Why Israel has a law that gives police the power to block certain websites from Israelis

In blocking websites that expose its illegitimacy, the Israeli Government is also continuing a long tradition of brainwashing its own Jewish population with Zionist dogma and myth, in the same way it mobilized to “educate” American Jews after 1967, when Zionist myths began to unravel …

The new Israeli law giving police power to block websites that purportedly publish “criminal” or “offensive” content follows a similar blockade of various websites in Palestine by the 13-year president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas — all in the name of “law and order”, “peace” and “fighting terrorism”.

The equation is simple and has long been propagated by Israel through its hasbara apparatus: Palestinian armed resistance to Israel’s oppression equals terror. Hasbara misinformation against Palestine and Palestinians on the Internet is legitimate paid work in Israel; Palestinian outlets speaking for the Palestinian struggle for liberation are illegitimate (criminal) forms of expression and activity:

Since before the “war on terrorism” in the West even began, the very concept of terrorism has been reduced by Israeli propagandists into an arena whereby Palestinian armed resistance by individuals or Hamas or any other militant Palestinian group is automatically regarded as terror. In a catch-22, non-violent Palestinian resistance, on the other hand, is dubbed as “incitement to terror”. [Source: Israel’s Illegitimate Tactics Against Palestinian Armed Resistance vs. Legitimate Global Security Concerns]

Israel is taking advantage of a world-wide political development concerning freedom of expression that is meant to combat terrorism. Turning the tables around in a typical Zionist tactic of portraying itself as victim, Israel is exploiting this global dilemma in how to balance freedom of expression in legitimate arenas with hate-mongering — especially the kind reflecting intolerance and populism that might foment acts of violence and terrorist “cell formation”.

But there is a big difference between websites that educate on Israel, share facts that expose Israel’s Apartheid regime in Palestine and influence opinions to stand up for Palestinian rights and liberation on the one hand, and websites that spew hatred with the objective of inciting terrorism and wanton destruction on the other.

In blocking websites that expose its illegitimacy, the Israeli Government is also continuing a long tradition of brainwashing its own Jewish population with Zionist dogma and myth, in the same way it mobilized to “educate” American Jews after 1967, when Zionist myths began to unravel “as a result of Palestinian history books published in English, such as Nafez Nazzal and Ibrahim Abu-Lughod’s work, as well as an increasingly visible Palestinian armed resistance movement.” [Source: On American Zionist Education: An excerpt from ‘The Politics of Teaching Palestine to Americans’]

Since the failure of the so-called two-state “solution” (or Oslo Accords) to the problem of partitioning Mandate Palestine in 1948 and the creation of a Jewish state on a territory of Palestine, there has been a significant shift in how Israel is perceived worldwide, especially in connection with its claim to being the only democracy in the Arab world.

As Ilan Pappe explains in Ten Myths About Israel, Israel was never a democracy before or after 1967, when it occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip and annexed East Jerusalem:

Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all. … The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy is propagated even by some notable Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars — but it has no historical foundation. … Systematic cruelty does not only show its face in a major event like a massacre. The worst atrocities can also be found in the regime’s daily, mundane presence. … The litmus test of any democracy is the level of tolerance it is willing to extend towards the minorities living in it. In this respect, Israel falls far short of being a true democracy… Israeli Land Policy Is Not Democratic. …The Occupation Is Not Democratic… Destroying Palestinians’ Houses Is Not Democratic. … Crushing Palestinian Resistance Is Not Democratic. …Imprisoning Palestinians Without Trial Is Not Democratic. … What we must challenge here, therefore, is not only Israel’s claim to be maintaining an enlightened occupation but also its pretense to being a democracy. Such behavior towards millions of people under its rule gives the lie to such political chicanery. [Source: No, Israel Is Not a Democracy]

Having been founded by settler-colonial European and East European Zionist Jews, whose political vision was very much shaped by the Western civilization from where they originated (including the practice of European sovereignty, domination and subjugation over non-Western peoples), Israel has always boasted of being a Western-style democracy.

Israel has also angled to be compared favorably with the Arab world’s democratic deficit, directly and indirectly implying that the obstacle to democratic change in the Arab world was to be found, not in the region’s historical institutional framework, but rather in “Arab culture” — i.e., Islam itself. [For a discussion of this latter hypothesis, see Eric Chaney’s article, Democratic Change in the Arab World, Past and Present: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2012a_Chaney.pdf]

Mandate Palestine today is under Israeli sovereignty — all of it. It is true that the Palestinian Authority has administrative control of the West Bank and Hamas has a similar control in the besieged Gaza Strip since 2006, when it won the legislative elections and then was prevented from governing.

But such control is severely limited and contingent on Mahmoud Abbas’s continued cooperation with Israel’s “security needs” over and above the much more urgent needs of the Palestinian people to realize their rights, especially self-determination and dignity.

Unfortunately, the United States and its foreign policy allies vis-à-vis Israel, the European Union and Great Britain, have long enabled Israel’s brutal policies against the Palestinian people. Under the Oslo Accords (1993) and the Paris Protocol (1994), aid to the Palestinian territories was “militarized” to complement (not fight against) the vast US military aid given to Israel to secure its own territory in Palestine.

In other words, aid to Palestinian Arabs ignored the human reality of a people struggling to survive for seventy years — first their ethnic cleansing and denial of return to their own land and homes and then occupation, annexation of East Jerusalem, siege of the Gaza Strip, and uninterrupted and continuing Jewish colonization meant to complete their dispossession.

Today over 12 million people live in Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip — primarily Jews and Palestinian Arabs, both Christian and Muslim. As estimated in 2014 by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), there are 6.08 Palestinian Arabs currently living in the Palestinian territories, including Israel (worldwide, Palestinians number an estimated 12.37 million).

Each one of these people, and not only Jews, is entitled to full human rights, “including religious liberty; freedoms of expression and association; equal opportunity regardless of ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, etc.; and due process of law.” That includes access to information on the Internet.

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Note: This post was first published as an answer (and then collapsed by malicious reporting) on Quora to the question: How does Israel justify being a democracy when it blocks websites?

Are attacks on Israeli police in East Jerusalem terrorism?

In all justice, we should be condemning the brutal oppression and erasure of Palestinians meant to ensure the “Jewish character”, i.e., the “right” of Israel to exist as a Jewish state on stolen land

East Jerusalem is occupied by Israel. It is also illegally annexed. It is also illegally separated from the rest of the West Bank by an illegal wall. In Jerusalem, Israel boasts of 220,000 illegal Jewish settlers settled on land confiscated from 300,000 Palestinian residents who are now landless. It boasts of 50,000 illegally displaced Palestinian Arabs and 685 illegally demolished Palestinian homes that have rendered 2,500 Palestinian Arabs homeless [see sources for this information here]. All of this is legalized through Israel’s jurisprudence, but never legitimized as its fundamental human rights violations are enshrined in military occupation law.

Although the US and Israel both reject the concept of state terrorism (i.e. acts of violence practiced by official state agencies), the above description of Israel’s policies and actions in East Jerusalem should be regarded as terrorist activities. Israel’s violent activities are premeditated, political in nature, and aimed at civilians – i.e., all the factors generally accepted to constitute elements of terrorism.

The nature of Israel’s violence in Jerusalem (as well as in the other occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) is highlighted by the extrajudicial and brutal erasure of Palestinians who exercise their internationally recognized right to resist as described by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:

2. Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle;

Israel has a long history of extrajudicial killing of Palestinians in and outside Palestine and also a history of trying to prevent reporters from exposing its policy of extra-judicial killing. As Palestinian resistance increases, so does the proliferation of Israel’s extrajudicial killings:

Human Rights Watch has documented numerous statements since October 2015, by senior Israeli politicians, including the police minister and defense minister, calling on police and soldiers to shoot to kill suspected attackers, irrespective of whether lethal force is actually strictly necessary to protect life. (Israel/Palestine: Some Officials Backing ‘Shoot-to-Kill’)

So, what to make of the incidents that took place on June 16, 2017, in which three Palestinian young men reportedly conducted two attacks on Israeli police in Jerusalem?

two Palestinians were shot dead after opening fire at and trying to stab a group of Israeli police officers on Friday night, police said. At the other, a Palestinian fatally stabbed a border policewoman before being shot dead by police…. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the stabbing but the militant Palestinian organisation Hamas and the People’s Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the three attackers and were their own members…. Palestinian media named the attackers as Adel Ankush, 18, from a village near Ramallah, Bra’a Salah, 18, from the same village, and Amar Bedui, 31 from Hebron.

Since September 2015, Palestinian assailants have killed 42 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British student, mainly in stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks. In that time, about 250 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire. Israel identified most of them as attackers.

Israel blames the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders compounded by social media sites that glorify violence and encourage attacks.

Palestinians say it stems from anger over decades of Israeli rule in territory they claim for their state. (Israeli police officer stabbed to death in Jerusalem attack)

The excerpt from The Guardian above lays out all the dimensions of the tragedy, but in the wrong order. The reference to the Islamic State is in the subheading of the article, “Three Palestinians armed with knives and a home-made gun launched two attacks and were shot dead in attack claimed by Islamic State”, but the refutation of it is buried inside the story. The Israeli side of the report is up front, the Palestinian side is literally in the last line of the report. The three young men involved are said to have “entered Jerusalem from the West Bank,” as if occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem is not part of the West Bank and as if the village of these young men, Deir Abu Mash’al (Dayr Abu-Mashal/Meshal), northwest of Ramallah does not share the same confiscation of land by Israel and Jewish settlement ringing it as does East Jerusalem.

Here is a little bit of information from the village profile online that will connect the dots for you:

The Israeli government confiscated hundreds of dunums of lands in Deir Abu Mash‟al to open Israeli bypass road no. 465. This road is constructed and open to connect the Israeli settlements surrounding the village with each other. The real threat of bypass roads lies in the buffer zone formed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) along these roads, extending to approximately 75 m on the roads‟ sides.” (Deir Abu Mash’al (Dayr Abu-Mashal/Meshal), Ramallah gov.)

In all justice, we should be condemning the instigators of the violence in Jerusalem, the brutal oppression and erasure of Palestinians meant to ensure the “Jewish character”, i.e., the “right” of Israel to exist as a Jewish state on stolen land. We should do what the United Nations General Assembly has already done (Resolution A/RES/33/24):

7. Strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.

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This blog post was first published on Quora as an answer to: What do you think of the recent attack against Israeli police in Jerusalem? Is it terrorism?