Sunday, October 26, 2008

Discriminatory Democracy

While I do think that one need not be overly "in your face", sometimes the principle is important.

As in this case:-

...activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir will return to court this week to fight for their right to hold a march in the Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahm. The march is opposed by police, who say they cannot provide security for the marchers...mayor Mustafa Sohel has promised to lead tens of thousands of Arabs in preventing the march.

Supreme Court justices Edmond Levy, Hanan Meltzer, and Edna Arbel ruled several weeks ago that nationalists are permitted to march in Umm el-Fahm. The march may take place within the city itself, they ruled, and not within the municipal limits but outside the city, as police had proposed.

Levy told the police they had two weeks to find a way to protect marchers. Meltzer slammed police for opposing the march, saying that prohibiting the event was discriminatory and violated nationalists' civil rights.

Now, that seems a fair ruling especially as:

leftists who oppose the presence of Jews in Hevron, where both men live, are allowed to march through the Jewish neighborhood of Hevron on a regular basis. Jews should enjoy the same freedoms in Arab towns, they say.

But what happened?

...Marzel and Ben-Gvir waited for the police's response, only to be summoned to court yet again several days ago. This time, justices Elyakim Rubinstein and Yoram Danziger will replace Meltzer and Arbel, they were told. Marzel and Ben-Gvir appealed the decision and demanded that the original panel of judges hear any further arguments.

That's a neat trick. Changing the rules in mid-game.

And how did it start?

Marzel and Ben-Gvir say they originally had not planned a march, but rather wanted to set up a stand in Umm el-Fahm where they would sell Israeli flags on Independence Day, which many Israeli Arabs commemorate as Nakba (Disaster) Day. The flag sale was meant to emphasize residents' obligation to show loyalty to the state, they said. The idea to hold a march began after police refused to grant them permission to open a kiosk in the city.

No comments: