Friday, October 12, 2007

Shades of Pelia Albeck -- Is There No End to Israeli Chutzpah?

Consider the following scenario: an ultra-orthodox Jew, walking to shul in a bad neighborhood, is inadvertantly (let's hope) shot in the head by a policeman. Because of his injury the victim needs the services of a caregiver. When the court comes to assess the amount of compensation, the policeman's attorney argues that his client should not pay for the caregiver, since the caregiver is probably a female, and Jewish law and orthodox custom forbid a man and women from remaining in the same room together unless they are married, or unless one of them is deathly ill.

Such a defense would be "beyond chutzpah," right? It is arguably worse than the classic "murdering-your-parents-and-claiming-clemency-on-the-grounds-of-being-an orphan" definition of chutzpah.

Not to the Israeli government.

According to Meron Rapaport writing in Haaretz here,the state called in an "expert witness," a Col. Moshe Arad, to argue that Arabs, specifically Muslims, would not employ female caregivers because that would be a stigma on the Muslim woman, who would be living away from her family, in the house of a strange man. (Apparently, Moshe Arad lives in some Middle Eastern country where caregivers are not from the Phillipines.) Hence, Azam Daher, who was severely handicapped as a result of unnecessary Israeli fire (according to the court) in the first intifada, should not receive compensation from the government for a caregiver.

I swear I am not making this up.

Is there any limit to the state's chutzpah? As Gideon Levy recently pointed out in "Mohammed al-Dura Lives On",

According to data collected by human rights group B'Tselem, Israel is responsible for killing more than 850 Palestinian children and teenagers since al-Dura was killed, including 92 in the past year alone. Last October, we killed 31 children in Gaza.

But ask many Israel-supporters about killing Palestinian children and they will respond that the IDF was not responsible for the shooting of Mohammed al-Dura, the poster child of the Intifada al-Aksa, the only Palestinian child that the world remembers. Al-Dura's death meant something because the video of the death, which may or may not have been doctored, "blackened" Israel's name in the world. Such supporters will spend hours trying to prove that the whole thing was an anti-Israel libel. How much time will they spend talking about the other 849-plus children killed by the Israelis? Beyond the stock answers ("Palestinians don't value the lives of their children; they exploit them to make the Jews look bad"), not much.

Which reminds me of the "Jenin Massacre" libel -- no, I don't mean the Palestinan claim that there was a massacre in Jenin; rather, I am referring to the Jewish libel that the Palestinians continued to claim that there was a massacre past the first 48 hours of battle fog. As soon as the facts were known, every single Palestinian news agency and official accepted that there was no massacre. And yet you still hear Israel supporters bringing up the libel. No, Fatima, there wasn't a massacre in Jenin. Whoopee! But there were massive war crimes -- but hey, who cares, as long as there wasn't a massacre.

Which brings me back to Peliyah Albeck, the legendary head of the civil department in the State's Attorney's Office, who, like the railroads' lawyers in all those B-westerns who used dubious arguments to drive the homesteaders off their land, used legal tricks to expropriate Palestinian land.Albeck in 1991 rejected a demand for compensation by a Palestinian whose wife had been "inadvertantly" killed by the IDF. Her argument: since he had one less mouth to feed and to support, he was financially better off by his wife's death and not deserving of compensation.

I swear, I don't make this stuff up...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article574648.ece

4 comments:

Richard said...

That's simply unbelievable.

BTW, could you correct that Times link. It appears broken or incomplete & I'd love to read this lady's obit.

Richard said...

Unless you view the source code for this post you won't get the entire URL for the Times obituary, which is:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article574648.ece

GBacharach said...

According to data collected by human rights group B'Tselem, Israel is responsible for killing more than 850 Palestinian children and teenagers since al-Dura was killed, including 92 in the past year alone. Last October, we killed 31 children in Gaza.

Israel offered the Palestinians a contiguous state in 97% of the territory of the West Bank plus Gaza.
Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the Haram as Sharif (temple mount) would be incorporated into Palestine.
Chief US Negotiator Dennis Ross blames the Palestinians for the breakdown of the talks.
US President Clinton believes that Arafat made a "colossal historical blunder" in rejecting Israeli terms.
Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan said, "If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won't be a tragedy, it will be a crime.
Palestinian spokespersons and supporters deliberately distorted the offer that was made and claimed that "all what was circulated that Israel proffered to the Palestinian side great concessions is incorrect," and fabricated maps to look like the offer was "Bantustans."

All those children's lives would have been saved if it were not for Arafat.

Jerry Haber said...

Response to gbachrach:

Myth: Israel offered the Palestinians a contiguous state in 97% of the territory of the West Bank plus Gaza.

Fact: (from the non-paper of the Taba talks);

"For the first time both sides presented their own maps over the West Bank. The maps served as a basis for the discussion on territory and settlements. The Israeli side presented two maps, and the Palestinian side engaged on this basis. The Palestinian side presented some illustrative maps detailing its understanding of Israeli interests in the West Bank.

"The negotiations tackled the various aspects of territory, which could include some of the settlements and how the needs of each party could be accommodated. The Clinton parameters served as a loose basis for the discussion, but differences of interpretations regarding the scope and meaning of the parameters emerged. The Palestinian side stated that it had accepted the Clinton proposals but with reservations.

"The Israeli side stated that the Clinton proposals provide for annexation of settlement blocs. The Palestinian side did not agree that the parameters included blocs, and did not accept proposals to annex blocs. The Palestinian side stated that blocs would cause significant harm to the Palestinian interests and rights, particularly to the Palestinians residing in areas Israel seeks to annex.

"The Israeli side maintained that it is entitled to contiguity between and among their settlements. The Palestinian side stated that Palestinian needs take priority over settlements. The Israeli maps included plans for future development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinian side did not agree to the principle of allowing further development of settlements in the West Bank. Any growth must occur inside Israel.

"The Palestinian side maintained that since Israel has needs in Palestinian territory, it is responsible for proposing the necessary border modifications. The Palestinian side reiterated that such proposals must not adversely affect the Palestinian needs and interests.

"The Israeli side stated that it did not need to maintain settlements in the Jordan Valley for security purposes, and its proposed maps reflected this position.

"The Israeli maps were principally based on a demographic concept of settlements blocs that would incorporate approximately 80 percent on the settlers. The Israeli side sketched a map presenting a 6 percent annexation, the outer limit of the Clinton proposal. The Palestinian illustrative map presented 3.1 percent in the context of a land swap.

Both sides accepted the principle of land swap but the proportionality of the swap remained under discussion. Both sides agreed that Israeli and Palestinian sovereign areas will have respective sovereign contiguity. The Israeli side wished to count "assets" such as Israelis "safe passage/corridor" proposal as being part of the land swap, even though the proposal would not give Palestine sovereignty over these "assets".
The Israeli side adhered to a maximum 3 percent land swap as per Clinton proposal.

The Palestinian maps had a similar conceptual point of reference stressing the importance of a non-annexation of any Palestinian villages and the contiguity of the West Bank and Jerusalem. They were predicated on the principle of a land swap that would be equitable in size and value and in areas adjacent to the border with Palestine, and in the same vicinity as the annexed by Israel. The Palestinian side further maintained that land not under Palestinian sovereignty such as the Israeli proposal regarding a "safe passage/corridor" as well as economic interests are not included in the calculation of the swap.

The Palestinian side maintained that the "No-Man's-Land" (Latrun area) is part of the West Bank. The Israelis did not agree.

The Israeli side requested and additional 2 percent of land under a lease arrangement to which the Palestinians responded that the subject of lease can only be discussed after the establishment of a Palestinian state and the transfer of land to Palestinian sovereignty.

2. Myth: The Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer on Jerusalem.

Fact:
"Both sides accepted in principle the Clinton suggestion of having a Palestinian sovereignty over Arab neighborhoods and an Israeli sovereignty over Jewish neighborhoods. The Palestinian side affirmed that it was ready to discuss Israeli request to have sovereignty over those Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem that were constructed after 1967, but not Jebal Abu Ghneim and Ras al-Amud. The Palestinian side rejected Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the Jerusalem Metropolitan Area, namely of Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev.

The Palestinian side understood that Israel was ready to accept Palestinian sovereignty over the Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, including part of Jerusalem's Old City. The Israeli side understood that the Palestinians were ready to accept Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and part of the American Quarter.

The Palestinian side understood that the Israeli side accepted to discuss Palestinian property claims in West Jerusalem.

Truth: Chief US Negotiator Dennis Ross blames the Palestinians for the breakdown of the talks.

Fact: Chief US Negotator Dennis Ross is a liberal Zionist who was biased in favor of Israel from the start, sometimes getting upset with Israel for being overly generous. I lay a good deal of responsibility for the failure of Oslo at Ross's feet. He is a good man, who should have been involved in the peace process at the level of, and as the counterpart of,Rob Malley. He should not have been the architect. Who needs an Israel Lobby when a liberal Zionist is running the show?

Truth: US President Clinton believes that Arafat made a "colossal historical blunder" in rejecting Israeli terms.

Truth: Clinton broke his pledge to the Palestinians that he would not blame them if the negotiations fell through. He basically accepted Ross's positions with a little modification. I think it is fair to call him (and his wife) a liberal Zionist, also.

Truth: Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan said, "If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won't be a tragedy, it will be a crime."

Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar, aside from representing a repressive regime that is an embarrasment to humanity, has no standing whatsoever in the dispute. Let him fix his own country before commenting on others.

I know of no Palestinian who feels that Arafat was mistaken in turning down the too little, too late "harta barta" ("horsedung") at Taba.

Myth: Palestinian spokespersons and supporters deliberately distorted the offer that was made and claimed that "all what was circulated that Israel proffered to the Palestinian side great concessions is incorrect," and fabricated maps to look like the offer was "Bantustans"

Offered when? At Camp David? There were no maps? At Taba? Who said Bantustans? The difficulty was that even at Taba there was no fundamental agreement over what constituted the West Bank. There is no agreement about what continguity is -- for Israel, it could be a road, if it is for Palestinians, or not a road, if it is for Israeli settlers.

Myth: All those children's lives would have been saved if it were not for Arafat.

Fact: There is no guarantee that they would have been saved even if a peace treaty had been concluded. And anyway, that is irrelevant and a non sequitur. One might as well conclude that not a single Israeli would have been killed by an Arab had there not been a State of Israel.

It takes two to tango -- Israel's offer at Camp David was humiliating; and Taba, it was slightly better, but still inadequate. Had it been accepted, I would have considered the Palestinians traitors to their people.