“[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Aug 1, 2013. (Hebrew)
“A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Dec 27, 2013. (Hebrew/English)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finalized the formation of a new government this week when he signed a coalition agreement with far-right settler party Jewish Home. As part of the agreement, Rabbi Ben-Dahan will be Israel’s next deputy defense minister, responsible for the army’s “Civil Administration.”
In other words, the man slated to take charge of an organization entrusted withsupervising the theft of Palestinian land and supervising Palestinians’ lives, is a racist who said he does not see them as human, but rather as animals (nothing against animals, of course, but we can be fairly certain Ben-Dahan didn’t mean it as a compliment). That’s more or less like appointing a member of the local Klu Klux Klan chapter to investigate claims of violence and discrimination against the Baltimore Police Department — that is, if Baltimore residents were deprived of citizenship and the right to vote.
It appears that the settlers live in a parallel universe in which the Civil Administration’s Jewish inspectors and Jewish workers and Jewish legal advisors, are racist toward them, despite the fact that they recent the exclusive protection of the IDF and enjoy near immunity from criminal prosecution.
Palestinian, Israeli and international activists sit in front of Israeli soldiers during a solidarity demo in the village of Susya, located in South Hebron hills, June 22, 2012. (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills) On May 4, 2015, Israeli High Court of Justice’s sole settler justice gave the Civil Administration a green light to demolish Susya and forcefully relocate its residents.
The thing is, that Jewish settlers don’t really need the Civil Administration in order to oppress and abuse Palestinians. And according to them, the Civil Administration doesn’t oppress Palestinians enough. Sure, it has inspectors and the army and legal advisors to make every part of Palestinian life impossible in large swaths of Area C. But that’s not always enough.
The settlers want to feel that they, too, are taking part in the reclamation (read:theft) of Palestinian land — and not just the army and state authorities who declare entire plots to be “state land.” The problem is that every once in a while — very rarely, actually — Civil Administration inspectors and legal advisors turn their attention to the settlers themselves.
That is where Rabbi Dahan comes in, reducing already rare Civil Administration enforcement, and putting to bed the whole annoying concept of laws and regulations.
Israelis are right to be worried about MK Ayelet Shaked becoming the next justice minister, and Naftali Bennett the education minister. But try being a Palestinian in the West Bank, where the man in charge of administering your day-to-day life doesn’t even see you as a human being.
*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger on +972′s Hebrew site, Local Call, where a version of this article was first published in Hebrew.