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Thu Oct 8, 2015, 04:24 PM


Palestinian citizens will always be enemies in a Jewish state


Twelve years ago, in its report on the events of October 2000, the Or Commission of Inquiry wrote a statement that was unprecedented in the history of Israel’s Palestinian minority. After extensively criticizing the police’s violent conduct, the commission concluded: “The police must instill among its officers the understanding that the Arab community as a whole is not their enemy, and that it should not be treated as an enemy.”

Though perhaps unintended, the commission’s statement amounted to a symbolic indictment of Israel’s longstanding “enemy doctrine” toward its Palestinian citizens. For the first time, an official Israeli body was acknowledging the systemic hostility behind the state’s policies since 1948, and determined that those attitudes had to change in order to resolve the roots of the people’s grievances.

Twelve years later, however, it is clear that Israel has not absorbed any lessons from the report. Far from revising its enemy doctrine, the state has intensified it. Government ministers in charge of law enforcement spew out racist speech to delegitimize the rights of Palestinian citizens. The Shin Bet routinely monitors and harasses Palestinian activists for attending demonstrations or writing social media posts against Israeli policies. Now police officers have permission to open fire on Palestinians who throw stones in Israel just as they do against Palestinians in the occupied territories.

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