As Israelis protest, Palestinian rights are thrown out the window
Israeli settlers are more self-interested than anyone could have thought, for they went out on massive protests weekly for eight months, and not once, or at least seldom - were the rights of Palestinians mentioned nor championed.
Israelis are protesting. That goes without saying, as it is plastered everywhere, from Arab to Western and alternative media. They are protesting in the hundreds of thousands for a cause they staunchly believe in: the protection of "democracy". This is backed by the belief that this "democracy" is jeopardized by the judicial overhaul peddled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right government, and it appears that democracy is more subjective than anyone could've thought.
The Israeli settlers taking to the streets on a weekly basis to protest against the government are doing so in a bid to have it change its mind about the changes made to the judiciary, which would subvert the latter and give the government more executive authority without the law being able to question the cabinet and the Knesset's decisions. The Israeli occupation requires any decision taken by the Knesset or the government to pass by the judiciary and be approved or denied based on the "reasonableness doctrine", though this was abolished weeks ago by the cabinet, giving more power to the executive and legislative branches.
The law passed to the dismay of hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers, forcing the number of them taking to the streets to increase exponentially and their tactics to become more violent as they sought to reinstate "democracy" where it had been, according to their beliefs, slain at the hands of the far-right coalition.
A rock and a hard place
For the Israelis, there was a profoundly felt difference upon the shift to power from "centrist" and right-wing governments to a far-right one seeking to make groundbreaking changes from limiting the Supreme Court's abilities to impacting women and the LGBT community. However, it is a completely different story for the Palestinians, for no government, no matter who it is backed by, will shy away from trampling on their rights and completely disregarding if not diminishing them. It would not be fair to say that there were not some Israelis waving Palestinian flags during these protests, but the banner was seldom seen, and while there were also Israelis talking about the Palestinian cause, they could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
This is what happens when someone in a "pro democracy" protest in Israel waves a Palestinian flag. pic.twitter.com/yVptRjK371— Dispropaganda (@Dispropoganda) March 27, 2023
Hundreds of thousands in the streets, and less than a dozen remembered the state of Palestine and decided to show their solidarity with the Palestinian people through the mere raising of a flag prohibited by the Israeli occupation. Those individual actors are not even close to being representative of the Israeli public, which is obnoxiously arrogant and shows incredible hostility at the mere mention of the word Palestine, let alone calling for its freedom.
@breadgangtv_ Political rizz #fyp ♬ original sound - Bread Gang
Today, the Israelis are protesting against their government for "infringing on their rights" despite having a "democracy" that is exclusive to them, i.e., the Israelis experience democracy and get to dictate what happens to them, while the Palestinians are forced - and expected to - conform, and still, despite the privileges Israelis have, they are now rioting against their government for the little restrictions it put in place, at least compared to the behemoth of oppression the Palestinians experiencing.
Meanwhile, Palestinians are condemned if they throw a mere pebble at a tank accompanying forces set to demolish their homes and erect settlements atop their ruins. Moreover, they are also condemned if they burn an Israeli flag, the banner representative of the entity that has been killing them for nearly the past four scores, as settlers today deface the Israeli flag and make their own versions of it, but that's okay because they are not Palestinians.
Palestinians are even condemned for confronting the Israeli police when they are forbidden from going to their places of worship and when their homes are raided, but settlers are cheered along when they clash with the police amid the protests taking place in numerous occupied Palestinian cities.
Not a democracy
The double standards will never cease to exist in this debacle, and it really begs the question; Is the Israeli occupation truly "the only democracy in the Middle East" as it is always said to be? In short, no, not in the sense that it is not the *only* democracy - that is not the aspect this piece is trying to bring to the limelight - it is the aspect that it is not a democracy, to begin with.
What is democracy? The exact terminology as to what this system of governance is varies, but all in all, the contents are all the same. Abraham Lincoln put it as the governance "Of the people, by the people, for the people," while the European Union defines it as the "power of the people" or a way of governing that depends on the will of the people. All in all, it boils down to the people picking who gets to govern them with egalitarianism as members of the same state. That is where the Israeli occupation's claims of being a democracy falter, for it is not a state, to begin with, but I digress.
When "Tel Aviv" takes any decision, it does not pour in the benefit of the Palestinian people and solemnly does its judiciary rule in their favor. For example, it did back in 2021 when it came to Sheikh Jarrah, but that was only due to paramount international pressure, for the Israeli occupation likes to portray itself in a good light and would not want to seem oppressive in front of international partners, for it is absolutely not so when it goes on a killing spree and murders nearly a dozen Palestinians in the span of a few hours.
Moreover, Palestinians are held in inhumane conditions when they are incarcerated and put on trial, completely disregarding the presumption of innocence, which the Israeli occupation, this violent entity that claims to be lawful, has written into law, while Israeli settlers accused of killing Palestinians laugh and put on house arrest as Palestinians are taken in as administrative prisoners, i.e., handcuffed and thrown into prison without trial. Talk about equality and democracy.
Israeli settler Elisha Yared smiles after being released by Israeli authorities following his arrest for murdering 19-year-old Palestinian Qusai Matan this month.— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) August 14, 2023
Yared is a spokesman for the Jewish Power party headed by Israel's National Security Minister Ben-Gvir. pic.twitter.com/924k40n4RU
Crooked 'justice' system
The Israeli system is built for the Israeli settlers and against the Palestinian people, especially the justice system, and as soon as an amendment was about to be made to modify the judiciary, an obviously imperfect system that favors Israelis, the uproar was paramount and the Israelis took to rioting, for how dare the government oppressive of the Palestinian people make any move against the Israelis!
Decades upon decades of injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, the screams of women and little children as their families are torn apart by the Israeli war machine fell on deaf ears, as no substantial protest ever took place to try and tackle the oppression of the Palestinian people and condemn the Israeli occupation for its colonialist policies while thousands rushed to protest for themselves. These are the same people settling on Palestinian soil and annexing more and more Palestinian land by the day, laying claims to it and saying there is no such thing as a Palestinian people.
If there are no Palestinian people - as the Israelis often claim - then what are they? Israelis?
The dichotomy of democracy
In numerous Arab countries, there is a saying that goes: "Follow the liar to the front door", which basically means entertain someone's lies to prove that they are wrong:
If these Palestinians are Israeli, why is this democracy not treating all of its people the same? If they are not, then where is their state? The argument that they are just Arabs who belong elsewhere in the Arab world is fallacious in nature, for one could just point out that Israelis are Europeans who belong elsewhere on the world map.
Why are there initially two justice systems? Why are Palestinians treated with more oppression? Above all, why are the Israelis not standing up for the Palestinians if they are not their own people and are just some people they are sharing a border with? Some White people stood up for their Black compatriots in the United States during the civil rights movement and before desegregation - even after that - going out to protest their mistreatment. Are the Whites inherently better than the Israelis for standing up to their own government to protest the maltreatment of an oppressed class within their nation?
The only viable answer would be that the Israeli occupation is not a democracy. It cannot only be a democracy for the Israelis as long as it lays claims to Palestinian territories inhabited by Palestinians, for being a "democracy" but only for a select strata based on ethnic, racial, or religious grounds does not qualify an entity to be labeled democratic, lest this naming be fallacious.
The Israeli occupation is filled with selfish settlers who pursue nothing but their self-interests and are deeply immersed in Zionist propaganda that allows them to think they are better than the Palestinians, they are more important; some sort of higher beings. Just days ago, Israeli Police Minister Itamar Ben--Gvir went on a rant on Channel 12 News, in which he said his and his family's lives are more important than the Arabs' rights to movement. "Sorry Mohammad, But that's the reality. That's the truth. My right to life comes before their right to movement." If these words were to come out of a Palestinian's mouth, they would be demonized beyond recognition.
Ben-Gvir's words portray the deeply rooted racism and supremacy embedded within Israeli society. He might be an extremist, but that does not mean that his words are not representative of the average Israeli's thought process about Palestinians simply being less than the Israelis.
Another testament to this plague of crooked morality within "Israel" is the fact that the judicial amendment law would allow the government to solely make decisions regarding the expansion of settlements, whereas before, it used to be up to the court to allow or forbid such changes. While the decision-making before was biased and favored Israeli interests over the rights of Palestinians and the respect of international law, it is now but worse and much more likely to favor the Israeli occupation. However, there was not one word was said about this at the protests engulfing the occupied Palestinian territories despite the Palestinian flag being seen here and there.
The Israeli occupation will continue to claim to be a "state" and claim to be democratic, and some settlers will continue to try and shift the blame onto their government for the discrimination faced by the Palestinian people, but the scarcity - or lack thereof - of pro-Palestinian sentiment at the protests that have now been going on for over eight months serves as more than just evidence to the cruelty of the Israeli occupation. It also highlights the cold-heartedness of its settlers who showed no compassion for the Palestinian people and cause. At the same time, they showed that "Israel" is unfair, for once again, they are protesting against their government for a mere grievance as they tell the Palestinians to stay put and stomach settler colonialism, displacement, and all-out ethnic cleansing.