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When an Arab kid is arrested in the heart of Tel Aviv

The ugly Israeli is not the one who is filmed yelling at stewardesses or hotel receptionists. It is the one who lives in denial of an entire system that oppresses another people. The one who eats his ice cream as a Palestinian child is arrested right in front of him.

By Mei-Tal Nadler

Activists spread postcards from Gaza in the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 21, 2014. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Activists spread postcards from Gaza in the streets of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli attack on Gaza, July 21, 2014. (photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

A few weeks ago, just days before Israelis headed to the polls, an Arab teenager was arrested on Tel Aviv’s famed Rothschild Boulevard at around 6 p.m. I have no idea who he is, what he did before he was arrested, where he came from or where he is now. Perhaps he stole something, or perhaps he planned to steal or cause harm. He looked no older than 13, maybe 14. A teenager.

In this story, I am the local, a passerby who is walking her dog when she sees a strange sight: a young boy handcuffed to a policeman in civilian clothing, with a policewoman walking next to them. “Why are you trying to escape, huh? You thought we wouldn’t catch you?” asks to the policewoman. He looks frightened. I ask him how old is he, but he remains silent. I asked if the officers explained his rights to him, if anyone knows he has been arrested. “He’s a shabakhnik. [A Hebrew term for Palestinians who enter Israel illegally without a permit.] You want a shabakhnik on your street?” asks the policewoman. He is just a teenager, and to tell the truth, I don’t really care whether he is on my street.

I ask again whether he knows his rights, whether they are planning on notifying relative know that he was arrested. I know that the number of Palestinian minors who were arrested without notification went up this year. Children are arrested for six hours, 10 hours, sometimes entire days without their parents’ knowledge. Time passes, and no one knows where their child is. I read about this in a report published a few months ago by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) titled “One rule, two legal systems.” “I don’t owe you an explanation,” the policewoman told me, and continued walking down the street. From afar, one could mistake them for parents on an evening stroll with their son. Two police cars waited for them in the middle of the boulevard.

I walked over to a young couple sitting on a bench while their two kids were eating ice cream. “Doesn’t it seem strange to you that they arrested him just like that? He’s only a teenager.” The father became angry, “I don’t understand why they have to do it in the middle of the day in front of all these children.” They continued to eat their ice cream. The Arab was pushed into a police van, and I left. A short while later I called the police to try and find out the boy’s fate, but to no avail. This is life here, before and after elections.

There was something strange about the proximity between an election cycle bereft of the word “peace” and a spontaneous campaign by Israeli citizens who film videos of “the ugly Israeli.” It seems that like every other conversation, the national conversation on the “ugly Israeli” has its own limits. The tribe simply stands on the side and mocks. It turns out that the ugly Israeli acts horribly toward stewardesses, gets drunk on vacations, embarrasses those around him, parks in handicapped spots, threatens to beat up the receptionist and yells at children on the playground because they didn’t let his kid take a turn on the swings. The “beautiful Israeli” is shocked by these displays, quickly joins the national chorus and clears his or her conscience. After all, we are a kind and tolerant people.

Read more: Israelis elected a non-democracy

But this purist discourse (which is violent in itself) does not serve the function of “truly” unmasking the beautiful or ugly Israeli. Its goal is to allow us to continue and repress the “real” ugly Israeli: the one who goes to great lengths to forget about the complex mechanisms that allows his or her state to rule over another nation, to oppress and humiliate that nation, one who has become accustomed to the psychological disconnect between the “territories” and “here,” one who does not get angry when his or her elected officials allocate huge sums of money to continue building settlements whose very existence hinders any real attempt at negotiations. One who does not really care about what happens “there,” as long as they don’t bring “there” here, to the middle of his or her beautiful boulevard. Not in front of the children.

Ignoring this discourse, and its replacement with a morally purist one filled the gap in an election cycle devoid of any real conversation about the occupation and the perpetual denial of human rights. In any case, this denial mechanism is also the superficial answer to the question “how did this happen to us?”

Most Palestinians who work in Israel without permits come from the West Bank due the difficult economic conditions there. They are willing to put themselves in danger, whether due to the possibility of being caught by security forces, prosecuted or even physically harmed, in exchange for small sums of money.

Palestinian workers pray after crossing the Eyal checkpoint, between the West Bank city of Qalqilya and Israel, January 4, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Palestinian workers pray after crossing the Eyal checkpoint, between the West Bank city of Qalqilya and Israel, January 4, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

This past month, Haaretz’s Amira Hass wrote [Hebrew] about statements made by Lt. Col. Shmuel Kedar, who rejected the military prosecutor’s request to keep a Palestinian worker who was caught without an entry permit in custody until the end of his court proceedings. Kedar suggested increasing the number of entry permits to Palestinian workers, and said that the Palestinian who was caught did not constitute a security threat. According to Kedar, “As long as Israel does not reach an agreement, the problem of permit-less Palestinians cannot not be solved through the courts, but rather through providing permits to more people. This solution will allow the Palestinian population to make a living, and will provide them with the motivation to live in peace, with no need to break the law.”

I thought to write all this so that people hear about this frightened teenager, one of many, who most likely came to Tel Aviv to wash dishes or to carry sandbags used for construction, anything to give him some money to bring home. But in order to do this I had to take out my cat’s litter box from my work room. He had just undergone surgery the previous day and needed a quiet space. “Should I close the trashcan for you?” asked someone who stood outside with his dog and stared at me. Something in his voice angered me. “What, are you following me?” I yelled at him. “Don’t worry, I know how to close the trash can. I don’t need you for that.” Turns out he is my neighbor. He lives across the hall. I probably could have been even harsher. Standing like that with his dog in the middle of the night, following me as if he has nothing better to do. Bastard, this is my street and I will decide when to close the trash and when not to.

I kept thinking about all the things that anger me, but then I saw him staring at me, his face full of shock. “You know,” I said quietly, “today in the afternoon they arrested an Arab kid here, and no one cared. People continued eating their ice cream as he passed by, his entire body shaking.” We continued to stand there in silence for a few minutes, while I tried to remember the boy’s face. After all, I’ve lived here for almost a year, and he’s my neighbor. “You know, I don’t really care about the trash,” he said. “I know,” I answered.

Mei-Tal Nadler is a poet, a doctoral student in Ben-Gurion University’s Hebrew Literature department and a research fellow at the Israeli Democracy Institute. This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    1. Joel

      Mei Tal, if the kid was here illegally, what recourse is there but to arrest and deport him. I don’t get you.

      In fact,I so don’t get you that I have to wonder what’s in 972 Mag’s head in publishing your article.

      Amira Hass? Your cat?

      WTF are you talking about?

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        WTF is he talking about???

        Its called : EMPATHY

        Which is something you have deleted from your heart, your soul, and your memory…

        No wonder you can’t understand why 972 Mag published the article…

        Reply to Comment
        • saar

          Empathy is cool.
          How does that apply to a non-citizen who has been caught being illegally in tel aviv?

          Reply to Comment
        • Joel

          “Its called : EMPATHY”

          It’s called moral narcissism.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      The policewoman was doing her duty, arresting someone who had committed an illegal act. He will be processed and eventually deported back to his family where he belongs instead of on the streets of Tel Aviv. Police across the globe arrest illegal aliens. There is nothing unusual about this. The Policewoman owed this officious busybody no explanation for doing her job. The Israeli citizens witnessing the innocuous arrest have no reason to apologize.

      Israel as a sovereign country has the right to determine what foreign aliens can enter the country and work. I do not know one nation which has a category for 13 old immigrants skilled in nothing.

      Israel owes no apology for succeeding in building a successful economy while the Palestinians chose not to do so. Palestinian circumstances stem form decisions and choices they made in deciding to go to war in 1948 and their rejectionism of peace since then. Israel from 1948 in the territory it held built a Nation state and an economy. The Palestinian Arabs did neither. As a result, once it was possible after the 1967 war, many Arabs sought work in Israel and many Israelis shopped in Arab shops in West Bank. Before the second intifada upwards of 40% of the Palestinian workforce were employed in Israeli employment. Tens of thousands are employed in industrial zones in Judea and Samaria alone. Palestinian GDP increased by 2000% under Israeli rule. Palestinian self rule and terrorism brought the economic gains to an end.

      Under Israeli rule between 1967 and 1993 Palestinian Arabs enjoyed periods of economic boom and recession which they had not seen under Egyptian and Jordanian rule. Israel invested in civil infrastructure for the benefit of the Palestinians. The advent of self rule by the Palestinian authority and later by Hamas caused a precipitous fall in Palestinian incomes. In the 1990s Palestinian incomes declined 25%. Before Arafat died Palestinians incomes had declined by 35% compared to under Israel rule.

      One might ask how Palestinian incomes declined so much? The number one reason was endemic corruption. Monopolies were given out to cronies of Arafat and other PA members. Businesses were often charged what amounted to protection money to operate or receive government business. Government departments were staffed according to party loyalty and family allegiance. Billions of dollars of foreign assistance just disappeared. This was hardly the economic environment for a healthy economy to produce good paying jobs and competition among businesses.

      Arafat and the PA used money to build a terrorist network and a very large security service which Arafat funded with cash payments. This is not a recipe for a healthy economy. Palestinian terrorism resulted in the closure of the Israeli marketplace to most Arab employment.

      Israel has once again permitted tens of thousands of Palestinians to work in Israel with permits. Prime Minister Netanyahu recently increased the number of permits to Palestinian workers. Legal permit holders get paid Israeli wages and benefits. Those who choose to work outside the legal system can expect to earn lower wages with fewer if any benefits and risk being arrested.

      Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas has since 2005 chosen to build another Somalia instead of a Palestinian Singapore. Instead of investing in civil infrastructure it has put its money into the procurement of war materials and fought a civil war against Fatah and three wars against Israel. Hamas, like Arafat’s corrupt government of the 1990s and 2000s taxed everything coming into Gaza for their own benefit and for paying for their war materials. While they were counting, 160 children died in digging tunnels in Gaza up to December 2011. Wars, corruption and terrorism have severely limited Gaza’s business prospects.

      In 1967 Cecil Hourani wrote in the Moment of Truth that no one would save the Arab Nation from the consequences of its own mistakes and follies but themselves. He said history would judge them as a “people who did not know how to use the chances offered to them” and “condemn them to the fate” they “shall have deserved”. He noted that the Arabs moved from debacle to debacle regretting that they did not accept a situation which no longer existed. Hourani noted that the Arabs regretted that they did not accept the partition plan in 1948. In May 1967 the Arabs were trying to reverse the 1956 Suez situation. Then they wanted to go back to how things were prior to the June war. Of course the Arabs even failed to seize that possibility with its three nos to peace, recognition and negotiations. In 1978 they said no to peace, self rule and a seat at the Camp David peace table with Israel and Egypt. Arafat and Abbas both rejected offers of peace. And what are Palestinians trying to do, they are still trying to unwind the consequences of the 1948 and 1967 wars. In the meantime they fail to take what is offered to them.

      So Israelis have nothing to apologize for the Palestinians’ responsibility for the choices they made.

      Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        “Israel owes no apology for succeeding in building a successful economy while the Palestinians chose not to do so.”

        Israel owes an apology to the Palestinians for singlehandedly sabotaging the Plaestinian economy every chance it gets. And for not building up the Palestinian economy in any meaningful way in the 25 years it had COMPLETE control over the territories.

        During 1967 and 1992, it was Israel that decided not to build any form of economy, succesful or not, for the Palestinians.

        “Palestinian circumstances stem form decisions and choices they made in deciding to go to war in 1948 and their rejectionism of peace since then.”

        Palestinians did not decide to go to war. You are – as always – wrong and distorting the facts.

        The Arab states decided to go to war, and to intervene in an ongoing civil war that was causing many of their religious bredren to be killed or forced to flee.

        “Israel from 1948 in the territory it held built a Nation state and an economy. The Palestinian Arabs did neither.”

        Because they couldn’t. As you well know. First because the were controlled by Egypt/Jordan, then because Israel sabotaged every possibility of them building a state.

        “Palestinian GDP increased by 2000% under Israeli rule. ”

        I’d love to see a souce for this. Whatever the case: Palestinian per capita GDP was still among the lowest in the Arab world in 1992, after 25 years of complete Israeli rule.

        The Arab governments therefore did a better job in bolstering their own economies than the Israelis did in bolstering the Palestinian economy. The per capita GDP in Palestine was Lower than in Jordan, lower than in Lebanon and considerably lower than in Syria. About the same as in Egypt. While prices were considerably higher, let’s not forget!

        CIA World Factbook 1992:

        Israel failed in every possible way between 67 and 92 in building a Palestinian economy. This complete failure, and the reliance on chaep Palestinian labour within Israel showed later on, when there were no Palestinian economic elites to build a working economy.

        “Before Arafat died Palestinians incomes had declined by 35% compared to under Israel rule.”

        Another distortion. The main reason for the decline in incomes was the closure of the Israeli labor-market to low-paid Palestinian workers (well paid in Palestinian terms, still low paid in Arab terms) – and the resulting mass unemployment.

        “One might ask how Palestinian incomes declined so much? The number one reason was endemic corruption.”

        As explained, you’re wrong. As always. And I have to guess that – as always – you know it.

        ” Legal permit holders get paid Israeli wages and benefits.”

        Since 2013, after an Israeli court decided employers had to pay the equally.

        The judical system is one of the few democratic tenets that’s barely functional in Israel today.

        “Meanwhile in Gaza, Hamas has since 2005 chosen to build another Somalia instead of a Palestinian Singapore.”

        Oh come the fuck on. Not even you are THIS stupid, right?
        Israeli governments have built a state of social anxiety for Jews, instead of building a mediterrannean Finland…

        Just as stupid an analogy.

        “Instead of investing in civil infrastructure it has put its money into the procurement of war materials and fought a civil war against Fatah and three wars against Israel.”

        Hamas invested (in relative terms to its budget) MORE in civil infrastructure, and LESS into the military and security apparatus (what you would call terrorism) than Israel did. Sorry to burst your bubble once again.

        “Wars, corruption and terrorism have severely limited Gaza’s business prospects.”

        As every economist will tell you, it’s mostly the Blockade that limits Gazas business prospects. The culprits are Israel and Egypt, in this case.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          With respect to the 1947-49 war:

          Benny Morris:

          “Since the Palestinians tried and intended to destroy us, and their villages and towns served as bases in wartime, the winning side had to take over villages and expel populations. This situation was built into the nature of the war, even if people from the left have a hard time swallowing it.”

          The Arab Higher Committee, the ruling Palestinian faction in 1947, committed Palestinian Arabs to an existential war. 7 Jews were murdered on public transportation the morning after the partition vote. Shots were fired at Jews and bombs thrown into Jewish businesses. Prior to the partition vote Jamal Husseini the Chairman of the AHC promised that blood would flow in the streets if there was a positive vote and he made good his promise. The AHC attacked and destroyed the new Jewish commercial sector in Jerusalem at the start of December. By December 8th the Arab Salvation Army of the AHC had attacked two Jewish communities with the intention of destroying them. Jewish traffic was interdicted and the Palestinians tried to end Jewish life in Mandate Palestine. By the end of December war was in full swing. At that point the Arab countries sent in thousands of irregular troops under the leadership of an Arab General. By April there were 7,000 members of the Arab Liberation Army fighting and attacking Jewish communities in an attempt to destroy them and their residents. In May, 1948 after the British sailed out of Haifa port, 5 Arab countries with contingents from other Arab countries invaded Israel to prevent the emergence of a Jewish state and to kill its inhabitants. Every community which the Arabs conquered was destroyed and Jewish life emptied therefrom including the old city in Jerusalem. The Egyptian army was stopped only 20 minutes from Tel Aviv.

          With regard to the Palestinian Economy:

          Efraim Karsh: Arafat’s War

          “At the time Arafat started his war of terror against Israel, Palestinian income per head was nearly double of Syria, more than four times of Yemen and 10% higher than Jordan… Only the gulf oil states and Lebanon were more affluent.”

          Johnathon Adelman, The Rise of Israel,

          “During the 1967 to 1987 period, Gaza and the West Bank were among the fastest growing economies in the world. The Gaza strip saw its per capita income soar from $80 per head in 1967 to $1706 in 1987.”

          Efraim Karsh:

          “By September 1997, nearly two years after the PA had extended control over virtually the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, per capita income in the territories had dropped by 35%.”

          “Municipal and civil services evolved into a corrupt system of patronage aimed at serving Arafat’s interests…. Within one half a year of his arrival in Gaza, 830 directors general were appointed to various government ministries and offices, one for every 19 workers.”

          Karsh points out that in May 1997 the first report on the Palestinian budget showed that out of a budget of $800 million 325 million dollars were wasted or embezzled. Monopolies granted to Arafat and Fatah supporters gouged Palestinian retailers and consumers. Key PA and PLO members demanded and received graft from major industries. They extorted money from businesses, arresting family members and demanding bribes. One businessman who would not pay the bribe was tortured to death. Arafat’s wife controlled pharmaceutical and clothing companies and a major shareholder in al-Bahar construction company. Clearance revenues were paid directly into an Arafat account (2.5 billion dollars between 1994-2000, for which monies Arafat could not account.)

          David Samuels “In a Ruined Country” in Atlantic Monthly stated that between 1995 and 2000 Arafat stole 900 million while PA and PLO people took 7 billion dollars out of the Palestinian monies from outright theft and kickbacks and protection money.

          The decline in average income of Palestinians is all the more surprising because of the massive amount of financial foreign aid which flowed into the Palestinian coffers. The pre-1993 economy received little foreign aid. Arafat’s corruption destroyed much of the Palestinian economy and replaced it with an economy dependent on international handouts.

          Even after Arafat died and Fayyad began to set up transparent government departments, the Europeans are looking for billions of Euros given to the Palestinian for which no accounting exists.

          The problem was that Arafat ran the PLO as a personal fiefdom and did the same with the PA. He and the PA were the beneficiaries of his ill gotten gains and the Palestinians the losers. Instead of using monies for peace and building infrastructure and encouraging competition, Arafat did the exact opposite. He built an army of security officers and waged terrorism.

          Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            Morris is perfectly aware the Yishuv settlements were military objectives under the same rationale he attributes to the Palestinian villages. The real difference is that the Palestinians didn’t build their dwellings in Poland with the vague notion of replacing the Jews, a notion that evolved into a concrete military plan of systematic expulsions (i.e. Plan Dalet).

            Of course, had the founders of the Yishuv recruited their military in their home countries, and the WZO entered Palestine in 1897 with an infantry, Zionist propaganda would be slightly modified today. They would tell us “the Jews” were simply behaving like the rest of the world in conquering their own territory. So instead of hearing about the population exchanges of Greece and Turkey, India and Pakistan, and the expulsion of the Sudenten Germans, the laundry list would simply include Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, et. al seizing their colonies and protectorates. You’d have to be an antisemite for holding them to a higher standard than other settler-colonialists.

            The Zionists arrived in Palestine with the belligerent intent and needed 50 years to overcome their military handicap (With British help). They were insane for pursuing a military objective without an armed force of their own. Unfortunately it was just insane enough to work.

            Reply to Comment
          • Sticky Rice

            @Andrew, why do you insist on posting your preposterous bullshit on here? You are not fooling anyone.

            Reply to Comment
          • andrew r

            It’s a simple question of cui bono. The Yishuv got their Jewish state thanks to the Palestinian refugee crisis, which the Plan Dalet operations brought about. As many Zionist leaders variously expressed the desire to “transfer” the Arabs since 1895 when Herzl first wrote of it*, they had a good 50 years to realize they might someday be doing just that by military force. Without the Yishuv paramilitaries seizing the “Arab state” parts of Palestine and expelling the Palestinians during 1948, there would have been no Israel that could have absorbed millions of immigrants.

            This isn’t really that philosophical. If an armed group can only defend itself by expelling civilians and that results in a political entity said group was trying to build in the first place, they are morally accountable for contemplating such a result before active hostilities, as they were building themselves as a belligerent power and could have terminated that at any point. Frankly, the Zionists started the war against Palestine when they decided to build a state there, albeit it was a “phony war”.

            * Yes, I know Herzl was not speaking of Arabs directly in that diary entry, though he was contemplating the removal of those in the hypothetical Jewish state who would be evicted following land deals.

            Reply to Comment
          • Stick Rice

            Andrew, you are full of shit. Do you honestly believe what you have documented? You writings are original and I,have been on plenty of conspiracy/Antisemitic/antiIsrael/antiAmericsn websites.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            There were no military objectives before the Arabs planned and launched a war of genocide against the Jewish Yishuv. The Palestinian Arabs rejected peace, organized their military forces in their villages and began a war to eliminate Jewish life. They fought their war from Palestinian villages. The Jews defended their towns and villages against attack. They did not initiate war but defended themselves from it. On April 16, 1948 Jamal Husseini told the UN security council:

            “The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”

            And what a fight the Arabs promised.

            Jamal Husseini, head of the Palestinian delegation to the UN and the Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee, vowed that “The blood will flow like rivers in the Middle East,” should the partition plan pass a UN vote.

            Abdul Rahman Azzam ,the head of the Arab League, promised a massacre of the Jews and a war of extermination should partition pass. An October 11, 1947 report on the pan-Arab summit in the Lebanese town of Aley,by Akhbar al-Yom’s editor Mustafa Amin, contained an interview he held with Arab League secretary-general Azzam. The article was titled, “A War of Extermination.” Azzam was quoted as saying:

            “I personally wish that the Jews do not drive us to this war, as this will be a war of extermination and momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Tartar massacre or the Crusader wars…. “I warned the Jewish leaders I met in London to desist from their policy,[partition]telling them that the Arab was the mightiest of soldiers and the day he draws his weapon, he will not lay it down until firing the last bullet in the battle, and we will fire the last shot …”

            Fawzi al-Qawuqji, the head of the Arab League’s volunteer army in Palestine, the Arab Liberation Army (ALA), threatened that, should the vote go the wrong way, “we will have to initiate total war. We will murder, wreck and ruin everything standing in our way, be it English, American or Jewish.” It would be a “holy war,”

            These comments clearly show the aims of the Arab war.

            Reply to Comment
          • Pedro. that’s a pretty slanted way to look at the history of the region..but even assuming all of that is as you stated …none of that makes it morally justified to treat the Arab population with such disdain. I am an African American who spent time in an Israeli prison for organizing Jewish immigrants in Israel who were from Yemen and Algeria helping them get to vote among other things ….at that time they were the “niggers” of Israel …in America we have a saying “shit rolls down hill” All you are saying is now the oppressed can be the oppressor. If I was still living in Israel I would be resisting this sick attitude.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        That is an utterly bizarre argument you are putting forward Pedro, Joel and Saar. No, Israel is not a normal state doing what other normal states do. Israel is a state without declared borders (the only one in the world) with a ruling party that claims there can only be one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This Palestinian lad then is not an illegal immigrant from an alien land – he is a resident of the land to which your government is busy exporting its settlers to, and in which it is busy building an Apartheid infrastructure of settler only roads. Israelis can freely live there and vote in Israeli elections and receive a wealth of housing subsidies and be subject to Israeli civil law and be protected by the IDF in what you maintain, when it suits you, is an alien land to which you can legitimate deport a young Palestinian worker. The contradictions and double standards and lack of reciprocity of Zionism never cease to amaze us.

        Reply to Comment
        • Joel

          Israel has internationally recognized Northern, Southern and Western borders. A section of Israel’s Eastern border is an armistice line, that final border to negotiated pursuant to UN Resolution 242. Gotta problem with that, Bryan? Thousands of West Bank Arabs LEGALLY cross into Israel every day. This kid wasn’t one of them. Why Mei Tal’s heart bleeds for him is beyond me.

          I empathize with the kid, but I don’t have the nerve to call people who don’t meet my empathy ‘ugly Israels’.

          Bryan is just a thinly disguised Jew hater.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Thanks for the clarification, Joel, that the 1949 armistice lines delineate the borders of Israel. That helps but then raises the question of why your government is illegally exporting its settlers into foreign territory and building its walls in alien territory and oppressing an alien people. And no I am not “a thinly disguised Jew hater” – many of my intellectual heroes and good friends are Jews who also complain that Zionism has hijacked Judaism and perverted the essence of its fundamental beliefs and culture to defend the indefensible. And you are an utter fraud if you cannot seriously distinguish between antisemitism and principled objection to oppression. Instead of proliferating your nonsense here, why don’t you go away and study the Torah and learn the injunction: “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” There may be no evidence that the Hebrews were ever in Egypt as described in Exodus, but I don’t think that invalidates the sentiment.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      “Most Palestinians who work in Israel without permits come from the West Bank due the difficult economic conditions there. They are willing to put themselves in danger, whether due to the possibility of being caught by security forces, prosecuted or even physically harmed, in exchange for small sums of money.”

      And why is the Palestinian economy so bad? Well, who wants to invest in a factory when the next day the land might be declared part of the new Area Q, or maybe some irregularity will be found in the building permit and the structure will be demolished? Or maybe the raw materials the factory needs can’t get through in time?

      Reply to Comment
    4. maya

      Dear Mei-Tal Nadler, I think that your post was meant to address the Israeli public and rightly so. It is therefore a mistake to have it translated and posted on this website that has a whole different agenda, as evident in the comments of the readers.

      And to the editors of 972mag surely your obsessive resentment did not yet reach the point when you want comment like the one by Daren Stoic on your website.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Maya – stupid comment. The fact that one single person responds with idiotic and utterly reprehensible comments does not discredit the arguments of the author of this article, even though other respondents have expressed equally reprehensible ideas, such as Schwartz’s stupid “throw the Arabs out” comment. Get over your victim status and recognize that your fellow travelers are equally adept at victimizing an entire nation. Let’s not descend to the Lowest Common Denominator.

        Reply to Comment
        • Sticky Rice

          No, in fact the two statement
          1) Hitler was right
          2) Out with the Arabs
          are no where near morally equivalent

          Don’t you get tired of hating all day and all night?

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Of course they are not morally equivalent but they are similarly morally reprehensible and deserving of criticism. There is a dangerous fallacy here waiting to ensnare you that because Jews (and non-Jews) suffered the ultimate evil seventy years ago their descendants are absolved of all criticism no matter how outrageous their behaviour. Many Israelis are not direct descendants of Holocaust victims (the likes of Netanyahu whose family emigrated to Palestine before Hitler came to power and the majority of Israelis who came from North Africa, West Asia, Britain and America and elsewhere. Israel’s Jewish critics (like Norman Finkelstein) often comprise Holocaust survivors and their descendants. Israeli leaders like Avigdor Lieberman merely advocate the oppression and expulsion of Arabs, just as Hitler in the 1930s merely advocated the oppression and expulsion of Jews. Because Russian suffering in WWII matched Jewish suffering does not absolve modern day Russians from all criticism. A rapist cannot defend himself with the argument that “at least I didn’t murder her”. Wrong is wrong and needs to be condemned by all good people. I am sure you agree? Hating evil is not something one should ever get tired of.

            Reply to Comment
    5. Ben

      There is not one reasonable, humane, honest comment from the right here. Discussion is useless. The Israelis can not be engaged except by coercion. Israel understands nothing but force. Boycott, divest, sanction, now.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sticky Rice

        I see Ben. You are creating your strong opinions based on what people say on some third-rate blog. You don’t seem like a well-balanced or sophisticated person.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          No, sticky rice, we are seeing what third-rate people say on a blog – you seem to be the last person to advise us on well-balanced, sophisticated or even reasonably well-informed.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Yah, Mr. Cunning Runts wants to lecture us on being sophisticated. Lol!

            Reply to Comment
          • Sticky Rice

            Bryan, there are no seats at the table for antiSemites like yourself. Sorry.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Sticky Rice. you seem to have made plenty of space at the table for Arab-haters, Islamophobes, truth-deniers, fascists and other bigots. Surely you can squeeze in a couple of small critics of Israeli policy (not of Jews) and of Zionism (an outdated and fundamentally misconceived nineteenth century ethno-nationalism that falsely masquerades itself as the secular/religious political philosophy of world Jewry)?

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    6. Zigs

      I remember that already in 1982, police in Tel Aviv had an interesting hobby of collecting Arab youngsters working in Clubs, beating them up during the night and returning them completely blown up in the morning. The Israeli left (most of it) is talking itself into a stupor, totally ignoring the horrible things happening in their back yard.Nobody notices that we have created getthos in the Westbank. Nobody really thinks about what human beings on the other side go through. In 15 year we will say: “We didn’t know”and nobody will believe us. If you care, get out there and find out, fight it and do all to end it!

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