Barack Obama with Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas
Barack Obama walking down Cross Hall with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, September 1, 2010. Photo by Reuters
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Plea bargain instead of justice

Haaretz reported about a criminal case which can serve as an illustration of the application of the principle of equality before the law in Israel. Two guards belonging to Israel’s internal security service were found guilty of an unprovoked physical assault of a Palestinian gardener working in Jerusalem. The defendants were reprimanded by the court and sentenced to a fine of one month’s salary to be paid in 12 installments after having agreed to a plea bargain with the prosecutor. The crime victim was obviously not awarded any compensation for his suffering. Although it was a severe crime, the case was not adjudicated by an ordinary court but by the court for disciplinary offences managed by Israel’s civil service commission. The crime took place in August 2008 but only recently did the court decide on the sentence. According to the prosecutor, the lengthy time that had passed since the crime was a reason for the lenient sentence. The article does not explain why the case dragged on for so long. The fact that the maltreatment took place in the “line of duty” was obviously also a mitigating circumstance. The judge who accepted the plea bargain justified it in the following way according to Haaretz: “The defendants were given broad authorities and deserve the trust of the public.” In which other country that respects the rule of law would civil servants get away with such a plea bargain and continue to deserve any trust?

Mose Apelblat
Brussels, Belgium


No thought for the Palestinian people

When I read Ari Shavit’s article “Turning on the ‘Jewish state,’” I actually thought of canceling my subscription to the paper.
I could not believe that these views should get prime place in a paper that I felt represented my ideals and my hopes regarding two states. This was definitely a piece showing no thought for the Palestinian people. I felt relieved and vindicated today when I read Amos Schocken’s response.
I believe that the government of Israel should go back to the United Nations and ask for a change of name to “the Jewish State of Israel.” If this is accepted by the UN then the government should have no problem and can no longer use the name game as their excuse to break down the peace talks.

Alice Krieger
Tel Aviv