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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Israeli government admits Rightist demonstrators treated differently

I have written about police brutality against Rightist demonstrators - and how they are treated differently from Leftist demonstrators - several times on this blog. See, for example here, here, here, here and here.

Now, for the first time, the government of Israel has admitted that it intentionally acted with brutality against demonstrators who were protesting the Gaza expulsion in 2004-05. And it did so with the approval of three Likud Knesset members, only one of whom - Michael Eitan (pictured) - is still with the Likud.

The occasion for the admission is a challenge by the Left to a general amnesty that the current government has granted to all those arrested in protests against the Gaza expulsion. The government has argued that the amnesty is necessary to heal the rift between Left and Right. The Left has argued that the amnesty is discriminatory and that their demonstrators should also have their records expunged.
Three Likud Knesset members authorized the use of force against the Jews of Gush Katif in the 2005 Expulsion (Disengagement), according to documents recently filed before the High Court by Col. (res.) Moshe Leshem.

The three are Michael Eitan, who headed the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee at the time and is now a minister; Ronny Bar-On, who is now an MK for Kadima, and Naomi Blumenthal, who is no longer a Knesset member.
Leshem's papers were filed in a response to a motion by left-wing groups against the law that pardoned anti-expulsion protesters for offenses they had been charged with. The petitioners said that the law is non-egalitarian and should also be applied to leftist demonstrators charged with illegal acts.

Attorneys for the state replied to the motion, stating that the expulsion was a unique event in the history of the state, and that in view of the heavy price paid by the expelled citizens, the unusual law should be allowed to stand.

Col. (res.) Leshem's response to the court, filed by attorneys Nadav Ha'etzni and Adi Brener, includes documents that show that the state used a large-scale program of enforcement against the expellees, and in fact discriminated against them in comparison to other protesters.

"The law does not go against the constitutional right to equality," Leshem stated. "On the contrary, it wishes to correct, if only in a partial way, the serious blow to equality that was dealt against [Leshem] and many other citizens of Israel, who opposed the step called the 'Disengagement.'"

The state's preparations for the expulsion were based on a false premise, Leshem explained, according to which the protesters planned to use serious and widespread violence. "The false warnings gave rise to harsh results," the response states.

Discriminatory legislation against the expellees was, in part, carried out in secret. "Special patterns of enforcement" were instituted, constituting "systemic, establishmentary, overriding discrimination on a large scale." Knesset members were apprised of at least some of these measures and asked to approve them in secret.

MKs Eitan, Bar-On and Blumenthal allegedly took part in an "internal and secret" discussion as members of a limited forum within the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and received the right to go over the special measures that had been prepared against the expellees.
Read the whole thing. Blumenthal was forced out of the Knesset when she was convicted of corruption. Although what the trio did might also be considered corruption in other countries, in Israel, unfortunately, it is part of the ordinary modus operandi.

I'd love to see some of the people who were beaten at anti-expulsion protests file lawsuits against the State for civil damages. Maybe if there's a heavy financial penalty to be paid, the government will think twice the next time before they send in the clowns.

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At 3:08 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - don't hold your breath waiting for Israel's "dual justice" system to be reformed any time soon.

It is a right wing Israeli government that elected to maintain the occupation of the revanants and to treat them as third class citizens in Israel.

That state of affairs, revealed in this past Monday's events at Gilad Havat, are not going to change in the forseeable future.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep knitting, Madame Defarge, keep knitting.


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