Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Democracy in action (cont. from previous post)

I was reading Ha'aretz today and saw that there's been a fair controversy about the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma. Israel has accused the PA of propagandising the story for the sake of another martyr yet the IDF's 'official explanation' of Abu Rahma's death has endured a number of forms. It seems that it is most likely that she died from some sort of allergic reaction to the tear gas, but I am not sure whether this is really the most important point any more. For me, Israel's official, ongoing response to the unravelling events (death of a young Palestinian woman, ongoing demonstrations in the West Bank and then in Tel Aviv) is the saddest thing as it becomes ever more defensive and aggressive.

My sadness is that we begin another year when the cycle of violence continues to revolve and hateful rhetoric continues to increase. Another young generation of Palestinians grow up with hatred towards Israelis and and another young generation of Israelis grow up in an increasingly intolerant and even racist society. And that's before they get the chance to face each other down at demonstrations and checkpoints.

A more recent story grabbing the headlines today was the parliamentary panel, established at the suggestion of Yisrael Beiteinu and supported by a majority of MKs, to examine the funding sources of certain left-wing and/or human rights groups in Israel. These groups have been accused of 'delegitimising the IDF' and the stated aim of the panel is to decide whether these groups are being supported by 'other groups with known links to terrorism'. I'm not sure who gets to decide what constitutes 'delegitimising the IDF' or whether the government plans to examine the negative effects of right-wing activities on the perceived 'legitimacy' of either the IDF or Israel but I can bet that Avigdor Lieberman won't be opening up his own party's books any time soon....

Spot the one who will always be remembered for pushing democracy forward....

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on programs of military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death" 
Martin Luther King (Sunday sermon, the Sunday before his assassination 1968)

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