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Israeli Oppression Continues While Talking Peace

by Stephen Lendman Thursday, Sep. 08, 2011 at 4:44 AM

police state

Israeli Oppression Continues While Talking Peace - by Stephen Lendman

No wonder Palestinians want and deserve statehood, as well as full UN membership to be able to seek World Court redress, and be able to sue under Genocide Convention provisions, and why not.

Israel's lawless hypocrisy is shameless given what goes on daily - bombings, killings, mass arrests, settlement expansions, dispossessions, and other civil and human rights abuses on an ongoing basis. More on that below.

On September 5, ahead of the September General Assembly meeting, Netanuyahu predictably said he wants peace talks restarted with no chance whatever of succeeding like all previous attempts for decades because Israeli violence is official policy.

Nonetheless, after meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Yyves Leterme, he said:

Abbas "can come to Jerusalem. I could go to Ramallah, or we could both go to Brussels." In fact, the proper response to a man spurning peace is go to hell, in diplomatic language, of course.

Netanyahu's gambit is another attempt to pressure Abbas to back off from seeking statehood and full UN membership.

Plans to petition the General Assembly still stand, though perhaps with less resolve than earlier based on recent comments and a new "strategy."

Instead of seeking recognition within 1967 borders, 22% of sovereign Palestine, a new proposal seeks statehood with permanent borders to be determined in later negotiations with Israel. It still wants them as originally drafted, but with more flexibility.

In other words, with enough wiggle room for Israel to maneuver Palestine into an unacceptable position it can't refuse, the way Oslo turned out. It left Palestinian rights entirely out of the final agreement at the same time Israeli terror attacks continued then and now.

Overnight Monday, Israeli planes raided an area west of the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. No injuries were reported. In recent weeks, numerous others killed or wounded scores of Gazans.

The same day, Israeli forces detained 20 West Bank "wanted Palestinians," for the crime perhaps of wanting freedom.

Palestinian lawmaker Mohammed Abu Teir was also arrested and his home ransacked. Former PA Jerusalem affairs minister Khalid Abu Arafa expressed concern after Israel earlier revoked his city ID card.

Then in December an Israeli court expelled him to Ramallah for the second time after imprisoning him for four months for ignoring a previous ban. At issue is his Hamas affiliation, Palestine's legitimate government, wrongfully designated a terrorist organization.

An August 30 B'Tselem report discussed earlier in the month incidents. On August 19, an Israeli missile killed Gaza City's Mu'ataz Kreqa', his two-year old son and brother Munzar. Others nearby were wounded.

On August 19, a Gaza wastewater treatment facility, its main one, was bombed north of the Nuseirat refugee camp. It was one of many Israeli acts of vengeance against people for the crime of not being Jews.

On August 25, the Beit Lahiya a-Salam Sports Club was bombed, belonging to Islamic Jihad. Two civilians were killed, another 20 wounded, and the attack destroyed much of the building used as a kindergarten and school. Nearby houses were also damaged.

These and many other attacks are serious breaches of international law, yet Israel gets off every time with impunity.

Israeli Mistreatment of Jews

Growing numbers of Israeli Jews are also treated with disdain. An August 29 Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) report explained headlined, "Putting Israel's Periphery in the Center," saying:

"The gaps between" Israel's center and its so-called periphery "have reached an all-time high, as a result of government policy."

For example, the number of people with diabetes is four times higher among periphery located poor than wealthier center of Israel residents. The rate of families living in poverty is three times higher, and job seeker rate in the southern city of Kiryat Gat is triple the Tel Aviv figure.

As a result, besides weeks of social justice protests in cities across Israel, an August 28 march left from the Yeruham local council in Israel's south heading towards Netanyahu's Jerusalem residence.

Yeruham Local Council head Michael Bitton and Amram Mitzna led it. Its purpose was to raise public awareness of extreme social injustice in Israel's periphery.

ACRI attorney Tali Nir, Director of its Social and Economic Rights Department, said:

"(T)he economic logic, upon witch the Israeli economy is founded, is based on the assumption that market forces will generate a trickle-down effect from the rich to the rest of Israel's citizens. But this trickling is limited and meager."

"Thanks to the economic growth, wealth has been" concentrated in a few hands in Israeli's center, "and does not reach the south, the north, or" even most Israelis in the center.

"This is an inequality-promoting policy. The current socioeconomic policy helps those who are powerful to become even more powerful, and those who are weak to become even weaker."

Moreover, those in the middle keep getting weaker and are gradually "vanishing. Unfortunately, in recent years the term 'periphery' has begun to serve as a euphemism for the term 'the majority of the citizens of Israel.' "

How wide is the gap, ACRI asked?

In 2008, Tel Aviv had 5.5 doctors per 1,000 persons compared to 1.6 in the North and 2.1 in the South per 1,000 population.

In Israel's center, the rate of "expert physicians" among doctors was 72%, 82% in Tel Aviv. In the North and South respectively, it was 58% and 57%.

In Israel's center, individuals with no private or supplementary health insurance was 11%. In Jerusalem it's 31% and 23% in Israel's North (except for less adequate public coverage).

In Israel center, 6% of its residents skipped a doctor appointment because of cost. In Israel's North, it was 16%, 12% in Jerusalem, and 10% in the South.

Diabetes among wealthy Israeli is 4%. Among Ethiopian immigrants, it's 17%. In Ethiopia, it was zero. Among Israel's poor, it's 16%.

Average life expectancy in the wealthy city of Raanana is 83.7 years. In Nazareth, a northern Arab city, it's 75.7 years.

In 2009, those eligible for a high school diploma was 66%. In Raanana, it's 76% In poorer areas, it's 47.3% and among Arab Israelis it's 34.4%. In Lod, it's 37%.

For the 2008-09 academic year, the college graduate rate among 20 - 29 year olds in Tel Aviv was about 20%. In Or Yehuda, it was about 9%.

In 2009, poverty in Israel's center was 13%. In Jerusalem it was 33.7%, 32.3% in the North and 23.6% in the South.

In 2009, the percent of workers paid less than minimum wage was 35.5% in Israel's center and 38% in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem it was 45.7%, 44.9% in the North and 44.1% in the South.

In 2010, 3.1% of Tel Aviv residents were job seekers. In Kiryat Gar, it was 10.4%.

In 2007, 57% of workers in high tech jobs lived in Tel Aviv and other Israeli center cities. Only 5% live in Jerusalem and its surroundings.

In 2008, 0.83% of Tel Aviv area residents got income support. In Kiryat Malachi, it was 3.83%.

In 2008, 140.7 applications per 1,000 population sought social services help in Israel's center. In its periphery, it was 184.2.

In the past decade, Israel's high tech industry thrived mainly in its center. Not only don't periphery residents benefit, they aren't getting the required education or training to do it.

As a result, a self-perpetuating socio-economic gap defines the two areas. According to University of Haifa Dean of the education faculty Ofra Mayseless:

"You have a shortage of good teachers, a lack of laboratories and facilities, less choice of subjects, and it translates to lower levels of opportunities" in periphery areas.

Despite various efforts to improve opportunities through special programs outside of conventional classrooms, most education leading to high tech and other good employment takes place in them.

As a result, for periphery areas to keep up, resources must be allocated for them. Efforts are being made to do it, but much more needs to be done.

So far, Israel's wealth gap and privileges with it remain extreme, leaving most Jews socially and economically deprived.

It's shown up for weeks with hundreds of thousands of Israelis protesting for long denied social justice they'll have a long struggle ahead to get because Netanyahu and other officials will go to extremes to deny them.

Only continued pressure may turn the tide. It remains to be seen if most Israelis are in the struggle for the long haul. It's their only chance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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