Sunday, November 23, 2014

No discrimination

This week PM Netanyahu made an important statement, that was supported by all his Coalition colleagues as well as the opposition.  He opposed a decision by the Mayor of Ashkelon to bar all Arab workers from working on construction projects and in schools and kindergartens in Ashkelon.  The Mayor said the reason was that parents are afraid to send their children to school with Arabs present, who could attack them, just as they had attacked Jews praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem.  It's true that there is little if any protection for schools and kindergartens from such an attack.  The police cannot protect every building and institution in the State.  On the other hand, the majority of innocent Arabs should not be punished for the actions of the small violent minority.  The fact is that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs (we are not talking about Palestinian Arabs who live in the territories and are much more radicalized) want to live a peaceful life and are loyal to the State of Israel.  At no time during any of Israel's wars has there been a major uprising of the Israeli Arab population.  There certainly has been radicalization of the youth, but apart from certain outbreaks of violence, the majority do not participate in violence or terrorism.  By punishing them all it only drives them into the hands of the extremists.
A notable feature of the current wave of terrorism and rioting in Jerusalem has been the fact that it is almost totally Palestinian Arabs living in East Jerusalem, who have Israeli id cards, but are not citizens and cannot vote in elections.  There has been violence from the West Bank, for example the drivers who deliberately drove into people and killed them (4 so far in three incidents) were Hamas members from the West Bank, but there has been no large-scale rioting in the West Bank.  Also, there have been isolated incidents within Israel, for example the rioting in Kfar Kana that escalated when a young Arab was shot by the police.  There was also a major clash in the village of Abu Snan recently, when a fight broke out between Arab Muslim and Druse inhabitants of the village and 40 were injured.  The Israeli police went in and separated the two groups and restored calm.  Note that the Druse are loyal citizens of Israel and the border policeman, Zidan Saif (30), who was shot dead by the Arabs who attacked the synagogue in Jerusalem, was a Druse.  Apparently the clashes in Abu Snan started when the Muslims wore their keffiyehs to school as a mark of protest.
In years past, parents in Israel used to do a rota to guard the schools where their children went (I remember doing this in the 1970s).  The parents job was not to stop the attackers, but to act as a deterrent and also an early warning signal.  Nowadays with cell phones it should be quick and easy to contact the police.  But, if such an attack does occur at a school or kindergarten (it is terrible that we are talking about this again) then it would definitely change the situation and things would quickly deteriorate.
Note that a border policeman has been brought up on charges for shooting a Palestinian youth with a live bullet.  This was a case where a youth who was nowhere near the rioting 6 months ago suddenly fell down and was shot.  It looked from the video as if he was pretending, from the way he put his arms out to save his fall.  But, apparently he was actually shot, and since there had been no order given to use live ammunition, this was an illegal shooting.  As a consequence, after an investigation, the presumed guilty party has been found and has been charged.  We are a country of law.  The Mayor of Ashkelon is also being investigated for breaking the law against racial discrimination.


Post a Comment

<< Home