Bay Area activists pulled off an awesome action yesterday at Ha’aretz’s Zionism 3.0: Israel’s Place in Tomorrow’s World conference in Palo Alto, California. As Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotoveli was introduced and stepped up to the podium a clear voice rang out:
“Tzipi Hotoveli this is a citizens’ arrest! We charge you with inciting colonial violence”
Check out the video:
Remember Tzipi Hotoveli? The Israeli official who dreams to see the Israeli flag flying at Al Aqsa Temple Mount. In her inaugural speech to the foreign ministry she explained she was on a mission to convince the world Israel inherited the occupied Palestinian territories from God. “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that”.
Hotoveli is the gold standard of why two states is dead in the water – she categorically rejects the concept altogether and farcically would be responsible for representing Israel if negotiations with Palestinians resumed. “Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians.”
At 1:47 in the video an activist with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) explains why he participated in the action yesterday:
I felt it was necessary for Tzipi Hotoveli and Israeli officials and also the fervent Zionist right in the Bay Area to know you can’t have business as usual – can’t have conferences talking about strategies for how to push back against BDS how to push back against other efforts towards Palestinian liberation – they need to know can’t have conferences where they get to strategize against ruining our movement.
What we don’t believe is civil conversation with these war criminals is going to be the solution…Tzipi Hotoveli and the other diplomats and politicians and speakers that came today did not come here for civil conversation about the future of the Middle East, they came here to promote a strategy of further colonialism in the region, further domination to ensure Jewish majority and to gain more of a consensus in the Bay Area Jewish community. So we’re not under the belief they are there to talk and to hear varying opinions and in fact people who came to express varying opinions were barred from entering.
Palestinian activists expressed outrage about the invitation to Hotoveli and about the conference more broadly. “In the past month Palestinians have been facing accelerating violence at the hands of the Israeli military and settlers,” said Jennifer Moghannam of the Palestinian Youth Movement. “Hotoveli’s incitement contributes to a climate where the summary execution of Palestinians has become routine.”
“Palestinians have been resisting Zionist colonial occupation in response to more than 67 years of deteriorating living conditions and the destruction of their own resources for basic survival,” explained Moghannam. “Palestinians have the right to meet this kind of repression with resistance; but this resistance has led to lethal tear gas attacks, house demolitions, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.”
Jim Haber, a Bay Area Jewish Voice for Peace member who participated in the protested said he wanted “to do more for justice for Palestinians” he continued, “Tzipi has been saying such horrific things, things that are illegal until international law, repugnant, and immoral. I have to resist that.”
Another protester, Eli Isaacs said “As a Jewish Palo Alto native, I am appalled that this conference promoting Zionism, a racist ideology, is taking place in my hometown. I am outraged that a well-known racist firebrand and representative of a criminal government was invited to address this gathering. I had to act.”
Here’s a copy of the arrest warrant:
CITIZENS’ ARREST WARRANT FOR TZIPI HOTOVELI
Tzipi Hotoveli, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, you are hereby commanded to be brought for trial before a jury of the people.
Tzipi Hotoveli is charged with the following crimes:
Colonialism. Colonialism is a serious crime under international law. Tzipi Hotoveli is one of the leading promoters of the settler movement in Israeli politics. Coordinator of the Likud campaign in the settlements, Hotoveli has declared on multiple occasions that “this land is ours. All of it is ours.” In violation of Article 46 of the Hague Convention and Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Hotoveli is directly involved in the Israeli government’s promotion and building of settlements in the West Bank.
Hotoveli is the ranking full-time diplomat representing Israeli colonialism (Benjamin Netanyahu is foreign minister in addition to being prime minister). Israeli colonialism includes the appropriation of Palestinian water resources and aquifers, land theft, property destruction and home demolitions, collective punishment, murder, torture, and mass incarceration against the Palestinian people. Israeli colonialism denies the right of return to seven million Palestinian refugees.
Inciting colonial violence. “It’s time to change the rules of the game and annex all the Jewish communities,” Hotoveli has said, referring to West Bank settlements. “All of the land belonged to the creator of world and when he wanted to, he took from them and gave to us.” And: “My position is that between the sea and the Jordan River, there needs to be one state only—the state of Israel, which has an Arab minority. There is no place for an agreement of any kind that discusses the concession of Israeli sovereignty over lands conquered.” These incendiary statements have provoked increasing levels of violence by Israeli soldiers, police, and settlers.
Since October 1, 91 Palestinians, including 18 children, have been killed by Israeli fire. 1458 have been shot by live Israeli ammunition, and another 1070 shot with rubber-coated steel bullets; 300 have suffered fractures and bruises from assaults by soldiers and settlers; 6400 have suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Hovotely has fully participated in the activities and decisions of the government she represents, urging that “The government of Israel must…return to the policy of assassination” of Palestinians.
Hovotely urges the annexation and domination of Palestinian holy places. She called for the flying of the Israeli flag over Haram al-Sharif (“It is my dream to see the Israeli flag at the Temple Mount”), labeling the holy site the “center of Israeli sovereignty.”
Apartheid. Apartheid, the institutionalized and systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, is a crime against humanity. It includes measures calculated to prevent a racial group from participating in the political, social, economic, and cultural life of the country. Hotoveli’s government enacts these measures through restrictions on Palestinian movement, checkpoints, roadblocks, and segregated roads that apply only to Palestinians. The Israeli segregation wall divides Palestinians from their land, while networks of settlements further segregate Palestinians from each other. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers in the West Bank enjoy the full privileges of Israeli citizenship regardless of location; the status accorded them as Israeli Jews ensures them free movement, access to water, education, and full rights, and freedom from military law. The school systems are almost completely segregated with vast disparities in resources between Israeli and Palestinian schools.
Palestinians are subject to administrative detention without charge or trial on a routine basis by Hotoveli’s government. They face military courts that convict 99.74% of Palestinians who come before them. Israelis, on the other hand, face civil courts that provide a range of protections and rights not available to Palestinians. Membership in Palestinian political parties, posting on Facebook and other social media sites, gathering in large groups, calling for the freedom of Palestinian political prisoners, attending demonstrations and giving media interviews are all punishable by administrative detention or imprisonment via the military courts.
Hotoveli has worked to expand and deepen the apartheid system, including working with groups— including those labeled terror organizations, such as Lehava—to prevent marriages between Jews and Palestinians.
In recognition of the severity of these offenses, we are hereby conducting a symbolic citizens’ arrest.
Executed this 22nd day of November, 2015, in Oakland in the State of California.