Tuesday, September 08, 2009

laws of persecution in Israel's District 9

"In the first, a policeman who shot and killed an Arab citizen in 2006 was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The unbearable leniency of the sentence is more evidence of the total disregard for Arab life inside Israel, where ethnicity of the victim is a de facto mitigating circumstance in the case of Israel's Palestinian citizens. Indeed, this was the only case in which any policeman or soldier was indicted since the mass protests of October 2000, in spite of the fact that about 40 citizens were killed during this period. The second case involved an indictment against Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old law student, for "contact with a foreign agent" and "delivering information to the enemy"; two flawed articles in Israel's laws comparable in their application to use of "national security" laws by authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the world. The young student is a political activist of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), a party that calls for the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a state for all its citizens. Rawi is also the son of a well-known leader of the party. He is accused of having contact with another youth, who allegedly turned out to be a Hezbollah member, during a national Arab youth conference in Morocco. Allegedly, Rawi disclosed information regarding the Israeli army's chief of staff, given their membership in the same gym. Yet the case is based on a tendentious account of one statement of a publicly known fact regarding the chief's membership in that gym made by the accused. The identity of the accused, the identity of his father, the party to which they both belong, the timing of the case and the kind of charges chosen cannot be easily overlooked and give grounds to questioning the political incentives behind the indictment and the message behind it. One would be hard put to explain the extensive surveillance against leaders and activists of the NDA as revealed by this case." (thanks Nimer)