It hasn't taken long for the Lieberman ascendancy to pay dividends. Right-wing Jewish activists descended on Umm al-Fahm, the largest Palestinian city inside Israel, today in to carry out a provocative march to "demand loyalty" from the Palestinian citizens of Israel who live there. The protesters were primarily settlers from the West Bank who now find themselves in the Israeli political mainstream with the incoming Israeli government. Fascist Israeli activist Itamar Ben-Gvir was one of the leaders of the march and his talking points could have been lifted directly from Avigdor Lieberman's campaign stump speech. He is quoted as saying:
Our statement talks about loyalty to the State of Israel," added Ben-Gvir, one of the leaders of the "march of the flags."
There is in Umm al-Fahm a gang of hooligans, who think they can win
using violence. The State of Israel is the Jewish people's state. We
are here to voice our truth and not to create provocations.
The Umm al-Fahm march is another sign of the trend that the settler movement is turning its sights onto the Palestinian areas inside Israel in an effort “judaize” all of historic Palestine. But this movement is just a symptom of a broader ideology that now getting explicitly articulated and publicly embraced. Uri Avnery writes about this in the Palestine Chronicle in describing a recent debate in the Israeli Supreme Court which hardly received any attention. The case involved the Israeli law which prevents a Palestinian citizen of Israel from sharing their Israeli citizenship, or even living, with a spouse if they are living in the occupied territories or a “hostile” Arab country. Avnery writes:
The matter came before the Supreme Court, The petitioners, Jews and
Arabs, argued that this measure contradicts our Basic Laws (our
substitute for a nonexistent constitution) which guarantee the equality
of all citizens. The answer of the Ministry of Justice lawyers let the
cat out of the bag. It asserts, for the first time, in unequivocal
“The State of Israel is at war with the Palestinian people, people against people, collective against collective.”
should read this sentence several times to appreciate its full impact.
This is not a phrase escaping from the mouth of a campaigning
politician and disappearing with his breath, but a sentence written by
cautious lawyers carefully weighing every letter.
If we are at
war with “the Palestinian people”, this means that every Palestinian,
wherever he or she may be, is an enemy. That includes the inhabitants
of the occupied territories, the refugees scattered throughout the
world as well as the Arab citizens of Israel proper. A mason in Taibeh,
Israel, a farmer near Nablus in the West Bank, a policeman of the
Palestinian Authority in Jenin, a Hamas fighter in Gaza, a girl in a
school in the Mia Mia refugee camp near Sidon, Lebanon, a naturalized
American shopkeeper in New York – “collective against collective”.
Avnery is clear that this government position is not an exception. Rather, it is a rare instance of speaking the reality that everyone knows. He continues:
anonymous lawyers should perhaps be thanked for daring to formulate in
a judicial document the reality that had previously been hidden in a
thousand different ways.
The simple reality is that 127 years
after the beginning of the first Jewish wave of immigration, 112 years
after the founding of the Zionist movement, 61 years after the
establishment of the State of Israel, 41 years after the beginning of
the occupation, the Israeli-Palestinian war continues along all the
front lines with undiminished vigor.
The Umm al-Fahm march is just the shock troops of the "radicalization process the entire country is undergoing." Avigdor Lieberman is currently the face of this process but its roots and history run much deeper.