And to think I thought it couldn't get worse.
Those of you who read my stuff know by now that I am a retired lawyer, and look at things with a legal spin, one raised on the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT movement, and the Women's Movement here. And, yes, I know that what happens in the US need not happen elsewhere, as other people make other decisions. But there are decent limits.
And two recent articles in Israeli English papers raise questions we need not to slip under our radar.
The first is from Ha'aretz today concerning certain regulations about access to Israeli courts recently approved by the Justice Minister. The regulations as currently drafted require that those applying for relief in Israeli courts present in all court papers the identifying numbers for court parties of either their Israeli ID card or a passport. Sounds pretty innocuous until you realize that Palestinians have neither. And until those of you who read this stuff and the various postings here following settlement abuses of Palestinians remember just how many lawsuits to protect their rights are required of Palestinians to be brought in Israeli courts, including ALL of the recent ones about not building settlements on Palestinian owned land, and providing remedies for those Palestinians whose land is stolen.
The second one from JPost and also another from Ha'aretz concerns the cancellation of a meeting of representatives of the major group of non-aligned nations, which was to occur in Ramallah, because Israel would not permit five of the diplomatic delegations (from Bangladesh, Cuba, Malaysia, Indonesia and Algeria) to come across the Allenby Bridge, and the others were staying away in solidarity. The reason stated for the refusal of entry into WB by the Israeli government was that the five states in question (four in the Ha'aretz article) did not accord diplomatic recognition to or have diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Ha'aretz article pointed out that one of the purposes of the meeting, scheduled for Sunday last, was to encourage support of the Non Aligned group of nations of which the twelve were representatives, for the PA's new initiative scheduled for the fall at the UN, to have Palestine recognized by that body as a non-member state, similar to the status of the Vatican, a matter which requires General Assembly but not Security Council approval, and which therefore cannot be vetoed by the US. The unofficial nose count on that vote suggests it would pass.
Diplomatic objections of a number of kinds including from UN officials against this act of exclusion have already begun.
Analysis below the squiggle.
I have already opined personally that it looks like the two state solution is dead, but this is the sort of stuff that suggests the one state solution may also be dead or dying, particularly the first matter, concerning basic access to courts for legal relief for aggrieved Palestinians.
The matter of ID is already generally known here to be both powerful and tricky for domestic US political reasons, but there the problem is that Palestinian ID cards have apparently not been updated by Israel since the year 2000 and there will be many who do not have even one of those, given the absence of their specific listing as acceptable mandatory identification according to the reporting, in the regulations. One notes for example that East Jerusalem Palestinians do not have Israeli ID cards, but are, or some at least are, given something not mentioned in the document list of eligible documents, 'residence' identification. Think of this as if you were being required to produce either a social security card under the most recent rules, or a passport, to get to court.
Unless the Justice Ministry fixes the matter, a political issue which will not be soon resolved since the Knesset is now in summer recess, Palestinians with claims will be barred at the courthouse door and unable, for example,to sue as they have in the past when WB residents whose lands have been unilaterally taken by settlers, or improperly done so by Israeli authorities and then given to settlers, or to defend claims that their homes are illegal because of the Israeli government not issuing permits for remodeling, and have ordered them destroyed. Or defending against settler claims to land based upon what even Israeli papers report on occasion are plainly forged papers, signed by the long dead as of the date such paper bear, for example. The creation of abuse by bureaucratic mechanisms in Israel and WB is not unknown, and similar to the old hack about more people being killed by fountain pens than by guns. In this case access to the courts is barred by a regulation which appears to deal only with the matter of numbers which must now be included in court papers, numbers from restricted indentification forms which Palestinians do not and are well known not to have.
The recognition that 'a right without a remedy is no right at all' is also relevant here, since no amount of waving governmental papers such as the Basic Law conferring rights is worth anything when one cannot get into court to have those rights asserted and enforced.
The problem has long existed in both WB and Gaza that various rights which Palestinians need to have adjudicated have betimes been barred because Israel prohibits the Palestinian litigants or witnesses into Israel to get to the relevant courthouse, and this is now worse because now aggrieved Palestinians cannot even have their papers accepted for filing claims, even before getting to the courthouse to have their claims heard. As if they were not people with any sort of enforceable rights. The other people mentioned in the regulations and reportings with which Palestinians are grouped are illegal immigrants and refugees of the sort now being deported from Israel.
This is on top of the longstanding pattern, now so longstanding that Ha'aretz is beginning a series on such incidents, behind its paywall but there, about incidents which have occurred in WB and were supposedly being 'investigated' by IDF authorities, but without any remedy for aggrieved Palestinians ever being subsequently reported, save for arrest of some of those complaining of abuse. Ha'aretz claims it is working on a list of fifty of them in the last year. No remedy before, and now definitely none because the courts are barred.
The second article is even more problematic in its own way, as what it seeks to do is to have communal meetings barred with PA as such, in WB save for those who have acknowledged the rights of and have diplomatic relations with Israel and are, therefore, presumably within its range to insist diplomatically that no such representatives should be sent. The matter is already mentioned as having been treated by Israel as an internal matter in whicch foreign entities have no legitimate interest, as if the WB were part of Israel entirely and officially.
The power of what has been done here is essentially a claim that Israel may bar from WB not only diplomats on diplomatic functions but anyone who does not in Israeli terms sufficiently recognize Israeli governmental positions. Aid workers, perhaps for an international entity? UN officials such as those examining the settlement issue? Reporters? A wall not built with bricks to keep non Palestinians of whatever description is relevant this week, out of WB and out of contact with its millions of suffering and already isolated people. And one may find if this rule is accepted, that PA officials who have to go abroad to meet with others cannot get back, because the entity they represent certainly does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
The new application to the UN is relevant to this as well, because one of the peculiarities of non member states is that they are eligible as states to bring their issues before the International Criminal Court. Another case of action by the Israeli government whose purpose is to make sure that Palestinians have no legal remedies for wrongs they believe to have occurred. Now they have none at home either.
The underlying problem here is that the people of Palestine are being more and more suppressed, even as Israeli governmental claims to their land and control of all of it and all rights with respect to it are increasing. At least in the days when Europe was creating colonies, they recognized that they had to take both the land and the people on it.
This pair of related issues are important enough to post notwithstanding the roaring domestic campaign, because of their long term importance.
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