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FW: More on police repression of Israelis' outrage

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  • m.cushman@lse.ac.uk
    ... From: jpn@jewishpeacenews.net [mailto:jpn@jewishpeacenews.net] Sent: 29 January 2009 22:30 To: mike@mikecushman.co.uk Subject: More on police repression of
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: jpn@... [mailto:jpn@...]
      Sent: 29 January 2009 22:30
      To: mike@...
      Subject: More on police repression of Israelis' outrage

      While the following item, from Inter Press Service (IPS) News reports a
      large majority in Israel supporting its actions in Gaza, it also
      describes the harsh police repression of oppositional voices, both
      Jewish and Palestinian, throughout the country. The severity and extent
      of these measures raise doubts as to the claims of near-unanimous public
      support. As Professor Koby Snitz told journalist Nora Barrows-Friedman,
      "demonstrations happened virtually by themselves ... anybody who is not
      severely indoctrinated or ignorant just feels compelled to do something
      every day." Additional protests are scheduled for this coming weekend.

      Rela Mazali




      A 'Police State' Celebrates

      Nora Barrows-Friedman
      JERUSALEM, Jan 19 (IPS) -

      The Israeli government is stepping up efforts to suppress dissent and
      crush resistance in the streets. Police have been videotaping the
      demonstrations and subsequently arresting protesters in large numbers.
      According to Israeli police reports, at least 763 Israeli citizens, the
      majority of them Palestinian and 244 under 18 years old, have been
      arrested, imprisoned or detained for participating in such
      demonstrations. Most have been held and then released, but at least 30
      of those arrested over the past three weeks are still being held in

      Ameer Makhoul, director of Ittijah, the Union of Arab Community-Based
      Associations in Haifa, tells IPS that these demonstrations "are part of
      the uprising here inside the Green Line, to share responsibility and to
      share the challenge with the people in the Gaza strip."

      As an organiser of many of these solidarity demonstrations inside
      Israel, Makhoul himself was arrested by the Shin Bet (the Israeli secret
      service). "They called me, came to my home and held me for four hours,"
      he tells IPS. "They accused me of being a terrorist and supporting
      terror. They said that they are watching me and monitoring me." Israel,
      he said, "has become a terror state."

      The Shin Bet has accused Makhoul and the hundreds of others arrested of
      "being a rebel, threatening the security of the State of Israel during
      war time."

      Makhoul believes that such threats are being implemented by Israel's
      security forces "(in order to) break our will and the spirit of our
      people. But I think our spirit is much, much stronger here in Haifa and
      in Gaza than the Israeli oppression."

      On Jan. 15, a Haaretz-Dialog public opinion poll taken in Israel found
      that 82 percent of the Israeli population believes that Israel did not
      go too far in its three-week operation in Gaza, "despite pictures from
      Gaza depicting massive destruction and a large number of wounded and
      killed, including women and children," reports Haaretz.

      At a demonstration last week in front of Kishon prison north-east of
      Haifa, where some of the Palestinian demonstrators are being held,
      Israeli anarchist and professor of mathematics Kobi Snitz tells IPS that
      this figure is indicative of the current social climate inside the

      "People are made to be afraid. Virtually all Israelis, particularly
      Israeli Jews, are convinced that Hamas was the one that violated the
      ceasefire. This just isn't true...(But) you won't find this in the
      Israeli media. There is no understanding of the level of violence used
      on Gaza by the Israeli military. And the police operate under the
      assumption and guidelines that every political expression now is to be
      repressed and prevented."

      IPS asked Snitz to describe the momentum of these daily protests across
      the country. "These demonstrations happened virtually by themselves," he
      says. "At this point, anybody who is not severely indoctrinated or
      ignorant just feels compelled to do something every day. It's unbearable
      to sit at home and not do anything."

      Last Saturday night in the coastal town of Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv,
      several thousand demonstrators - including Palestinians, various peace
      groups, Israeli anarchists and teenaged Israeli refusniks fresh from
      jail for refusing to serve in the mandatory military - marched through
      the main street in the old city with flags, banners, and vociferous
      determination to keep up the fight inside Israeli society against their
      government's lethal operations in Gaza. Israeli security forces,
      carrying weapons and video cameras, heavily flanked the protesters.

      But activists say it is crucial to expand the discussion from this
      current struggle for Palestinians inside the Gaza strip outward into the
      larger context. "I'm here to take a stand for Gaza," Mahmood Jreri of
      the acclaimed Palestinian hip-hop group DAM, based in Lydd (east of Tel
      Aviv), tells IPS during the march.

      "The main reason (I'm here) is to say that we are not part of what the
      Israeli government is doing. The Palestinian people are fighting for
      their freedom and fighting against the occupation. When Palestinians
      have their freedom, then there will be peace here." (END/2009)

      Jewish Peace News editors:
      Joel Beinin
      Racheli Gai
      Rela Mazali
      Sarah Anne Minkin
      Judith Norman
      Lincoln Shlensky
      Rebecca Vilkomerson
      Alistair Welchman
      Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
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