Interview with Michael Sfard

Tell me a little about the home you grew up in.

My parents immigrated to Israel from Poland in 1968, three years before I was born, under circumstances of forced emigration.1 My mother’s family was forced to leave because her father was a sociology professor at the University of Warsaw, and my father’s family because my father was active in the university’s student committee and was a central activist in the 1968 students’ struggle. Both families were driven out – sacked from their jobs, thrown out of university, became outcasts, enemies of the nation – because of the pro-democratic activity they engaged in.

In the home I grew up in there was a very present allergy to the persecution of opponents of the regime, of those who had different opinions. There was an allergy to the limitation of freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Unlike in many homes of people who had come from the Eastern bloc2 – who, as a result of the years they spent living in the Eastern bloc were afraid to express their opinion, afraid to speak against the opinion of the authorities – in my home it was exactly the opposite. It was present throughout my childhood and has undoubtedly had an influence on me.

Many journalists lived in the Jerusalem3 neighborhood where I lived, near the famous Ohr Somayach Yeshiva,4 from the age of five. In fact, I think we were the only ones who weren’t journalists. Life in the shadow of these journalists turned my parents’ house into a kind of United Nations. Journalists constantly quarrel and make up, and there are jealousies and squabbles, and everyone used to come to our place to argue and make peace. They trusted my parents and told them all their secrets. The house was very involved in matters of current affairs. Since as far back as I can remember, there were always discussions at home about political issues and subjects on the public agenda. At an early age I was part of all that. It was a very politically, engaged home, with very clear positions about democracy and human rights.

You are active in a legal struggle to preserve human rights and you are politically active in the Israeli struggle in the West Bank and Gaza. Tell me how you became involved in this activity.

I’ve always been an activist. I was an activist as a high school student, continued to be an activist as a university student, and am an activist today. Today, I have another tool for my activism, the legal tool, and that’s wonderful. I feel that I can contribute, that I have a relative advantage that goes beyond participating in demonstrations. I also demonstrate if necessary. I am lucky to be earning a living doing what I would have liked to do after work hours if I had a different job.

After my military service5 I reached the conclusion that I couldn’t live here without struggling. It’s immoral to just enjoy the good things about this place. There are serious things taking place here, things that are done in my name, things that I am responsible for not only because they are done in my name but because I pay taxes, vote in the elections, because I am part of this collective called the State of Israel. I can’t live in peace and can’t sleep at night if I am not doing things that give me the reassurance that I’m struggling against these things. This activity has become essential for my existence here. If I immigrated to a different place, I wouldn’t feel the same responsibility that I feel here. Here I belong and here I am responsible.

Who were your teachers?

First and foremost, my parents, of course. Shulamit Aloni6 is also a major influence. Today, I know how much of the world of human rights exists in Israel because of her. I was introduced to this world through her and through her activity. In a more professional sense, Avigdor Feldman,7 who I did my apprenticeship with and later spent several years working for as an attorney. I learned a lot from him, beyond law. Working alongside him mainly developed my critical thinking. He is a person who is highly aware of power structures, and with his help I learned how to analyze things. Today he is a personal friend.

Was there a specific experience that drove you to your activities today?

The army was a crisis. The feeling I had after [serving in] the army was that we had been deceived all along. I served in the Nachal.8 I was a military paramedic. I spent some time in the Territories,9 but that was marginal. The majority of my service was spent in south Lebanon, which was under a much crueler and harsher occupation,10 in my view, than the Territories.

I started peeling off layers of education – school, television, what they tell us, the Day of Remembrance11 – and I started realizing that things are a bit more complicated than the simplistic way in which they are presented in the trajectory that a Jewish-Israeli child follows from birth until he completes service in the army. There is a kind of trajectory, a well-oiled machine that burns into our consciousness a certain narrative. A lot of the things are difficult to look at as an absolute truth. I started being introduced to that under all kinds of circumstances while in the army.

After the army, when I did a course in Neve Shalom12 on Jewish-Arab encounters, I went through some processes. In the army, I didn’t feel like we were the few against the many, the weak against the strong, the victims against the bad guys. I felt the opposite. You are in uniform, against a civilian population, whether it is in Lebanon or in the Territories, and it doesn’t sit well with the whole image for which you went to a combat unit in the first place. It didn’t sit well together and it caused a real identity crisis. The identity crisis was increasingly exacerbated through the 1990s. I was released from the army in ’94 and in ’98 I started my apprenticeship. I worked as a lawyer with Avigdor for a year and in 2000 I ran away to London with my wife, feeling as though I was a refugee. I come from a family of immigrants and I know that emigration is actually a tragedy. I went away to do a master’s degree. That was the pretext.

The truth is that I went away feeling exiled in my own country and feeling as though I didn’t really have a community to relate to. It was an amazing year, a year of perspective, a year of meeting people from all kinds of different countries. I remember arriving in London and buying a copy of the Guardian13 and reading, and turning on the television and seeing that all the main headlines were about Congo – main headlines about foreign news, about a country in Africa. You realize that there is life in other places as well. Professionally speaking, although studying was the pretext, the experience nevertheless changed my life. I studied international human rights law and discovered the subject I wanted to work in.

When I came back [to Israel] – and when I left I wouldn’t have put money on me coming back, nor on the reverse – the group Courage to Refuse14 was just being founded. Several weeks after I got back I went to the first conference. I entered the room and I saw 200 people who thought and felt like I did. From that moment on it was clear to me that I needed to be an activist.

In the legal activity that you are involved with, what is most important for you to achieve and how do you go about doing that?

It’s important for me to win. A lawyer who doesn’t think about victory and doesn’t want to win, shouldn’t be a lawyer. But I’m aware that victory comes in all shapes and sizes. There is one kind of victory in which you receive a ruling that gives you the remedy you sought; there is another in which one follows a procedure that provides the remedy without a ruling; then there are cases in which a loss is a victory. I say this [last scenario] in the clearest way possible, a loss in the formal sense – the court denies you – but in reality the case stirred up a public debate and conveyed a message. I know of several formal victories that were losses in the long run.

Lawyers have a very narrow outlook. They look through the lens of the legal argument and the end result in court. I try to understand and be aware of more than that. I think, and this is reflected in the list of things that I have been involved with, that in many of the matters I am active in, it is wrong to only have a legal procedure. A legal procedure supports public action and vice versa, public action supports the legal procedure. To put all the stakes on only the legal procedure is a gamble that is often irresponsible. I know of struggles that have resulted in nothing because ultimately they only concentrated on the legal procedure. I think law is one part of a whole array of instruments for social change, sometimes an important part, sometimes less so. In the area of social change, law never stands on its own.

What are some of your most significant cases? How did they end?

I have had many important cases. I’m thinking of Bil’in,15 which ended successfully. It’s true that the village didn’t get all its land back, but Bil’in has become a symbol, and ultimately the court did not only order the route of the fence16 to be changed, but actually said what we – myself, the Bil’in village council and the Palestinian public – had been claiming all along: “You are lying. The fence is not a security fence, its route is determined by considerations relating to the expansion of settlements.”17 In addition to the physical return of hundreds of dunams18 of land, I see this [statement] as a great success, It was a very important case and also a successful one.19

In the fence case of five villages in the Alfei Menashe20 enclave, which was brought before a panel of nine judges following the decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague,21 the court also ruled that the fence was illegal and had to be moved.22 Three villages that had been inside the enclave were taken out of the enclave. That’s also an important case.

I represented the Aramin family,23 whose daughter, Abir Aramin, was shot dead by a border policeman in Anata24 while she was in the street during school recess. Soldiers in a border police Jeep simply shot in all directions without any justification. I began handling the case from the day she was killed. Bassam,25 who is an amazing man, was surrounded by the support of Israelis, also impressive people, who never left him, especially after his daughter’s death. I became very emotional about this story. It’s a case that has touched me. I had just become a father myself when it happened and it severely affected me. I’m proud to say that over the years, Bassam and I have become close friends. In my opinion there were many successes on the way and there was a failure in the end.26 But, even when the result at the end of such a case is not the remedy I sought, there is something [significant] in the process.

In the procedures I am involved with, when I represent Palestinians, there is something healing in the process itself. The overriding philosophy of the period is separation – a separation fence, all the different kinds of separation – and displays of solidarity between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians – these are small triumphs over this separation.

What other small victories have you had?

The case of Jonathan Ben-Artzi27 which went from being a case in which the military judges a guy who refuses to enlist under the claim that he is an egotist who is not willing to enlist, into a case in which the military is judged for failing to understand what pacifism is. I questioned the person who headed the Conscientious Objectors Committee28 at the time, and the questioning showed that he was completely ignorant about pacifism. According to him he would not have exempted Martin Luther King, Jr.29 or Mahatma Gandhi30. These were small successes but there was also a big success. In the end, Jonathan was released, albeit, not as a conscientious objector, but because the army had, had enough of the struggle and his sentence was struck off. I felt I did well in the case and it was important to me. It was one of my first cases after starting my own practice and the conscientious objector aspect is close to my heart, since I was an objector myself.

When you help people fight for their rights they start saying, “I’m entitled to that and I’m going to fight for it.” It’s empowerment. The small successes are there in the souls of people whom I’ve met and have gotten to know over the years. I feel that being able to help people have such an experience is one of my immense privileges.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a legal approach against human rights violations in general, and the construction of the Separation Barrier in particular?

This is a big question and there’s endless research related to it. Is it possible to change social conventions and is it possible to implement social change through the legal system? When there’s a groundbreaking ruling in the area of the freedom of speech, in the area of gays and lesbians, in the area of animal rights, is it the legal system that’s leading the public or is the public already there and the legal system is only now recognizing it? It’s a very difficult question, especially in the State of Israel where there is no such thing as a public – there’s the conservative public and the liberal public, there’s the public in Tel Aviv31 and in Jerusalem. We sent a woman who had been a man32 to the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 and at the same time we threaten not to allow a photographer who wants to photograph people in the nude33 in the Dead Sea34 into the country. This is our society. It’s very hard to say what the public’s position is.

On the subject of the fence and the legal struggle, there is a difference between the legal struggle in Israel and the one abroad. I wrote an article that dealt with the question: “What is the price you pay for internal resistance to a massive violation of human rights?” There’s a difference between internal and external resistance. Internal resistance takes place within the structures of the authorities that are performing the human rights violations. To appeal to the court in The Hague, to try and obtain international pressure, is external resistance. There is a price to pay for internal resistance. We come to the [Israeli] Supreme Court of Justice and need to get a security-led justification for the construction of a barrier. The question is what is the correct route that the barrier should take? Is accepting the language, accepting its use, and legitimizing the basic idea a worthy price to pay? I think that the court’s behavior over time on the subject of the fence has really intensified our dilemma because there’s been some success in relation to the fence.

The legal procedures in Israel led to a situation in which, thanks to the Supreme Court rulings and their resulting changes,35 we have gone from a fence that was supposed to eat into 20-25% of the area of the West Bank to a fence that eats into 8.5% of it. [The rulings were] made by the State out of an understanding that the reality would not stand the test of the Supreme Court. There are people whose livelihoods have been saved, and there are entire families whose lands have been saved. But there is also another side – the legitimacy that has been granted and the lands that have been confiscated [through those court rulings]. Now, there’s that public in Israel who can tell themselves that they can sleep in peace because the court checks when things are going too far, and because of this they don’t take to the streets.

On the other hand, let’s say the Supreme Court was banned, the Palestinians said, “We are no longer appealing to the Supreme Court,” and [Israel] built a system in which the Seam Zone36 was 20% of the West Bank. Then 100 villages would not have suffered, but 300 villages, and 10,000 Palestinian residents would not have found themselves on the wrong side of the fence, but 100,000, and the bureaucratic apparatus of the permits would have become monstrous. Would it have even been possible to manage this thing? Have we not, with our appeals, made this thing turn into something manageable? Alongside the security forces that are responsible for the fence, there are parts of the fence for which I am also responsible because I influenced its route. It’s become a joint project of human rights organizations and the security forces. These are terribly difficult questions and it’s a dilemma that exists beyond the context of the fence.

For me this dilemma has been reconciled. As a human rights lawyer, as a human rights activist, I can’t sacrifice the individual for the sake of some collective good. A client comes to me and says, “They’re going to take away my grove.” Will I tell him: “Listen, but the Palestinian people need, it’s better that…”? No! I have to act on his behalf. You need to leave these questions to the academy and mainly be conscious of them. It’s true that there are red lines here, too.

The villages of Azzoun37 and Nabi Elias38 came to me. The fence seized 1,200 dunams of their densely planted olive groves for no reason. It turned out that in this case39 the State deceived the Supreme Court and didn’t tell the truth about its rationale for the route. [The State] claimed that it was for security reasons, when, in fact, they planned on building an industrial area for the settlement of Tzufim40 there. The leaders of the [Palestinian] council met with me and I started telling them: “Listen, it seems illogical to me, we can try and demand that they change the….” They looked at me with total mistrust and said: “Listen, all we need is a gate which we can go through to reach our land.” In my mind, I immediately said that the day I ask for a gate, I get a gate. That’s exactly what the army wants. For them this is my role, to enable the management of this system. I must say that if [the council leaders] had insisted on not wanting to appeal against the fence itself, but only to demand a gate, I would have found it very difficult to represent them in the case, because for me that is virtually collaborating with and aiding the system in building the best fence. Fortunately for me, as well as for them, they agreed to file a petition against the fence. We won this petition and the route of the fence was changed.

You mentioned that the Bil’in ruling was a partial success. Is there a relationship between the legal activity in this case and the nonviolent demonstrations?

I have no doubt whatsoever that without Bil’in’s public struggle we wouldn’t have gotten to the Supreme Court. And I have no doubt that without the Supreme Court the popular activity wouldn’t have moved the fence by one millimeter. These are two activities that fully complimented each other. The activity of the people of Bil’in, like earlier of the people of Budrus41 and later of the people of Ni’lin,42 Nabi Saleh43 and other places, is innovative and unique. Its power stems from a number of factors: the first and most important one is nonviolence. The second is the fact that they don’t only agree, but are happy to have Israelis participate in the struggle. The power created from the combination of these two factors is enormous, and in the first years it certainly caught the IDF,44 the Shabak45 and the border police46 by surprise. Having to deal with a Palestinian who is not armed with a dynamite vest created an unfamiliar situation for the authorities. They did all they could to push [Palestinians] back to the place of terrorists in an armed struggle and for six years they haven’t succeeded. It’s amazing. And truth be told, in the history of the Palestinians this is also a new phenomenon.47

In the past, there were attempts at civil struggles but their scope was very narrow – boycotting taxes and things like that. But as far as I remember, there hadn’t been any joint nonviolent struggles48 with Israelis49 before Budrus and Bil’in.50 Without Molotov cocktails,51 without weapons, nonviolence is an immense power. The Israeli reaction to it was very helpful. The excessive use of force the State of Israel instituted against the organizers of demonstrations, as if they were organizing suicide bombings, presented the State in a very bad light.52 Bil’in’s visibility made it a symbol. It’s very healthy to get to a court hearing when the judges think that there is something special about the case. In the end, the ruling is the strongest ever given against the security forces. Chief Justice Beinish53 wrote that not only was the route that went along the bottom of the valley not there for security reasons, it actually sacrificed security interests in order to promote the additional neighborhood. The public struggle was crucial, and the creativity and nonviolence – all these things created empathy and also [effectively] conveyed the Palestinian story for the first time.

Do the legal struggles reinforce or weaken the occupation?

This is the hundred million dollar question. I think there are a great many good legal struggles that reinforce human rights, that abolish harmful practices, and that lengthen the shelf-life of the occupation.54 I have my answer. I’ve made my decision. Is it the right one? I don’t know.

What are the most difficult challenges you’ve encountered and how have you dealt with them?

Cases that have to do with Palestinian prisoners55 are borderline lost cases. The State of Israel does not release Palestinian prisoners.56 Not by a third, not by a half, not for good behavior and not for bad behavior. These are very draining cases, because these are people who are sometimes imprisoned for decades, who are sometimes completely different people from the ones who had been initially jailed. I had a client who got 27 years in prison for setting fire to cars in East Jerusalem. I found out, after I began representing him, that one of the cars he set fire to was my parents’ car. Representing these people is very, very difficult mentally because they don’t exist, they are beyond time and beyond space. It’s true not only for Palestinian security prisoners. In general, it’s not easy to represent prisoners. Contact with their families is very difficult because they want to see their loved ones and the chances [of success] in these cases are very slim.

It’s been many years since I represented prisoners in their court cases. The people I do represent [in these types of cases] tend to be much older people who committed their offenses during the First Intifada.57

How do you overcome the difficulty?

I tell people the truth. I don’t build up their expectations and that’s important for their mental health in managing the struggle to be released. There are people today who believe in nonviolence, people who have changed, who have a record of change, whether that’s because of articles they have written or because they have taken courses. There are all kinds of reasons for change. I have clients who I think it is in the interest of the State of Israel to release. These are people we need on the outside so they can promote dialogue. So what can I tell them? I can tell them that I think they should be released, I can tell them that it’s stupid for the State of Israel not to release them after they have served more than two thirds of their sentence, but I tell them that they must keep up the struggle all the time. The way to deal with it is to understand that the struggle itself is a success.

You said that for you the moral issue is very strong. How do you reconcile that with the fact that these individuals have performed acts that you don’t necessarily morally agree with?

I don’t like the things they did, but they have been judged and they have been punished, and they have the right to be represented and to be released. All these people whom I represent were jailed before Oslo.58 To say that the person standing in front of me is the same person who did it? Even physically, the cells in his body have peeled off three times since then. We are talking about people who, when they were 17 or 21-22, committed offenses, and today they are people over 40 years old. These are not the same people. It depends on what they did, but I think that in some cases the State of Israel punishes them very severely, and that if a Jew had committed [the same crime], he would have been released long ago. Ami Popper was released on furlough and has already killed someone in a road accident.59 There is inequality.

What have you learned from your activity?

The most important thing is consistency in terms of values – not to cut corners and not to take short cuts with regards to the principles you believe in. Secondly, people can make a difference if they understand the power of the nonviolent and joint way. It is a very difficult undertaking and I don’t know if this is wishful thinking or a real conclusion I have reached, but the greatest successes are those that have come from this undertaking, not legal ones.

I’ve learned that it is terribly important to define, in a very broad way, what success is. When you struggle against something big and you are very small, if you measure success in a binary way, then the frustration will be very big and very quickly there will be those who will leave the struggle because it seems hopeless. You need to know how to think strategically about successes that are not measured by the total overthrowing of the monster.

Another insight is that you have to enjoy the struggle. If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t persevere. I try to implement that in the office. The idea is not only to sink into despair because of the situation but that we enjoy fighting it, enjoy this process. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes you do things that aren’t fun, but along with them there has to be some enjoyment.

Have you ever made a professional decision that, in hindsight, you would have done differently?

The question of how legitimate and right it is to involve foreign elements is always there. It is both a tactical question and a question that is beyond tactics. Over the years, I’ve realized more and more that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not only an internal Israeli matter. The involvement of the international community is not a favor but a duty.

In the first years after I started the practice, I refrained from dealing with legal procedures abroad. In recent years, I’ve been more involved with civil procedures abroad. I think, in general, the involvement of foreign citizens, of foreign bodies, is appropriate. I think it has also taken me time to realize that when I attack or criticize a government policy or the State of Israel, sometimes I’m doing the State a service. In meetings with diplomats, with foreign journalists or even in discussion events abroad, it has taken me time to say that I am a product of the State of Israel, my friends are also a product of the State of Israel and the State of Israel is not just Lieberman.60 I think that the refuseniks,61 for example, at the time of Courage to Refuse,62 provided the State with an excellent public relations service. I am not seeking some kind of stamp of approval as a patriot, not at all, but I’m uncomfortable with the feeling that I’m only causing damage to the State. I’m not causing damage; I do what I think is right, and if everyone does what they think is right, things will be better.

What common mistakes do you see on the ground?

The central mistake in this field is a lack of strategic understanding – making legal moves without understanding what happens around you. You are part of a struggle, you are not alone. Lack of coordination and lack of sharing are sometimes widespread ailments.

Defeatism – I see it everywhere, in the best people – and defeatism is a fatal illness, because you come to the struggle thinking, “Well, what’s the use, there’s no chance, and this State! And this army! And this court!” and every loss in every battle is only proof that they are so terrible. I have no words to describe how harmful that is, how wrong. There’s a vast difference between two lawyers who arrive in court with the same qualifications, and one of them comes with the belief that he can win and presents that to the judges, and the other comes with an attitude of “I’m going to lose anyway,” and the only thing he wants is to show that “See, the occupier’s court did this thing.” So don’t go to court! Go write an article!

You spoke earlier about an international community and about how you started to realize its importance and its role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What is the role of the international community?

The international community has to ensure that states do not violate international law. The State of Israel brutally violates international law all the time. It’s true that the State of Israel is not the only one that violates international law, and maybe it also doesn’t violate it in the most serious way, maybe that’s China or the United States, but it doesn’t exempt the international community from acting to stop the violation of international law [by Israel]. Here, we have a people who have been under occupation and without rights for 44 years.63 The international community has to do what has to be done to stop this violation and force the State of Israel to reach a solution that will give these people their rights. Should that be done by putting officers on trial for committing war crimes or through diplomacy? That’s already a different question. When history judges this occupation, it won’t only judge the State of Israel, but also the international community.

Tell me about The Human Rights Defenders Fund. What does the organization try to achieve and what is your involvement?

About a year ago a few friends got together and defined for ourselves a lacuna that we saw in the existing activity of human rights organizations in Israel. This lacuna is in the protection of human rights defenders. Our feeling is that the community of human rights defenders in Israel, which is very active, has created the infrastructure to protect the victims of human rights violations, but it wasn’t ready and was caught unprepared when it started to come under attack. People in Yesh Din,64 in B’Tselem,65 in the Association for Civil Rights66 – it is in their DNA to protect others and not to protect themselves. Something has changed drastically in the last two years in Israel, since Operation Cast Lead67 and the Goldstone report.68 This community has become a community under attack. The numbers are astonishing: 170 arrests in Sheikh Jarrah69 in the past year, 70 indictments for nonviolence for taking part in demonstrations,70 arrests71 at Ben Gurion University,72 arrests near the President’s house. Not to mention what has been happening for many years now on the dark side of the moon, there in Bil’in, in Ni’lin, where people are being arrested every Friday.73 Everything falls on the shoulders of a few lawyers who are doing work that is mostly pro-bono or partially paid, and payments don’t arrive. These people will collapse, because it’s unsustainable.

We decided to try and build a mechanism that will help fund the protection of human rights defenders, a fund that raises and allocates resources. We established an advisory board of people who have experience on the ground – activists, human rights specialists and law practitioners – and together we drafted a document outlining aid criteria and a document outlining aid strategy. We determine the priorities every once in a while, because until we have resources for everyone we have to act according to preferences. We’ve started the work of fundraising. In the meantime, we’ve been funding legal protection only for arrests in the West Bank – in Popular Committees’74 struggles – in East Jerusalem and also in Al-Araqib75 in the Negev76 because they don’t have enough resources to fund the trials themselves.

How do the media influence your work?

The media are an important part of the work. They are a tool. The State of Israel, for all its defects, is a state in which public opinion counts and the media have a great influence on public opinion. Moreover, the media influences decision-makers, sometimes disproportionally. Also the media oversees. There are media bodies that have an almost magical influence. They create a debate. They turn a certain subject into an issue overnight. The media are very important. However, I, as any lawyer, have a fear of cameras entering the sanctified zone between the lawyer and the client. I’m aware of the importance of the media, and the fact that part of my job and of the client’s expectations of me is to also be involved in the media campaign.

Can you give me an example in which you felt that the media influenced a case?

I am handling a whole legal struggle for Physicians for Human Rights77 on the use of soldiers in medical experiments by the IDF.78 We discovered that according to the legal situation at the start of the struggle, it was easier to experiment on a soldier than on a dog. The rules pertaining to the use of humans in medical experiments do not apply in the case of the IDF. The publication of the Anthrax story and the public interest in it had an extraordinary impact and were a great help. In the legal procedure we followed we actually achieved everything without a ruling. The army, which was so sensitive about its image and about our accusations, pulled itself together very quickly, and in fact, accepted all our demands and implemented 90% of the changes under those demands.

I deal with many cases that have to do with settlers79 invading Palestinian land. As part and parcel of dealing with the cases, I file petitions to the Supreme Court on behalf of Peace Now80 and Yesh Din. They demand that the remedy I ask the State for be protection for the Palestinian residents, an eviction of the settlers and demolition of what [the settlers] have built. The media revealed that on the one hand the State says: “Yes, the right to property is important and we do not deny that we are duty-bound to protect,” yet on the other hand, the State does not evict the outposts81 built on private [Palestinian] land. The best example of that is Migron,82 which has become a symbol, and has also attracted the interest of foreign elements – the American embassy, the European Union. They are demanding answers. There are residents in the villages around Migron who own the land – it’s registered in their name in the land registry office. It’s been ten years and the State of Israel hasn’t dismantled the place.83 The involvement of diplomatic elements as well as the understanding among many people in the Israeli political system that something needs to be done in the matter is a product of exposure. They haven’t evicted Migron yet, but when you say Migron, now people know that you mean the area in which they stole Palestinian land, and the State of Israel hasn’t evicted it because they are scared of the settlers. Everyone is asking themselves why. This thing has power, and it’s important, and you have to be conscious of that and act accordingly.

Do you have moments of doubt about what you do?

I have many moments in which I think that it’s actually white noise. Many times I ask myself what is the impact? Where can you see a change? Where can you sense all the work of so many people, not just mine? What have we actually accomplished? In our office we have a rule – when someone is ‘down’ they need to check first that the others are not ‘down’, because we each have our turn.

Which litigation was the most challenging?

I filed a petition against the targeted assassinations policy,84 a huge petition that went on for six years85 against a policy that was presented as central to the State of Israel’s War on Terror. I filed the petition at a time when every few days there was a suicide bombing.86 I think there was no bigger challenge. Morally and legally I had no doubts about it. Morally, I was clear that this [policy] is wrong, that we are performing an execution without a trial in a state where there is no death penalty and you suddenly do a thing like that – let a secret body be the judge, the prosecutor and the executioner. This is an example of a case in which I lost on paper, but won in practice. In principle, the Supreme Court said the targeted assassinations policy was allowed, but practically, the Supreme Court posed limitations on it, and since, there have been almost no targeted assassinations.87 On the day the ruling was given, both parties claimed they had lost.

In hindsight, I had a big debate with myself about whether it was right to file the petition. Am I not giving some kind of stamp of approval again? Let them do it without the Supreme Court’s stamp! The ruling was given in 2006 and in the first years I really regretted filing the petition. I even felt guilty about handling the case. Later, when the numbers started coming through – it’s true it wasn’t just because of the petition, starting in 2007 the security situation was completely different – you suddenly realize that there is a balance of terror that curbs, that has an influence and cools down the decision-making about pressing the button. Today, I’m not sure it was a mistake. Recently, I was at a conference in the USA about the American policy of targeted assassinations in Pakistan88 and they looked at me as if I was crazy when I said I had lost that case. The case is seen as a success!

What is your position regarding the human rights situation of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, in Silwan, and the current struggle in Sheikh Jarrah?

Today, you have to look at the Palestinians between the [Mediterranean] Sea and the Jordan River89 as Palestinians for whom Israel has created several classes. Since boyhood, I’ve been used to the division: there are the Arabs in Israel90 and there are the Arabs in the Territories. But it’s not like that. There are the Palestinians of the Jordan Valley,91 there are those who are in the West Bank up to the fence, there are those who live in the Seam Zone, there’s East Jerusalem and after them there are the Israeli Arabs. Each class has completely different responsibilities and rights.

In Jerusalem, Israel conducts a system of policy and operational methods that aims to decrease the Palestinian population in the eastern part of the city. When we took over the city in ’67,92 we gave the Arabs in East Jerusalem the status of permanent residents.93 Citizenship is a status that is not dependent on physical presence, a status that creates an affinity between a person and a state with a territory. I can be a citizen of Israel and live in the United States and come back to Israel because I’m an Israeli citizen. But, we gave them a status that is dependent on presence – you have rights here as long as you are here. We revoke the residence status of Arabs from East Jerusalem whose center of life for a few years is not in East Jerusalem and force them to move to the West Bank. We don’t build housing units for them in a way that will allow them to live in East Jerusalem, and we create countless obstacles for those who wish to build legally because we don’t plan areas for building, and we demolish houses94 that they build illegally. We create a situation in which a young couple in East Jerusalem has to choose between living in Jerusalem, building illegally and risking demolition and fines, or moving to a place with more housing options while risking losing their resident status.

The situation in East Jerusalem is a ticking bomb and all for a motive which is almost official – to preserve some kind of proportion between Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem. We have an ethnic motive and all the future plans of the Israeli government and of the Jerusalem Municipality are aimed at preserving a numeric proportion between the ethnic groups that comprise the city. In my view, this is illegitimate and illegal according to international law, and also very dangerous for the city.

What is the next burning issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

In the long run, the question facing anyone who lives here and one that concerns our neighbors from all over this region, pertains to the concept of citizenship and civic affiliation, because it’s a springboard to transcending the ethnic issue. In a very exciting and moving way, our region is dealing with the subject of citizenship. I think that the question of civic affiliation will penetrate through to us as well. We see that the Palestinians are talking about citizenship – what do they want a state for? They want citizenship and civil rights. In those circles, where people think and write manifestos, everyone is dealing with this issue.

Has this activity changed you?

One of the things that always frustrates me is that I feel that I speak in two languages. Today, I understand the complexity of the conflict with all its aspects, and it has many aspects and many dimensions, and that of course has changed me. I have also moved a lot ideologically.

Five years ago I became a father, I started a law practice, I have employees, I’m almost 40, I have changed for a thousand and one reasons, but this activity is certainly one of the factors and it’s hard for me to isolate it. On the personal level, I think that I make more of an effort to act according to my beliefs. It’s not simple. Sometimes there are a lot of gaps between what you believe in and what you do. It’s a constant struggle to reexamine all the time.

What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?

A writer. If I had the talent I would be a writer or a photographer.

What seems hopeful to you?

Seeing my son playing with Muhammad Khatib’s95 children. It’s a cliché, but what can you do. They don’t understand a word of Hebrew, he doesn’t understand a word of Arabic, and they play together for hours. They don’t even speak the same language and within seconds they become best friends, and later I hear: “When are we going to Bil’in again? When are we going to Bil’in again?”

We have done our best to provide accurate, fair yet succinct footnotes to help you navigate the interviews. Our research team comprises more than 6 individuals, including Palestinians, Israelis and North Americans. Still, we recognize that these notes cannot capture the full complexity of this contested conflict. Therefore, we encourage you to seek additional sources of information, we welcome your feedback and appreciate your openness.

1. In 1968, opposition to the Polish Party, the leading party in the Polish government at the time, grew exponentially after the government shut down a University of Warsaw play that the government claimed to be anti-Soviet (Poland was allied with the Soviet Union at the time). Protests began in March 1968 against the government’s opposition to intellectual discourse and spread to other universities, with both teachers and students participating. The government’s harsh response to these protestors and their sympathizers included forced emigration. See Ost, David. Solidarity and the Politics of Anti-Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990, pp. 49-54. ^

2. Also known as the Communist Bloc, Soviet Bloc or Eastern Europe. Refers to states in central and eastern Europe allied with the Soviet Union from the end of World War II until the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991. See “Soviet Bloc.” 2005. The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. 7 December 2011. bloc. ^

3. Jerusalem. Known as Al Quds ("The Holy") in Arabic and Yerushalayim or Zion in Hebrew. A city located in the center of both Israel and the West Bank portion of the Occupied Territories. Home to approximately 700,000 people from all three monotheistic religions, as well as sacred sites from these faiths within close proximity, including the Western Wall, the al Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Green Line, or the 1949 cease-fire line between Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, demarcates the unofficial boundary between Israel and the West Bank, and divides Jerusalem. Israel immediately declared Jerusalem as its capital in 1948, and enshrined this in its Basic Laws in 1980. Palestinians aspire to declare Jerusalem as the capital of a nascent Palestine. Following the War of 1967, Israel extended its sovereignty to the Eastern half of the city, including the Old City and the holy shrines, which were controlled by Jordan from 1948. Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over all of the city. Rather, they regard Jerusalem's status as undetermined, pending final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. See: "Jerusalem" World Encyclopedia. Philip's, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. CDL UC Berkeley. ^

4. Ohr Somayach Yeshiva.

A Jewish religious school in Jerusalem. The school caters to Diaspora Jews, typically those from the United States, and focuses on Jewish identity formation through the teaching of Jewish history, philosophy, religious texts and the Hebrew language. See the school’s website at


5. Israeli Military Service.

Israeli Law requires that all Israeli citizens and permanent residents begin serving in the Israeli army at the age of 18. Effective in 1948 and codified in 1986, the National Defense Service Law requires men to serve three years and women to serve 20-21 months. All non-Jewish women, Palestinian Arab men (except Druze, who since 1956 must serve) and ultra-Orthodox Jews are automatically exempt from service, although volunteers from these groups are occasionally admitted and the Israeli state encourages some Bedouins to join. Reserve service is required until the age of 51 in the case of men, and 24 in the case of women. For a version of the 1986 National Defense Service Law, see “Defence Service Law (Consolidated Version), 5746-1986.” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 18 July 2011.


6. Aloni, Shulamit. An Israeli attorney, journalist and former member of the Knesset. ^

7. Avigdor Feldman is a well-known and active Jewish Israeli civil and human rights lawyer. While studying law at American University in Washington, DC, he worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on various civil rights issues. After his return to Israel, Feldman established the Association of Civil Rights in Israel’s Legal Defense Center. Feldman is currently a board member of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel. See Yoaz, Yuval. “The quiet revolution.” Haaretz. 25 May 2004. ^

8. Founded in 1982, the Nachal Brigade is one of the Infantry Corps brigades in the Israeli army. See “Nachal Brigade.” Israel Defense Forces. 7 December 2011. ^

9. Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Also known as the Territories, “East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza,” the Occupied Territories or “Judea, Samaria and Gaza.” The term generally refers to two non-contiguous territories captured by Israel following the War of 1967, but does not usually include the Golan Heights. East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza are considered occupied by much of the international community and are treated as such by many international legal instruments. The Territories, or some part of, are slated to be the basis for an independent Palestine. Some members of the Israeli government refer to the Occupied Palestinian Territories as “disputed territory,” while certain factions in Israel consider the territory an integral part of biblical Israel and thus modern political Israel. See International Law, ‘Occupied’/ ‘Disputed’ Territory Debate” and War of 1967.


10. After entering Lebanon in 1982, Israeli military forces occupied southern Lebanon until 2000. See War of 1982. ^

11. Remembrance Day.

(“Yom Hazikaron” in Hebrew) An Israeli national holiday that takes place on the 4th day of the Jewish month of Iyar, the day before Israeli Independence Day. The holiday commemorates all those who died as part of Jewish forces fighting to establish the State of Israel in 1948, as well as Israelis who have died in the armed forces since then. See “Remembrance Day-Independence Day - Selected Readings.” 2 May 2000. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 7 December 2011.


12. Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam. Hebrew and Arabic for Oasis of Peace. A village in Israel bteween Jerusalem and Tel Aviv established jointly by Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship, with the goal of engaging in "educational work for peace, equality and understanding between the two peoples." Fifty families currently live there. ^

13. The Guardian is a British newspaper. See the newspaper’s website at ^

14. Refusenik.

A term first applied to Jews who the Soviet Union barred from emigrating to Israel. In Israel today, “refusenik” applies to conscientious objectors - Israeli soldiers or reservists who refuse to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or in the Israeli army altogether. For an Israeli to legally avoid military service based on the grounds of conscience or refusal, one must be granted Conscientious Objector (CO) status, which is difficult to obtain. The Refusenik movement gained popularity during the Second Intifada, after a group of Israeli reserve officers and combat soldiers drafted the Combatant's Letter in January 2002, outlining their justification for conscientious objection based on Israel’s “illegal and thus immoral” occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Since then, 627 Israelis have signed onto the letter and hundreds of Israelis have refused service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel has court martialed hundreds for this decision and many refuseniks serve up to 35 days in jail. See also Shministim. See the Refusenik’s website at


15. Bil'in.

A Palestinian village in the central West Bank, located 12 km west of the city of Ramallah. Est. population in 2007: 1,701. In 2005, Bil’in began holding weekly protests against Israel’s Separation Barrier that cut through the village. The village also began hosting annual grassroots popular resistance conferences in 2006. The Israeli High Court ordered that the Barrier in Bil’in be rerouted in 2008, giving back much of the village’s land.


16. Separation Barrier. A long structure of connected concrete walls and fences that separates Israel from parts of the West Bank. It runs both along the Green Line and within the West Bank. Critics and proponents disagree over the intent behind the structure, its route, and its name. References to it include the "wall, separation wall, security fence, Apartheid Wall, separation barrier, annexation wall." Begun in 2002, its construction is still in progress. For a map of the existing structure and proposed route, please visit the B'Tselem website. Israel claims security needs necessitate its construction. Israel has modified some of the routes in response to a High Court of Justice ruling as well as in response to international pressure. Palestinians point out that the wall was built unilaterally, seizing lands recognized as illegally occupied by Israel according to international law. They also maintain that the wall steals privately-owned land, and chokes off some cities almost completely. For a thorough report: "A safety measure or a land grab?", visit the Economist, October 9, 2003 A debate about its appropriateness sprung up after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an advisory opinion declaring it a breach of international law. ^

17. Settlement.

A Jewish Israeli community existing outside the internationally accepted boundaries of the State of Israel. Those ideologically in support of them do not call them “settlements.” The settler movement began following the War of 1967, when Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Golan Heights in Syria and the Sinai in Egypt. Settlements are most controversial when they are built within the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, which some Israelis refer to as Judea and Samaria or as “disputed” territories. Many proponents of the settler movement claim that settlement of these lands is a divine right, mandated by religious texts, and part of the Zionist imperative to settle Eretz Yisrael or the Land of Israel. Less ideological proponents regard settlements as a security necessity for Israel. Opponents argue that such settlements are illegal under international law, annex Palestinian-owned land, and preclude the final status of disputed borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state. By and large, settlements receive Israeli government funding, as well as military and infrastructural support (see Settlement Subsidies). The course of the Separation Barrier frequently juts into the West Bank in order to protect settlements within this territory. In 2005, the Likud-led Israeli government initiated the withdrawal of 8,000 settlers from Gaza and from a handful of settlements in the West Bank (see Gaza Disengagement). Over 130 settlements remain in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), with a population of approximately 500,000 in 2009. Additionally, there are settlement outposts, which were established by Jewish Israelis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without seeking permission from the proper Israeli authorities (see Outpost). See Gorenberg, Gershon. The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements 1967-1977. New York: Henry Holt, 2006; Masalha, Nur. Imperial Israel And The Palestinians: The Politics of Expansion. London: Pluto Press, 2000;  “Land Expropriation and Settlements.” B’Tselem. 8 August 2011.; and “Settlements.” Peace Now. 8 August 2011.


18. Dunam. Unit of measure used in Israel that equals 1,000 square meters. ^

19. See the first Israeli High Court ruling on route of the Separation Barrier near Bil’in at “HCJ 8414/05.” 18 February 2007. Israeli High Court of Justice. 9 December 2011. For information about how subsequent petitions filed by Bil’in villagers and the response of the Israeli state and army, see Lazaroff, Tovah and Dan Izenberg. “IDF rerouting barrier near Bil’in.” Jerusalem Post. 11 February 2010. ^

20. Alfei Menashe.

A Jewish Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank, located just outside the Palestinian city of Qalqilia. Est. population in 2009: 6,800.


21. International Court of Justice.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the main judicial arm of the United Nations and is located in The Hague, Netherlands. In 2004, the ICJ ruled that Israel’s Separation Barrier was illegal according to international law. See the International Court of Justice’s website at



22. See a summary of and the full Israeli High Court ruling on the Alfei Menashe enclave case at “Israeli High Court of Justice rulings.” Diakonia. 9 December 2011. ^

23. For more information about the Aramin family in general and the court cases surrounding the 2007 murder of their 10 year old daughter Abir, see Macintyre, Donald. “Bassam Aramin’s search for justice.” The Independent. 18 August 2010.; and Sherwood, Harriet. “Israel to pay family compensation over killing of Palestinian girl.” The Guardian. 26 September 2011. ^

24. Anata.

A Palestinian town in the central West Bank, located 4km west of the Jerusalem municipal boundary. Estimated population in 2007: 12,049. Beginning in 2007, Anata held protests against Israel’s Separation Barrier that cuts through the town. See Jerusalem. 


25. Bassam Aramin (1969- ) A Palestinian nonviolent resistance figure. Arrested at the age of 17 for throwing a hand grenade at Israeli soldiers, Aramin spent 7 years in jail. In 2005, Aramin helped found Combatants for Peace, an organization of former Israeli and Palestinian combatants that believe in and are working toward a nonviolent end to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. After his 10-year-old daughter Abir’s death by an Israeli soldier in 2007, he joined the Bereaved Families Forum, an organization comprised of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. See “Bassam Aramin’s search for justice.” The Independent. 18 August 2010.; and “Bassam Aramin (East Jerusalem).” Combatants for Peace. 21 December 2011. ^

26. In July 2011, the Israeli High Court closed the case of the murder of Abir Aramin without indicting specific policemen that were suspected of her murder. For more information, see “The Killing of Abir Aramin.” 17 January 2007. Yesh Din. 9 December 2011.; and “HCJ rejects petition to indict policemen suspected of killing Abir Aramin.” 11 July 2011. Yesh Din. 9 December 2011. ^

27. For more information about Jonathan Ben-Artzi’s case, see Urquhart, Conal. “Netanyahu nephew faces jail as army refusenik.” 8 March 2003.; and Galili, Lily. “High Court refuses to call IDF refusenik a ‘conscientious objector’.” Haaretz. 1 June 2005.; and “Jonathan Ben Artzi: Israeli Supreme COurt Grants Victory to Draft Resister.” 19 October 2007. 9 December 2011. ^

28. For more information about conscientious objection in Israel and what the Committee will accept, see “Israel: The treatment of conscientious objectors called up for reserve duty or military service.” 10 March 2010. Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 9 December 2011.,,IRBC,,ISR,,4e4260122,0.html. ^

29. King, Martin Luther Jr.. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) was a renowned American civil rights leader. For more information see the Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. at ^

30. Gandhi, Mahatma.

(1869-1948) An Indian lawyer and leader of the India independence movement. Gandhi promoted and lead mass nonviolent action to gain independence from the British empire. India won its independence in 1947. See “World: The life and death of Mahatma Gandhi.” BBC. 29 January 1998.


31. Tel Aviv.

A city in central Israel, located along the Mediterranean Sea and about 64 km west of Jerusalem. Est. population in 2009, combined with the population of Jaffa: 393,200. Tel Aviv’s population is predominantly Jewish Israeli. The city houses all foreign embassies.


32. Though American-Jewish photographer Spencer Tunick faced political opposition to his nude photo shoot from within Israel, the shoot was eventually allowed to take place. See Levin, Roni. “1,200 Israelis model in the nude for Spencer Tunick’s Dead Sea photo.” Haaretz. 17 September 2011. ^

33. For a comparison of maps of the Separation Barrier approved by Israel, see “Five Years After the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion.” July 2009. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 8 December 2011, pp. 9-11. For information on some of the Israeli High Court rulings that have affected the route of the Separation Barrier, see “Separation Wall.” Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual. 8 December 2011.; and Blank, Yishai. “Legalizing the Barrier: the Legality and Materiality of the Israel/Palestine Separation Barrier.” Texas International Law Journal. Vol. 46, No. 2 (2011), pp. 326-329. ^

34. Dead Sea.

A salt lake located between Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, known for its high salt and mineral content. The lake is a popular tourist and spa destination. The Dead Sea's shores are the lowest point on the surface of the earth on dry land, and the sea itself is rapidly shrinking due to the natural diversion of incoming waters, a phenomenon that has concerned Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian authorities.


35. For a comparison of maps of the Separation Barrier approved by Israel, see “Five Years After the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion.” July 2009. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 8 December 2011, pp. 9-11. For information on some of the Israeli High Court rulings that have affected the route of the Separation Barrier, see “Separation Wall.” Hamoked Center for the Defence of the Individual. 8 December 2011.; and Blank, Yishai. “Legalizing the Barrier: the Legality and Materiality of the Israel/Palestine Separation Barrier.” Texas International Law Journal. Vol. 46, No. 2 (2011), pp. 326-329. ^

36. Seam Zone.

Palestinian areas on the Israeli-side of the Separation Barrier, located between the Green Line and the Barrier. As of 2011, approximately 6,500 Palestinians live in the Seam Zone; these Palestinians are required to apply for Israeli-issued residency permits in order to reside in their villages and/or access their farmland. In order to reach the rest of the West Bank, these Palestinians have to pass through checkpoints. When the Separation Barrier is completed, 25,000 West Bank Palestinians will live in the Seam Zone as well as the majority of Palestinians who have Jerusalem IDs. See “Seven years after the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on the Barrier.” July 2011. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 8 December 2011.



37. Azzoun.

A Palestinian town in the northern West Bank, located east of the city of Qalqilia. Est. population in 2007: 7,821. In 2005, Azzoun began holding demonstrations against Israel’s Separation Barrier that cuts through the town; the Israeli Hight Court ruled in 2006, and again in 2009, for the Israeli government to reroute to barrier in Azzoun and pay compensation to the villagers. 


38. Nabi Elias.

A Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, located 2 km east of the city of Qalqilia. Est. population in 2007: 1,171. A 2006 decision, followed by another decision in 2009, by the Israeli High Court ordered to Israeli government to reroute the barrier in Nabi Elias and pay compensation to the villagers.


39. See more information about this case at “HCJ 2732/05 Head of the ‘Azzun City Council et al. v. Government of Israel et al. decision.” Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual. 8 December 2011. ^

40. Tzufim.

A Jewish Israeli settlement in the northern West Bank, located just north of the Palestinian city of Qalqilia. Just Vision is not able to find recent/reliable population data for Tzufim.


41. Budrus. A small village in the north western part of the West Bank in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. ^

42. Ni'lin.

A Palestinian village in the central West Bank, located 17km west of the city of Ramallah and 3 km east of the Green Line. Est. population in 2007: 4,573. In 2004, Ni’lin began holding regular protests against Israel’s Separation Barrier that cuts through the village.


43. Nabi Saleh.

A Palestinian village in the central West Bank, located 20 km northwest of the city of Ramallah. Est. population in 2007: 534. Since December 2009, Nabi Saleh has held weekly protests against Israel’s Separation Barrier that cuts through the village.


44. IDF. Acronym for Israel Defense Forces, the State of Israel's military. ^

45. Israeli Security Agency/Shin Bet.

Also known as Shabak, the Hebrew acronym for "Sherut haBitachon haKlali" or "General Security Service." This agency conducts security intelligence work within Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as opposed to the Mossad which deals with intelligence gathering on the international front. The agency is especially involved in providing intelligence about organizations and individuals it deems to be involved in terrorist activities. See the agency’s website at


46. Israeli Border Police.

(“Mishmar Hagvul” in Hebrew) Also known by the Hebrew abbreviation “Magav.” A police unit that is under the authority of the Israeli army general chief of staff. This unit often works in the West Bank and Jerusalem. See Cohen, Samy. “Between Humanitarian Logic and Operational Effectiveness: How the Israeli Army Faced the Second Intifada.” Democracies at War against Terrorism: A Comparative Perspective. Samy Cohen, Ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.


47. For a history of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, see First Intifada, particularly King, Mary Elizabeth. A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Nonviolent Resistance. New York: Nation Books, 2007. ^

48. Sfard later briefly refers to joint action between Israelis and Palestinians that he remembers from his childhood. ^

49. Israeli Solidarity Activists.

Israeli citizens, both Jewish and Palestinian Arab, that join Palestinian-led demonstrations and other direct actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Anarchists Against the Wall was one of the first Israeli groups to be invited to join Palestinian protests against the Israeli Separation Barrier in the village of Budrus in 2003. Since that time, a slowly growing number of Israeli citizens and organizations have regularly taken part in Palestinian nonviolent actions throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank, typically in areas affected by the Separation Barrier and Jewish Israeli settlements. For more information about this phenomenon, see Dana, Joseph and Noam Sheizaf. “The New Israeli Left.” The Nation. 28 March 2011.,2.


50. During the time of the Second Intifada and afterwards, the first instances of ongoing, joint nonviolent resistance between Palestinians and Israelis took place. For more information about previous Palestinian nonviolent actions, see First Intifada. ^

51. Molotov cocktail. An easily made incendiary device, Molotov cocktails are also called 'gas bombs' or 'petrol bombs.' They are frequently used by rioters, and were employed by some Palestinian protesters during the first intifada. ^

52. For more information regarding Israel’s response to Palestinian nonviolent organizers and others involved in nonviolent protests, see “Joint NGO Submission on Israeli Suppression of Palestinian Human Rights Activism against the Wall.” 4 February 2010. Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, and the National Lawyers Guild. 6 July 2011.; and “Prohibit live ammunition in circumstances that are not life-threatening in the West Bank.” 18 June 2009. B’Tselem. 9 July 2011. ^

53. Beinisch, Dorit.

A Jewish Israeli legal figure. Beinisch began her legal career in the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office. Serving in the Attorney General’s office in different capacities from 1976-1988, she was appointed Attorney General in 1989. Appointed to the Israeli High Court in 1995, Beinisch was elected Chief Justice of the High Court in 2006, the first woman ever to hold that position. As Chief Justice, Beinisch ruled in 2007 that some of the route of the Separation Barrier near the Palestinian village of Bil’in was not entirely based on security concerns and therefore needed to be moved. See “Dorit Beinisch.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 9 December 2011.; and “Court orders state to alter West Bank separation fence route at Bil’in.” Haaretz. 4 September 2007.


54. Occupation. The "Occupation" is used to refer to Israel's military control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. Some members of the Israeli government have referred to these territories as "disputed" rather than "occupied." See, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site; Also, "West Bank." Britannica Student Encyclopedia. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 17 Dec. 2004; For a dictionary that uses the term "occupied" rather than "disputed": "West Bank" A Dictionary of Contemporary World History. Jan Palmowski. Oxford University Press, 2003. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. CDL UC Berkeley. ^

55. Palestinian Prisoners.

Refers to Palestinian prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territories who are tried by Israel. These prisoners are tried by Israeli military courts based in the Territories, while most detention centers are located within Israel’s 1948 borders. While Israel maintains that those in detention either pose a threat to Israel’s security or have committed a crime against Israel’s population, Palestinian rights groups and others claim that a majority of Palestinian prisoners are political prisoners (including those who organize nonviolent demonstrations), or held for negligible acts such as stone-throwing. Prisoner swaps are common in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. During the Second Intifada (2000 to about 2008), Israel arrested and detained over 50,000 Palestinians. In August 2011, 5,200 Palestinians were held in Israeli detention centers, including 176 children. Also included in that number are 272 Palestinians held in administrative detention without charge or trial. These numbers were much higher during the Second Intifada. For statistics and information regarding Israeli law and detention procedures for Palestinian prisoners, see “Detainees and Prisoners.” B’Tselem. 3 October 2011. For information on Israel’s arrests and detentions of Palestinian organizers of nonviolent demonstrations against the Separation Barrier, see “Joint NGO Submission on Israeli Suppression of Palestinian Human Rights Activism against the Wall.” 4 February 2010. Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, and the National Lawyers Guild. 6 July 2011.


56. Israel has released Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldiers or the return of the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers. Sfard’s interview was conducted before the last major prisoner exchange for the release of Jewish Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in October 2011. This interview was conducted prior to this exchange. See Gilad Shalit. ^

57. First Intifada. Arabic for "shaking off." It is used also to refer to uprisings, especially during times of widespread Palestinian revolts against Israel. While some scholars consider the 1936-39 Palestinian uprising as the first intifada, the first intifada (1987-1993) usually refers to the popular uprising whereby Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza rose up against Israeli military rule through a coordinated movement involving multiple sectors of Palestinian society. Actions included mass rallies, general strikes, unarmed and stone-throwing confrontations, the use of Molotov cocktails and limited arms against the Israeli army, combined with self-administration of daily life and attempts at nonviolent civil disobedience. The Israeli military was unable to quash the rebellion, although they implemented a harsh "Force, Might and Beatings" policy under Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, involving widespread arrests, detention and torture. This intifada came to an end when Israel entered into negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and co-launched the Oslo Peace Process. ^

58. Oslo process. This process was unveiled with the signing of the Declaration of Principles ("DOP") by Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn in 1993, although it was preceded by an exchange of letters between Rabin and Arafat. In those letters, Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative body of the Palestinian people and the PLO recognized Israel's right to exist in peace and security. The DOP called for a permanent settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on United Nation Resolutions 242 and 338. It also led to the creation of the Palestinian National Authority ("PA" or "PNA") as part of the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement. Yasser Arafat became President of the PNA. A series of agreements between the Israeli government and the PNA followed. The agreements are known collectively as the Oslo Accords. The Oslo process took a serious blow with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and by the failure of the Camp David Accords in 2000, but ended officially with the assumption of the second intifada in September 2000. For a text of the letters and the Declaration of Principles see: or The Israeli Ministry of Foregin Affairs ^

59. Ami Popper was convicted of killing 7 Palestinians in 1990 and released on furlough in 2007, during which time he caused a fatal car accident. For more information, see Levy-Stein, Revital. “Convicted killer on furlough hurt in Arava crash; wife, son killed.” Haaretz. 18 January 2007. ^

60. Lieberman, Avigdor. (Sorry, there was an error; this glossary term was not found.) ^

61. Refusenik.

A term first applied to Jews who the Soviet Union barred from emigrating to Israel. In Israel today, “refusenik” applies to conscientious objectors - Israeli soldiers or reservists who refuse to serve in the Occupied Palestinian Territories or in the Israeli army altogether. For an Israeli to legally avoid military service based on the grounds of conscience or refusal, one must be granted Conscientious Objector (CO) status, which is difficult to obtain. The Refusenik movement gained popularity during the Second Intifada, after a group of Israeli reserve officers and combat soldiers drafted the Combatant's Letter in January 2002, outlining their justification for conscientious objection based on Israel’s “illegal and thus immoral” occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Since then, 627 Israelis have signed onto the letter and hundreds of Israelis have refused service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel has court martialed hundreds for this decision and many refuseniks serve up to 35 days in jail. See also Shministim. See the Refusenik’s website at


62. Courage to Refuse is the official name of the refusenik organization founded in 2002. See Refusenik. ^

63. Sfard refers to Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories captured during the War of 1967. ^

64. Yesh Din.

An Israeli human rights organization that focuses on Israel’s duty to protect Palestinian civilians under its military’s occupation. In addition to taking legal action on behalf of Palestinian individuals and communities in various Israeli courts, Yesh Din also publishes reports on human rights abuses by the Israeli military and settlers. See the organization’s website at


65. B'Tselem. The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. The largest Israeli human rights organization, founded in 1989. See: ^

66. Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

Established in 1972, ACRI is the oldest Israeli human rights organization and deals with rights and civil liberties issues both in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. With the goal of ensuring Israel’s accountability and respect for human rights, ACRI takes on legal cases, conducts domestic human rights education, and contributes to international advocacy through various governmental and organizational relationships. See the organization’s website at 


67. Gaza War/Operation Cast Lead.

Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza on December 27, 2008, which lasted for three weeks. Israel stated this offensive was in response to rocket attacks on Israeli towns from Gaza, while Palestinians point to Israel’s blockade of Gaza as escalating the situation. Reports differ on the number of fatalities during the offensive, with Palestinian fatality numbers ranging from 1,166 to over 1,400 and Israeli fatalities at an undisputed 13. Following the offensive, the United Nations put together a Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict to investigate violations of international law, including the targeting of civilian populations, in the lead up to and during the offensive. The resulting Goldstone Report accused both Israel and Hamas and Palestinian militant groups of war crimes and recommended both sides conduct investigations on the allegations. See also Rocket Attacks. For the Israeli government’s fatality numbers and rationale, see “Operation Cast Lead: Humanitarian Aspects.” 2009. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 10 June 2011. For criticism of Israel’s blockade and the effects of the offensive, see “Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Year of Blockade on the Gaza Strip.” August 2009. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 10 June 2011. See excerpts of the Goldstone Report at “Key Excerpts: UN Gaza Report,” BBC News. 15 September 2009. See the full report at


68. Goldstone Report.

Released on September 29, 2009, this report details the findings of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Mission was headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone and also included three other members from different parts of the world. In investigating the Israeli military incursion into Gaza from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 as well as the events leading up to it, the report found Israel and Hamas/other Palestinian militant groups guilty of violating international human rights and humanitarian law, including actions that amounted to war crimes. On the Israeli side, the report focused on Israel’s blockade of Gaza prior to the war in addition to the its military’s actions during the war that were “directed at the people of Gaza as a whole.” In regards to Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, the report emphasized the thousands of rockets and mortars launched into civilian areas of southern Israel before the war. The report concluded with a request that both sides conduct their own investigations into the allegations; Israel eventually conducted an investigation while Hamas did not. Reactions to the report were explosive, with the Israeli government declaring the report to be factually incorrect and politically biased and others desiring to try Israel at the International Criminal Court. On April 10, 2011, Justice Goldstone wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post reconsidering some of the report’s findings regarding Israel and war crimes, which some Israeli officials deemed a delayed apology while others found his Op-Ed vague and unclear. See the Goldstone Report and other related documents at “United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.” UN Human Rights Council. 21 December 2011. For the Israeli government’s response to and investigation into the allegations of the Goldstone Report, see “Initial Response to Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza.” 24 September 2009. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 21 December 2011.; For varying views of the Report and the response to it, see Horowitz, Adam, Lizzy Ratner and Philip Weiss, Eds. The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict. New York: Nations Books, 2011. For Goldstone’s Op-Ed in the Washington, Post, see Goldstone, Richard. “Reconsidering the Goldstone report on Israel and war crimes.” Washington Post. 1 April 2011. For former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s reaction to Goldstone’s Op-Ed, see “Olmert: There can be no forgiveness for Goldstone.” The Jeruslame Post. 15 April 2011. For an analysis on why Goldstone chose to write the Op-Ed, see Erakat, Noura. “Roundup on the Goldstone Controversy.” Jadaliyya. 13 April 2011.


69. Sheikh Jarrah.

A Palestinian neighborhood in the Jerusalem municipal boundaries (in an area called East Jerusalem), located near the Old City. Est. population in 2008: 707, most of whom carry Jerusalem IDs. Since 2009, Palestinian residents and their supporters have held weekly protests against the eviction of Palestinian residents from their homes and the subsequent settlement of Jewish Israelis in those homes. See Jerusalem and Jerusalem ID.


70. For more information about the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement and arrests/indictments from 2010-2011, see “We’re coming in Solidarity.” 17 September 2011. Women’s Voices. 9 December 2011.“we’re-coming-in-solidarity-”/. ^

71. Ben Gurion University has had an anti-political demonstrations policy, has disciplined students for breaking that policy, and has brought in police to deal with violations. For more information, see Kashti, Or. “At Ben-Gurion University, student protests can lead to disciplinary action.” Haaretz. 15 September 2010.; and “Today in Court: Freedom of Protest in Times of War.” 5 June 2011. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel. 9 December 2011. ^

72. Ben Gurion University of the Negev.



73. Protests against Israel’s Separation Barrier take place every Friday in the Palestinian villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin. See the villages’ solidarity website’s at and ^

74. Popular Committee. Popular Committees were formed some time after 1982 in the Occupied Palestinian Territories filling the institutional and organizational void with the PLO in exile. Committees were responsible for basic services ranging from education to garbage collection and food distribution during curfews and sieges. They required a great deal of popular mobilization, and were instrumental in the first intifada. Popular Committees continue to function today in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, each with distinct mandates. ^

75. Al-Araqib.

A village in southern Israel, located 8 km north of the city of Be’er Sheva/Ber Sabe’ in the Negev. Just Vision cannot find recent/reliable population data on Al-Araqib as the Israeli government considers it to be an illegal village and had demolished it several times. Al-Araqib is inhabited by Bedouins and is one of many unrecognized Bedouin villages in Israel. See Bedouin.


76. Negev. Desert comprising the southern one-third of Israel. ^

77. Physicians for Human Rights.

Founded in 1986, this US-based nonprofit organization aims to prevent and highlight severe human rights violations throughout the world through the expertise of medicine and science. The organization conducts medical and scientific investigations, working with both health professionals and human rights experts. See the organization’s website at


78. In the early 1990s, the Israeli army conducted anthrax vaccine experiments on 716 soldiers. For information on the legal case, see “Following PHR-Israel Advocacy: Army limiting the use of soldiers in medical experiments.” Physicians For Human Rights - Israel. 9 December 2011. ^

79. Settler. Refers to a Jewish Israeli living in settlements - Jewish communities in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. The settlements, established following Israel's capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the war of 1967, are widely recognized as illegal under international law. By and large, they receive government funding as well as military and infrastructural support, although the Likud has initiated the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza in August 2005 and from a handful of settlements in the West Bank. Population statistics of the Jewish settler population vary according to different sources. There are approximately 240,00-250,000 settlers in the Palestinian Territories with approximately 7,000-8,000 living in the Gaza Strip and the rest residing in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem). According to B'Tselem, at the end of 2002 about 58% (or 394,000) of Jerusalem's 680,400 residents lived on land annexed in 1967. Of those 394,000, 45% were Jewish and 55% Palestinians (see There are approximately 17,000 settlers living in the Golan Heights. For information on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, see the B'Tselem report at For information on the settlement population in the Golan Heights see: David Rudge. "Campaign Uses Jobs to Entice Newcomers to Golan," The Jerusalem Post, 22 June 2005, pg. 5. ^

80. Peace Now. Founded in 1978, Peace Now is the oldest and largest extra-parliamentary movement in Israel. It often engages in large public demonstrations. The most notable one being in 1982, when 400,000 Israelis gathered to call for a commission of inquiry into events at Sabra and Shatila. It currently engages in monitoring the growth of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. See ^

81. Outpost.

Often a small group of mobile homes near established Jewish Israeli settlements, outposts refers to settlements that Jewish Israelis set up in the Occupied Palestinian Territories without permits issued from the proper Israeli authorities. Though Israel considers these outposts to be illegal, a 2005 Israeli governmental report uncovered that most of the then 100+ outposts had received financial and material support from various Israeli ministries. The number of outposts deemed to be on private Palestinian land is currently disputed, with the Israeli government declaring three and the Israeli human rights organization Peace Now asserting 70. The Israeli government is also considering legalizing outposts they deem to be located on Israeli state land. For the 2005 Israeli government report on settlement outposts and Israeli government support, see “Summary of the Opinion Concerning Unauthorized Outposts - Talya Sason, Adv.” 10 March 2005. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 23 June 2011. For a criticism of the Israeli government’s actions and reporting surrounding outposts, see Ofran, Hagit and Lara Friedman. “At least 70 outposts are located on private Palestinian land.” 2 March 2011. Peace Now. 23 June 2011. For an announcement by the Israeli government to evacuate three outposts, see Levison, Chaim and Barak Ravid. “Israel vows to raze all illegal outposts built on private Palestinian land.” Haaretz. 3 March 2011.


82. Migron.

A Jewish Israeli settlement outpost in the central West Bank, located 14 km north of Jerusalem and 7.7 km west of the Green Line. Just Vision is not able to find recent/reliable population data on Migron. See Outpost.


83. Migron was established in 2002 and the Israeli High Court first ordered the State of Israel to remove the outpost in 2006, which has yet to be done. For more information surrounding the Migron case, see”The Migron Petition.” October 2006. Peace Now. 9 December 2011. ^

84. Targeted Assassinations.

The State of Israel increased its use of targeted assassinations of “wanted” men in the Occupied Palestinian Territories during the Second Intifada; 251 Palestinians were killed in this manner in the Occupied Palestinian Territories between 2000-2011, including an additional 174 Palestinians killed as a result of the targeted killing. Israeli security forces have employed the tactic since the 1970s. The most infamous series of Israel’s targeted assassinations abroad took place following the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. More recently and more locally, Israel has dropped bombs to kill leaders of Palestinian militant organizations, including Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin in 2004, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi in 2005 and Mohammed Nimnim of the Army of Islam in 2010. Palestinian militant groups have also used targeted assassinations, although far less frequently. The tactic is criticized both locally and internationally for the level of civilian casualties it can produce and also for the lack of due process in bringing the accused to justice. Proponents often argue that it is a tactic to prevent or deter further violence. For statistics of Palestinians killed as a result of an Israeli targeted assassination, see  “Statistics.” B’Tselem. 3 October 2011. For a perspective against Israel’s use of targeted assassinations, see Stein, Yael. “Position Paper: Israel’s Assassination Policy: Extra-judicial Executions." 9 November 20003. B’Tselem. 3 October 2011. For a supportive perspective, see Luft, Gal. “The Logic of Israel’s Targeted Killing.” Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2003), pp. 3-13.


85. The petition was originally submitted in 2002. See the final 2008 ruling “HCJ Decision 8794/03.” 23 December 2008. Israeli High Court of Justice. 9 December 2011. ^

86. Suicide Attack/Bombing.

Also referred to in the Arabic language and by Islamist groups as "martyrdom operations" (the act of suicide is forbidden in Islam), and by certain academics and Jewish groups as "homicide bombings." In most cases, the term is used to refer to militant operations during which the assailant detonates a bomb nearby targeted victims, sacrificing him or herself during the attack. While Palestinian suicide bombers do target Israeli military installations, they most often strike Israeli civilian areas. These attacks became especially popular in 1994 and during the tense years of the Oslo Process, employed most often by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. A second more frequent slew of attacks began after the start of the Second Intifada, including attacks by the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in addition to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. See also Martyrdom Operations. For a list of attacks since 1994, see "Suicide and Other Bombing Attacks in Israel Since the Declaration of Principles (Sept 1993)." Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 8 August 2011.


87. The most well-known targeted killing by Israel since this 2008 ruling was the assassination of Palestinian Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a Hamas military commander, in Dubai in 2010. See “Hamas military commander ‘assassinated in Dubai’.” BBC News. 29 January 2010. ^

88. For more information on the United States’ policy on and use of targeted assassinations, see Master, Jonathan. “Targeted Killings.” 7 November 2011. Council on Foreign Relations. 9 December 2011. ^

89. Jordan River.

A river that runs 251 km from the Hula Valley in northern Israel, through the Jordan Valley in the West Bank and into the Dead Sea. The distribution of its waters is hotly disputed by Syrian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli authorities.


90. Palestinian Arab Citizens of Israel.

Also known as Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinian Israelis, 1948 Palestinians, or Arab Israelis. Refers to those Palestinians and their descendants who remained in the area that became the State of Israel in 1948. Most Bedouins and some Druze in Israel also consider themselves to be Palestinian Arab Israelis. Though granted Israeli citizenship, until 1966, most Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel were subjected to military rule, which restricted their movement and other civil rights. The tension in Israel between its “Jewish” and “democratic” nature has historically meant that many Palestinian Arab minority rights have been neglected. According to Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, since 1967, “The state [has] practiced systematic and institutionalized discrimination in all areas, such as land dispossession and allocation, education, language, economics, culture, and political participation.” While their standing in Israel has improved since Israel’s independence, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel experience periodic persecution, felt strongest during the October 2000 riots in which 13 Palestinian Arab Israelis were killed (see October 2000 events). In 2009, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel numbered 1.52 million, approximately 18-19% of the Israeli population. They live within the State of Israel, participate in government and hold Israeli citizenship, but most do not serve in the military. See Lustick, Ian S. “Palestinian Citizens of Israel.” Philip Mattar, ed. Encyclopedia of the Palestinians. New York: Facts on File, 2005; and Bligh, Alexander, ed. The Israeli Palestinians: an Arab Minority in the Jewish State. London: Frank Cass, 2003. See also the websites of the organizations Adalah and Mossawa at and


91. Jordan Valley.

A large valley (125 km long and 15 km across) that forms the natural border between Israel and Jordan in the north and the eastern strip of the West Bank. It runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. Most of the Jordan Valley is under Israeli military and civil control.


92. War of 1967. Commonly referred to by Palestinians as the "June War" and Israelis as the "1967 War" or "Six-Day War". Israel captured the Egyptian Sinai peninsula, the Syrian Golan heights, and the rest of pre-1948 Palestine, comprised of the West Bank and Gaza Strip—then under respective Jordanian and Egyptian control, which have subsequently come to be known as the Occupied Territories. The war was fought between Israel and Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. The war began in the early morning of June 5, 1967, when the Israeli air force preemptively attacked and destroyed most of the Egyptian Air Force while still on the ground, responding to Egyptian President Gamel Abdul Nasser's closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships in May of 1967. Earlier in the month, Nasser had deployed Egyptian troops to the Sinai Peninsula and had asked for the removal of the UN troops there, who obliged and left. Prior to these steps by Nasser, there were false intelligence reports by the Soviet Union that Israel was planning an attack on Syria for their sponsorship of Palestinian guerillas and was massing troops on its borders. It is still a matter of debate as to whether Nasser knew that the Soviet reports were false (and acted anyway) or believed they were true. Online resources see and the Library of Congress Country Study of Israel at Scholarly resources see Avi Shlaim. The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001) 236-250. William L. Cleveland. A History of the Modern Middle East. (Boulder: Westview Press, 2000) 328-333. ^

93. Jerusalem ID.

Also known as "blue IDs." These IDs are required for Palestinians to live and work in the city of Jerusalem. They provide municipal services, health insurance and building permits, but do not allow one to vote in Israeli elections nor hold an Israeli passport. Palestinian residents who live in East Jerusalem are able to travel freely throughout the West Bank and Israel, which is prohibited to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza. In order to reside legally in Jerusalem, Palestinians without Jerusalem IDs have to apply with the Israeli Interior Minister, who can refuse applications without justification. Numerous restrictions are placed on Palestinian residents with Jerusalem IDs that do not apply to Israeli citizens or Jewish permanent residents. Restrictions include losing your residency if you travel abroad without a re-entry visa, living abroad (this includes the West Bank) for longer than seven years, marrying a spouse who is not a resident and does not apply for family reunification, and establishing residency outside of Jerusalem. Only children whose fathers hold Jerusalem IDs are eligible to obtain resident status. Those without Jerusalem IDs are denied educational and health services in Jerusalem. Between 1967 (when Israel annexed Jerusalem) and 2009, the Israeli government confiscated 13,115 identity cards from Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. See “East Jerusalem.” B’tselem. 19 August 2011.


94. House Demolition.

According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions,182,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, since 1967 (see Nearly half of those demolitions have taken place since the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2000. Under international law (Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention), the Israeli army’s practice of demolishing Palestinian homes is illegal. The Israeli army and government cite security and the lack of building permits as their justification for demolishing homes. On the security front, the Israeli army claims that it has demolished Palestinian houses (also factories and shops) either to prevent their use by Palestinians in attacks against Israelis, or as a punitive measure against families from which a member is suspected of planning or carrying out attacks against Israelis. Most of the Palestinian homes destroyed in East Jerusalem, certain parts of the West Bank and in Palestinian cities and towns within Israel are destroyed because they lack a building permit from the Israeli authorities. Building permits are extremely difficult and at times impossible for Palestinians to obtain. The Israeli army has also demolished structures constructed by Jewish Israeli settlers who did not obtain building permits, though these instances are few and far between. For information on Israel’s building permit and demolition practices toward Palestinians, as well as its favored treatment of Jewish Israelis, see “Separate and Unequal.” 19 December 2010. Human Rights Watch. 6 July 2011. For an Israeli government rationale for the demolition of Palestinian structures, see “The Demolition of Palestinian Structures Used for Terrorism - Legal Background.” 13 July 2005. Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 16 July 2011.


95. Muhammad Khatib (1976- ). A Palestinian resident of the village of Bil’in and Coordinator for the Popular Struggle Committee. Khatib is also a leader in Bil’in’s weekly, unarmed protests against the Israeli Separation Barrier that cuts through the village. In August 2009, after his return from a speaking tour in Canada, Khatib was arrested on the charge of throwing stones. He was released soon afterwards as his lawyer proved that Khatib was in Canada when the alleged stone throwing took place. However, the court ordered him to not attend the weekly Friday protests in Bil’in. Arrested again in January 2010, Khatib was released on bail in February 2010 and ordered to report to the Israeli police station every Friday, during the times of the weekly Bil’in protests. See “Joint NGO Submission on Israeli Suppression of Palestinian Human Rights Activism against the Wall.” 4 February 2010. Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, The Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, and the National Lawyers Guild. 6 July 2011. ^