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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Police brutality’

Careful, You May Be Rooting for the Wrong Side in Turkey

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

I’ll preface by saying that I receive all of my information about the recent events in Turkey from the news media, and nothing in my experience or education makes me an expert on things Turkish. But, over the past two years, I’ve been corresponding with an Israel-friendly Muslim sect in Turkey, and so my perspective on the situation is a little better than skin deep.

What’s most striking to me is how similar things in Turkey are to things in Israel. And so, I ask you to please keep an open mind when I tell you that in Turkey, just as in Israel, a largely right-wing, religious or traditional majority is being repressed and manipulated by a system rife with financial tycoons, an anti-religious military establishment, leftist NGOs, and the media, that have marked religion-the-concept as the enemy.

And, much like Israel, Turkey has a tightly centralized system of government, hostile to the free market, the enemy of small business; and they have a brutal and very powerful police force.

Americans sometimes fail to understand the fact that a democracy requires more than voting every 2, 4, or 5 years for our elected officials. The Middle East is crawling with tyrannical regimes that were genuinely elected by the people. It doesn’t make them a democracy.

It takes democratic institutions to have a real democracy—and Turkey, unlike most Arab nations, has them—but on top of those there also must be a democratic spirit, a determination on the part of every screw and cog in the machine to respect the rights of the minorities, to preserve and defend the democratic process, to maintain the sanctity of the system. And Turkey, just like Israel, is not really there in those terms. Neither are many other so-called Western democracies. Indeed, since the final victory of the West, in 1989, as the last vestiges of Communism came crashing down, Western democracy began to die—and not by some evil conspiracy, mind you, democracy has been dying because no one cares enough to keep it alive.

In Israel, we’ve been voting for a majority comprised of right-wing parties every election since 1977, and every single time we’ve ended with left wing governments. It’s not surprising anyone any longer, folks here are voting for the big right wing fox Netanyahu and the giant right wing Bear Liberman, and on the other side of the process they receive Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. The majority of Israeli Jews support the settlements – and they get a prime minister who’s freezing housing construction in the settlements, while describing how the whole thing will be handed over to the Arabs, eventually.

Israelis vote right wing and they get the left wing media, left wing courts, left wing civil servants. The system is rigged, again, not by some conspiracy, but because a centralized system will always yield repressive results. If MK Moshe Feiglin were made prime minister tomorrow, the next day he would impose a settlement freeze—or he won’t be prime minister. We just saw how, having made it into the Knesset on the Likud line, Feiglin protested the police decree keeping him off of Temple Mount, so, effectively, he is no longer a member of Knesset. He serves on no committee and so has scant opportunities to legislate.

That’s how bad it is in Israel. It’s a lot worse in Turkey, where the centralization of everything in the hands of a relatively small class of anti-religious administrators, military men and financial tycoons is written into the law.

Much like religious and right-wing Israelis, traditional and religious Turks have been voting for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and they’ve been getting a state that’s for the most part just as anti-religious as before.

You know what’s been happening in Turkey: some environmentalists were protesting, last Monday, the fact that the government was cutting down trees in a central square park, to make room for yet another shopping mall. But soon enough, the demonstration was hijacked by the left.

Our friend in Istanbul, Sinem Tezyapar, wrote Saturday night:

“People do not burn streets, or demolish stores, in peaceful protests. Turkish Communists love to create an uproar and clash with the police whenever they can. Most of the time, they are the provocateurs at any peaceful protest. And they can easily cause a scene, since they clash with the police in the most central districts.”

I believe her, because I know from experience: there’s no such thing as a spontaneous demonstration—somebody has to get people over, somebody has to make signs, somebody has to pack sandwiches—and there’s no such thing as a demonstration that deteriorates into clashes with police. If there’s a clash, it’s because either the cops wanted it, or the extremists in the crowd did. And neither group do things spontaneously, either. They get the word.

IDF Clash with Border Police for Shooting at Jews

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

On Tuesday afternoon, clashes resumed in the village of Esh Kodesh, after Israeli Border Police permitted nearby Arabs to plow the land between the settlements of Esh Kodesh and Achiah, Hakol Hayehudi reported.

Named after the Piaseczna Rebbe, the renowned spiritual leader of many Chassidim in Auschwitz, Esh Kodesh is a 22-family village overlooking the Jordan Valley (2400 ft above sea level), some 25 miles north-east of Jerusalem. Its neighbor Achiah is another 22-family village.

The Esh Kodesh residents have argued that it shouldn’t take dozens of Arabs to plow one field – one tractor could do the job quite proficiently. Also, seeing as it is well past the plowing and sowing season, they view the “plowing” as nothing more than sheer provocation on the part of their Arab neighbors, and a clear threat to the security of their village.

Residents of the community along with many supporters, who have endured severe clashes with the police earlier in the day, returned en masse to the disputed area and tried to prevent the plowing with their bodies. As usual, the Jewish locals were treated brutally by the border cops, who fired tear gas and stun grenades directly into the group of Jewish civilians, which included women, children and babies.

A group of IDF reservists who had been ordered to the area to secure the plowing Arabs, ended up defending the Jewish civilians from the cops.

“A Druze Border Police officer named Yusuf commanded the event and totally freaked out,” said a resident of Esh Kodesh to Hakol Hayehudi. “He fired tear gas canisters into a group of women and children and used severe violence. At some point a large group of reserve soldiers arrived and once they saw what was happening, they started shouting at the Border Police: ‘Are you crazy? Are you screwed in the brain?’ and demanded that they stop firing on children.”

According to the residents, the police officers themselves then started to debate their own conduct. “The soldiers shouted at them: ‘We are one nation,’ and ‘Look who you’re shooting at,’ and more talk like that, and they became confused and started arguing among themselves.”

One resident related that the debate between the soldiers and the border cops grew louder and turned into mutual cursing. “At some point, the Border Police just became too annoyed at the soldiers and told them: Let’s see you get by here by yourselves, climbed into their jeeps and drove off,” he said.

The Arabs, who had only managed to plow a few meters, saw that they were deserted by their security guards and began to flee. “Once they no longer had the backing of this Druze officer, the Arabs simply turned around and drove quickly away,” said one resident.

In earlier incidents, four Jews were arrested in clashes in the area. An Esh Kodesh resident was arrested by border policemen in the most brutal and violent manner, and later a resident of Givat Gulat Zion was arrested after being asked to present an ID card by police detectives who positioned road barriers separating the settlements of Gush Shilo. Two boys were also arrested, one because the cops claimed he was wanted for questioning, and the other after he refused to show his ID card. Both were released after a few hours, according to the Honenu legal aid society.

During the clashes Jews shattered the windows of a car owned by an Arab who was driving on the country road connecting the villages of Kotzra and Jalud. The driver was sprayed with pepper gas and sustained injuries from stones thrown at him. He was evacuated for medical treatment. The Arabs of Jalud also complained that some Jews had cut down a number of olive trees near their village.

The IDF informed the Jewish residents that the Arab plowing of the fields near their community will continue despite their protests. The residents, for their part, are preparing additional days of clashes and call upon all those who care about the village’s security to come to the area and help prevent the plowing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-soldiers-clashing-with-brutal-border-police-for-shooting-at-jews/2013/01/02/

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