Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Democratic State

Why we keep fooling ourselves that Lebanon is a democratic State?

لبنان يعيش تحت نظام الأوليغارشية

عصام شلهوب
على وقع صوت “الثورة” والاحتجاجات الشعبية على امتداد مناطق لبنان، اصبح من الضروري أن نحاول قراءة بعض التفاصيل المتعلقة بالثقافة ، والهوية، والعنف،المحركة لهذه الثورة، وما إلى ذلك.

لبنان لايعيش في ظل النظام الديمقراطي، كما يحلو للبعض ان يسميه. نحن نعيش في ظل نظام سياسي يعرف بالأوليغارشية، حكم الأقلية بحسب التعريف التقليدي.

وهو ليس حكرا على سلطة واحدة بيد حفنة قليلة من الحكام واصحاب رأس المال، تدير دولة كاملة وتتحكم فيها وفي مصائر أبنائها، وإنما هي ثقافة تمتد لتشمل الأحزاب والطوائف والمذاهب.

اذا الثقافة الأوليغارشية هي ثقافة فوقية، تقوم على ابعاد الهويات الجوهرية لمجموعات من الناس، وإعلاء هويات أخرى للقيام بوظيفة واحدة، تتمثل في خدمة الفئة “الأوليغارشية” الصغيرة.على ما يصفه الكاتب يوسف ضمرة.

يتم اختزال الهويات المتعددة في المجتمع، لصالح هويات لها مخزون عاطفي دفين وقوي، يمكن استنهاضه بسهولة باستغلال حدث أو أحداث ووقائع عادية تحدث في كل مكان، ولكن الأوليغارشية قادرة على استغلال هذه الوقائع -بصرف النظر عن تقييمها سلبا أو إيجابا- لإذكاء الهوية الدينية أو العرقية أو المذهبية.

وقد اورد الكاتب أمارتيا صن في كتابه “الهوية والعنف” أمثلة من رواندا ويوغسلافيا، حيث صارت “التوتسية والهوتية” انتماءً أكثر أهمية من الانتماء الجمعي، حيث الكيان الكلي يجمع القبيلتين. وكذلك الحال في يوغسلافيا، حيث أصبح هنالك من يقول إنه صربي، وآخر بوسني وما إلى ذلك. ويتطلب الأمر تصوير كل ما عداك عدوا.

وتسويق هذه الصورة بوصفها صورة نقية ولها جذور أصيلة راسخة. ولكي تحافظ على هويتك التي يجري تضخيمها وتعظيمها، فإن السلطة الأوليغارشية مضطرة للاستعانة برموز ملائمة في الجماعة، كرجال الدين والفكر والفن. وينطبق الأمر في الوقت نفسه على الطرف الآخر. الأمر الذي لا بد من أنه سيؤدي إلى إذكاء روح العنف والحقد.

نحن في لبنان مررنا ونمر بما يسمى اختزال الهويات.

فعلى سبيل المثال، نجد أكثر الناس فقرا وانسحاقا يقدمون أنفسهم وقودا لزعماء الطوائف والمذاهب، القابضين على مقاليد الطائفة ذاتها من جهة، والمزودين بهذه الهوية الطائفية للوصول إلى الحكم وفرض النفوذ والهيمنة، بالتعاون مع قلة من ذوي رأس المال.

وفي ظل تصعيد هذه الهويات الطائفية والمذهبية، تتراجع الهويات الحقيقية لهؤلاء الناس، لأنها هويات عابرة للطوائف في الأصل، وتراجع هذه الهويات يعني حكما تنحية الصراع الطبقي مثلا في مجتمعات تعج بالمسحوقين والبرجوازيين والإقطاع. ومع هذا التراجع، تصبح سيطرة فئة قليلة على الحكم، متحالفة مع فئة قليلة أخرى من رؤوس الأموال، أكثر سهولة ويسرا.

ومن اجل ان تحافظ هذه السلطة الأوليغارشية على وجودها وديمومتها، فإنها تظل معنية بتشويه الهويات واختزالها وتهميشها وتنمية بعضها، بما يخدم أكبر قدر ممكن من التصادم التحتي في المجتمع، أي بعيدا عن السلطة الفوقية، فتنشأ الصراعات الطائفية بين المسلمين والمسيحيين ،

والمذهبية كما هي الحال بين السنة والشيعة في لبنان، على الرغم من أن الهوية الطبقية أكثر فاعلية، وأقدر تحديدا لمصير هذه الجماعات، من الهوية الدينية أو الطائفية.

وعندما يتمسك المجتمع التحتي بهذه العصبيات ، تتفرغ السلطة الأوليغارشية لنهب ثروات هذه الجماعات المخدوعة. ولان هذه السلطة لا تطمئن إلى صراع الهوية، المولد للعنف بين الجماعات، حيث تدرك أن الهوية الجوهرية والفاعلة في الجماعات، قد تطل برأسها من دون إنذار مسبق، ومن دون إذن، وفقا لعوامل موضوعية وذاتية.كما حدث في الانتفاضة الاخيرة التي عاشها لبنان بكل ابعادها وفصولها .

هذا الإدراك من السلطة الأوليغارشية يدفعها إلى تكوين دوائر حماية تتوسع وفقا لابتعادها عن المركز. والدوائر الكبرى تتكون من الطبقة الوسطى وبعض المنتفعين من استقرار السلطة نفسها. وبمعنى آخر، فإن الأوليغارشية تعمل على توفير إجماع أو شبه إجماع وطني يمنحها شرعية البقاء في الحكم.

فالنظام اللبناني كان ولا يزال منذ الاستقلال قائما على شبه إجماع وطني، توفره الهويات الطائفية والمذهبية. من دون أن ننسى تكوين طبقة كبيرة من المنتفعين والمتنفذين، المتمثلين برؤساء الاحزاب التقليدية التي تمسك بقوة بمناطقها وكانها تنفذ منطق اللامركزية السياسية ، بدلا من اللامركزية الادارية، والفرق شاسع بينهما .

ولكن خطأ الأوليغارشية الدائم، يكمن في رؤيتها القاصرة لحركة التاريخ، وفي عدم تلمسها لدينامية التفاعل الاجتماعي، والحراك الداخلي العميق، وإن كان بطيئا في كثير من الأحيان.

وهذه الثقافة، القائمة على رؤية ضيقة أو قاصرة، لا تنتج في نهاية المطاف سوى ثقافة العنف بين الجماعات لفترة محددة. ولكن الهويات الجوهرية سرعان ما تبدأ العمل، وتعيد المجموعات البشرية إلى مواقعها، ليتحول العنف من عنف اجتماعي بين الجماعات والأفراد، إلى عنف أشد ضد السلطة الأوليغارشية، التي على مدار سنوات وجودها في الحكم، تظل تقترف الأخطاء وتراكمها، إلى أن تصبح سمة بارزة، يسهل الركون إليها للعودة إلى الهوية الحقيقية.

هذا ما حدث في لبنان مؤخرا ونعيش تداعياته التي لن تنتهي قريبا ، وهو مرشح للحدوث كل يوم ، مع تفاوت في مستويات التحرك وربما العنف ، وفقا لعوامل أخرى، كالتحالفات الإقليمية والجميع يفهم معنى ذلك ،

بالاضافة الى المصالح الشخصية والعائلية، وما إلى ذلك.الا اذا انار الله عقول هذه الطبقات الحاكمة وغيرت مسارها، وهو امر مستبعد وكان الله في عوننا.

Part 10. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

House demolition is not a new phenomenon in Palestine. As with many of the more barbaric methods of collective punishment used by Israel since 1948, it was first conceived and exercised by the British Mandatory government during the Great Arab Revolt of 1936–39.

This was the first Palestinian uprising against the pro-Zionist policy of the British Mandate, and it took the British army three years to quell it. In the process, they demolished around two thousand houses during the various collective punishments meted out to the local population.

Israel demolished houses from almost the first day of its military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The army blew up hundreds of homes every year in response to various acts undertaken by individual family members.

From minor violations of military rule to participation in violent acts against the occupation, the Israelis were quick to send in their bulldozers to wipe out not only a physical building but also a focus of life and existence. In the greater Jerusalem area (as inside Israel) demolition was also a punishment for the unlicensed extension of an existing house or the failure to pay bills.

Another form of collective punishment that has recently returned to the Israeli repertoire is that ofblocking up houses. Imagine that all the doors and windows in your house are blocked by cement, mortar, and stones, so you can’t get back in or retrieve anything you failed to take out in time. I have looked hard in my history books to find another example, but found no evidence of such a callous measure being practiced elsewhere.

Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic

Finally, under the “enlightened occupation,” settlers have been allowed to form vigilante gangs to harass people and destroy their property. These gangs have changed their approach over the years.

During the 1980s, they used actual terror — from wounding Palestinian leaders (one of them lost his legs in such an attack), to contemplating blowing up the mosques on Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem.

In this century, they have engaged in the daily harassment of Palestinians: uprooting their trees, destroying their yields, and shooting randomly at their homes and vehicles. Since 2000, there have been at least one hundred such attacks reported per month in some areas such as Hebron, where the five hundred settlers, with the silent collaboration of the Israeli army, harassed the locals living nearby in an even more brutal way.

From the very beginning of the occupation then, the Palestinians were given two options: accept the reality of permanent incarceration in a mega-prison for a very long time, or risk the might of the strongest army in the Middle East. When the Palestinians did resist — as they did in 1987, 2000, 2006, 2012, 2014, and 2016 — they were targeted as soldiers and units of a conventional army. Thus, villages and towns were bombed as if they were military bases and the unarmed civilian population was shot at as if it was an army on the battlefield.

Today we know too much about life under occupation, before and after Oslo, to take seriously the claim that nonresistance will ensure less oppression. The arrests without trial, as experienced by so many over the years; the demolition of thousands of houses; the killing and wounding of the innocent; the drainage of water wells — these are all testimony to one of the harshest contemporary regimes of our times.

Amnesty International annually documents in a very comprehensive way the nature of the occupation. The following is from their 2015 report:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The authorities continued to promote illegal settlements in the West Bank, and severely restricted Palestinians’ freedom of movement, further tightening restrictions amid an escalation of violence from October, which included attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinians and apparent extrajudicial executions by Israeli forces. Israeli settlers in the West Bank attacked Palestinians and their property with virtual impunity. The Gaza Strip remained under an Israeli military blockade that imposed collective punishment on its inhabitants. The authorities continued to demolish Palestinian homes in the West Bank and inside Israel, particularly in Bedouin villages in the Negev/Naqab region, forcibly evicting their residents.

Let’s take this in stages. Firstly, assassinations — what Amnesty’s report calls “unlawful killings”: about fifteen thousand Palestinians have been killed “unlawfully” by Israel since 1967. Among them were two thousand children.

 

Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic

Another feature of the “enlightened occupation” is imprisonment without trial. Every fifth Palestinian in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has undergone such an experience.

It is interesting to compare this Israeli practice with similar American policies in the past and the present, as critics of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement claim that US practices are far worse. In fact, the worst American example was the imprisonment without trial of one hundred thousand Japanese citizens during World War II, with thirty thousand later detained under the so-called “war on terror.”

Neither of these numbers comes even close to the number of Palestinians who have experienced such a process: including the very young, the old, as well as the long-term incarcerated.

Arrest without trial is a traumatic experience. Not knowing the charges against you, having no contact with a lawyer and hardly any contact with your family are only some of the concerns that will affect you as a prisoner. More brutally, many of these arrests are used as means to pressure people into collaboration. Spreading rumors or shaming people for their alleged or real sexual orientation are also frequently used as methods for leveraging complicity.

As for torture, the reliable website Middle East Monitor published a harrowing article describing the two hundred methods used by the Israelis to torture Palestinians. The list is based on a UN report and a report from the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. Among other methods it includes beatings, chaining prisoners to doors or chairs for hours, pouring cold and hot water on them, pulling fingers apart, and twisting testicles.

Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy. Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

However, although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states. In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier. The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force. If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel. They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. Most recently, he is the author of Ten Myths About Israel.

This article was originally published by “Jacobin 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Richard Boyd Barrett | Israeli slaughter of Palestinian protestors was cold-blooded murder

300 prominent global figures accuse Israel of committing ‘war crimes’

Join the Discussion

Part 10. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is Not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Israel Is Not a Democracy

What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy.

Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery.

Although large sections of civil societies throughout the world deny Israel its pretense to democracy, their political elites, for a variety of reasons, still treat it as a member of the exclusive club of democratic states.

In many ways, the popularity of the BDS movement reflects the frustrations of those societies with their governments’ policies towards Israel.

(BDS movement for sanctioning Israel settlement economy on occupied land and divesting in Israeli activities that promote apartheid policies and programs)

For most Israelis these counterarguments are irrelevant at best and malicious at worst. The Israeli state clings to the view that it is a benevolent occupier.

The argument for “enlightened occupation” proposes that, according to the average Jewish citizen in Israel, the Palestinians are much better off under occupation and they have no reason in the world to resist it, let alone by force.

(That’s the same propaganda that mandated powers of France, England, USA disseminated during their occupation of lands)

If you are a noncritical supporter of Israel abroad, you accept these assumptions as well.

There are, however, sections of Israeli society that do recognize the validity of some of the claims made here. In the 1990s, with various degrees of conviction, a significant number of Jewish academics, journalists, and artists voiced their doubts about the definition of Israel as a democracy.

It takes some courage to challenge the foundational myths of one’s own society and state. This is why quite a few of them later retreated from this brave position and returned to toeing the general line.

Nevertheless, for a while during the last decade of the last century, they produced works that challenged the assumption of a democratic Israel.

They portrayed Israel as belonging to a different community: that of the nondemocratic nations. One of them, the geographer Oren Yiftachel from Ben-Gurion University, depicted Israel as an ethnocracy, a regime governing a mixed ethnic state with a legal and formal preference for one ethnic group over all the others. Others went further, labeling Israel an apartheid state or a settler-colonial state.

(I go even further to state that Israel is an existential enemy to the Middle-East people because it was created to block daily trade and connections among the neighboring countries: This the purpose of the Sykes-Picot strategic dismemberment of the region)

In short, whatever description these critical scholars offered, “democracy” was not among them.

Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian and socialist activist. He is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter, director of the university’s European Centre for Palestine Studies, and co-director of the Exeter Centre for Ethno-Political Studies. Most recently, he is the author of Ten Myths About Israel.

This article was originally published by “Jacobin 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

======

Richard Boyd Barrett | Israeli slaughter of Palestinian protestors was cold-blooded murder

300 prominent global figures accuse Israel of committing ‘war crimes’

What could be new in Israeli Election? Shifting further right…

(Note: the predictions of 2013 election and its consequences were correct and Israel moved quickly totally to far right  politics and positions. Israel final nail to their coffin as a “democratic State” ended by voting the recent law that Israel is a Jewish State. Trump and the US “Christian” Evangelical Zionist movement gave the green light by proclaiming Jerusalem Capital of Israel)

According to public opinion surveys, the next government will likely be even more right wing and hard-line than the current one, which human rights organizations have criticized as the most racist and anti-democratic in Israel’s history.

The Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) posted on JAN. 21, 2013 a Background on Israeli Election

THE PARTIES:

QUICK FACTS: Israeli Democracy

    • Although Israel is “nominally” acclaimed by western media as a democratic state, it may be more accurate to call it an “ethnocracy,” as its founding laws were designed to create and maintain a state with a Jewish majority at the expense of its non-Jewish population.
    • Article 7a of Israel’s Basic Law states that a political list “shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include…negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people.”
    • This article 7a has been used repeatedly to threaten the electoral participation of Palestinian citizens of Israel.
    • There are about 1.6 million non-Jewish Palestinian citizens of Israel, about 20% of the population, sometimes referred to as “Israeli Arabs.” (Palestinians)
    • The Palestinians are the survivors and their descendants of the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinian during Israel’s creation (1947-49).
    • From 1948 until 1966, they were denied the right to vote, (even in their own communities), ruled instead by repressive martial law. Today they continue to face widespread official and unofficial discrimination in a political system designed to privilege Jewish citizens.
    • Israel’s “Law of Return” states: “Every Jew has the right to come to this country as an oleh [immigrant].” Meanwhile, millions of Palestinians live as refugees a short distance from the ancestral homes and lands they were expelled from during Israel’s creation, denied their internationally recognized legal right of return simply because they are not Jewish.
    • In addition to the discriminatory laws that underpin Israel’s foundation as a “Jewish state,” in recent years more than 30 new laws have been passed or are pending that discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel solely based on their ethnicity, further entrenching their status as second- or third-class citizens in their own homeland.
  • Since 1967, Israel has ruled over millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, without granting them the right to vote for the government that ultimately controls their lives.

QUICK FACTS: Election 2013

    • Election date: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
    • Number of parties running: 34
    • To qualify for one of the 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), a party must win at least 2% of the popular vote.
    • Most public opinion polls have predicted the election will result in another coalition government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and the joint Likud-Beiteinu list, but one even farther to the right politically than the current one.
    • However, a few late polls showed a possible centrist bloc led by the Labor party gaining ground on and even tying a Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc.
    • If more centrist parties do better than expected, it’s conceivable Netanyahu could try to form a coalition with them instead of the hard right-wing parties he relied on in his previous coalition. T
    • his scenario seems unlikely though, given the union between Likud and the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu party of former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, and the rise of Naftali Bennett’s far-right Jewish Home party.
    • It’s also conceivable the more centrist parties could gain enough support to form a coalition of their own in place of a Netanyahu-led government.
  • So far, the major stories of the campaign have been the strong showing of Naftali Bennett and his hard right-wing Jewish Home party, which has taken votes from the Likud-Beiteinu list, and the resignation of Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman after an indictment for fraud and breach of trust.
  • Although he stepped down from his cabinet post, the powerful former minister is still running for the Knesset and may still play a prominent role in the next government.

– THE PARTIES & CANDIDATES –

LIKUD-BEITEINU LIST

    • In October 2012, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman announced that their respective parties, Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, would join forces to run on a merged parliamentary list in the upcoming election. According to the agreement, a decision as to whether to continue the union is to be made a month after the election.
    • The combined list has no official platform, which caused some controversy whenquestions were raised about whether the two hardline parties actually supported the creation of even the truncated Palestinian mini-state shorn of any real sovereignty that Netanyahu described in his 2009 Bar-Ilan University speech, which has been hailed by some of his supporters as a historic shift in Netanyahu and Likud’s views on peace with the Palestinians.
    • In January 2013, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper quoted senior officials in Netanyahu’s Likud party saying that the new far-right, pro-settlement Jewish Home party, led by his former aide Naftali Bennett, would play an important role in any new government formed by Netanyahu. With Jewish Home pushing the already hawkish Netanyahu farther to the right from the outside, and extreme right-wing Likud activists like Moshe Feiglin and Danny Danon doing likewise from inside his own party, the chances of Netanyahu softening his stance towards the Palestinians or of halting settlement construction are negligible. As a result, Palestinians and others have warned that another right-wing Netanyahu government will destroy any remaining chance of realizing the two-state solution, which for decades has been the foundation of international efforts to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
    • During the campaign, the Likud-Beiteinu list was one of several parties thatrefused to sign a pledge advanced by an Israeli NGO to work toward civil equality between Jews and Arabs.
  • The final Jerusalem Post poll released before the election predicted the joint Likud-Beiteinu list winning 34 seats in the next Knesset, while Haaretz newspaper’s final poll predicted 32.

LIKUD

    • Formed in the early 1970s as a coalition of right-wing parties led by Menachem Begin and his Herut party, Likud has been the most powerful force in right-wing Israeli politics for decades.
    • Historically, Likud has strongly opposed the creation of a Palestinian state and has played a prominent role in the Greater Israel movement, which holds that all of historic Palestine as well as parts of neighboring countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, belong to Israel. Former Likud leaders, Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, were at the forefront of Israel’s settlement enterprise in the occupied territories.
    • In previous years, Likud’s platform explicitly prohibited the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories. The campaign to include that clause against Palestinian statehood in the platform was led by Netanyahu himself. Although Netanyahu publicly said that he accepted the necessity of a Palestinian state in a speech at Bar-Ilan University in June 2009, he attached so many caveats (including that it be demilitarized, that Israel maintain control over its borders and airspace, a continued Israeli military presence in the Jordan valley, and refusal to cede occupied East Jerusalem) as to render his statement meaningless.
    • Late in the 2013 campaign, Netanyahu reiterated his support for the terms laid out in his Bar-Ilan speech, however in December 2012 Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that senior Likud officials were opposed to any mention of a Palestinian state in the party’s platform. One senior Likud official told the paper: “Likud’s platform to date has not recognized the establishment of a Palestinian state,” and pointed out that Yisrael Beiteinu “rejects outright the possibility that a Palestinian state could be established alongside Israel.”
  • Further highlighting doubts as to whether Netanyahu and Likud support the two-state solution, in December 2012 Likud Knesset member (MK) Tzipi Hotovely told a panel discussion that Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan address was a “tactical speech for the rest of the world,” declaring: “We are opposed to a Palestinian state.”

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
Leader of the Likud party, Prime Minister in outgoing government

    • Netanyahu first served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999. In July 2010, a video surfaced showing Netanyahu speaking to a group of settlers in 2001, when he was in the opposition, bragging that he had sabotaged the Oslo process during his first term, stating: “I de facto put an end to the Oslo Accords,” and adding that “America is a thing you can move very easily.”
    • In the video he also tells the settlers that the way to deal with Palestinians is to “beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up so it hurts so badly, until it’s unbearable.”
    • In January 2013, Bloomberg news reported that US President Barack Obama was fed up with Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition partners, and that he believes “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.”
    • On January 16, 2013, Israel’s Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group,r eleased a report condemning Netanyahu’s policies on settlement construction,alleging they “disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
    • Between the time that Netanyahu returned to power in March 2009 and July 2012, the number of Jewish settlers living illegally on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank grew by 18% according to the Israeli Interior Ministry. I
    • n December 2012, after announcing a surge in settlement construction in and around occupied East Jerusalem unprecedented in recent memory, Netanyahu declared at a campaign launch event: “With God’s help we will continue to live and build in Jerusalem, which will remain unified under Israeli sovereignty. In recent years we have done much to strengthen the settlements and we will continue to strengthen the settlements.”
    • Although Netanyahu publicly proclaims support for peace talks with the Palestinians, in April 2012, the former head of Israel’s internal security agency (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, made a speech blaming Netanyahu, not the Palestinians, for the freeze in the peace process. According to Haaretz newspaper:

      ‘Forget the stories they tell you about how [Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Mahmoud] Abbas is not interested in negotiation,” said Diskin, adding, “We are not talking to the Palestinians because this government has no interest in negotiations.”

      ‘The former Shin Bet chief added, “I was there up to a year ago and I know from up-close what is happening. This government is not interested in solving anything with the Palestinians, and I say this [with] certainty,” he added. Diskin pointed the finger at Netanyahu. “This prime minister knows that if he makes the slightest move forward, then his well- established rule and his coalition will fall apart.”‘

    • In May 2012, a leaked report revealed that officials in the British Foreign Office also blamed Netanyahu for the lack of peace negotiations.
    • The report stated: “Netanyahu has a history of using the incitement issue as a delaying tactic in peace talks.” Regarding Israeli claims the Palestinian Authority (PA) school system incites hatred and violence, the Foreign Office report added: “Authoritative studies agree that PA textbooks are not inciting hatred of Israel.”
    • In November 2011, former French President Nicholas Sarkozy was caught on a microphone complaining to President Obama that Netanyahu was a “liar,” stating: “I cannot stand him. He’s a liar.” Seeming to agree, Obama replied, “You’re fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day.”
    • In September 2011, former US President Bill Clinton blamed Netanyahu for the failure of peace negotiations, adding, “The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu government’s continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he’s just not going to give up the West Bank.”
  • In February 2011, a senior German official told Haaretz newspaper that Chancellor Angela Merkel, a strong supporter of Israel, had expressed her frustration with Netanyahu during a phone conversation, complaining, “You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.”

DANNY DANON
Deputy Speaker of the outgoing Knesset, Chair of the Knesset Committee for Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, and Chairman of World Likud

    • Danon is an influential young Likud leader and outspoken opponent of Palestinian rights. He has close ties to US fundamentalist Christian groups and individuals, including Texas Governor Rick PerrySarah Palin, and controversial radio host Glenn Beck, who Danon invited to address a Knesset committee in 2011.
    • Danon has said that his “long-term vision” is “to apply Jewish sovereignty over the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and I am proud of it.”
    • During his time in the Knesset, Danon has supported bills calling for citizenship “loyalty oaths” aimed at Palestinian citizens and limiting the rights of human rights groups to petition the Israeli Supreme Court.
    • Danon was also one of the sponsors of the controversial “boycott law,” which penalizes individuals who organize or publicly call for boycotts against the state, Israeli educational institutions, or goods produced in Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Human rights and civil liberties groups condemned the law, with one, B’Tselem, warning that it “tramples on fundamental rights, primarily the right to freedom of speech, the right to protest, and the right to organize.”
    • During the current election campaign, Danon led an attempt to ban Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian citizen and Knesset member from the Balad party, from running. Although the Israeli Central Elections Committee agreed to the ban, the Supreme Court subsequently overturned it.
    • Danon also started a petition calling for the disqualification of Balad, which represents Palestinian citizens of Israel.
  • In May 2012, Danon was one of several Knesset members, including fellow Likud member Miri Regev, who spoke at an anti-African immigrant rally in Tel Aviv that erupted into a violent race riot.

MOSHE FEIGLIN, Knesset candidate, 23rd on the Likud-Beiteinu list

    • Until recently, many considered the far right-wing settler Feiglin to be on the fringes of Netanyahu’s Likud party. However the extremist Jewish Leadership faction he leads gained power in party primaries in November, and during the campaign the party establishment promoted his image in advertising to lure religious nationalist votes away from the surging Jewish Home party.
    • Feiglin, who is 23rd on the joint Likud-Beiteinu list, appears certain to win a seat in the Knesset, where he may be a thorn in the side of Netanyahu, pushing him and Likud farther to the right and complicating efforts to portray a moderate image of the country internationally. Feiglin in government could also cause trouble for Netanyahu’s already strained relations with the Obama administration, which Feiglin has harshly criticized. In an April 2010 op-ed in Maariv newspaper, Feiglin called US Vice President Joe Biden a “diseased leper” for criticizing Israeli settlement construction.
    • On January 1, 2013, Feiglin offered details of a plan that would use some of Israel’s budget for defense and security to pay Palestinians to leave the occupied West Bank, stating: “With this budget we can give every Arab family in Judea and Samaria $500,000 to encourage it to immigrate to a place with a better future.”
    • In 2008, Feiglin was banned from entering the United Kingdom after the British Home Secretary deemed his entry “would not be conducive to the public good.” A letter to Feiglin from the Home Office said that the Secretary based her decision on an assessment that his activities “foment or justify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs; seek to provoke others to terrorist acts; foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts and foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”
    • Accused of being a racist and a fascist by critics, the extreme right-wing Feiglin denies there is such a thing as a Palestinian people and believes that Palestinian citizens of Israel and those in the occupied territories should be transferred to neighboring Arab countries. In the mid-2000s, he wrote a tract setting out his political program. In the manifesto, which was mysteriouslyremoved from his website in 2009 after the last Likud primaries, he said that if he became prime minister he would withdraw Israel from the United Nations and cut off water and electricity to Palestinians in the occupied territories. In response to attacks from Palestinian militants, he called for “the conquest of the area whose residents instigated the violence, their deportation and destruction of the area’s infrastructure.”
    • In 2004, Feiglin summed up his views on Arabs and democracy, telling an interviewer from The New Yorker:

‘Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?

‘For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them.

‘You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers. Muhammad, their prophet, was a robber and a killer and a liar. The Arab destroys everything he touches.’

    • In another 2004 interview, with the newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, Feiglin spoke of his plan to transfer Palestinians, stating: “Arabs don’t live in the desert, they create it.”
  • In 1997, Feiglin was sentenced to six months in prison (later commuted to community service) after being convicted of sedition for his efforts to stop the Oslo accords, which included blocking traffic at intersections.

GIDEON SA’AR
Education Minister of the outgoing government

    • In December 2012, Sa’ar repeated his and his party’s opposition to a Palestinian state, saying: “There is currently no Palestinian partner to end the conflict because they wish to prolong it, and at a time when they want to continue the conflict there is no room to establish a state for them, because then they will be able to continue the conflict from a better position.”
  • Under Sa’ar, Israel’s Education Ministry caused controversy with a program that takes Israeli students on nationalistic tours of historical sites in the occupied Palestinian territories, by forbidding the teaching of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by banning a high school textbook that included both Israeli and Palestinian historical narratives. Sa’ar has also publicly called for professors who support the Palestinian civil society call for an academic boycott of Israel to be “punished.”

TZIPI HOTOVELY
Chairwoman of the outgoing Knesset Committee on the Status of Women

    • Hotovely is a vocal opponent of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution. In December 2012 she said in a panel discussion that Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar-Ilan address calling for a Palestinian state was just “a tactical speech for the rest of the world,” adding, “We are opposed to a Palestinian state.”
    • In 2011, Hotovely organized a hearing by the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women to examine “the problem” of Jewish-Arab interracial relationships. Among those invited to speak was the head of a group called Lehava, which is composed of followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose racist Kach party was deemed a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.
  • In December 2010, Hotovely voiced her support for a letter signed by dozens of wives of prominent rabbis calling on Jewish women not to fraternize with Arab and other non-Jewish men, stating “the intermarriage phenomenon among Jewish girls and Arab men is dangerous for women, who suffer abuse and disconnection from their families after the marriage.”

ZEEV ELKIN
Head of the outgoing Knesset Lobby for Higher Education and member of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee

    • In February 2012, pro-settler group Matot Arim ranked Elkin, who lives in the settlement of Alon Shvut in the occupied West Bank, the most right-wing member of the Knesset in what many considered to be the most right-wing Knesset in Israel’s history.
    • In January 2013, Elkin was one of two leading Likud politicians (the other being Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein) who called on the government to annex so-called “Area C” of the occupied West Bank (about 60% of the total area), which according to the terms of the interim Oslo accords falls under full Israeli security control. (See here for a UN map of Area C.)
    • In January 2012, it was revealed that Elkin had leaked information about Israeli army movements to radical right-wing settlers, which the settlers planned to use to disrupt attempts by military to close down so-called “outposts” (nascent settlements built without official approval).
  • In 2010, along with Danny Danon and others, Elkin was one of the sponsors of the controversial “boycott law,” which penalizes individuals who organize or publicly call for boycotts against the state, Israeli educational institutions, or goods produced in Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

MIRI REGEV
Knesset member and former spokeswoman for the Israeli army

    • In May 2012, Regev and other members of the Likud party, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, helped incite a wave of anti-African violence, including assaults and arson attacks, targeting immigrants and asylum seekers from countries such as Sudan and Eritrea. At an anti-immigrant rally in Tel Aviv that erupted into a race riot involving attacks on African passers-by, Regev told an angry mob that Sudanese asylum seekers “are a cancer in our body. We will do everything to send them back where they came from.”
  • Along with fellow Likud MK Danny Danon and other right-wing politicians, Regev attempted unsuccessfully to have Palestinian citizen of Israel and Knesset member Haneen Zoabi banned from running in the current election.

YISRAEL KATZ
Transportation Minister in outgoing government

  • In November 2012, as Israel was bombing Gaza, Katz called for the government to expel the 1.7 million people of Gaza into the Egyptian desert,stating: “the tear of one Jewish child is too much, even if it means that all Gazans must be evacuated to the Sinai desert.”

YISRAEL BEITEINU (ISRAEL IS OUR HOME)

    • Yisrael Beiteinu is a secular ultranationalist party founded in 1999 by immigrants from the former Soviet Union, including leader Avigdor Lieberman.
    • Yisrael Beiteinu’s platform rejects the creation of a Palestinian state, declaring: “The demand to establish a Palestinian state and the ‘right of return’ are designed to camouflage the real intention, which is to erase the State of Israel as a Jewish and Zionist state.”
    • A video on the Yisrael Beiteinu website lists one of their achievements over the past four years in government as having “thwarted a Palestinian declaration of statehood.”
    • In June 2012, the Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman for Upper Nazareth began acampaign urging Palestinian citizens of Israel to sell their homes to Jews and leave in exchange for $10,000.
    • One of Yisrael Beiteinu’s main legislative efforts has been pushing for a law that would force citizens, including Arabs and other non-Jews, to take an oath of loyalty to Israel as a Zionist and Jewish state, with those who refuse stripped of their voting rights.
  • During the last election, in 2009, Yisrael Beiteinu ran under the slogans “No loyalty, no citizenship” and “Only Lieberman understands Arabic.”

AVIGDOR LIEBERMAN (OR LIBERMAN)
Leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, former Foreign Minister in outgoing government

    • A former aide to Netanyahu during his first term as prime minister (1996-99), Lieberman emigrated from Moldova and now lives in a settlement near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. He is often described as an “ultranationalist” and over the years has vigorously opposed peace negotiations and Palestinian statehood.
    • Lieberman resigned his post and left the Likud party in 1997 in protest over Netanyahu’s signing of the US-brokered Wye River Memorandum with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
    • In 2004, Lieberman was kicked out of Prime Minister Sharon’s cabinet over his opposition to Sharon’s plan to withdraw 8000 settlers from Gaza.
    • In 2008, Lieberman and Yisrael Beiteinu left Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government in opposition to the restarting of peace talks with the Palestinians. Explaining the decision, Lieberman declared: “Negotiations on the basis of land for peace are a critical mistake…and will destroy us.”
    • In 2010 Lieberman said that some Palestinian citizens of Israel should have their citizenship stripped as part of any peace agreement. Lieberman has campaigned for a law that would force Palestinian citizens of Israel to swear allegiance to Israel as a “Jewish state,” thereby formally acquiescing to their own second- and third-class status.
    • In September 2010, Lieberman said that peace with Palestinians was not possible, “not next year and not for the next generation.”
  • In December 2012, Lieberman was indicted for fraud and breach of trust, prompting his resignation as foreign minister, however he remains Yisrael Beiteinu leader and is still running for a Knesset seat. Although Lieberman hassuggested he would quit politics if convicted of the corruption charges he’s facing, he may still play a major role in a new Netanyahu-led government.

YAIR SHAMIR
Deputy leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party

    • Shamir, son of the late hardline Likud Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, is number two on the Yisrael Beiteinu list, appointed to that position by party boss Lieberman. With Lieberman suggesting he’ll quit politics if convicted of the corruption charges he’s facing, Shamir could become new leader of the party, which will be an important partner in a new Netanyahu government.
    • In December 2012, Shamir spelled out his views on the Palestinians and the two-state solution in an op-ed entitled “Why I oppose a Palestinian state.” In it, he declared:

‘A Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would increase the tension and usher in permanent instability… We must remove the idea of a Palestinian state in our area from the Israeli agenda immediately if not sooner.’

  • Regarding settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land, in January 2013 Shamir told an interviewer: “The Arabs there who call themselves Palestinian, they’ll stay or go, but we’ll definitely stay. We need to keep building in the land.”

BAYIT HAYEHUDI (JEWISH HOME)

    • Jewish Home is a far right-wing party founded by Naftali Bennett, a wealthy former high-tech entrepreneur and former aide to Netanyahu. It strongly supports Israel’s settlement enterprise and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state in the occupied territories.
    • With press reports indicating Jewish Home, which has taken support from the Likud-Beiteinu list, will be invited to join any new coalition led by Netanyahu, Bennett will likely play an important role in the next government. A government that includes Jewish Home would probably be even more pro-settlement and opposed to Palestinian statehood than Netanyahu’s previous coalition, which human rights groups criticized as the most right-wing and racist in Israel’s history.
    • The final poll of the campaign published by Haaretz predicted 14 seats for Jewish Home in the next Knesset, while the Jerusalem Post’s final poll predicted 13.
    • Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett has called for Israel to annex the 60% of the occupied West Bank known as Area C, where Israeli settlers live, and where Israel has full control according to the interim Oslo Accords. (See here for a UN map of Area C.) This would in effect make permanent the Bantustan system that Israel has implemented in the West Bank, which an increasing number of observers, including Israelis, consider a form of apartheid.
  • In December 2012, Jewish Home merged with the right-wing National Union party to form a single electoral list. The new party advertised an endorsement from the extremist Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of the ultra-right wing settlement of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, until he withdrew his support after a disagreement over Bennett’s treatment of far-right Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari, of the Strong Israel party. Lior is known for his racist and extremist views of Palestinians and others. He infamously praised mass-murderer Baruch Goldstein, the American-born settler who massacred 29 Palestinians while they prayed in Hebron in 1993, saying he was “holier than all the martyrs of the Holocaust.” Jewish Home was also endorsed by Yigal Amir, the right-wing extremist who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, however his support was rejected by Bennett.

NAFTALI BENNETT
Leader of the Jewish Home party

    • The story of the election campaign has been the 40-year-old Bennett, the son of American immigrants and former Netanyahu aide, and the rise of his new far right-wing Jewish Home party.
    • Although Bennett is not a settler himself, he is strongly supportive of Israel’s settlement enterprise and is a former head of the Judea and Samaria Settlement Council, the main political body representing Jewish settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories.
    • In January 2013, Bennett told New Yorker magazine: “I will do everything in my power, forever, to fight against a Palestinian state being founded in the Land of Israel.” In December 2012, he told another interviewer: “My positions are very clear: I never hide the fact that I categorically oppose a Palestinian state inside our country.”
    • In regards to the Palestinian people, in the aforementioned New Yorkerinterview he said “If [Palestinians] could press a button and we’d evaporate, they would, and vice versa.”
    • In December 2012, Bennett, a former soldier, caused controversy when he saidhe would refuse orders to remove Jewish settlers if he were serving in the army today. He quickly backtracked following criticism from opponents.
  • In a 2010 television debate with Palestinian MK Ahmad Tibi, Bennett said: “When Palestinians were climbing trees, we already had a Jewish state.”

URI ARIEL
Knesset member, 2nd on the Jewish Home list

    • Leader of the right-wing religious nationalist National Union party which merged with Jewish Home for the election, Ariel is known for his extreme right-wing opinions about the conflict with the Palestinians and also for his anti-gayviews.
  • In March 2012, Ariel called for Israel to annex the occupied Palestinian West Bank, part of a “one-state solution” that would see Palestinians living there granted a sort of second- or third class residency right similar to how Israel treats Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, with the possibility of eventually gaining Israeli citizenship after meeting certain requirements, including taking a loyalty oath.

RABBI HILLEL HOROWITZ
Knesset candidate, 13th on the Jewish Home list

    • Horowitz is a far-right extremist and political activist who lives in a radical settlement in Hebron in the occupied West Bank. In January 2013, he promised potential voters that Jewish Home would work to annex the occupied West Bank and to build new Jewish settlements in Gaza, stating:

      ‘We will do everything we can to work to return the people of Israel to Homesh in the northern Samaria [West Bank] and to Gush Katif [in Gaza]. We will take action to bring about Israel’s annexation on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. It is simple: We will act with all our strength on behalf of the land of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and the people of Israel.’

  • Horowitz has dismissed Palestinian citizens of Israel as “guests in our land,” and is reportedly close friends with controversial far-right activist Baruch Marzel (see below for more on Marzel and the Strong Israel party).

JEREMY GIMPEL
Knesset candidate, 14th on the Jewish Home list

  • The 33-year-old Atlanta-born Gimpel was a political unknown until the waning days of the campaign when he became the subject of controversy after Israeli media reported on his close ties to right-wing Christian fundamentalists in the United States and drew attention to comments he made about blowing up the Dome of the Rock mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, one of the holiest sites in Islam. Although he claimed that he was only joking, Gimpel, an ordained rabbi, is one of a growing number of Jewish extremists, including current members of the Knesset such as Aryeh Eldad and fellow Jewish Home candidate Uri Ariel, who would like to see a third Jewish temple built where the Dome of the Rock mosque stands.

SHAS

    • Shas is an ultra-orthodox religious political party founded in 1984 and a key player in the outgoing coalition government.
    • The Shas party chairmanship was recently abolished by spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and it is now run by Yosef, Eli Yishai, the Interior Minister in the outgoing government, and Aryeh Deri, a former Shas leader who was convicted and sentenced to jail time in 2000 for taking bribes when he was Interior Minister.
    • On January 12, 2013, the powerful spiritual leader Yosef, known for a history ofracist and incendiary statements about Palestinians and others, washospitalized and diagnosed with a minor stroke. He was released after only a day, but at 92-years-old his age and health problems have raised questions about the future of Shas, which was an important part of Netanyahu’s outgoing coalition.
  • The final Haaretz poll showed Shas winning 12 seats in the new Knesset, while the final Jerusalem Post poll predicted 11.

RABBI OVADIA YOSEF
Spiritual leader of the Shas party

    • The influential former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel has a long history of racist and incendiary comments about Palestinians and other non-Jews.
    • In August 2012, Yosef criticized Israel’s legal system, calling it a “court of gentiles, “stating: “Whoever presides over a court of gentiles, and judges using the laws of gentiles, gives up the Torah of Moses, and is called wicked.”
    • In May 2012, Yosef said that doctors who were religious Jews shouldn’t treat non-Jews on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, even if the patient’s life was in danger, stating: “If a gentile were to get injured in a car accident during Sabbath, and he is brought to the hospital – Israel must not treat him.” He concluded “the Torah forbids to violate the Sabbath for gentiles.”
    • In September 2010, Yosef declared that non-Jews were created to “serve” Jews, stating that: “Goyim [non-Jews] were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world – only to serve the People of Israel…Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat.”
    • In August 2010, on the eve of peace talks in Washington, Yosef delivered a sermon describing Palestinians as “evil, bitter enemies” and calling on god to make them “perish from this world” by striking them with a “plague.”
    • In 2005, Yosef said that New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina because US President George W. Bush had supported Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal of settlers from the Gaza Strip, stating, “He [Bush] perpetrated the expulsion. Now everyone is mad at him… this is his punishment for what he did to Gush Katif.” He added:

      ‘There was a tsunami and there are terrible natural disasters, because there isn’t enough Torah study… black people reside there [in New Orleans]. Blacks will study the Torah? (God said) let’s bring a tsunami and drown them… Hundreds of thousands remained homeless. Tens of thousands have been killed. All of this because they have no God.’

  • In 2001, Yosef called for the annihilation of Arabs, stating: “It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable.”

ELI YISHAI
Co-leader of the Shas party, Interior Minister in outgoing government

    • Like Shas spiritual leader Yosef, Yishai has a long history of making racist and inflammatory comments about Palestinians, African migrants, and others.
    • During Israel’s attack on Gaza in November 2012, Yishai told a television interviewer that Gaza’s civilian infrastructure should be destroyed as part of the assault, saying, “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages, only then shall the land be quiet for forty years.”
    • In June 2012, Yishai told an interviewer that Israel “belongs to us, to the white man.” The previous month, he helped incite a wave of anti-African racism and violence, complaining that allowing African asylum seekers to remain in Israel would “bury the Zionist dream.” In August 2012, Yishai said that migrants from Africa were a “threat” to Israel as severe as Iran’s nuclear program and that he would “lock them up to make their lives miserable.”
  • In October 2009, Yishai called for non-Jewish children of foreign workers to be deported, warning that allowing them to stay in Israel “is liable to damage the state’s Jewish identity, constitute a demographic threat and increase the danger of assimilation.”

HATNUAH (THE MOVEMENT)

    • Founded in November 2012 by former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, Hatnuah is a center-right party.
    • In early January 2013, Livni met with Labor party leader Shelly Yachimovich and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid to discuss the possibility of forming a coalition to challenge Netanyahu’s hardline right-wing coalition bloc. Although most pollshave predicted a win for Netanyahu, at least one late poll showed the more centrist bloc gaining ground. If this centrist bloc surprises with a stronger than expected showing, Livni could end up as foreign minister or in a different senior post in a government headed by Yachimovich.
    • Livni has also suggested she could join a new coalition led by Netanyahu, even though she has sharply criticized his policies towards the Palestinians anddealings with THE international community. In late December 2012 there were press reports that representatives of Netanyahu and Livni had discussed the possibility of her joining the next government as foreign minister. The reports were denied by both sides, but Livni, who is considered a moderate by many western leaders, might make an appealing coalition partner for Netanyahu, softening his government’s image abroad, particularly with the future of current coalition partner and controversial former foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in doubt following an indictment on corruption charges.
  • Haaretz’s final poll predicted 8 seats for Hatnuah in the next Knesset, while the final Jerusalem Post poll predicted 7 seats.

TZIPI LIVNI
Leader of the Hatnuah party

    • Livni is a former member of the Likud and Kadima parties and was foreign minister from 2006 to 2009 under Kadima Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
    • Although she supports the two-state solution and was involved in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, she spent much of her political career with the Likud party, one of the main political patrons of the settlement movement, and maintains a right-wing ideological outlook.
    • Speaking before a group of foreign ambassadors in December 2012, Livni rejected international criticism of Israel’s construction of illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land, stating: “It doesn’t matter what you think about settlements…We have settlement blocs close to the Green Line and the only way for the conflict with the Palestinians to end is for Israel to keep them.”
    • Although considered a moderate by many Western politicians, many Palestinians remember Livni for the role she played during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s deadly assault on Gaza in 2008-9, which killed approximately 1400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, over a three-week period. As foreign minister, she acted as Israel’s face to the world, defending the brutal onslaught and claiming to reporters that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. TheUnited Nations and human rights organizations such as Amnesty Internationaland Human Rights Watch subsequently documented evidence of widespread war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out by Israeli forces during Cast Lead.
    • The so-called, Palestine Papers, confidential documents written by Palestinian negotiators that were leaked to the press in 2010, revealed that Livni wanted some areas populated by Palestinian citizens of Israel “transferred” to a new Palestinian state. They also quoted Livni telling Palestinian negotiators that although she’s a lawyer, she doesn’t believe in international law, stating: “I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law – international law in particular. Law in general.”
  • Prior to entering politics, Livni was an agent with Israel’s foreign spy service, the Mossad, working undercover in its assassination division in Europe during the 1980s. According to Israeli press reports, Livni “hunted” Palestinians for the Mossad, at least one of whom, senior PLO official, Mamoun Meraish, was murdered by Israeli agents in Athens in August 1983.

OTZMA LEYISRAEL (STRONG ISRAEL)

    • Strong Israel is a small, recently formed coalition made up of far-right activists. Strong Israel candidates oppose the creation of a Palestinian state and advocate the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs from all of historic Palestine.
  • The final Jerusalem Post poll of the campaign showed Strong Israel winning two seats in the upcoming Knesset, while Haaretz’s final poll predicted none.

ARYEH ELDAD
Knesset member, leader of the Strong Israel party

    • Eldad, who has ties to European and American far-right anti-Muslim extremists such as Dutch politician Geert Wilders and American blogger Pamela Geller, lives in the settlement of Kfar Adumim in the occupied West Bank.
    • Eldad has repeatedly called for Palestinians to create a state in neighboring Jordan, prompting numerous complaints from the Jordanian government, which has a peace treaty with Israel. In November 2010, he organized a conference entitled “Jordan is Palestine,” explaining that “the purpose of the conference is to present an alternative plan to the two-state solution…We are saying that there already is a Palestinian state, Jordan.”
    • In late July 2012, Eldad was videotaped telling a group of right-wing political activists in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem that he wants to dismantle the Al Aqsa mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam, and replace it with a new Jewish temple, stating:

      ‘This will bring us closer to the solution of the heart of the problem, regarding the sovereignty over the state of Israel, sovereignty over the Temple Mount. We must discuss the core issues. Not just talk, but rather also act. When the time comes to build the Holy Temple, and that will be soon. We will then saw [cut] up the structure that is there now. We will saw it up, and they will take it wherever they want and build it. Because that is where the Third Holy Temple should and will stand. Speedily, in our days. Amen.’

  • Eldad is one of the leaders of the movement to implant right-wing Jewish settlers into Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem, oftenevicting Palestinians from their homes in the process. He has also led the political fight against removing so-called settlement “outposts” built in the occupied West Bank without official approval from the Israeli government.

MICHAEL BEN-ARI
Knesset member, 2nd on the Strong Israel list

    • Ben-Ari is a settler and an outspoken follower of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose political party, Kach, has been deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.
    • During the 2013 election campaign, Ben-Ari joined with other right-wing Knesset members in an attempt to block Palestinian citizen of Israel and Knesset member Haneen Zoabi from running for office, at one point starting a shoving match after attempting to physically block Zoabi from leaving the High Court of Justice building during a hearing on her case.
    • In December 2012, Ben-Ari called for the creation of a Palestinian state in France, after the French government voted in favor of upgrading Palestine to a non-member observer state at the United Nations.
    • In July 2012, Ben-Ari sent a photograph of himself tearing pages out of the New Testament before throwing it in the trash in his Knesset office to an Israeli newspaper after a Christian group mailed copies of the Bible to all Knesset members.
    • In January 2011, Ben-Ari referred to left-wing Israelis as “germs,” “enemies of Israel,” and “traitors who must be persecuted at any cost.”
    • In May 2010, Ben-Ari accused US President Barack Obama of being “a hostile enemy of Israel and the Jewish people.”
  • In November 2009 Ben-Ari was denied entry to the US because of his ties to Kach.

BARUCH MARZEL
Knesset candidate, 3rd on the Strong Israel list

    • A well-known far-right activist, the American-born Marzel is a former spokesmanfor the outlawed Kach movement and a settler who lives in Hebron.
    • Marzel has a long and violent history, including assaults on Palestinians for which he received suspended prison sentences, vandalizing Palestinian cars, and provoking disturbances in the occupied West Bank.
    • In March 2006, Marzel called for the murder of Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery. He also blamed an outbreak of bird flu in southern Israel on Israel’s withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005 under the so-called “disengagement” plan.
  • Marzel is also notorious for his anti-gay views, stating before a gay pride parade in 2010 that homosexuality “is a disease of choice, and a man can change his taste and his ways…[W]hen someone has AIDS they tell them not to infect others, so why are these people allowed to march here in Jerusalem and infect us with their disease?”

ARYEH KING
Knesset candidate for the Strong Israel party

    • King is co-founder of the Israel Land Fund, whose stated mission is “Reclaiming the Land of Israel for the People of Israel” by moving Jewish settlers onto occupied Palestinian land, particularly in and around East Jerusalem.
  • In May 2012, King told a reporter: “We are locating property in all of East Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, every piece of land is important. All the plots put together can change the reality…The reality we don’t want to see happen is one that we think would lead to catastrophe – the division of the city.”

LABOR

SHELLY YACHIMOVICH
Leader of the Labor party

    • Polls show the centrist Labor party coming in second overall, with an estimated 17 seats, behind the governing Likud-Beiteinu list. If right-wing parties don’t win as many seats as most analysts have predicted, it’s possible a more centrist governing coalition could emerge, led by Labor and its leader Shelly Yachimovich.
    • Yachimovich’s campaign has focused on economic issues while mostly avoiding discussion of the Palestinians. While officially supporting the two-state solution, during the campaign Yachimovich defended Israel’s settlement enterprise, which many observers believe has already rendered the creation of a Palestinian state impossible. Although she’s called for an immediate resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians, there’s little to suggest she would have the political will to take the difficult steps necessary to reach a lasting peace agreement.
    • Yachimovich has said she won’t join a coalition led by Netanyahu, which means she will likely be opposition leader in the new Knesset. However, if the polls are wrong and she manages to cobble together a larger coalition than Netanyahu’s extreme right-wing bloc, she could become the next prime minister.
  • The final Jerusalem Post poll had Labor at 17 seats, while Haaretz’s final pollgave Labor 16 seats.

YESH ATID (THERE IS A FUTURE)

YAIR LAPID
Leader of the Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party

    • Like Labor leader Yachimovich, Lapid is a former journalist and television personality, who entered politics in 2012 with the creation of the centrist Yesh Atid party. And like Yachimovich, Lapid has run a campaign focused mostly on domestic issues, saying little about the Palestinians. While Lapid says he supports the two-state solution, he has also said that large settlement blocs built on Palestinian land in the West Bank must be part of Israel in any peace agreement, and he opposes relinquishing Israeli control over occupied East Jerusalem, a prerequisite for the creation of any state acceptable to the Palestinians.
    • In January 2013, two days before the election, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he wanted to be “rid of” Arabs, stating: “I do not think that the Arabs want peace… What I want is not a new Middle East, but to be rid of them and put a tall fence between us and them.” He added that his most important priority is “to maintain a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel.” On Jerusalem, Lapid wrote, “The Palestinians must be brought to an understanding that Jerusalem will always remain under Israeli sovereignty and that there is no point for them in opening negotiations about Jerusalem.”
    • If hardline right-wing parties don’t do as well as most pollsters have predicted then a more centrist alternative to Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition bloc could be formed that is led by the Labor party. In this scenario, Lapid and Yesh Atid could be important players in the new government. Lapid has also indicatedthat he might join a coalition led by Netanyahu under certain conditions.
  • Haaretz’s final poll of the campaign predicted 12 seats for Yesh Atid, while the final Jerusalem Post poll gave the party 11 seats.
  • The Institute for Middle East Understanding offers journalists and editors quick access to information about Palestine and the Palestinians, as well as expert sources — both in the U.S. and in the Middle East

Part 3. Ten Myths on Israel: Not how a “Democratic State” behave (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

Israeli Land Policy Is Not Democratic

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

Israeli Land Policy Is Not Democratic

The claim to being a democracy is also questionable when one examines the budgetary policy surrounding the land question.

Since 1948, Palestinian local councils and municipalities have received far less funding than their Jewish counterparts. The shortage of land, coupled with the scarcity of employment opportunities, creates an abnormal socioeconomic reality.

For example, the most affluent Palestinian community, the village of Me’ilya in the upper Galilee, is still worse off than the poorest Jewish development town in the Negev.

In 2011, the Jerusalem Post reported that “average Jewish income was 40 percent to 60% higher than average “Arab” (meaning Palestinian) income between the years 1997 to 2009.”

Today more than 90% of the land is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

Landowners are not allowed to engage in transactions with non-Jewish citizens, and public land is prioritized for the use of national projects, which means that new Jewish settlements are being built while there are hardly any new Palestinian settlements.

Thus, the biggest Palestinian city, Nazareth, despite the tripling of its population since 1948, has not expanded one square kilometer, whereas the development town built above it, Upper Nazareth, has tripled in size, on land expropriated from Palestinian landowners.

Further examples of this policy can be found in Palestinian villages throughout Galilee, revealing the same story: how they have been downsized by 40%, sometimes even 60 percent, since 1948, and how new Jewish settlements have been built on expropriated land.

Elsewhere this has initiated full-blown attempts at “Judaization.

After 1967, the Israeli government became concerned about the lack of Jews living in the north and south of the state and so planned to increase the population in those areas. Such a demographic change necessitated the confiscation of Palestinian land for the building of Jewish settlements.

Worse was the exclusion of Palestinian citizens from these settlements.

This blunt violation of a citizen’s right to live wherever he or she wishes continues today, and all efforts by human rights NGOs in Israel to challenge this apartheid have so far ended in total failure.

The Supreme Court in Israel has only been able to question the legality of this policy in a few individual cases, but not in principle.

Imagine if in the United Kingdom or the United States, Jewish citizens, or Catholics for that matter, were barred by law from living in certain villages, neighborhoods, or maybe whole towns? How can such a situation be reconciled with the notion of democracy?

Note: Israel has been committed to incremental genocide against Palestinians, as USA did with their Indians. It turned out that Palestinians are the toughest of all people.

Lately, after Trump pronouncement on Jerusalem, every Friday, thousands march to the borders in Gaza demanding their right to return Home


adonis49

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adonis49

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