Palestinian citizens are being incarcerated left and right for Facebook statuses. But IDF soldier Elor Azaria, indicted for manslaughter, wasn’t even taken in for questioning over tweets calling for massacres of Palestinians. On the double standards in Israeli law.
By John Brown*
On the Facebook page belonging to the IDF soldier who shot and killed the wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron, one can find calls to massacre everyone living in Gaza, and support for Jewish terrorist Meir Kahane. His father also expressed support for Kahane and for the call to “kill everyone.” His mother suggested killing women and children, first among them, Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi.
If a Palestinian wrote something similar, he or she would probably have been caught by the security services’ monitoring systems. For example, Suheib Zahda, 32, was arrested for a Facebook status expressing support for a boycott of Israel and called on Arabs not to enlist in the IDF. In October 2014, Sami Da’is uploaded to his Facebook page the logo of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a party democratically elected in Palestine, and added the words, “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” He got six likes and an indictment from the State of Israel.
Photograph Amir Abed Rabbo was interrogated after calling Nir Barkat “Mayor of the occupation” on Facebook. Mohammed Asila, who identifies as a Palestinian comedian, wrote: “I opened a tourism company for cars that run people over, every day I get a driver or two who go out to commit ramming attacks and come back.” And then later on: “Stay away from Al Aqsa and leave us alone, we’ll stop ramming…into the concrete blockades you positioned as a solution: We’ll switch from cars to motorcycles.” The honorable Justice Rivka Friedman-Feldman read the translation of his words, and agreed with the State that he posed a danger so severe that he could not remain under house arrest but must be jailed until the end of proceedings.
This month poet Dareen Tatour’s trial began. She was charged with incitement to violence for her poem “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum,” “Resist my people, resist them.” The state prosecutor claims she incited to violence and terror and expressed support for a terror organization. Tatour spent over three months in jail and is now under tight house arrest.
But Israeli law is not applied equally to Arabs and Jews. The cases mentioned here are a small portion of the indictments that are piling up against Arabs for incitement on Facebook. Not only was Elor Azaria not interrogated for his incendiary status, but a month later, he was drafted into the army and stationed in the heart of a Palestinian population he is supposed to protect. His mother was not arrested for incitement to kill a Knesset member in Israel, and his father was not only not arrested, but even had the privilege of getting a phone call from the prime minister.
*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger. A version of this article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call, where he is a blogger. Read it here.