Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Israel’s Apartheid state, having honed its instruments of repression against its occupied Palestinians, whom it keeps stateless and without rights, is now turning those tools on the Israeli public itself.
Yesterday, Friday, buses full of Israeli protesters attempted to head to Huwwara near Nablus in the Palestinian West Bank to show support for the small town of 7,000 that was burned out by fanatical mobs of Israel squatters on Palestinian land last Sunday.
Majdi Mohammed and Isabel Debre of the Associated Press report that the Israeli army intervened to prevent the protest, firing military-grade tear gas and stun grenades at them before tackling and manhandling them. Protesters were put in stress positions on the ground and two were briefly detained. Soldiers accosted former speaker of the Israeli parliament or Knesset, Avraham Burg, knocking the elderly statesman to the ground.
The protesters were a mix of Jews and Palestinian-Israelis, waving Palestinian flags and posters condemning the pogrom conducted against the innocent civilians of Huwwara on Sunday by fascist thugs from the squatter movement. They were blocked by the Israeli army.
Since the army stood by and allowed the pogrom last weekend, the protesters made sardonic comments about how the military seemed perfectly capable of intervening when it wanted to. Huwwara is not in Area A, the 40% of the West Bank that is policed by the toothless Palestine Authority created by the failed 1993 Oslo peace process. It is under direct Israeli military occupation.
According to the 4th Geneva Convention and the Rome Statute that authorizes the International Criminal Court, for occupation troops to allow a pogrom to be carried out against an occupied subject population is a war crime and a crime against humanity.
On Wednesday, thousands of Israelis rallied, blocked roads and went on strike in what they called a “day of disruption.” The extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir of the fascist Jewish Power bloc was made “Minister of National Security” by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which would be like appointing the leader of the Proud Boys as head of Homeland Security in the United States. Ben-Gvir instructed police to act harshly against what he called “anarchists.”
Isabel Debre and Ilan Ben Zion at AP report that “police arrived on horseback in the center of the seaside metropolis of Tel Aviv, hurled stun grenades and used a water cannon against thousands who chanted “democracy” and “police state.” A video posted on social media showed a police officer pressing his knee into a protester’s neck and another showed a man who reportedly had his ear ripped off by a stun grenade. Police said protesters threw rocks and water bottles at the officers.”
Some 11 Israelis were put into hospital by police brutality. One had his ear torn off by a stun grenade.
Note that these tactics, of deploying stun grenades against civilian protesters and using water cannon (often filled with foul-smelling “skunk water”) are routinely used against Palestinians in East Jerusalem or in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. The protesters demanding adherence to the rule of law and speaking out against Netanyahu’s plans to gut the judiciary were subjected to the Apartheid state’s technologies of control.
After one crowd gathered outside a hair salon Wednesday evening where Netanyahu’s wife Sara was having her hair done, the prime minister called them “terrorists,” the term he applies to all Palestinians. His coalition in parliament just passed a law imposing the death sentence on “terrorists,” a term the Israeli right even uses for human rights organizations that expose their crimes.
So now Israel’s dissidents opposed to Netanyahu’s plan to make sure the judiciary can never complete its trial of him for corruption are “terrorists” and “anarchists” who must be treated “firmly.”
Welcome to the club, folks. The non-fascist Israeli public, the vast majority, are now Palestinians as far as the Netanyahu regime is concerned.