Every week, this blog tries to chronicle the most egregious acts of racism committed by Israel, both within the 1948-1967 “Green Line” borders and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. You can find a longer explanation of the purpose of this exercise here. As this list will, unfortunately be far from exhaustive, feel free to add additional stories of relevance and importance in the comments below.
Being the inaugural week of the blog, we only have a few days’ worth of news to deal with this week. Unfortunately, the Israeli state and its citizens did not disappoint. This week’s top examples of egregious racism are:
- Ulad Issa, a Palestinian citizen of Israel was spit on by three 14-year old Jewish Israeli children for being in “a Jewish neighborhood.” The arrested teens are basically just getting a slap on the wrist. Issa noted that this is not her first encounter with racist acts:
“Unfortunately, this was not the first time something like this has happened to us. Even guests who come to our home are confronted by racists who attack them verbally and spit at them, particularly when they see Arab women wearing veils.”
- In the meantime, four of the many youths who attacked a streetsweeper in Jaffa on Purim (when, according to Haaretz, “everybody gets to be a little bit racist”) have been arrested. Israel has been making a lot of noise lately about how it is now taking such incidents seriously and looking to punish them more harshly. So far there has been no indication that these are more than just words.
- Meanwhile, beyond the Green Line, Ynet obtained video of a settlement security officer: “grabbing the shepherd, Na’al Abu Aram, and punching him as an IDF soldier looks on.” Incredibly, the story proceeds to tell the settler’s version of events without any context, proof, or time devoted to the victim of the attack. Contrast the tone of this article with the one above, wherein the author is clearly worried about the spate of racist attacks on Palestinian citizens of Israel. Ynet effects a defense of the racist attackers rather than of the victims. It is not just the Israeli army that is complicit in this attack.
- Mahmoud Titi, age 25, was shot and killed when Israeli soldiers used live ammunition to suppress a demonstration south of Hebron. Two others were seriously injured by live fire as well. The Israeli army has increasingly been using live fire against demonstrators in the West Bank after a series of embarrassing videos of more measured crowd control tactics became the subject of collective national panic and ire late last year. Titi was the sixth Palestinian who has died this year as a result.
- Haaretz reports that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees took the unusual step of filing an amicus brief with Israel’s High Court of Justice objecting to a new law that would allow for mass incarceration of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant workers, even without their having committed a crime. Human Rights Watch has a good write-up of the issue here. The legal proceedings are ongoing.
“UNHCR is seriously concerned that the Law will wrongly stigmatize and penalize, including by way of lengthy detention, persons who are in need of international protection as refugees and who are claiming such protection from Israel,”
- Israel demolished the unrecognized village of Al-Aqaqib in the Negev dessert for the 45th time in the past two years. For a primer on unrecognized villages in the Nakba, check out Electronic Intifada’s writeup here.
- Ma’an reports that the Israeli army violently broke up a planned wedding between a man from Abu Dis and a woman from Nazareth. Israel does not allow Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to cohabitate with their spouses who live inside of the Green Line, for fear that it might allow non-Jews access to the full rights of citizenship. The campaign was organized by Love in the Time of Apartheid: look for them on Twitter.
- And finally, the Tweet of the Week goes to Joseph Dana
The only Palestinians I have seen at the Herzliya Conference this year are making coffee #TrueStory
— joseph dana (@ibnezra) March 13, 2013