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The following is my latest piece for Al Jazeera.
Lima, Peru – Last week, Israel’s High Court voted to uphold a law denying Israeli citizenship or residency not only to Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs, but also to spouses of similarly distasteful nationality (Lebanese, Iraqi, etc).
I read the news of the court verdict on the Haaretz website, where it was offset by another breaking headline of a more compassionate nature: “Serbian vulture set free after treatment at Israeli veterinary hospital”.
According to the article:
The vulture was found injured at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan in northern Israel, and was rushed to an Israeli veterinary hospital specializing in wild animals. There, the bird was diagnosed with multiple gunshot wounds.
Following two months of treatment, the vulture was set free. The Serbian embassy in Tel Aviv was reportedly “delighted to hear about the bird’s recovery, and Serbian diplomats attended the release of the Serbian ‘patient’ back into the wild”. Haaretz offered the following assessment:
Flying in the Middle East can be perilous for the scavenger birds, as they are sometime [sic] shot by people ignoring the international treaties protecting these birds.
As for other creatures imperiled by ignorance of international treaties, these might include Palestinian populations regularly subjected to collective punishment in violation of the Geneva Conventions. The inferior urgency of Palestinian medical conditions vis-a-vis avian ones is additionally underscored by the Israeli tradition of firing missiles at Palestinian ambulances, as well as by Haaretz headlines such as “IDF investigating death of diabetic Palestinian delayed at checkpoint” and “Palestinians: Ailing woman dies after IDF denies her ambulance”.
Today’s report on the Al Jazeera website entitled “Israel to build migrant centre” quotes Eyal Gabai, director-general of the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as declaring:
Israel is trying to fight a situation in which the state, its citizens, are vulnerable to infiltrators who enter with economic motives”.
The economically-motivated infiltrators threatening the Israeli state and its citizens might be more succinctly described as illegal immigrants. Arriving primarily from Africa, they now have a detention facility to look forward to, which according to Al Jazeera “is expected to be built at or near the site of a former prison camp for Palestinians”.
An April Haaretz article entitled ‘Al-Qaida terrorists may pose as Ethiopians to sneak into Israel’ bears the sub-headline: “In letter to Haaretz, Yemen Islamists say they may send terrorists to Israel disguised as Ethiopian Jews.” The question of whether Al Qaeda always notifies Israeli newspapers of its tactical options is answered in the second paragraph of the article, which specifies that the letter is not in fact from the organization itself but rather from “[Yemeni] Shi’ite rebels” who simply quote from another letter allegedly sent by Al Qaeda to a Salafist group in Gaza. The rebel missive highlighting Al Qaeda’s grasp of the general interchangeability of dark-skinned persons is meanwhile explained as having been submitted with the belief that the “publication in Haaretz [of the Al Qaeda scheme] could influence U.S. policy toward the Shi’ites in Yemen”; no speculation is made as to what sort of effect said publication might have on Israeli policy toward its own Ethiopian population, which until now has merely been subjected to things like housing discrimination and injection with controversial birth control drugs.