All “are equal in the eyes of the law?” Al-Arakib activist hit with 7 month jail sentence for…operating garage without license

Commenting on the conviction today of former president Moshe Katsav for rape, the current Israeli President Shimon Peres declared, “There are no two states of Israel, just one state. There are no two kinds of citizens here; citizens of only one kind exist in Israel — and all are equal in the eyes of the law.”

above: el-Okbi attempts to return to his family’s rightfully owned land near al-Arakib; his tribe was ethnically cleansed from the area in 1951

As Israelis celebrated the conviction of Katsav, the “eyes of the law” also focused in on a Bedouin activist named Nuri el-Okbi who heads the Association for Protection of the Rights Bedouins in Israel and who has tried to stop the ethnic cleansing of Al-Arakib, which has been marked as the site for the Jewish National Fund and GOD TV’s Forest of Hate. In a municipal courtroom in Ramle, el-Okbi was sentenced to seven months in prison and a 40,000 NIS fine by a Ramle municipal court judge. His crime? He operated a garage without a license (that was constantly denied to him by the municipality). The judge who sentenced him declared that lenient treatment of el-Okbi “would constitute a negative message to the public, and especially to the Bedouins.” In other words, the harsh sentence was directly not just at el-Okbi, but at all Bedouins living inside Israel — it was a collective punishment.

El-Okbi, who is 68 years old, collapsed upon the reading of his verdict and is now handcuffed to a hospital bed.

21 thoughts on “All “are equal in the eyes of the law?” Al-Arakib activist hit with 7 month jail sentence for…operating garage without license

  1. Rose

    Walt Kovacs, you are the idiot. Your “proof” that the US is “gripped by islamophobia”, which is completely out of context here, contradicts your earlier comment on Max’s piece on Islamophobia.

    Next time try not to post any comments when you are high. Or is there more than one of you using the same pseudonym and hence the occasional contradictions and the discrepancy in the style of your comments from one blog post to the other? The more you post the more it seems like there is a group of people using that pseudonym… or are you, like the cartoon character whose name you use (http://watchmen.wikia.com/wiki/Walter_Kovacs) a schizophrenic psychopath?

  2. walt kovacs

    ya rose…total of 11 muslim hate crimes vs 251 towards jews

    fact is…america is gripped by jew hate…led by your ilk

    next time….read the article before posting

    oh, thats right…you are stuck on wikipedia

    btw, rorshach is the fav character of those who have read the book (not the wiki article) and there are many good reasons

    mostly because he wouldnt stand for your kind

    faux libs….

    EVEN IN THE FACE OF ARMAGEDDON…

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  5. poyani

    As Israeli film-maker Yoav Shamir showed in his movie “Defamation” a great majority of antisemitic incidents recorded are employers denying time off to Jewish employees for Jewish religious holidays. Is the same mechanism used for counting Islamophobia in the US? Certainly not! No organization is counting the number of times Muslims are denied time off for Muslim religious holidays.

    Using the conventional American metrics, denying the right of a Jewish state to exist is a form of antisemism. Denying the right of a Muslim state (Kaliphate) to exist is fighting Al Qaeda and hence not only is it not a hate-crime, but a loyalty litmus test for all “moderate” Muslims.

    Using conventional American metrics, demonstrating and lobbying against a new Jewish community center in your neighborhood is considered a grotesque example of antisemitism. Doing the same against a Muslim community center is considered “being a patriot”.

    The website JewWatch is considered (correctly) to be an antisemitic hate site. The website JihadWatch or DhimmiWatch are considered centres of scholarship. David Duke’s “Jewish Supremacism” is (correctly) labelled as antisemitic hate literature while Robert Spencer’s “Islam Unveiled” is considered “scholarly work”.

    The unreliability of the New York Post is very well known and documented. For example, in a survey conducted by Pace University in 2004, the Post was rated the least-credible major news outlet in New York, and the only news outlet to receive more responses calling it “not credible” than “credible”.

    So the data collected are not exactly comparable when they use such wildly varying metrics. Mask all this flawed analysis with the New York Post’s (considered for a long time to be the primary newspaper often arguing in favor of racism) undeniable bias on this issue, and you get one hell of a whopper.

    Before I get claims that I am engaging in ad-hominem, note that this is not the case. Ad-hominem is attacking the author to discredit the argument. The post’s “articles” rely on the Authority fallacy to begin with (they don’t make an argument but just state that the story is true because they are reporting it), hence no argument is even necessary for a logical response. The response can be considered to be complementary.

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  8. poyani

    Walt,

    The ADL reports to the police every act which they consider to be “antisemitism”. According to their official policy (stated in their yearly audit) they count “references that delegitimize, demonize or reflect a double standard about Israel.”

    I assure you, if anyone counted similar material as “Islamophobia” then the number of anti-Muslim incidents would skyrocket. Just think how many references of “double standard” exists regarding Iran’s (or pre-2003, Iraq’s) nuclear program alone.

    Notice how the stories you posted counted the number of incidents “reported” to the police; not the number of times people were actually convicted of hate crimes. This introduces a clear bias as minorities which consider the police to be antagonistic to their communities (such as African Americans – the primary race of American Muslims) tend to under-report incidents while communities which consider police to be cooperative (such as Caucasian Americans – primary race of Jewish Americans) tend to report incidents in greater numbers.

    As I said, until these outlets publish source material, all they are appealing to is Authority, which is a logical fallacy.

    What they publish may be right, but I highly doubt it. Especially since this was the year of the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy. 11 is almost certainly a gross underestimate.

  9. eshy99

    “In other words, the harsh sentence was directly not just at el-Okbi, but at all Bedouins living inside Israel — it was a collective punishment.”

    You realize that’s deterrence and not collective punishment, right? When judges hand down sentences — whether in Israel, in the US or on Mars — it is meant, in part, to deter others from committing the same crime. It’s also extremely odd to call it collective punishment when there is in fact only one person being punished.

    Also, that the municipality constantly denied el-Okbi a permit, if true, does not excuse his crime. If the City of Los Angeles constantly denies me a liquor license, I cannot then open up a bar and use their constant denials as a defense to violating the law.

  10. poyani

    eshy99 said “Also, that the municipality constantly denied el-Okbi a permit, if true, does not excuse his crime. If the City of Los Angeles constantly denies me a liquor license, I cannot then open up a bar and use their constant denials as a defense to violating the law.”

    Eshy99,

    Given the extreme contempt the Israeli government shows for the rule of law in the international arena, I don’t think anyone really takes the “legal” argument very seriously, since it simply denotes selective application of the rule of law based only on racist considerations.

    For the sake of argument let’s put the Israeli violations of international law and basic morality/ethics aside and focus on your argument.

    Let’s assume (in parallel of the current situation) that the State of California constantly denied you a liquor license for your property because you were Jewish (while granting licenses to non-Jewish people all over the state) and then decided to confiscate your property (again because you were Jewish) while providing very questionable reasoning.

    Furthermore, let’s assume that out of rebellion you built your bar and the state arrested you. Let’s assume you went to court and instead of giving you a small fine (which is the normal punishment for such a crime) the judge issued you a large fine and a lengthy prison sentence due to the notion that if there was any leniency it “would constitute a negative message to the public, and especially to the Jews”.

    In that case would you argue that the circumstances do not “excuse” your “crime”?

    You may argue that your punishment in this hypothetical situation is not “collective punishment”, but the fact that it is extremely racist and morally despicable is simply beyond question.

  11. eshy99

    Poyani,

    1) “Extreme contempt” for international law and basic morality/ethics is your opinion. Not a fact. Not even close. Same with all your connotations to racism.

    2) Where is the story does it mention that anyone’s property got confiscated? Seems like you’re making that part up.

    3) You also seem to be making up the idea that el-Okbi was denied a permit because of his religion. Do you know for a fact that other Bedouins cannot get a permit? Do you know for a fact that Jews can easily get the same permit?

    4) This seems like a case where Bedouins are underserved by the government. Obviously not ideal, but this doesn’t make Israel a racist state, as you claim. This is no different from blacks in the US who live in poorer neighborhoods and have access to worse public schools. They, too, do not get enough attention from the government, but I wouldn’t call the US racist. This same scenario plays out in nearly every country in the world, and Israel is not nearly unique. Do you realize Jews are forbidden by law from owning property in Jordan? Talk about a racist law. At least in Israel, everyone is treated equally in the eyes of the law (how well that is actually practiced can be debated by reasonable minds).

    This entire story strikes me as odd. A man living in the middle of nowhere is denied a permit, breaks the law, and gets punished for it. In what other country in the world would this make the news other than in Israel? Every little thing that happens in that country gets magnified by 1000x. Meanwhile, this same situation plays out hundreds of times a day across the globe and no one even cares or notices. Something is amiss.

  12. andrew r

    Let’s put it this way, eshy, Israel was created as an ethnic majority state for what the state defines as Jewish people through expelling 75% of the Palestinians by force. Israel has inequality enshrined in black letter law, through the following laws, and this isn’t exhaustive:

    Law of Return – Permits anyone defined as Jewish or if not Jewish, immediate relatives of a Jew up to the third generation, to make aliyah and replace the expelled Palestinians.

    Absentee Property Law – Anyone who was a subject of the British Mandate and left their place of residence for an Arab state or a portion of Palestine held by an Arab army between 29 Nov. 47 and 1 Sept. 48 is an absentee, even if they were in the 1949 armistice boundary. In other words, an Israeli citizen can be an absentee and have their property confiscated by the state, not to mention the refugees. This is why unrecognized villages like al-Arakib exist.

    Covenant Between the Israeli govt. and JNF – Essentially makes the JNF bylaws equivalent to Israeli law. This was created to eliminate competition between the Israeli govt. and JNF over land administration. Even if the land is held by the govt., not the JNF, it can’t be treated in a way incompatible with the JNF. Which means… drumroll… gentiles don’t get to lease or develop the land.

    Nationality Law – The mysterious clause under art. 3, which provides for acquiring citizenship if you can’t enter Israel as an oleh/olah, “is entitled to reside in Israel permanently,” effectively rules out Palestinian refugees for obtaining Israeli nationality.

    So the fact that Nuri al-Okbi is not legally entitled to lease land held by the Israeli state or the JNF is the context in which his getting denied a permit is noticed.

    As for Jordan, an American or European Jew could buy property in Jordan. However, Jordan automatically reciprocates on any state that does not allow its own nationals to buy property there.
    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2006/71424.htm (ctrl+f Jews)
    http://www.ictregulationtoolkit.org/en/Section.2082.html

    And while there’s no explicit law banning Arabs from living in Jewish areas, there’s no protection from such a ban. So Adel Kaadan can wage a ten year legal battle just to live in Katzir, five years of which took place after the supreme court asked the govt. to reconsider his case, and even though he can now live there, the result only applied to him and was not a general fiat for Israeli Palestinians to live anywhere.

    I’m not really trying to argue; just letting you know ham-fisted cluelessness isn’t cute.

  13. poyani

    eshy99,

    Here are my answers to your questions:

    1) you are correct in saying that it is my opinion that Israel is in contempt of international law. Likewise, it is my opinion that the government of Saddam Hussein was in contempt of international law during his invasion and occupation of Kuwait. In both cases, the vast majority of other people and governments in the world, shared my opinion (with the only dissenting voices being those of the criminals themselves). Every government in the world, with the sole exception of the government of Israel, considers settlement building illegal. This includes the government of the United States.

    Hence a more correct statement would be that it is “common knowledge” that the government of Israel shows great contempt to international law.

    2) Typical “straw-man” argument of an apologist. In my last post I never claimed that the property was confiscated. But the fact that the Israeli government has in the past confiscated Arab land is undeniable. It is abundantly documented, even by Israel’s historians. The Palestinians even commemorate this phenomenon every March 30 on what they call “land day”.

    3) I am inferring that the person in question was denied a permit because of his ethnicity/religion. This inference is based on a large volume of documented evidence presented by international and Israeli human rights activists, the government reports of Israel’s allies (such as US government) and even investigations by members of Israeli supreme court.

    My inference is also based on statements made by members of Israel’s government and their representatives who (for example) in a recent court hearing argued that “The State of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.”.

    Based on this overwhelming evidence, I would say that my inference is logical.

    4) I never claimed that Israel was a “racist state”. That concept has no meaning whatsoever. I argued that the current Israeli government is practicing racism.

    You brought up the US treatment of blacks as a comparison so let’s take a close look at this concept. In the US, there is a group called the Klu Klux Klan which is notorious for its advocacy of racism. Let’s take a quick look at what they support. They support:

    1 A separate country for Black Americans
    2 Segregation of Black communities
    3 Revoking Black people’s right to vote in the US

    The KKK is considered fringe and is completely cut-off from mainstream politicians. Note that item #1 on this list is the solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict which the Israeli government has for decades considered totally undeserving of the Palestinians. In affect, the Israeli government considers the ideas of one of the most racist institutions in the US to be far too good for the Palestinians. If that is not racist, I don’t know what is. The notion that Israel should become a state for its citizens (like the US and every other country in the world) is considered fringe in Israel.

    Note that #2 and #3 are ideas which are becoming more and more common in Israeli society, especially within religious circles, and are now permeating into the Israeli knesset (see for example the electoral platform of MK Michael Ben-Ari).

  14. poyani

    eshy99,

    You should also note that even segregation is creeping now into Israeli society.

    http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/arab-family-denied-right-to-rent-home

    This type of thing was common in the occupied territories, where Jewish settlements are segregated and get preferential access to the territories resources, but it is now creeping into the green line.

    It reminds me of what Israeli human rights activist (and former MK) Uri Avnery once said:

    “The occupation is corrupt, and it corrupts by its very nature. It denies all human rights, including the right to property. It fills the occupied territories with an atmosphere of general lawlessness. It enriches the occupier and everybody connected with him. It creates a climate of wanton cynicism, an environment of ‘anything goes.’ Such an atmosphere does not stop at the Green Line. It permeates the state of the conqueror.

    That’s where the rot set in.”

    Avnery was discussing the corruption of Israeli politicians, but his arguments are parallel to the application of racist segregation in the settlements and their permeation into Israeli society.

  15. eshy99

    Inequality not enshrined in law, in fact, Israel guarantees equal rights to all its citizens (something not found in any other country in the region)… and most Palestinians left in 47-48 bc Arab leaders told them to clear out, so they could decimate the Jews… a small number were unfortunately forced from their homes by Israel, but the same thing happened in Arab countries who forcefully expelled 750K+ Jews (in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, etc.)…Law of Return isn’t unique to Israel (for goodness sakes, Ireland has a similar law of return)… Nationality Law isn’t unique either and if you haven’t noticed, all countries set rules on who can acquire citizenship in their country… and interesting how you leave out that selling land to a Jew is punishable by the death penalty in the Palestinian territories… the comparison to the KKK is so outlandish (and not to mention factually incorrect) that it doesn’t even deserve a response… there’s no segregation in Israel (and while there are separate roads in the WB, this is for security reasons, not racial reasons)… if you’re so bothered by segregation, I expect to see you protesting Saudi Arabia’s system of gender segregation (which is enshrined by law)…

  16. andrew r

    Good gravy.

    “Inequality not enshrined in law, in fact, Israel guarantees equal rights to all its citizens (something not found in any other country in the region)…”

    No it doesn’t.

    “and most Palestinians left in 47-48 bc Arab leaders told them to clear out, so they could decimate the Jews…”

    Debunked by Israeli historians Benni Morris, Ilan Pappe. Even Howard Sachar, writing in the late 70′s, stated there is no evidence the refugees were told by the Arab leaders to clear out and going over the radio broadcasts from the period was enough to disprove that claim. This trope is so old it’s sprouting fungus.

    “a small number were unfortunately forced from their homes by Israel, but the same thing happened in Arab countries who forcefully expelled 750K+ Jews (in Iraq, Iran, Egypt, etc.)…”

    Jews expelled from Arab countries have the same int’l recognized right to return as Palestinians.

    “Law of Return isn’t unique to Israel (for goodness sakes, Ireland has a similar law of return)…”

    Not similar. In the case of Ireland, your ancestors were physically present in Ireland before British rule sent them fleeing. My ancestors were never in Palestine and I have more right to be there than a Palestinian refugee. An analogous law would be letting in the Palestinian refugees, not Ashkenazi Jews.

    “Nationality Law isn’t unique either and if you haven’t noticed, all countries set rules on who can acquire citizenship in their country…”

    Yes, and Israel is one of the few countries in the world that sets rules on who can not acquire citizenship even though they were living in the territory governed by the state.

    “and interesting how you leave out that selling land to a Jew is punishable by the death penalty in the Palestinian territories…”

    Take it up with the USA and Israel – They arm and train the Palestinian security forces that would enforce that law.

    “the comparison to the KKK is so outlandish (and not to mention factually incorrect) that it doesn’t even deserve a response…”

    To be fair, the KKK were never the governing party of a state, so we don’t have land-based segregation policies and aggressive invasions to draw from. Only their positions.

    “there’s no segregation in Israel (and while there are separate roads in the WB, this is for security reasons, not racial reasons)…”

    And Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza remain stateless under Israeli occupation for racial reasons.

    “if you’re so bothered by segregation, I expect to see you protesting Saudi Arabia’s system of gender segregation (which is enshrined by law)…”

    Like you even care. You’re just throwing this out because you think Saudi and Israel are natural enemies.

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