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The Only Democracy? » Discrimination » The deputy assassin

The deputy assassin

By Rela Mazali

In the second piece below, Israeli activist Nurit Peled-Elhanan comments on the recent appointment of a new Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Naveh, who orchestrated (at least some of) Israel’s summary executions widely wordwashed as “targeted assassinations.” Peled-Elhanan claims the appointment is, in fact, apt and fitting to the deeds and spirit of Israel’s army. In response to these and to the appointment, she says, it is the parents and educators of Israel who bear responsibility for taking action.

She writes,

We must gather up our courage and teach our children to refuse. Refuse to take part in an organization that is led by war criminals, murderers of children. An organization like that cannot be anything but a crime organization. … There are so many possibilities, children, to contribute to society, to the state if you will … And those possibilities do not include the uniform of the IDF, nor its guns, nor its bombs or its commanders the model and paragon of whom is Yair Naveh, one of many whose orders you should never obey.”

Peled-Elhanan is one of a group of activists who, along with the Yesh Gvul human rights NGO, has petitioned the High Court of Justice to disallow Naveh’s appointment. The opening piece below is Yesh Gvul’s December 4th press release announcing the petition.

The blogger Richard Silverstein has described Naveh as having the distinction

..of being responsible for the Palestinian targeted killings which Anat Kamm leaked to Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau. These West Bank murders completely contravened Supreme Court rulings which directed that such assassinations be avoided if there were civilians present and likely to be harmed; or if there were non-violent means available to apprehend the suspects.”

Naveh, however, when questioned on the contradiction reportedly commented, “Stop bothering me with the rulings of the Supreme Court. I don’t know when they apply and when they don’t. I do know that targeted killings work and prevent terror attacks. I take my orders from the operations command.”

Rela Mazali


From: [] On Behalf Of yesh gvul
Sent: Saturday, December 04, 2010 1:49 AM
To: yesh gvul – all
Subject: [Yesh-Gvul] Petition Against Appointment of IDF Deputy ChiefDear Friend,

Yesh Gvul and Israeli public figures have petitioned the High Court of Justice, against the appointment of Yair Naveh as the IDF’s Deputy Chief of General Staff (and the 2nd in command).

This petition follows our previous petition against the appointment of Yoav Galant as IDF Chief of General Staff.

The petitioners claim that Naveh acted in total contravention of Judge Aharon Barak’s instructions, given in his decision on the targeted assassinations case. Therefore, in addition to committing acts which may amount to war crimes, his behavior is also a blatant violation of the rule of law. We believe that a functioning democracy would have initiated legal proceures against Naveh.

Richard Silverstein has additional info on the Israeli rights activists’ complaint against the deputy chief.

Best Wishes
Yesh Gvul


Nurit Peled Elhanan on the appointment of Yair Naveh as deputy chief of staff

The great wonderment with which the appointment of Yair Naveh has been greeted is itself to be wondered at. After all, who else could be appointed as the Deputy Chief of Staff if not Yair Naveh? Who else loves to immediately assassinate everyone who looks suspicious to him…? … The High Court of Justice does not interest him in the least (Uri Blau, thanks to information provided by ex-soldier Anat Kamm, Haaretz, 28 November 2008), he does not recognize human rights … What else is needed in a Deputy Chief of Staff of the Occupation army …

… it is not Yair Naveh but us – who have to resign from the role of creating soldiers, providing soldiers, giving birth to soldiers and educating future soldiers. We must gather up our courage and teach our children to refuse. Refuse to take part in an organization that is led by war criminals, murderers of children. An organization like that cannot be anything but a crime organization.

Written by

Rela Mazali is an author, an independent researcher, and a feminist peace activist from Israel. Active since 1980 in efforts to end Israel’s occupation, and a founding and active member of New Profile. She was one of eight women from Israel nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize by the Swiss-based One-thousand Peacewomen project. She initiated and took part in creating the 1993 documentary "Testimonies", on Israeli soldiers' actions in the first Palestinian Intifada, and served on the Jury of Conscience at the concluding session of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2005). Maps of Women’s Goings & Stayings (Stanford University Press, 2001), her interrogation of women's spatial existence, was described by reviewers as one of the best among recent "narratives in space and time, by women about women for women", a "daring departure from the conventions of being, telling, writing, and knowing". Her recently published study, "The Gun on the Kitchen Table: The Sexist Subtext of Private Policing in Israel," (in: Farr, Myrttinen & Schnabel eds., Sexed Pistols: The Gendered Impacts of Small Arms and Light Weapons, 2009, UN Univ. Press, Tokyo) closely scrutinizes Israel's domestic 'security guard' industry.

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