Where is Israel Heading in Regards to Arabs?

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

A majority of the Israeli/Jewish community is currently characterized by the ‘Jewish spirit’ associated with fanatical Zionist nationalism which fostered a culture of hatred against ‘the other’ regarding him as inferior. This took routs when Judaism turned from a religious creed to a Jewish one with hostile sentiments as clearly perceived in the policies of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Former Israeli cabinet minister Uri Savir better describes this government as “basically the opposite of everything, looking for conflict and dispute and is full of hatred and racism. It is a government of settlement (i.e. colonization) and annexation endangering Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity, isolating it from the world. The continuation of such a policy will lead us into a Greek tragedy”.

Increasing number of politicians, professors, journalists and observers have notices that Israel has moved at an accelerated pace towards the consolidation of fascism, racism and extremism within the Israeli society and the state institutions which may ensure the survival and continuity of the extreme right in power for years to come, which reflects on the Palestinian people in historic Palestine, both in the 1967 occupied territory and the Arab lands occupied in 1948. It is quite obvious that it is a state shifting quickly towards extremism and violence on a daily basis against all that is Palestinian, as if the Israeli man learns since his birth that death is equivalent to seeing a Palestinian breathes, and that killing him is not a significant matter. Currently a large proportion of the Israeli society is recklessly dealing (almost accepting) with the Israeli soldiers’ acts of discrimination, killing and torture against the Palestinian people. In this regard, Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy describes such a situation saying that “the state would be angry if a Jewish man is killed by security forces according to a pre-conceived ethnic/political categorization and if the victim is Ethiopian, the fuss is less, if he is Haredi (fanatic Jew) it will be louder. But if he was a settler, this would be the end of the world! Main headlines: An inquiry commission, a settlement outpost carrying his name in compensation and a day devoted to his memory defined in the law. But what a coincidence: the demonstrators that are shot and killed in Israel are always Arabs, as well as the thieves who are always shot and killed are almost Arabs. What an amazing coincidence!”

In this context, Israeli political analyst Chemi Shalev says that “crooks and instigators are leading the scene in the political arena and in social networks with the entire Israeli right behind them. It is no exaggeration to say that the moderate right-wingers who want to build bridges with the rest of the Israeli political spectrum (i.e. both the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish secular/ liberal/ leftists) have been expelled from the arena and replaced by those who want to burn these bridges. They can be called neo-rightists, and their most prominent feature is the contempt for democracy, pluralism, freedom of expression, the rule of law and the principle of equality in human rights and values. They love the land of extremist nationalist Israel and bill as ‘self-hating Jews’ all the leftist, secular and other Israelis who hold on to what is left of the ‘democratic Jewish state’ slogan”.

In his view, journalist Zeev Sternhell believes that “in the reality of Israel, many are trying to push human rights to the margin on the pretext that they belong to the field of law, while the occupation is a political issue, throwing dust in the eyes seeking to turn human rights to an open subject of negotiations between the two parties, such as the issue of borders, instead of regarding it as a matter of significance to our human personality. This is what can be said to a Palestinian who is subject to a harsh colonial regime and whose rights are crushed by force every day; everything is tied to negotiations, even if it continues for decades”. Sternhell goes on to say that “if we, the Israelis, have human rights, we do not have the right to deprive Palestinians of them with whom we have a national struggle or in a war with them over division of the land. Power supremacy does not produce better rights. It can create facts but not values”.

“Israel continues to shift to the right”, says Shabtai Shavit, former director general of the Mossad between1989-1996 and “continues to develop settlements and impose law on the West Bank with the aim of annexing it. Israel is expected to be defined as an apartheid state and will be faced with boycotts and sanctions. Then the military threat will increase and (terrorist) acts from the territories and Gaza will be heightened”.

What is currently going on in Israel reflects a general governmental, institutional and popular direction. The right wing leaders in the state institutions along with its majority of extremists and colonialists/settlers are fighting to suppress the Palestinians as if they were in a competition amongst them on who leads the right-wing camp. Each time this competition takes place at the expense of the Palestinians and their rights, whether in the land confiscation law or through the enactment of hundreds of laws and legislation that deepen the roots of occupation and Judaization, legalize colonialism/settlement and pave the way to establish a racist fascist regime.