Too Big a Palestinian

Too Big a Palestinian

The police and courts in Haifa are going through hard times…

Threats to national security and public safety are proliferating – so we shouldn’t be surprised that they are always so busy and sometimes look tired, even lunatic.

After working hard to save the country from the threat of Razi Nabulsi’s statuses on Facebook, the Haifa district court found the time to finish deliberations in the case against seven residents of Shefa’amer who were accused of assaulting terrorist-soldier Natan Zada​​. Zada was killed by local residents after carrying out a massacre on a bus in Shefa’amer on August 4, 2005. He opened fire indiscriminately in the bus, in this Arab town 15 kilometers North-East of Haifa, in order to kill as many Arabs as he could. Shooting from his IDF rifle, he killed Mikhail Bahus, the bus driver, and three passengers: Nader Hayek and sisters Dina and Hazar Turki. Many others were wounded by the shots before passengers were able to overcome the killer and neutralize him.

Confronted by this serious crime, the police and courts worked tirelessly – not to expose Zada’s  accomplices or prevent the next massacre but to create a deterrent and ensure that whoever will carry another massacre against the Arabs could be assured to emerge unscathed. On Thursday, November 28, 2013, the panel of three judges convened for the last time – to finally send to jail those accused of assaulting Zada.

At the entrance to the court some thousand demonstrators gathered to protest the arrest of those they consider as their defenders.

With the dissolution of the demonstration, when the protesters were moving toward the buses, the traffic on the nearby road stopped. The special Riot Squad – “Yasam” – exploited it to attack the demonstrators, making more violent arrests.

But that’s not what I wanted to tell today.

One of the detainees during the Thursday demonstration was “Abu As’ad” – Muhammad Kana’ane, one of the leaders of the “Sons of the Country” movement (Abna Al-Balad) and its former general secretary. On Friday morning, he was brought to the Haifa court for remand.

Initially the police claimed that Abu As’ad took part in blocking the road and “rioting”. However these events occurred after the end of the court session, at about 14:00. It turned out that Abu-As’ad was arrested, according to police reports, at 11:50. Beyond that – he parked his car and stamped his parking ticket at 11:40. Clearly he was arrested immediately as he left the parking lot and came towards the demonstration…

As he had to answer the defense lawyer’s questions in court, after his initial claims proved obviously false, the police prosecutor found it difficult to explain why Abu As’ad was arrested. He could only say that the police “felt threatened” by Abu As’ad’s appearance. Well, the truth should be told that Abu As’ad is high and wide bodied. You can understand the obvious danger to state security. We should also be thankful that we live in a state which upholds the rule of law, in which you’re only arrested if the cops don’t like the way you look. In more orderly places, Sodom for example, they used to cut the extra inches.

This is, of course, only the spoken out cause for Abu As’ad’s detention. The police also handed the court secret materials – such a procedure is at the heart of the Israeli legal system. For obvious reasons, I can’t say anything about the contents of these materials. From my long experience with such cases, I assume that they may contain damning evidence proving that Abu As’ad is an Arab.

I forgot to mention that the police’s request for remand was, of course, accepted by the low court. And, of course, the appeal against it was rejected in the district court. It seems so obvious that it is no news…

This post was also published in Arabic and Hebrew.

My November 7 Story: The Incident of Officer Stoller

My November 7 Story: The incident of Officer Stoller

First a small question to tease your friends with: When did the great October Revolution happen? The answer is, of course, November 7.

As a devoted Socialist I see November 7, 1917, as the most important date in the calendar. It was the first time in history that the poor masses did not only revolt against exploitation and tyranny (as they did for thousands of years) but actually took control of the state apparatus in order to create a new type of political and social order. As we all keep trying till this day, November 7 may be defined as the beginning of modern history, of the period when the toiling masses are not only the subject matter of history, but a first class active and independent player.

But here I don’t write to repeat what you all may know, but to add a small historical fact that may have slipped off the pages of history.

First I have to explain how I came across it.

When I was young and became a Socialist in the Seventies, it opened the door for some old people to tell me stories that they kept deep in their hearts in the Zionist desert.

My grandmother, Fania Marek, used to live in Moscow before and during the Russian revolution. As the 18 years old daughter of an established Publisher, she was one of the first “victims” of Bolshevik dictates. There was a law against “parasites” that forced everybody to work or study. So, in 1918, as everybody was fighting the civil war, my grandmother enrolled to study arts in the Moscow University. She told me it was the most beautiful days in her life, as the revolution was all about “Sbovoda” – Freedom.

Her sister was engaged to a tall bearded Jewish officer in the Tsar’s Army named Stoller. When I knew him, some fifty years later, he was still a very impressive person, living in a Kibutz near the Sea of Galilee. When he heard that I’m a Socialist, he had a story to tell.

He told me that in the heydays of the revolution he was stationed in Moscow and joined the Bolsheviks with his soldiers. On November 7, 1917, he entered with his soldiers to the Winter Palace in the act that symbolized the seizure of power by the proletariat.

Then he told me what happened next. He said that his soldiers were mostly interested in the wine in the palace’s cellars. When he tried to stop them from drinking the Socialist Peoples’ wine, one soldier tried to shoot him. The next day he was a deserter from the Red Army.

I don’t see any special lesson from this story. I tell it just because it is what I heard.

It didn’t convince me to desert my position in the Socialist struggle, as uncle Stoller might have wished to do. Maybe it was good for me to see, from the beginning, how in the heights of the revolution the most heroic, the horrible and the ridiculous may meet and mix.