israelAM for August 21, 2015
Hunger Strike Ended
Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allaan decided to end his hunger strike yesterday as a result of the High Court’s decision to suspend his administrative detention. He’s still too sick to eat, but he should be able to in a couple of days. (clearly there’s a difference between being on a hunger strike and just not eating).
While Allaan’s family and supporters are claiming victory, the High Court’s decision doesn’t really do much to change Allaan’s long term situation, other than allowing him visitors. As soon as he gets well enough, the administrative detention order gets reinstated. Ironically, the only way Allaan wins by getting set free immediately is if he is found to have irreversible brain damage. Doesn’t seem like much of a victory in that scenario.
The real winner in this case seems to be the government. It avoided being blamed for the death of a prisoner, ended a hunger strike without having to force-feed, and can continue detaining a terror suspect once he gets well or release him if he is no longer a security threat due to irreversible brain damage.
Israel Strikes Syria
After four rockets were fired into northern Israel from Syria yesterday, the IDF hit back hard. The Israeli army used tanks, artillery and aircraft to attack 14 military targets in the Syrian government held Golan Heights, from where the rockets were launched. Israel claims that the Iranian backed Islamic Jihad is behind the attack, and holds the Syrian government responsible for not securing their territory. Syrian state radio confirmed the attacks but claimed minimal damage.
There has been occasional shooting into Israel from Syria that has spilled over from fighting inside of Syria. But yesterday’s rocket attack into Israel was clearly intentional. A senior IDF officer said, “For us this is a clear act of aggression meant by the Iranians to use the chaos in Syria to escalate tensions in the region,” he said.
The officer said that although the rocket attack was carried out by Islamic Jihad forces, it is not connected to the threats of reprisal by Islamic Jihad related to the hunger strike of their operative Mohammed Allaan. He claimed that the attack is part of an Iranian strategy to use the chaos in Syria to “heat up” Israel’s northern border.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon openly blamed Iran and warned Western nations not to ignore Iran’s attempts to destabilize the region and harm Western interests and Israel. He said, “Following the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran and the removal of the economic sanctions imposed on it, what we saw tonight might be the promo to a richer and more murderous Iran. One that can streamline money and large amounts of weapons to terrorist organizations to harm Israel and Western interests in the region and beyond.”
Early this morning the Israeli airforce penetrated 10 kilometers into Syria and destroyed a car carrying the four Islamic Jihad militants believed to be responsible for firing the rockets into Israel yesterday.
UN vs. Israel
The United Nations political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman is not very happy with some of Israel’s recently passed anti-terror laws. In a speech to the Security Council yesterday he criticized the law increasing the penalties for stone throwers, the law permitting force-feeding of prisoners, and the administrative detention law, saying that they threatened to worsen an “already-precarious human rights situation.”
The stone-throwing law passed by the Knesset in July says that stone throwers proven to have acted with the intention of causing bodily harm can be imprisoned for up to twenty years. Otherwise, they can get up to 10 yrs for attacking civilian targets and 5 yrs for attacking police or military targets.
The force-feeding law that was also passed in July gives the government the right to force-feed prisoners who go on hunger strikes. The government has yet to force-feed anyone, in part due to the refusal of Israeli doctors to perform the procedure, which most consider to be inhumane.
The administrative detention law allows authorities to detain terror suspects for six month intervals (that can be renewed) without revealing the charges or holding a trial. The law has been primarily used against Palestinian terror suspects where the authorities believe that revealing the charges would pose a security risk. Recently, several jewish terror suspects were also placed in administrative detention.
So while innocent civilians are being beheaded bombed and terrorized just hours away by ISIS, Assad and just about everyone else with some power, Israeli anti-terror legislation is on the UN agenda for human rights violations. Seems a bit distorted, don’t you think?
Cops and Crime
According to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, there are 132 police officers on active duty who have been convicted of criminal offenses. He also said that 21 policemen were fired this year after being convicted of crimes or following disciplinary procedures. Last year the number of convicted cops who were fired was 34, and in 2013 it was 40.
Erdan didn’t reveal the nature of the active duty officers’ offenses, but most of the penalties ranged from suspended sentences through community service to fines. That implies that the crimes weren’t that bad. Should police officers really be committing any crimes at all?
Soccer Players Win
The players who protested the scheduling of National League (Liga Leumit) soccer games on Shabbat brought their case to labor court, and won. Labor Court Judge Arielle Giltzer-Katz decided in favor of the players and informed management that since it lacked a permit for working on Shabbat, it would be breaking the law by doing so.
The Israel Premiere League, the first tier soccer league, does play games on Shabbat. None of their players seem to be protesting.