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For Israel's New Defense Minister, a Bad Arab Is One Who Seeks Reconciliation

The world according to Avigdor Lieberman: When a PLO official holds a discourse with Israelis he must be silenced.

The first decision by new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman with regard to the Palestinians was to cancel the entrance permit of Mohammed al-Madani, who heads the PLO team for interaction with Israeli society. The team was established in December 2012, and since then has initiated hundreds of meetings between Israelis and Palestinians. According to Madani, the Palestinians have met with people from the right and the left, students, researchers, mayors and women’s organizations.
Lieberman took this step because he said Madani planned to establish a political party that would include Israeli Arabs and Mizrahim (Jews of Mideast and North African origin). If the minister’s people dig a little more, they will discover that he also planned to publish a freebie called “Palestine Today.” It’s a good thing this plot by the Palestinian Sheldon Adelson was foiled at the last minute.
When I asked Madani about Lieberman’s allegation, he categorically denied it, saying half-seriously, half-sarcastically that Lieberman apparently has little respect for the intelligence of his supporters. After all, his dialogue team had met with Jews of Russian origin, some of whom, one may assume, are supporters of Lieberman’s party. “Could I have more influence on them than Lieberman?” he asked.
Most likely, I said to myself. After all, Lieberman even scares his own people. All the prominent people in his party vanish in a second when they fall out of his favor, while Madani, a pleasant fellow, tries to persuade, not to frighten.
I asked what Madani had been doing before he managed to irk Lieberman. Instead of answering me, he responded with a battery of rhetorical questions: Does speaking about the two-state solution constitute a threat to Israel? Do our meetings with Mizrahi Jews, at which we spoke about the good old days when the two peoples lived in peace, pose a threat? What about the meetings with Russian immigrants, in which we spoke of Palestinian students who studied in Russian universities and had Jewish professors — do they undermine Israeli public order?
Unfortunately I had to answer — to myself, of course — yes. Madani’s approach shakes up the foundations of the Israeli right, which thrives on hatred and incitement. Suddenly from out of nowhere comes Madani and raises the possibility of reconciliation between the two peoples. Because of him we will have another term, “reconciliation terrorism,” added to the glory of the Hebrew language.
But this is not the whole story. An item on the NRG website reported that a number of Mizrahi mayors, including the mayor of the northern town of Ma'alot-Tarshiha, had held a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. This, continued the story, “made the security establishment suspicious, and it decided to take action on the matter immediately.” I breathed a sigh of relief. At the last minute a mega-attack was averted. The guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
What’s amazing about this story is that no one got up and said “Enough with these Kafkaesque accusations.” Overnight the Palestinians, who are suffering from deep internal rifts in their own society, had become a superpower trying to form political parties in Israel. But if these ridiculous allegations were examined closely, one would find that behind the brouhaha is a deep desire to sabotage any and all Palestinian-Israeli discourse. For Lieberman, a good Arab is a militant Arab, and a bad Arab is one who seeks reconciliation between the peoples.
The fight between Lieberman and Madani is the essence of the entire conflict. The former only just arrived and already wants to show the Arabs who’s boss here. And the second, a native of the land for many generations, is trying despite the pain to map out a new path for the benefit of both peoples.
Who will win — the one who denies the other, or the one who is looking for a place in the sun for himself and for the other? This is the difference; there is no other. And regardless of religious, race, or gender, you are called upon to choose.

Odeh Bisharat

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.727221Schermata 2016 06 27 alle 22.58.21

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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