By Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam – 27 Apr 2011
Haaretz [Hebrew] reports on the strange case of a mystery Gazan who the Shabak has prohibited from returning to his home there. The man has a permit to visit Israel and normally travels back and forth from Gaza to Israel. However, all of a sudden the secret police determined that it would endanger the man for him to return to Gaza. They’re doing two things here: one, they’re substituting their own judgment about his safety for his own which is quite infantilizing; second, they’re implying that he’s an informer so he will definitely be killed if he returns. So much for the kinder, gentler Shabak.
The fact that the man has brought a case to the Supreme Court demanding that he be allowed to return to Gaza is a clear repudiation of the stupidity of Shabak’s claim that he is in danger if he returns.
Another strange aspect to this case is that Israel, when it releases West Bank prisoners from detention often refuses to allow them to return there and instead dumps them in Gaza under the assumption that it is the terrorist dumping ground. In this case, the detained individual seems to be the only Palestinian who wants to return to Gaza but can’t.
The man has been charged with no crime and isn’t even imprisoned. For the life of me, I can’t understand under what basis can a country forcibly prevent someone who isn’t even a citizen or under arrest from returning to their own home? It simply beggars belief. And the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court approved this Shabak hocus pocus speaks very poorly for the Court’s upholding of democratic and human rights. The ruling seems to imply that a non-citizen of Israel within its boundaries can be treated arbitrarily by the Shabak in almost any way it wishes.
Gisha, the human rights NGO representing the Gazan points out that the court decision was made under the British Mandate emergency laws now 60+ years old and not even originally established by the State. In 2011, you’d think whatever emergency existed in 1946 would have long passed. The point is that a state that is not fully democratic feels the need to rely on the same types of emergency laws which the Egyptian just overthrew and which the Syrians are attempting to overthrow. What about Israel? Isn’t it time? Or does Israel feel the need to use the same types of laws beloved of dictators like Mubarak and Assad?