Wednesday, February 01, 2006

One of the headlines that I read today: Nat'l Union: Democracy doesn't exist where MKs beaten
This prompts me to ask the MKs of the National Union who were present at the evacuation of Amona:
  • Do you mean "Democracy does not exist where Jewish MKs are beaten"? O.k., today's scenes were more violent than any confrontation between Israelis and security forces that I ever saw before, but I never heard you protest when Arab MKs were pushed and hit when they protested the evacuation of illegal buildings in Haifa and in the territories or the building of the security fence.
  • Does democracy exist where citizens knowingly choose to use violence in order to protest the enforcement of laws and decisions that were made by the authorities that are in charge of safeguarding both the rule of law and that very same democracy?
  • Would democracy exist if the policemen and soldiers who were sent to enforce the rule of law let the violent protesters have their way? Did they expect the security forces to use anything but physical force when faced with blocks of concrete, stones, oil, paint, etc.? Can democracy and the rule of law survive by sitting with folded arms when they are confronted with violence, either from without or from within?
  • Does democracy exist when militants use and respect democracy, its laws and institutions as long as it serves their narrow interests, only to ignore and attack democracy, its laws and institutions when those interests and the wellbeing of the state do not run parallel anymore?

I don't know, maybe the violence used by the police and the army against the settlers today was excessive ( if so, based on what I saw on television I am pretty sure that that excess was balanced by the behavior on the other side of the confrontation ), but today, in the democracy that Israel still is, as faulty as it can be sometimes, I found it hard not to have sympathy for the young men and women who were sent by the authorities to uphold the rule of law in a confrontation with citizens who willingly chose to defy that rule and to challenge our security forces. Today many of us asked the same questions that were asked in the heyday of both intifadahs, when we watched Palestinian children throwing stones at Israeli soldiers: "Where are the parents of those youngsters?".

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