“There is no innocent Arab”

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Palestinian Susan Abu Ghannam imprisoned by Israel on charges of incitement on Facebook (Photo: Asra Media)

As Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network states in Palestinian, 17, sentenced to 35 years in Israeli prison, “The imprisonment, oppression, and killing of Palestinians by Israel is part and parcel of the Israeli colonial project in Palestine.”

For Israel to remain in existence as a settler-colonial Jewish state in historic Palestine, it must, by necessity, continue the violence and brutality Jewish gangs (see Hamas: A Pale Image of the Jewish Irgun And Lehi Gangs) exhibited in establishing Israel as a state on part of historic Palestine in 1948.

The above is especially true, because Palestinians have not ceased to resist since 1948, with the result that we have been imprisoned and tortured in Israeli jails in unconscionable numbers (even children). According to the Palestinian Ministry of Detainees in Special Report: “800,000 Palestinians Imprisoned By Israel Since 1967”, “more than 800,000 Palestinians, including children, have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel since 1967”.

The above statistic is from April 16, 2014.

With every escalation in Palestinians’ uprising, we typically see an escalation of repression and collective punishment on Israel’s part.

A documentary titled The Law In These Parts dramatically puts Israel’s military rule in Palestine on trial and gives us insight into why and how Palestinians are routinely detained, given kangaroo trials and shoved in prison.

The Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) grassroots movement against Israel has provoked a rise in censorship of free speech on social media platforms such as Facebook and Quora, as well as legislation in Israel meant to criminalize Palestinian liberation speech as incitement to violence.

We now see headlines such as the following more frequently:
Mother of Palestinian slain by Israeli forces imprisoned for posting on Facebook

Susan Abu Ghannam, 39, the mother of Mohammed Abu Ghannam, 22, who was killed by Israeli occupation forces in July 2017 as he protested against the imposition of electronic gates at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Abu Ghannam was seized by occupation forces in early August 2018, only weeks after the one-year anniversary of the killing of her son. She was accused of “incitement” for posting about Palestine, politics and the killing of her child on Facebook, as prosecutors listed 40 of her social media posts.

The most well-known example to date of a Palestinian to be similarly prosecuted and indicted on Israel’s incitement law is that of Poet Dareen Tatour.

In Why the poet Dareen Tatour was convicted of incitement, Yoav Haifawi writes:

I went back to reading the verdict in order to try to understand on what grounds Tatour was convicted, even though in all the publications for which she was accused there was neither any call for violence nor support for any organization waging armed struggle against Israel.

There is no innocent Arab.

For more information on Dareen Tatour, see Dareen Tatour convicted for poetry: Take action to demand justice and freedom for Palestine.

Another example:

Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has long pointed out discriminatory laws in Israel against Palestinian Arabs. When 19-year-old Anas Khateeb, a Palestinian citizen of Israel from Shefa-’Amr, was arrested and convicted for posting political comments on Facebook with the charge of “incitement”, Adalah wondered:

But how does the response of the Israeli authorities compare with their response to, say, some comments made by Israeli politicians? The use of “incitement” as a criminal charge is selectively applied against Palestinian citizens in order to intimidate them from freely expressing their political opinions. No such arrests are made against Israeli Jewish citizens — including politicians — who make much worse racist and violent remarks, and to much larger audiences.

Israel will continue to search high and low for fake reasons to arrest Palestinians as well as to shut them up. The true reason is its will to exist as a Jewish state in Palestine at any cost. After all, the fewer of us walking the streets of our homeland, the better for the demographic of the Jewish state.

At a loss to imagine how that makes us feel as Palestinians? Here is Yousef Munnayer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, on ‘Detention is an instrument of Israel’s oppression’how it feels to be a demographic threat.

As Salah Hamouri, one of 5,554 Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel put it succinctly, “Detention is an instrument of Israel’s oppression”.

Note: I posted (18 Dec 2018) much of the above as an answer to the question on Quora: Why has Israel imprisoned the mother of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Ghannam, 22, who was killed by the IDF in July 2017, for posting on Facebook? Subsequently, both question and answer were deleted by Quora Moderation.

Rima Najjar is a former professor (now retired) at Al-Quds University, Palestine

Written by

Palestinian and righteously angry

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