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Amira Hass: “Democracy for Israelis” and “A Military Junta for Palestinians”

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2023

The idea that Israel has been the Western-style democracy it claimed to be has,  
writes Amira Hass in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (Feb. 6, 2023), never been  
true for Palestinians. In an article entitled “Over Decades, Democracy for  
Israelis has been a Military Junta for Palestinians,” Hass, who lives in the West  
Bank, assesses the harsh realities which have always faced Palestinians, both  
within Israel and in the occupied territories.  
She points out that, “The present government is dangerous to many Jews…but first  
and foremost it is dangerous for all Palestinians, on both sides of the Green  
Line. It could carry out serious expulsion plans, which its senior ministers —-  
Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir—-have been advancing openly…They are not  
making do with the ‘small’ and indirect types of banishment that previous Labor  
and Likud governments conducted—-such as construction bans for Palestinians and  
crowding them into area A, sending them to the penal colony in Gaza and revoking  
their residency status. But for the big expulsion, outside the borders of the  
Greater Land of Israel, political-military chaos must be created. In other  
words, war. During a war, it will be easier to reprise the Nakba of 1948.”  
In Hass’ view, “…long before Justice Ministers acted to weaken the judiciary—-  
which never stopped the dispossession and discrimination —-expelling Palestinians  
from their homeland was burnt into Israeli ideology and praxis as a realistic  
option. Even before the state was founded, it viewed the indigenous people as an  
unnecessary surplus, who in the best case are to be ignored and in the worst case  
gotten rid of…The danger of expulsion is concrete because most of the protestors  
against the government are convinced that, until now, Israel was a democracy.  
They have been and still are willfully blind to the fact that their democracy for  
Jews has been a military junta for Palestinians. The dictatorship that they are  
warning about has been operating already for decades.”  
Hass concludes that, “Israel’s military regime over the Palestinians is a  
parliament, government, courts, jailer and hangman all together…We control a  
conquered population, deprive it of civil rights and…claimed everything was legal  
and proper…The worsening harm planned against the Palestinians has a Knesset  
majority larger than the size of the coalition…Discrimination against the  
Palestinians is part of the consensus.” **

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