Ghattas served a two-year sentence for smuggling cellphones to Palestinian political prisoners. ‘The conditions that Palestinian prisoners face are a central tool the occupation uses to reinforce itself.’ Former Balad MK Basel Ghattas was released from prison Monday morning after serving two years for smuggling cellphones to Palestinian political prisoners in Israel. Although his family was told that Ghattas would be released from Megiddo Prison at 10 a.m., an Israeli Prison Service vehicle dropped him off in Afula in the early morning hours, most likely to prevent a public reception. [tmwinpost] Family and friends greeted Ghattas on his arrival to his…Read More...
The Knesset won't even allow this law to be discussed, let alone voted on, because it proposes making Israel a 'state of all its citizens.' Why is that so threatening? The presidium of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, decided on Monday that a proposed law seeking to define Israel as “a state of all its citizens” is so far outside the acceptable political discourse that it cannot even be submitted to the legislature for debate. [tmwinpost] The bill — a proposed Basic Law, the closest thing Israel has to constitutional amendments in a country without a constitution — sought to enshrine…Read More... | 11 Comments
MK Basel Ghattas will serve two years for smuggling cellphones to Palestinian security prisoners. That's a longer sentence than the one handed down to an Elor Azaria, who executed an incapacitated Palestinian. Congratulations are in order to the attorney general and the Knesset for the latest Arab they managed be put up on the cross. Palestinian MK Basel Ghattas (Balad), who was accused of smuggling cellphones to Palestinian security prisoners, agreed to sign a plea bargain according to which he will admit to committing an act that could lead either directly or indirectly to acts of terrorism, resign from the Knesset,…Read More... | 5 Comments
After a year in which the government incited against Arab society and the media pandered to the Right's agenda, the attempt to expel Joint List MK Basel Ghattas points to a worrying future. By Abed Abu Shehada When the Knesset passed the so-called “expulsion law” last summer, widely seen as targeting Arab lawmakers, many believed it didn't matter, because no vote on expelling a member of the Knesset would reach the two-thirds majority (90 MKs) needed. They also said it was the media’s role to be objective and to cover the news reliably, so as not to become a tool in…Read More... | 2 Comments
Despite the racism and violence, Palestinian citizens must not despair. Instead they should nonviolently challenge the majority as part of a discussion on rights, democratic values, and opposition to the occupation. By Marzuq Al-Halabi Although there exists a multitude of Palestinian political parties and movements in Israel, there are three main currents among them that cross boundaries, find expression in different organizations and lifestyles, and crop up in day-to-day practice and discussions. However, the borders between these currents have hardened as a result of internal social, local and national developments. [tmwinpost] The central current tries creatively and with all its might to reconcile its Israeliness with…Read More... | 8 Comments
When the Israeli establishment prevents Palestinians on either side of the Green Line from struggling nonviolently, what other options are left? So what do all these Arabs do when they aren't willing to bow before the establishment? The last few days have provided a slew or examples of the Zionist establishment's attempts to mold the Palestinian who opposes the occupation as someone who is either handcuffed or shot. [tmwinpost] Let's begin with the lie that the media has been spreading over the past week. As my colleague Haggai Matar wrote in these pages, Israel's "wave of violence" against the Palestinians never went…Read More... | 13 Comments
Balad isn't the first political party in Israel to be suspected of violating campaign finance laws. But it is the first one to have its members arrested in overnight, commando-style raids. There are two possible ways to describe the dramatic, highly-publicized arrest of dozens of activists and senior members of the Balad party earlier this week: "The police opened a wide spreads investigation against Balad over suspicions of fraudulently transferring millions of shekels to the party's coffers during the 2013 elections." [tmwinpost] Or: "In an overnight operation security focus raided the homes of dozens of Palestinians, arresting them for pro-Palestinian…Read More... | 9 Comments
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.…Read More...
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:…Read More... | 8 Comments
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…Read More... | 6 Comments
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.…Read More... | 11 Comments
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…Read More...
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…Read More... | 4 Comments
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