January 31, 2010

Law for the left, lawless for the right

Here's Gideon Levy in Ha'aretz:
Looking at the way the right acts makes one go green with envy and want to learn from them. Four hundred criminal cases opened against opponents of the 2005 Gaza Strip disengagement, people who threw oil, acid, garbage and stones at soldiers and police, were closed last week and their criminal record expunged. Fifty-one MKs voted in favor of the closure, nine against. That is the true map of Israeli politics (and society). Only about seven percent of the lawmakers believed that this was a worthless and dangerous decision. All the rest agreed with it, or did not bother to vote or take an interest.

Neither did anyone think to apply a similar rule to 800 protesters against Operation Cast Lead, who were arrested and charged, perhaps because they are Arabs, nor to the dozens arrested for protesting in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, perhaps because they are leftists. Left-wing demonstrators never acted as violently as the settlers do, but no one thinks about pardoning them. Not even a semblance of equality before the law, not even the appearance of justice for all - that is unnecessary in a place where public shame no longer exists.

This scandalous decision did not appear out of nowhere. It is the fruit of a campaign of pressure and solicitation, bullying and extortion. From now on, settlers and Israeli society will know that they can go as wild as they want: Even if someone dares charge them - another will arise who will know how to extricate them from trouble and penalty. In contrast, left-wing protesters are orphans. They have no public or parliamentary support. Protesters against disengagement and pogromists in Palestinian villages know they will be cleared, while leftist protesters are abandoned to their fate.
Speaking of unequal treatment, how does any zionist justify this without admitting that Israel isn't simply state with racists but a thorough-going racist state?
The Interior Ministry is demanding that a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem be deported for having spent too many years in the United States. Elias Khayyo - who holds no foreign citizenship - has been detained for three weeks at Givon incarceration facility in Ramle with other people deemed illegal residents and slated for deportation.

Khayyo, 41, was born in East Jerusalem and currently resides in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, where his parents also live. He says he has no relatives in America, nor a home, property or employment there.

The Interior Ministry, however, maintains that his permanent residency in Israel was revoked in January 2006, due to Khayyo having lived in the U.S. from 1998 to 2005 and receiving permanent-residence status there. Khayyo received bachelor's and master's degrees in biology over two extended stays in the U.S. He is now working as a translator in Jerusalem.
The ministry claims Khayyo resided abroad for more than seven years, and that he returned to Israel in 2005 as a tourist by presenting U.S. travel documents.
Could this happen to a Jew in Jerusalem of the right or the left?

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