another people, inside your borders, is the epitome of apartheid.

Officer Bachar loses his cool

If anything shows the ingrained hatred of mainstream Israel towards its own Arab citizens, it’s the video of a high ranking police officer, Kobi Bachar, slapping an Arab woman for asking him why he was detaining protesters.

If there’s anything that shows the police disrespect for democracy, it’s officers in disguise as photojournalists in Qalandiya during the demonstrations (according to reliable source).

Low IQ

How low have the IDF’s intelligence scores been lately, eh? No idea where Shalit is; no idea the guys on the Gaza flotilla were violent; no idea Mubarak’s days were numbered; no idea about the Hamas-Fatah deal; and now this.

But hey, at least we know Iran’s got nukes, right?


Ba de ya – dancing in September.

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    1. Dan pevsner

      It’s “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.”

      Reply to Comment
    2. @Dan – “Lorry” is another word for “truck”…

      Reply to Comment
    3. Aaron – I fully agree with your comment, but not with the op-ed link. I don’t care what color line it is, and who recognizes it. Right now it’s a barrier between me and an enemy country. It protects me and my family.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Mikhael

      Ami, what you wrote here is sensible, so I don’t know why you presume to read Kobi Bachar’s mind and attribute racist sentiments that you have no way of knowing that he had in your other post devoted to the “slapping”. NB: I don’t justify an officer hitting a civilian, but you know as well as anyone the context in which it occurred.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Y.

      * I wonder if you know which website have you been writing for. Don’t you know from +972 that Israel is entirely illegitimate, and therefor without borders (or land to defend)? Note the guy who got to Jaffa hid on a bus of left-wing ‘activists’.

      * I didn’t notice until now you’ve had history in the US – this explains a bit. Selma was 50 years ago. And it’s a bad model for an even older ethnic conflict. Maybe one day some Americans will see the world is a bit different from a little America.

      * “Intelligence failure” is the standard excuse when the IDF/politicians don’t want to blame themselves, at least since 1973. It’s particularly daft this time (how’s that related to letting someone get out of Majdal to the center? Did the protesters actually know which section of the border they’ll try to pass?). It’s long past time the people took a more critical look.

      Reply to Comment
    6. aristeides

      Ami – it’s a sure sign that a line of argument is suspect when it rests on repeated use of “I” “me” and “mine.”

      Let’s consider what Israel’s borders are really there for – to keep out the rightful owners of the land. You call them “trespassers”, but this implies that you rightfully possess the land. You do not. It was expropriated from the people who were driven across those borders in 1947 and fenced out so they could never return and claim what was their own. You are the trespassers.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Adrian

      If memory serves, isn’t it Israel that is illegally occupying Palestinian and Syrian land? Isn’t it Israel that violates Palestinian soveriegnty on a daily basis? If this is the case, then perhaps instead of raging about this one instance where some non-violent Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders, you might instead use this moment to feel a bit of the terror experienced on a daily basis by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (where violent settlers openly attack Palestinians), or what it must feel like to be a Syrian Druze in the Golan.

      Sorry, I’m trying to sympathise with you, but I just can’t.

      Reply to Comment
    8. max

      Adrian, the border including the Syrian land (carved out from Palestine and given to the to-be Syria by Britain after WW1) is a result of armed conflicts in ’67 and ’73, conflicts triggered by Syria and yet unresolved.
      Calling this a violation of Syrian sovereignty is a bit far fetched

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ben Israel

      Syria, in 1974, signed an agreement with the Israel accepting the Golan cease-fire line and the stationing of a UN force (the United Nations Disengagement Observation Force-UNDOF) to monitor the cease fire. They promised to maintain the cease fire. That, of course, includes not sending people, civilian or not, to storm the border. They accepted the rules that this is a border pending the making of a peace agreement, which is what UN Security Council Resolution 242 says, which means Israel’s presence there is NOT “illegal” no matter what the “progressives” may say. Thus, they bear total responsibility for any violence and casualties that occur there. Israel had every right to view the border as an international border and to defend itself there.

      Reply to Comment
    10. O.selznik


      great read as always!


      there are 6.5 million jews living in israel. non of them are going to agree with you.

      I’m for the two-state solution. I know some palestinains will agree with me.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Person

      @ADRIAN – THis must be your first time on this blog.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Jed

      Ami “No idea where Shalit is; no idea the guys on the Gaza flotilla were violent; no idea Mubarak’s days were numbered; no idea about the Hamas-Fatah deal; and now this.”
      I expect anti-Semites to think Jews are god-like and suppose to know everything, I’m surprised an Israeli journalist would say that.
      If the IDF believes the “peace activists” on the flotilla that they are peaceful – you mock them. What you are saying is that Israel should know that all the leftist “peace activists” and Arab protesters are liars.

      Reply to Comment
    13. max

      Jed, there’s an infinite number of options between the 2 either/or options you describe.
      I concur with Ami: Israel should have checked and found out the identity of the flotilla vacationers, and should have better what-if preparations.
      “belief” is a bad concept for policy and security, and “assessment” requires data.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Jed

      Max, these are the same people who claim Israelis are paranoid.
      What Ami is saying is that any pro-Palestinian “protest” and any “activist” should be treated like a terrorist and then the IDF would not have “Low IQ” as Ami puts it.
      Ami says don’t believe my friends they all should be viewed as liars. I refer you to Dana’s recent post about “unarmed men”

      Reply to Comment
    15. Sylvia

      Ami wrote:

      “Low IQ

      How low have the IDF’s intelligence scores been lately, eh? No idea where Shalit is; no idea the guys on the Gaza flotilla were violent; no idea Mubarak’s days were numbered; no idea about the Hamas-Fatah deal; and now this.”

      If I – an average citizen from the periphery – knew it, and 3 DAYS BEFORE NAKBA DAY I DESCRIBED ON THIS SITE WHAT WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN – then they must have known it.

      Here is what I wrote – for which I was called a “conspiracy nut”.

      May 12, 2011
      1:41 pm
      I have been following this since March 6. It’s a Jihad that will start out as a civilian peaceful mass demonstration but will morph into violent one (where the IDF will be at fault of course)when the peaceful demonstrators run for the borders on Sunday and the soldiers will be left no choice but fire.”


      So either it wasn’t passed along, or they kept it close to their chest for political reasons.
      But I don’t dismiss altogether an inherent inability to analyze intelligence data.
      Where nepotism, favoritism, protektsia and the friend-bring-friend hiring system reigns, at the end of the day all you are going to get is mediocrity.

      Let me make another informed prediction, so that you can’t say you didn’t know it: that phenomenon is with us to stay and will be repeated periodically.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Sylvia

      Oh! And the most important

      The radical left has been expressedly and definitely dropped from this game – seems they outran their usefulness.
      A few internationally known leftist academics, however, were made aware of what was cooking – I know Norman Finkelstein was – though ptrobably not all the details, and probably Menahem Klein.

      What we should expect is another introspective moment for the radical left, similar to that which occurred at the break of the second Intifada.
      The most extreme, however, will maintain their positions but only those to whom Israel’s existence is “a mistake”.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Yonatan

      Kaufman wrote: “Right now it’s a barrier between me and an enemy country. It protects me and my family.”

      Look in the mirror to see your ‘enemy’

      Reply to Comment
    18. Merlot

      There is a certain irony in defending the sanctity of unrecognized borders that in and of themselves demonstrate Israel’s failure to recognize Syrian sovereignty and recognized borders.

      Reply to Comment
    19. max

      Jed, these “same people” are individuals with fundamental differences, though all think that Israel isn’t doing the right thing in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, specifically that Israel should treat them better and give them territories. How much and under what conditions? They sometimes fundamentally differ.
      In general, I think that you’ll find 2 categories: those that fundamentally disagree with the notion of Israel as the Home for the Jewish people and those that want it but not in its current form.
      The first group – in effect – disregards common human rights and the international legal system, though of course they pretend the opposite. Many of them are also anti-Semite (Jews included), as they judge Jews differently from others. Their reactions are similar to those I recognize in people driven by hate, or utter frustration (as a model: I don’t pretend to know what actually drives them).
      The second group includes Zionists (non-Jews included) that differ (sometimes radically) in their view of what is or not feasible and right to solve the problems created during the creation of the Jewish state. Of course, the aspects of perceived “guilt”, risk assessment, trust and others are important, as well as the simple issue of knowledge, logic vs. emotion etc.
      Arguably, a similar segregation can be done in the attitude of Jews towards the rights of Arab Palestinians.
      I don’t know that a similar view can be observed within the Palestinian side: it rather looks like the “far left/right (they converge at these extremes)” is considered “moderate” as it’s only compared to the “extreme left/right”. I may be wrong and others are simply silent, as being tagged as “traitors” to the cause is a sure way not to get their pension dues…
      972mag includes both Zionists and non-Zionists, which makes it an interesting platform. Eventually, I believe the fundamental differences will pop-up: Israel has seen these bitter splits before, as all these issues are emotionally intensive.

      Reply to Comment
    20. aristeides

      O Selznick – I don’t expect 6.5 Israeli trespassers to agree with me. As John Stuart Mill pointed out, people only support justice as long as it doesn’t conflict with expediency. It’s expedient for Israelis to persist in denial of the fact that they are perpetuating injustice by living on stolen property, and what they call “self-defense” is the defense of theft against the rightful owners of the land.

      This is the use of Naqba Day – to bring back 1948, when Palestinian “infiltrators” attemptng to return to reclaim their homes were shot on sight by armed Jews guarding their spoils of war from their victims.

      It’s very expedient of Ami to join them, but it’s also very hypocritical of him to wrap himself in righteousness and blame the dead victims of Israeli violence.

      Reply to Comment
    21. max

      The international legal system accepts the Jewish state Israel, and therefore its right to protect itself.
      Some Arab aggressors didn’t accept this and attacked it. They lost.
      They now live the tragedy they caused.
      I hope they find the strength to accept their guilt, accept the legal fact and negotiate with Israel a solution for their right aspirations.
      At the moment, they successfully manage to prove that tears + lies + terrorism + money can sway the political position of many.

      Reply to Comment
    22. aristeides

      The international system also required Israel to allow the return of the refugees. Israel refused. This is the cause of the tragedy – Israel’s crime, Israel’s guilt.

      It is unfortunate that the nations of the world did not immediately impose sanctions on the Israeli state until it complied with the demands of justice. If this had happened, a great deal of grief would have been avoided.

      Reply to Comment
    23. max

      aristeides, you know as well as I do that the language used by R194/A11 has been intentionally formulated to mean all and nothing.
      Let’s start from the start – acceptance of the Jewish state of Israel – and all the rest will follow.
      After all, cause and effect do count, right?

      Reply to Comment
    24. max

      BTW, the Arab states voted against the resolution, and I’m sure you know why.
      Disingenuous is an understatement 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    25. Yonatan

      Max wrote: “Let’s start from the start – acceptance of the Jewish state of Israel – and all the rest will follow”

      Funny, not so long ago, it used to be accept the right of Israel to exist, now it is accept the existence of the Jewish state of Israel. You keep changing the ‘rules’ as you go along.

      Reply to Comment
    26. max

      Funny, it used to be that people knew the text of the declarations and resolutions, now they have to be re-iterated every time, lest someone says “but on date so and so you gave it up”.
      But your humor is meant to hide the fact that not even the acceptance of Israel has been received.
      Spin comes to mind

      Reply to Comment
    27. Jonathan Cook

      So, Ami, what do you think non-violent civil disobedience should look like? What tactics would you accept as allowable for refugees, forced from their homes in violation of international law, to reclaim their property? Unusually, the Economist has a rather good blog pointing out precisely this kind of hypocrisy. It cam be found at:


      Reply to Comment
    28. @Jonathan Cook – I wrote in the post what I think it should look like. You might have skipped it.

      Reply to Comment
    29. Amazia

      Certainly, crossing the border in Majdal Shams and Maroune a Ras is not “The farthest thing from nonviolent demonstrations” one can think of. Unless you are a Kiwi. While thousands of innocent civilians in Syria dying and bleeding in mostly peaceful protests, the one and only democracy in the region could have shown the Arab world it can subdue unarmed protests without a single shot of live bullet. Israel missed the opportunity thanks to it’s always surprised army, unwilling to get rid of it’s violent modus operandi.

      Reply to Comment
    30. aristeides

      Max, the recognition of the state of Israel was always contingent on the return of the refugees. The condition was not met. The recognition is invalid.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Merlot

      I have to seriously ask what pictures you are looking at from Selma. In Selma the civil rights activists marched. They marched directly towards waiting policemen and confronted directly one of the systems that supported their oppression and the denial of rights. They did not simply hold signs, sit and pray. The civil rights movement was an active movement that aggressively went out and challenged both physical and structural violence. It confronted oppression in stores, on buses, and in the streets. Your idea of some kind of passive resistance bears no resemblance to the reality of what happened.

      If you don’t acknowledge any right of return to refugees than this whole discussion is moot and you will never view these protests as legitimate. However, if you do see that Palestinian refugees have rights that have not been realized then they should have a right to protest, and this right should include a right to organize protests against Israel which is the party responsible for their dispossession. This doesn’t free Syrian and Lebanon from Responsibility for not policing its borders, at it doesn’t take away Israel’s right to use force to defend its borders. However, these two things also don’t necessarily turn the Sunday protests into acts of state aggression and violence.

      They type of protests you propose would limit Palestinian refuges ability to express themselves to symbolic sit downs in Syria, Damascus, Amman, etc. Their call would be to Arab regimes and the PA to ask Israel to recognize their rights. Since Israel has repeatedly said that the right of return is a non-started in negotiations, this kind of action seems pointless. The proper target of protest then becomes Israel, which is the state that continues to deny Palestinians right of return.

      Protesters in this situation will have to accept that they risk their lives when they approach the border. However, unless you can prove that their intentions are to carry out violence against Israelis I can’t count these protests as non-violent.

      Despite the attempt to distinguish between what happens on the borders and what happens in Israel, the continued return to fears about personal security in this article exactly parallels the arguments that are used to support checkpoints, the wall, the siege of Gaza, etc. Israeli desires for personal security can’t continue to be used as a basis for denying Palestinians their collective rights. This is an attitude that places one people over another and encourages continued inequality.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Merlot

      Correction – in the last paragraph non-violent should read violent.

      Reply to Comment
    33. @Merlot – OK. So, this Friday, when they come again, I’ll just lay on the fence for them. Let them all come through. Armed, unarmed, violent, nonviolent. Who cares? As long as they can return.
      Practice what you preach. If you compromise my security, you’re putting Palestinian collective rights above my life. That is also inequality.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Wowser didnt talk much scratching there for true colours to shine through. So shooting unarmed civil rights defenders is justifable. And you think you are on the left comrade?

      Reply to Comment
    35. Mark – yes. Also, did you personally check they were all unarmed as they crossed the border? Cool, can I see the report? Will you vouch for my security? Didn’t think so. Because my security means nothing to you, Comrade…

      Reply to Comment
    36. Very telling how no one in this thread, except for Merlot, talks about the regimes who allowed the charging of the borders.
      Yet even more telling in this thread is how no one, not one, had anything to say about the terror attack earlier that morning in Tel Aviv.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Merlot

      I stated clearly that Palestinians right to protest does not take away Israel’s right to defend its borders. I also say that those protesting have to recognize that protesting in this way will engender a violent response. I am not trying to say that Palestinians right to return should threaten your safety, but that your right to security also shouldn’t be used to deny others rights. Responsibility here goes two ways.

      My point is that these protests are not necessarily illegitimate or violent. I think the message they are sending is clear and correct. I see that message as being that Israel needs to recognize Palestinian’s right to return.

      Also, if it makes you feel better I will unconditionally condemn the attack in Tel Aviv. Part of the reason most people may not be saying much about this is that it is clear that this act is wrong and condemnable. It is also clear that the perpetrator of this attack will be held accountable. General condemnation of this attack is so overwhelming that each of us adding our condemnation on top of everything else doesn’t add much to the conversation.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Adrian

      Ami, on the basis of your reasoning, is it legitimate for Palestinians to shoot settlers?

      Reply to Comment
    39. Adrian

      actually nevermind – I see that you agree that Israel is an aparthied state so that kind of answers my question.

      Reply to Comment
    40. Anne O'Nimmus

      Ami, why should the regimes that have been hosting Israel’s rejects for 63+ or 44+ years have any obligation to prevent them from returning to their land? And why are you so ready to accept those regimes as permanent enemies – enmity caused by the actions of your own state, which can be rectified if it wasn’t so determined to pursue its land-grabbing and apartheid policies? I don’t and won’t accept your knee-jerk reaction hasn’t been ingrained by a lifetime of dripping propaganda from the state itself.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Roi Livne

      Ami, I find it really unfortunate that you wrote this article, and hope you will retract the rather horrible opinions you are presenting here soon.

      In the first paragraphs you complain – rightly! – about a person who apparently attacked unarmed civilians in Israel. And then you write “screw morality, and screw purple lines, cease fire lines or all the semantics” – and justify the IDF’s decision to shoot unarmed protesters who crossed the cease fire line in the Golan Heights.

      I think you’re taking a very dangerous position here, partly by manipulatively blurring the fine line between violent and non-violent protest. The people who crossed the cease fire line were unarmed; at no point did they threaten the soldiers who guarded the border, Israel, or its citizens. You define them as “violent” only based on your fears, which are reflected in the question you pose: “are any of you willing to bet your life” that the protestors were unarmed?

      Ami, I do not belittle your fears and feelings, but with all due respect, your fear does not grant you the permission to kill people. Fear exists on both sides of the conflict, and your fear is just as real and valid as the palestinians’. Would you support a palestinian shooting Israelis indiscriminately just because they’re afraid of the (very likely) possibility that those Israelis are armed? Would you apply your horrific “Cross the fence – prepare to die” principle to Israelis who live or visit the west bank and the Golan Heights?

      (and this is without even talking about your absolute refusal to try to listen to the protesters and understand their cause.)

      Reply to Comment
    42. @Anne- I answered your first question in the post.
      As for your second question – I don’t know, because I never said that.
      My knee jerk reaction is to protect my family, and I hope I never change. You’re free to not accept it. It’s not like I really asked you anyway 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    43. aristeides

      People squatting on property that rightfully belongs to another people don’t deserve security. There is no right to sleep soundly in another person’s bed.

      There is no equality here. One party is guilty of expropriation; the other party is the victim of it. The rights of the victim supersede those of the guilty party.

      Reply to Comment
    44. @ Roi – I stand by every word. And yes, you do belittle my fears.
      Oh, and if you could just pass me your detailed report of your body search on the hundreds who passed the border, and proved they were unarmed, I’d appreciate it. I’ll publish it here on my channel. Thanks! 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    45. Danny

      The Golan is occupied territory that was captured and is being held illegally by Israel. By the same token, if a thief breaks into your home while you’re away, changes the locks and bars your entry, you have every legal right to expel him from your property. And if he shoots at you while you’re trying to pick the lock to your door, you have every right to shoot back. Israel is nothing but a common burglar that needs to be arrested and put behind bars.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Roi Livne

      This comment has been edited

      I must admit that I did not get any report on their body search, nor could I get any report on YOUR body search, and hence I cannot be sure you are not armed yourself. Given the opinions that you voiced here, I am myself afraid – and please do not belittle my fears!

      So since I absolutely agree that we should screw morality and adopt your brilliant logic, does this mean that the next time I see you, I could legitimately shoot you dead?

      Wake up, Ami. You’re not the center of the world. Many people are afraid of many other people and cannot conduct body searches on them. Your fears are just as valid as everyone else’s, even if they’re not Jewish.

      Reply to Comment
    47. Yes ROi, you have permission to shoot me if I illegally enter your home from an enemy territory. Stop being so innocent and arrogant. You don’t have to search me because I don’t go crossing borders into enemy territory. I wonder if you would say the same thing, if tomorrow god forbid, one of the people who crossed on sunday blows himself up in Dizengoff center.
      I’m not asking you to conduct a body search on everyone in NYC that looks scary. I’m asking only to conduct on people who cross a border from a state I’ve been to war with that hosts terrorists organizations. Call me frightened, or whatever. You’re the one who’s living in a bubble.
      I guess we can quit the searches at airports, too. I mean, just because a guy looks like a terrorist doesn’t mean he’s out to kill ya.

      Reply to Comment
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