Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jonathon Cook on the growing authoritarianism of the Israeli Government

Excellent piece  on current developments in Israel by independent freelance journalist Jonathon Cook who writes on Israel and Israeli politics from the city of Nazareth. Cook recently won the Martha Geilhorn Prize for Journalism for his work.

In this and other articles Cook describes the ways in which the growing authoritarianism of the Israeli Government is increasingly being directed not just at the Palestinians and Arab citizens, but also at Israeli citizens  and institutions who oppose Government agendas.
"Israelis barely had time to absorb the news that they were heading into a summer election when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday pulled the rug from underneath the charade. Rancorous early electioneering had provided cover for a secret agreement between Netanyahu and the main opposition party, Kadima, to form a new, expanded coalition government.
Rather than facing the electorate in September, Netanyahu and his hardline rightwing government are expected to comfortably see out the remaining 18 months of his term of office. Not only that, but he will now have the backing of more than three-quarters of the 120-seat Israeli parliament, leading one commentator to crown him the “King of Israel”.
The announcement may have taken Israelis by surprise but it fully accorded with the logic of an increasingly dysfunctional Israeli political culture........................

But there are advantages to Netanyahu in postponing an election he was expected to win.
Not least, it gives him time to entrench moves towards authoritarianism. Netanyahu has been behind a series of measures to weaken the media, human rights groups, and the courts. At the moment his government is defying a series of Supreme Court rulings to dismantle several small Jewish settlements on Palestinian land that are illegal even under Israeli law.
An uninterrupted 18 months will allow him to further undermine these rival centres of power. One of the promises he and Mofaz made yesterday was to overhaul the system of government. Netanyahu now has enough MPs to overturn even the most sacrosanct of Israel’s Basic Laws"

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