Israel faces a constant barrage of terror activities against Israeli civilians, and over the last few months, Jerusalem is particularly targeted. These terror activities have been accompanied by incitement on the streets and in the Palestinian media, encouraging acts of terror in every possible way, including “cold” weapons and the use of cars to hit pedestrians. These incidents have claimed 11 lives (including the massacre at the synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood); more than in all the terror attacks in the past two years. Since this wave of terror is being led by Israeli citizens, residents of Jerusalem, there are particular challenges.
The Israeli government, in consultation with the security establishment, therefore decided on a series of steps against the terrorists and their dispatchers, in order to put a stop to the terror.
In this context, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the end of the cabinet meeting on 11 November, 2014, “We are facing a wave of incitement and terror aimed at Israel and her citizens…. A short while ago I convened the cabinet ministers, updated them regarding the decisions we made after consulting with the security authorities – the IDF, the Shabak security services and the Israel Police. These steps to be implemented include increasing the presence of forces throughout the country… demolishing terrorists’ homes, a heavy hand and harsher punishment against those who throw stones and bottles and of course flares and various types of Molotov cocktails; fines against the parents of children and teens who throw stones, steps to outlaw the elements fomenting in Jerusalem, and other steps.”
At the same time, we are witnessing a different trend being led by various human rights activists and organizations supported by the radical, extremist New Israel Fund. This new series of activities denies the legitimacy of the steps taken in the name of law enforcement, and is aimed at undermining them in various ways. As the NIF undermines Israel’s Army and legitimacy worldwide, this is consistent with their constant work of undermining Israel.
Objections to house demolitions:
· Eight human rights organizations filed a joint principle petition against the demolition of terrorists’ homes as “contradictory to the law”: Unlike the individual petitions filed by the families of terrorists, the organizations claim the basic illegality of the demolition procedure and caution that “it is liable to result in responsibility for a war crime.”
The petition was filed by attorneys Michael Sfard, Shlomi Zecharia, Noa Amrami and Roni Peli, on behalf of Hamoked for the Defence of the Individual, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, B’Tselem, Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din, Adalah, Physicians for Human Rights and Shomrei Mishpat – Rabbis for Human Rights.
· Sfard, who represents the petitioning organizations, is the legal advisor to Yesh Din, which is supported by the NIF. Over the years Sfard has served as defense counsel for draft dodgers and even for Marcus Klingberg, who was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. Sfard has referred to Israel’s policy of targeted assassinations of terrorists as “approaching a crime against humanity…International law obligates all states in the world to investigate them and prosecute them if there is enough evidence. If not Israel, then England. If not the Supreme Court, then the House of Lords.”
In reference to the state’s argument that the house demolition are intended to serve as a deterrent for the terrorists, Sfard said, “Even the intentions is deterrence, the means chosen for achieving the goal harms innocents, raising grievous ethical problems.” Another claim raised by the petitioners is that the state does not apply this house demolition approach to “Jewish terrorists.” Thus, for example, in the case of the suspects in the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. Judge Yoram Danziger responded to this claim in August, 2014, saying that “the comparison is not appropriate… I believe that there is no room for the artificial parallel presented by the petitioners in support of their claim of discriminatory enforcement.”
Objections to the non-return of the bodies of terrorists, even when such return would likely lead to their being glorified and turned into role models
· The legal advisor to the Israel Police, attorney Shaul Gordon notified the families of the terrorists responsible for the massacre in the Har Nof synagogue that the authorities were considering not returning the bodies to the families yet, “given that handing over the body, which will be followed by a funeral procession, a burial, erection of headstone, and so on, may glorify the memory of the terrorist and make him a role model for others.” Gordon added that, according to security estimates, such a step may “serve as a deterrent to reduce motivation for carrying out such attacks.” Gordon added that Israel’s withholding of the bodies could become “a deterrent that would reduce the motivation to carry out such attacks.”
· B’Tselem objected to this action, calling it “collective punishment, which is immoral and contravenes international law.” B’Tselem subsequently issued the following declaration: “B’Tselem calls upon the authorities to make a clear distinction between the grave actions of the deceased and any harm to their relatives, who are not suspected of any offense, and to refrain from imposing collective punishment, which is immoral and contravenes international law.”
· Objections to the use of skunk spray as a means for crowd dispersal at demonstrations and riots:
· The police procedure regulating the use of the spray states: “The Israel Police is working to introduce operational means that are non-lethal, in order to reduce the need for direct contact and friction between the police forces and demonstrators and protestors, out of a desire to reduce the number of casualties on both sides, on the one hand, and to carry out effective enforcement activity, on the other. As part of the efforts to develop these non-lethal means, ‘skunk’ liquid was developed by the Israel Police and was tested and approved for operational use. The skunk liquid was tested by medical teams and the legal advisors to the police and the IDF and was approved for use regarding humans.” The police procedure also states that the effect of any quantity of the liquid that comes into contact with an object or plant matter lasts for up to half an hour.
· Association for Civil Rights in Israel sent a sharply worded letter to the Police commissioner, against the use of skunk spray in Jerusalem, stating: “Since July 2014, large swathes of East Jerusalem streets have been covered in tremendous amounts of skunk spray… there is a clearly disproportionate relationship between the intended purpose of the skunk spray – dispersing public disturbances – and the way it is being used – causing property damage and harming innocent bystanders. The damage caused by this spray can last for many days and must be prohibited in East Jerusalem in particular and in crowded residential neighborhoods altogether.”
The New Israel Fund receives $30 Million annually from American Jews – to harm Israel. People like The Nathan Cummings Foundation, The Jacob & Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Sylvia Sabel & Joel Rubinstein, and Karen R. Adler of The Jewish Communal Fund must be shamed into stopping to support the heinous New Israel Fund.
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