Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stiffling "Unpatriotic Views" in the Mid Easts Only Democracy


Its only been a few weeks since the party of "loyalty oaths" (Avigdor Leiberman's Yisrael Beytenu) took over running the Ministry of Internal Security (in charge of the Israeli police) and got a veto over the appointment of the Minister of Justice (in charge of the state prosecutors).

Since then left wing activists of all sorts have faced increased persecution. Earlier this week, noted Israeli human rights activist Ezra Nawi was arreseted while helping Bedouin in the South Hebron Hills area resists demolition of their home. Based on the video of the incident, the chareg of assaulting a police officer has no basis. Nevertheless Nawi is facing jail time. Last week the Israeli pacifist group "New Profile" had its offices raided, computers seized, and 8 of its leaders held for questioning. Now some are being charged with encouraging Israelis to avoid military service.

And today, Amira Haas (picture above), the only Israeli journalist reporting from Gaza, was arrested while crossing back into Israel at the Erez Checkpoint. Hass was arrested and taken in for questioning immediately after crossing the border, for violating a law which forbids residence in an enemy state. She was released on bail after promising not to enter the Gaza Strip over the next 30 days.

Is this the beginning of a new pattern? Time will tell.

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