Anti-Arab discrimination in the Israeli justice system

by Yaniv Reich on November 17, 2009

Proponents of Israel often tout the country’s judicial system as evidence of its cultural sophistication and commitment to democratic ideals. Well, a case that was decided last week significantly complicated this picture (as does, for example, an earlier ruling, which was the subject of this blog’s first post).

The case concerned a 17-year old Palestinian from Nazareth, who was accused of throwing stones at an Israeli police car during a protest. Judge Yuval Shadmi ruled that Arab youths required “protection” from the Israeli courts because of systematic discrimination:

The judge said discrimination in the Israeli legal system’s treatment of Jewish and Arab minors, particularly in cases of what he called “ideologically motivated” offenses, was “common knowledge.”

In the verdict, he wrote: “I will say that the state is not authorized to caress with one hand the Jewish ‘ideological’ felons, and flog with its other hand the Arab ‘ideological’ felons.”

He referred in particular to the lenient treatment by the police and courts both of Jewish settler youths who have attacked soldiers in the West Bank and who violently resisted the disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and of religious extremists who have spent many months battling police to prevent the opening of a car park on the Sabbath in Jerusalem.

The full original article by Jonathan Cook can be found here.

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