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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Beit El, Jerusalem and Kefar Duma

I am waiting for an Israeli Charles de Gaulle. A leader who’ll have the courage to tell his or her countrymen that the enemies from within – the Jewish extremists - are more dangerous to the stability of their country and to its democracy than their external enemies.

I am waiting for an Israeli Charles de Gaulle, who’ll have the courage to declare outright that he or she are going to lead their country to a territorial compromise because it’s good for Israel. Like de Gaulle did when he decided to swiftly take France out of Algeria, responding to his own generals’ putsch in 1961 and to the French right-wing opposition to an independent Algeria.

Nearly twenty-five years ago I researched in depth the reasons for the stubborn rejection of successive Likud governments to an international peace conference under UN auspices. When I began to investigate whether the UN could serve as an acceptable framework for an Arab-Israeli peace, I found out that it was the power of the settlement movement and that of the Israeli political right that prevented peace negotiations, not the UN framework. That influence has only strengthened since my research, and Jewish extremists who have taken matters in their own hand to torment the lives of ordinary Palestinians have been let off the hook too easily.

Since the process of religionization that began in Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War, many Israeli observers have voiced their concerns that the cavalier way in which their governments treat crimes against Palestinians committed by Israelis, would erode the state of law in Israel. Their concerns fell on deaf ears. Until today.  When thousands of Israelis across the country protested the heinous crimes committed at the end of the week by Israeli terrorists.

It didn’t start this week: First came their arson attack on a church in northern Israel, on June 18. On July 29 they violently resistance the demolition of two houses in Beit El, Jerusalem, that had been built illegally. The demolition was an implementation of a ruling made by Israel’s High Court of Justice, the bastion of Israel’s democracy. That same day, an Israeli right-wing MP called for the bulldozing of the hight court, while other right-wingers threatened its justices.

On July 30 an ultra orthodox Jew stabbed 6 participants in a gay pride parade in Jerusalem. One of his victims, a 16 year old girl died. The attacker was released from jail only three weeks ago, after serving a ten-year sentence for committing the same crime. The next day Jewish settlers torched a house in Kefar Duma in the West Bank, killing a toddler and gravely injuring his parents and brother. Israel’s security organizations are now examining whether there is a connection between the demolition in Beit El and the arson attack in Kefar Duma.     

True, Arab terrorists commit horrific acts against Israelis, and Imams call openly for the slaughtering of Israelis and other Jews. And we have yet to see Arabs demonstrate against these acts, as do Israelis in similar situations . But Israel prides itself for being a state ruled by law, and rule of law must guide it. Equal for all.  That cannot happen under nearly 50 years of occupation.  Will an Israeli de Gaulle arrive any time soon? 

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