Israel continues to sow the seeds of discontent
Israel, it seems, has found a new weapon against Palestinian attacks – the humble cucumber seed.
have been handing out seeds at checkpoints with advice to Palestinians –
a nation of farmers until their lands were swallowed up by Jewish
settlements – to stop their recent knife attacks on Israelis and invest
in a peaceful future.
Palestinians were not fooled. The seeds, the
packets revealed, were produced by the very settlements that corralled
them into their urban enclaves.
Israel’s image laundering is
directed at western countries that have propped up the occupation –
economically and diplomatically – for decades. As ever, Israel hopes to
persuade outsiders that the occupation is benevolent.
The futility of its PR, however, is highlighted by the latest initiative of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
legislation is designed to intimidate and silence Israeli human rights
organisations – the international community’s eyes and ears in the
occupied territories. These groups are to be defined as “moles”, or
agents of foreign governments. Justice minister Ayalet Shaked warned
that such foreign intervention “endangers democracy”.
is that the governments funding the human rights activity are not
Israel’s enemies, but some of its staunchest supporters – European
Israel treats Europe’s support for human rights as malign
interference, but it welcomes the vast sums channelled its way via the
European Union’s special trade agreement and the billions in US military
aid. It is this kind of foreign intervention that sustains the
The new legislation, however, risks leaving the EU and
US exposed. Removing the minimal restraints imposed on the Israeli army
by monitoring activity, the crimes of occupation – and western
complicity in them – will be all the starker.