Arrests and Expulsions in Israel by Israel Shahak

Arrests and Expulsions in Israel

written by

Israel Shahak

first published in Hebrew in

Kol Ha Ma'mad

(new name for "Marxist-Matzpen")
June, 1975

republished in English in

The Non-Jew in the Jewish State: A Collection of Documents

edited and prepared by Israel Shahak
pages 123-125
with the original title of
About Arrests (Of All Kinds) and Expulsions

Let us start with something simple: A map. Any reader who trys to get a map—in any language—of this country in one of the shops here, will realize that all maps, official as well as unofficial, show the whole area within the cease-fire lines of 1967 (Jordan) or 1974 (Syria and Egypt) as one geographical unit. And essentially, this is correct. One government with one army which operates one single legal system (Emergency Regulations, 1945) rules over that whole area.

But this area includes—as every other empire did at all times and in all countries—two categories of people: Citizens of the empire itself (in spite of the great differences amongst them) and citizens of the colonies—the Golan, the West Bank, Gaza and Sinai. One should stress the fact that where certain basic matters are concerned, all citizens of the Israeli Empire are granted certain privileges which are not granted to those who are merely inhabitants of the various colonies (precisely as in Algeria, for example). Thus, an Israeli citizen cannot be expelled from his country; he can only be transferred from one village to another, or be driven away from city to city if he is non-Jewish, Nowadays, an Israeli citizen cannot be held under administrative imprisonment, and cannot be detained "for inquiry" for very long periods, as was proved in the case of Yoram Bichonski. (A leftist accused and later acquitted of the murder of a female soldier in 1974.)

But these characteristics do not apply to the inhabitants of the "colonies"—or in the official language, "the territories populated by Arabs beyond the green line," even if they do not live "beyond the green line" but are originally from there. A resident of "united" Jerusalem can be expelled, and is often expelled; a resident of Haifa and a student at the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) can be arrested without bringing him before a Justice of the Peace, but merely by an order of an officer from the Golan, if he is originally from the Golan, etc.

I will try to describe in simple terms a little of what can be done to the inhabitants of the colonies of the "Israeli Empire" and what is done to them indeed day after day, month after month:

(1) "Nightly visits" to:

(a) "Notables." It is a prevalent custom in towns and villages of the West Bank and Gaza, that at the small hours of the night, jeeps of the border guard or of the I.D.F. (the "elite units," in with the members of kibbutzim serve!) appear and whilst shooting in the air, knock at the doors of some houses in the town (or in the village) and order the head of the family to accompany them to the governor (usually within ten minutes); The reason is never given; on the contrary, they hint to the family that the head of the family is about to be expelled. When the "notables" are gathered, they are threatened with expulsion—next time. . . . The number of expulsions is big enough to terrify anybody.

(b) High school pupils. In this case the "procedure" in recent months has been simpler. There is no need to summon secondary school students to the governor. . . . The "security forces" (the border guard and the "elite troops" as aforementioned) simply come to their houses, again at night, take them out, usually to the street or to the courtyard, strip them of their clothes—as if to search them—and beat them pour encourager les autres (to set an example for the others) . . . then "they are given permission" to go back home. . . .

(2) Detention "for inquiry." The citizens of the Israeli empire cannot be held under arrest without an order of a civil judge. But the inhabitants of the colonies are arrested "for inquiry" by order of an army officer. The order is given by the officer without even seeing the "accused," and it is given for long periods and is extended automatically. People are held "for inquiry" for six months, a year and even more; and it should be remembered that conditions of detention are much worse than actual imprisonment.

(3) Administrative arrest. If too much noise is made a lawyer is hired—obviously only a citizen of the empire who can be a little impertinent by virtue of his rights—and especially, if it is known about abroad, then the detainee is put under "administrative arrest." That is the same thing but without any pretext. In regard to detention "for inquiry" one can bother the authorities with questions—"What about the inquiry." "Administrative arrest" is a simple piece of paper signed by a military commander which states that so and so will be held under arrest without any reason. Such arrest can last for a very long time. Naim El-Ash'hab, an inhabitant of East Jerusalem, was held under administrative arrest for 38 months, until he yielded and consented "of his own free will"—to emigrate.

(4) Expulsion. If all this does not help or in the opinion of the authorities an "urgent" step has to be taken—the person is expelled. Expulsion is applied to quiet inhabitants as well as to administrative detainees. To is always done at night without letting them contact a lawyer, or in fact, anyone. The "security forces" come to his house, allow him about half an hour "for packing his belongings," then they fetter him with handcuffs—in the presence of his family so that they will see and fear the empire—and together with other people to whom the same has been done, he is deported to Jordan or to Lebanon. The family, obviously, stays behind and has the "choice" of going into exile too. Thus, for instance, Ali Khatib, the editor of the paper Al-Sha'ab in East Jerusalem, was exiled and his wife and seven children were left without a father, in his home town—"liberated Jerusalem!"

The important thing which one should understand and know about is not only the terrible human suffering which all those people who are the victims of these kinds of oppression, undergo, but primarily the terror in which all the inhabitants of the "colonies" of the Israeli empire live every moment of their lives. Every moment they can be summoned to the governor—if they are "notables"—or be stripped off and beaten in front of their houses if they are "ordinary" people or youths. Every family knows that any night the father can be expelled forever (or as long as the empire exists. . . ). Every person knows that he can be arrested for long periods (and I do not speak here about conditions of detention, about the beatings which every detainee experiences and about the torture inflicted upon many of them).

On the other hand, one should know that the majority of the citizens of the Israeli empire and, certainly, most of the Jews among them, have already got used to the situation like most of the citizens of other empires throughout history; and in spite of the fact that the colonies of that empire are not placed overseas but rather are very near, the same wall of alienation which always separates the oppressor from the oppressed exists between them. That wall of alienation here has been constructed by Zionism. Hence we find now that all the Zionist, semi-Zionist and quarter-Zionist parties do not object to, and do not protest against expulsion, administrative arrests and most other methods of oppression; and at most and on rare occasions, they argue in a still small voice that "it harms the real interests of Israel"—i.e., the Zionist empire will exist more if less people are expelled. . . .

All empires are bound to fall. It is important that we should understand that their oppression is the very reason for their collapse and should prepare ourselves, with hard work, for the day when the majority of the public will inevitably understand that, too.

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