While the EU continues to back Israeli policies – ignore the mild rebukes over Gaza, this is close to business as usual – the Israeli rich are thriving, certainly helped by the recent acceptance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. What occupation? What growing intolerance of minorities?
Liberal Zionists in Israel are still worried about the lack of a two-state solution – the words “Jewish” and “democratic” are a comfort for those who refuse to acknowledge any religious state by definition cannot be democratic – but the pro-settler figures are talking about a one-state solution of another kind altogether:
The conventional wisdom, pronounced by many Israelis and Palestinians alike, is that in the absence of an agreement with the Palestinians, Israel will either eventually cease to be a democracy or cease to exist. This calamitous prognostication is worthy of some scrutiny.
What would happen if Israeli sovereignty were to be applied to Judea and Samaria, the Palestinian population there being offered Israeli citizenship? Those who, in Israel and abroad, consider the Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria an unbearable evil should be greatly relieved by such a change that would free Israel of the burden of “occupation.” If the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria are given the right to vote in Israeli elections, like the Palestinians currently living in Israel, Israel would not cease to be a democracy. Nor would it cease to exist, although its demography would change significantly. However, Israel would face the serious challenge of absorbing the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria into the fabric of Israeli society. Can Israel be expected to meet such a challenge?
The language of democracy and human rights from those who only believe in Zionist supremacy.
Away from the empty opinion articles, Palestinians are being increasingly treated as expendable (thank you Amira Hass in Haaretz):
Palestinians who choose to study and work abroad are finding out – too late – that they have imperiled their right to return to their hometown.
Last Wednesday afternoon a “shabah,” an illegal sojourner, sat in the small conference room of Jerusalem District Court Judge Noam Solberg. That’s how he was described by Solberg and a representative of the Interior Ministry, attorney Gur Rosenblatt. The illegal resident reads and writes Hebrew, but in the small room he had difficulty following the learned claims of the judge to the effect that a person born in Jerusalem’s neighborhood of Sur Baher 43 years ago, whose parents and grandparents and great-great grandparents are from there, who went to elementary school and high school in Jerusalem, who recently paid NIS 120,000 for a construction permit from the Jerusalem municipality, is an illegal sojourner. In other words, a criminal.
Meet the criminal: Dr. Imad Hammada. He’s a father of three, with a fourth on the way. Married to a nurse who works for the Leumit HMO in Jerusalem. This biography includes other elements that could sound very Israeli: studied electrical engineering in the United States and worked in Silicon Valley to pay for his doctoral studies and to get experience. Speciality: nanotechnology (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter ). Frequent visits to his family at home, in Jerusalem.
True, his stay abroad lasted longer than expected, from 1989 to 2007. That’s familiar to us, too. Now, three months after receiving his doctorate, in August 2007, he and his family packed their suitcases and returned home, a year after he received American citizenship. An Israeli company and an American company with a branch in Israel wanted to employ him and changed their minds. The Interior Ministry informed them that he was a tourist.
Tourist? How come? That is how he discovered that the Interior Ministry had revoked his residency status. Through attorney Leah Tsemel he petitioned the Jerusalem District Court sitting as a Court for Administrative Matters, against the revocation of his permanent residency permit. For the past three years he has been living in his homeland, in his city, in his parents’ home – without health insurance for the children, without rights, in constant danger of arrest and expulsion.
“The prolonged illegal stay in the country is to the detriment of the petitioner,” said Judge Solberg in a stern voice. He said that it could be a reason for rejecting the petition out of hand. In the corridors of the District Court on Salah al-Din Street it was said that as opposed to liberal judges David Cheshin and Yehudit Tzur, who have left, Solberg is known for summarily rejecting similar petitions. It turns out that this time Solberg had inner conflicts, as he put it.