October 17, 2008

More on the Yom Kippur Pogrom in Akka

Coexistence is a [just] a slogan. After all, Akko [i.e. Akka] is a city like ra'ananna, Kfar Saba and Haifa, whose Jewish identity one needs to preserve. I don't think there is any controversy. Akko is the capital of the Galil, thousands of years of Jewish history. We are here to preserve Jewish identity, to strengthen the spirit and to pass the national test with honor. (Rabbi Yossi Stern, head of the Akka military Yeshiva)
[the goal of the assaults is]: to kick us out of our neighborhood, and to make the Arabs leave Akka. But we will stay in the Akka of our birth, despite the violence against us." (Runza Ramaal, who fled Akka after being attacked by the mob, cited by the Committee of Activists for Akka)

Background for the Pogrom that is completely absent from the media. Akka is the site of an on-going ethnic cleansing campaign, spearheaded by settlers from Hebron and other settlements who decided to settle in the middle of the Palestinian Akka and to repeat the technique they used to destroy Hebron. One of their motivation is to prove that there is no real difference between Akka and Hebron. And in this at least they are right. According to 'Ala khalikhal from the committee of activists for Akka, there are 200 Rabbinical students and about a thousand Jewish settlers in Akka. Their operation is part of a recent settlement activity within mixed cities like Akka, Ramla and Lydda, and is coordinated with and supported by the local authorities and religious foundations. These settlements are part of a capmaign of ethic cleansing that begins with making life miserable to the local resident through discrimination and defunding, and follows through the destruction of the city's Palestinian heritage, the takeover of public spaces by Jewish institutions and gentrification through the real estate market.

The Yom Kippur Pogrom against the Palestinian residents of Akka takes place on this background. The Jewish mob that "took offense" at the Arab driver sees the wink-wink-nod-nod of the authorities and feels it is serving a national cause. The police stands aside or sides with the mob. Jewish rioters are released on bail while Palestinians are held in custody. The police even plans to charge the driver who was assaulted with recklessness! Yet the same police refuses to guarantee the safety of the Palestinian families whose homes have been vandalized. And many are still away huddles with relatives. It is not inconceivable that they will not be able to return.

The Nakba continues.

Yitzhak Laor on the Yom Kippur Pogrom in Akka
It is time to face facts: Israel forsakes the blood of its Arab citizens each time the Jewish collective is pitted against the Arabs. It doesn't matter if these are Arabs from without (in the territories) or from within. The right of the Jewish collective to protect its identity is self-evident. We have already found a sociologist who espouses this ideology, just as we have found jurists, all of whom have succeeded in providing a philosophical basis for these privileges, in addition to other rights we claim for every area of our lives. It is always about "defense of the identity."

The events of October 2000 have been swept under the rug. The killers have not been brought to justice. Alik Ron was dismissed from
the police force, but he did not answer for what happened. In fact, he was the recipient of compassion. Let us try to imagine that Wadi 'Ara was being blocked off by Jews (let us assume they were settlers): Would those events have ended in the deaths of 13 rioters?


Once again, the pogroms repeat themselves, those that we hear about and those that "only" involve humiliation or harassment that we do not hear about. The incident is always turned into a case of deeds carried out on behalf of the collective against those outside the collective who pose a threat.

This is the logic that the average Israeli needs to digest on a daily basis: This place belongs to the Jews. The Arabs are foreign. Some think that we need to behave nicely toward foreigners. Some think we need to oust them. Here is the pus. (Haaretz, Oct. 17 2208)

As the fine military Rebbe Yossi Stern says, this is what Jewish identity today amounts too. And the Jewish communities around the world that fund this abomination and give it succor and political cover are guilty of it as much, if not more, of the hoodlums who perpetrated it.

(Pictures provided by the committee of Activists for Akka)

Jews have no problem having an Arab neighbor when this is the result of ethnic cleansing. So it's O.K. to build Yeshivas in Lydda and Akka. But they'd rather not have Palestinans come to "their cities". Here is the enlightened Mayor of Carmiel explaining Apartheid in a way that even Western journalists can understand.

"Carmiel," she says, "is different from Acre, which has always been defined as an ethnically mixed city. There is no need for Carmiel to become a mixed city. We can have harmonious relations with the Arabs, but the Arab and Jewish communities must live separately." (Haaretz, Oct. 17 2008)

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