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Next head of 'Civil Administration' said Palestinians are sub-human

After the Oslo Accords, the Israeli army renamed the Military Government of the West Bank the Civil Administration. MK Eli Ben-Dahan was just appointed to oversee the Administration, which oversees the theft of Palestinian land, settlement expansion and controls the movement of millions of Palestinians.

By John Brown*

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Photo: Natisabu/CC)

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan (Photo: Natisabu/CC)

“[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Aug 1, 2013. (Hebrew)

“A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Dec 27, 2013. (Hebrew/English)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finalized the formation of a new government this week when he signed a coalition agreement with far-right settler party Jewish Home. As part of the agreement, Rabbi Ben-Dahan will be Israel’s next deputy defense minister, responsible for the army’s “Civil Administration.”

The Civil Administration is responsible for all aspects the occupation that don’t involve boots-on-the-ground security operations — it administers planning, building, and infrastructure for both Jews and Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. It also administers the Palestinian population database and is responsible for granting and revoking entry and travel permits for Palestinians, controlling every aspect of their movement.

In other words, the man slated to take charge of an organization entrusted with supervising the theft of Palestinian land and supervising Palestinians’ lives, is a racist who said he does not see them as human, but rather as animals (nothing against animals, of course, but we can be fairly certain Ben-Dahan didn’t mean it as a compliment). That’s more or less like appointing a member of the local Klu Klux Klan chapter to investigate claims of violence and discrimination against the Baltimore Police Department — that is, if Baltimore residents were deprived of citizenship and the right to vote.

But MK Ben-Dahan wasn’t appointed just to continue abusing Palestinians and to advance [Jewish Home party chairman] Naftali Bennett’s apartheid annexation plan, an essential component of which is ethnically cleansing Area C of the West Bank. (Watch Bennett explain his plan here.) The Civil Administration has been quite diligent about that in recent years. For instance, the forced transfer of the entire Palestinian village of Susya (approved this week by the High Court’s settler Justice, Noam Solberg, which is almost as absurd as Ben-Dahan’s appointment), or the theft of water from Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley, whose residents are being forced to either abandon their lands or die.

Strange as it is, the truth is that settler representatives have been trying to shut down the Civil Administration for years, and time and again have tried to defund it. In the previous Knesset, for example, Jewish Home MK Orit Struck, also a settler, tried to freeze the transfer of NIS 310 million to Holocaust survivors so that NIS 29 million wouldn’t be transferred to the Civil Administration. That’s just one example out of many. Local government officials for Jewish settlements in the West Bank have called for the Civil Administration to be shut down and its inspectors have even been attacked by settlers.

It appears that the settlers live in a parallel universe in which the Civil Administration’s Jewish inspectors and Jewish workers and Jewish legal advisors, are racist toward them, despite the fact that they recent the exclusive protection of the IDF and enjoy near immunity from criminal prosecution.

ists in front of  israli soldiers during a solidarity demo in the village of Susiya, located in South Hebron hills , June 22, 2012. (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills)

Palestinian, Israeli and international activists sit in front of Israeli soldiers during a solidarity demo in the village of Susya, located in South Hebron hills, June 22, 2012. (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills) On May 4, 2015, Israeli High Court of Justice’s sole settler justice gave the Civil Administration a green light to demolish Susya and forcefully relocate its residents.

The thing is, that Jewish settlers don’t really need the Civil Administration in order to oppress and abuse Palestinians. And according to them, the Civil Administration doesn’t oppress Palestinians enough. Sure, it has inspectors and the army and legal advisors to make every part of Palestinian life impossible in large swaths of Area C. But that’s not always enough.

The settlers want to feel that they, too, are taking part in the reclamation (read:theft) of Palestinian land — and not just the army and state authorities who declare entire plots to be “state land.” The problem is that every once in a while — very rarely, actually — Civil Administration inspectors and legal advisors turn their attention to the settlers themselves.

That is where Rabbi Dahan comes in, reducing already rare Civil Administration enforcement, and putting to bed the whole annoying concept of laws and regulations.

Israelis are right to be worried about MK Ayelet Shaked becoming the next justice minister, and Naftali Bennett the education minister. But try being a Palestinian in the West Bank, where the man in charge of administering your day-to-day life doesn’t even see you as a human being.

*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger on +972′s Hebrew site, Local Call, where a version of this article was first published in Hebrew.

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    1. Heaven help us all !

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben

      Just picture the outcry. A European country (or the USA) appoints a Christian clergyman to a major civil administrative post. The man is on record saying the following things but the Prime Minister or President of the country thinks that’s quite alright and moreover appoints ideologues from the man’s same party to Justice Minister and Education Minister and these people talk about “reforming” the country’s Supreme Court in sinister ways:

      “[Jews] are beasts, they are not human.” — Congressman and Christian clergyman

      “A gentile always has a much higher soul than a Jew, even if he is a homosexual.” — Congressman and Christian clergyman

      Reply to Comment
      • David T.

        There was a time in Europe when Jews AND homosexuals despite their heritage were considered subhuman. Ben-Dahan seems to have a less homophobic but even more racist approach. I wonder how many of Israel’s pinkwashers have the same approach.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Philippe Levy

      May be, as a Sefarad, he doesn’t know what Ashkenasim remember, that a subhuman is the translation of “untermenschen” exactly the word used by some German from 1933 to 1945 to qualify Jews, Gypsies, Disabled or Homosexual.
      Israel can definitely not be a place for me (a normal French Jew)

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      Perhaps as deputy defense minister Ben-Dahan can be a useful consultant to Unit 8200, where they blackmail homosexuals.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      An odyssey from Birthright to the BDS movement
      Some young Jews on the Israel excursion program say a rah-rah atmosphere has turned them into harsh critics of the occupation.


      What’s the connection to this Israeli Civil Administration Chief Ben-Dahan, you ask? Read the article, including this part:

      “Sussman, a 24-year-old New Yorker, climbed to the top of the plateau [at Masada] and expected the requisite spiritual experience. But what struck him was the guide’s speech when the group reached the top — on the importance of Jewish lives. According to Sussman, the tour guide said: “I have Italian neighbors I grew up next to, and they’re wonderful, but if I had to decide whether to save their lives or the life of one Jew, I would choose to save the Jew. If I had to decide to save 100 non-Jews or one Jew, I would choose the Jew.””

      Reply to Comment
    6. Monsieur Reynard

      Next head of ‘Civil Administration’ said Palestinians are sub-human
      Thank God! He didn’t say that they are “Untermensch” at least !

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ben

      Tell me, why the double standard on Eli Ben-Dahan? Were the situation reversed and were a Gentile European who said the same things about Jews as Ben-Dahan said about Gentiles appointed by a European Prime Minister to a high administrative post, there would be a HUGE outcry and the man would not last one day. As it should be. Why does this appointment get a pass both externally and internally, from outside and from inside? Hmmmmm? We will think of this the next time someone tells us how unfair those Europeans are to Israel. We will think of this the next time someone tells us how well-intentioned the mass of Israelis are. Where are the demonstrations? Where are the protests? Where are the right wing posters denouncing such an appointment? What does it say about a country that allows such a man to serve in this capacity? What does it say about the true character of its right wing?

      Reply to Comment
    8. Felixio

      Well, finally Zionism touched the button of the gutter.

      Reply to Comment