IDF officers and soldiers should not be going to jail, and I don’t know whether any of them even needs to be indicted. Yet we all need to face a public debate. There is a direct and problematic line that connects the “death to the Arabs” chants at soccer stadiums, the disqualification of Arab parties from the upcoming Knesset elections, and the indifference of an Israeli woman who interrupted and slammed a Palestinian doctor who lost three of his daughters.
By the way, I'm not believing Livni's words in the article, and maybe (absolutely) it is those further up the chain who should be indicted for war crimes. But the above does seem to be indicative of the governing, and possibly underlying, society there at the moment. The disqualification of Arab parties from the elections in Israel, is the truth, and these were the words that passed between a right winged party and an minority Arab party when this disqualification was appealed before the supreme court.
From YNetnews.com,(Lieberman to Arab MK: We'll deal with you like we dealt with Hamas, 20 January, 2009).
MK El-Sana tells Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, 'You're a new immigrant and inciter.' Lieberman replies, 'You're a terrorist representing terrorists'
MK Talab El-Sana (United Arab List-Ta'al) called out towards Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, "Get the hell out of here." Lieberman replied, "You're a terrorist representing terrorists. We'll deal with you like with any other terrorist, like we dealt with Hamas."
Yisrael Beiteinu is a hardline right wing party.At the hearing Lieberman later had these words for MK Ahmad Tibi : "Here's another clown, another terrorist."
(From Ha'aretz): Tibi retorted by calling Lieberman a fascist. "[Israeli Arabs] are salt of the earth. We did not immigrate here like you,"
Tibi continued. "In America they are swearing-in a black president, and in Israel a minority is being deprived of its right to political representation," he added.
(Lieberman to Tibi: We must treat some Arab MKs like we treated Hamas, Ha'aretz, 23 January, 2009).
If you read the two platforms of the parties they are pretty divergent, and I would not call the United Arab List-Ta'al platform radical, particularly the last three points, but that is my point of view.
Again, I know Australia has a less than stellar history when it comes to human rights, especially of its indigenous population, and under John Howard, and possibly continuing with Rudd, many rights have been whittled away, and the detention of asylum seekers, though easing now, is shameful. Israel, however, from a mainstream Australian political and media point of view can seem to do no wrong, despite flagrant disregard and causing of human suffering. Australia is, so far, right in step with official American attitudes, however, out of step, it would seem, with many of our European counterparts who express, at least, some unease, and definitely out of step with the general public of many, many countries.
We are not big world players, politically, but we are not mice, therefore, could we not afford to be just a little more independent, and open our media up to actually reporting and analysing what is going on? Australia does have an international profile. Could we be seen as maybe easing some of the world's tension rather than adding to it? Or be seen as being even handed, as former prime minister, Malcolm Fraser has urged us to be? Maybe trust that Australian people could make an informed opinion if they had a few more of the facts, stories, opinions and particularly history of the area. Of course, most of this is probably on the back page of the newspaper again, but the people of Gaza remain behind borders, sanctions imposed, cities ruined, bodies broken. Differing and diverging facts and analysis, to a degree, seem to be encouraged in the Israeli press, despite overall policy and outcomes. Australia is hegemonic and generic in comparison and it is people in places like Gaza and the West Bank, and yes, Israel itself, who pay the price.