Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Defending Israel from Democracy

The Shin Bet and the Persecution of Azmi Bishara

Another Great Article


"The second Palestinian intifada has been crushed. The 700km wall is sealing the occupied population of the West Bank into a series of prisons. The "demographic timebomb" -- the fear that Palestinians, through higher birth rates, will soon outnumber Jews in the Holy Land and that Israel's continuing rule over them risks being compared to apartheid -- has been safely defused through the disengagment from Gaza and its 1.4 million inhabitants. On the fortieth anniversary of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel's security establishment is quitely satisfied with its successes.

But like a shark whose physiology requires that, to stay alive, it never sleeps or stops moving, Israel must remain restless, constantly reinventing itself and its policies to ensure its ethnic project does not lose legitimacy, even as it devours the Palestinian homeland. By keeping a step ahead of the analysts and worldwide opinion, Israel creates facts on the ground that cement its supremacist and expansionist agenda.

So, with these achievements under its belt, where next for the Jewish state?

I have been arguing for some time that Israel's ultimate goal is to create an ethnic fortress, a Jewish space in expanded borders from which all Palestinians -- including its 1.2 million Palestinian citizens -- will be excluded. That was the purpose of the Gaza disengagement and it is also the point of the wall snaking through the West Bank, effectively annexing to Israel what little is left of a potential Palestinian state.

It should therefore be no surprise that we are witnessing the first moves in Israel's next phase of conquest of the Palestinians. With the 3.7 million Palestinians in the occupied territories caged inside their ghettos, unable to protest their treatment behind fences and walls, the turn has come of Israel's Palestinian citizens.......

Following the report in Ma'ariv, the editor of a weekly Arab newspaper wrote to the Shin Bet asking for more information. Did the Shin Bet's policy not constitute an undemocratic attempt to silence the Palestinian minority and its leaders, he asked. A reply from the Shin Bet was not long in coming. The secret police had a responsibility to guard Israel "against subversive threats", it was noted. "By virtue of this responsibility, the Shin Bet is required to thwart subversive activity by elements who wish to harm the nature of the State of Israel as a democratic Jewish State -- even if they act by means of democratically provided tools -- by virtue of the principle of 'defensive democracy'......

So now we know. As Israel's Palestinian politicians have long been claiming, a Jewish and democratic state is intended as a democracy for Jews only. No one else is allowed a say -- or even an opinion."

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