Demolition of Federman's home
Photo: Nadia Matar
Police evacuate youths from outpost

The rights of rightists

Human rights groups must make it clear that they care about settler rights as well

Israeli human rights groups must condemn the manner in which Border Guard forces evacuated the Federman Farm in Hebron. According to reports, the evacuators arrived at the family home late at night and raided it while breaking windows, as children slept inside. The family says that after it was forcefully evacuated, its belongings were buried under the ruins of the home. We need to examine whether this aggressive modus operandi undermines human rights principles.


Particularly, it would be appropriate to check whether it was possible to carry out the evacuation in a manner that does not traumatize children. In this respect, the evacuation seems to contradict the spirit of the children’s rights convention signed by Israel in 1990.


In addition, we need to examine whether the situation was handled using civilian standards, rather than military standards, in order to safeguard the right of due process and promote the application of civilian rather than military law in the territories.


The above does not contradict the duty of human rights groups to simultaneously press for the evacuation of all outposts in a legal and appropriate manner, while also promoting legislation in respect to the evacuation of settlements. Alternately, the State should grant citizenship rights to all Judea and Samaria residents, so that the regime of religion-based and nationality-based separation in the territories would come to an end. After all, this regime constitutes colossal violation of human rights.


However, this does not justify the violation of the setters’ rights. There is no contradiction between safeguarding the settlers’ rights and the rejection of the settlement enterprise. They are in fact complementary.


An inquiry into the evacuation of the Federman Farm on the part of human rights groups is important in terms of principle as well as in public relations terms: Such inquiry would contribute to human rights groups’ intellectual and moral honesty. These groups must make it clear to the Israeli public that they act in an unbiased manner, based on principled motives rather than tribal ones.


Creating growing consensus

We must not ignore the cliché about human rights groups defending only Arabs and leftists. This cliché must be disproven by emphasizing the types of actions and positions adopted by those groups whenever anyone’s rights are being violated. We must make clear that human rights are universal and cannot be taken away from a person because of his views or actions, regardless of how despicable and terrible those are.


Violence and the violation of rights on the part of law enforcers is not part of the democratic package.


The big test of human rights groups in Israel is their ability to systematically and principally protect the human rights of those shunned by the masses, even when dealing with those shunned by the leftist masses. Those familiar with Israeli movements know that this principle is applied in most cases. However, it needs to be prominently highlighted by those groups.


Such campaign could shed new light on human rights groups among the Israeli media and public; it would connect the importance of defending human rights with a sense of potential danger threatening any Israeli citizen and resident, thereby creating growing consensus.


Yariv Mohar is a social activist who engages in PR activity for organizations committed to social change and human rights 


פרסום ראשון: 10.29.08, 20:05
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