ACRI Demands Clarification on Alleged Transfer Exercise

ACRI appealed to PM Binyamin Netanyahu, demanding that he deny reports of a large-scale training exercise to handle protests against population transfer

12 October 2010

Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister

Dear Sir,

Re: Security Forces Exercise Simulating Population Transfer

We learned through a report on Kol Israel (Reshet B, 8 October)  of a large-scale training exercise by the Prison Service, Police, Firefighters, emergency crews, and the Homefront Command simulating in detail how these forces would handle demonstrations and protests by Arab citizens in response to the execution of plans to exchange populations and territory in the context of a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

If this is true, we demand an incontrovertible and immediate denial of this report by the most senior officials, given its extreme and outrageous nature.

If these reports are accurate – and the fact that such an exercise took place would attest as such – it would confirm that notions of transfer, also termed land swaps or population exchanges, in the context of a diplomatic process are not only elections slogans or the private fantasy of certain politicians and ministers, but a concrete possibility at the top of the agendas of the government and those behind the execution of the exercise. Indeed, it is an idea that is gaining legitimacy daily on the part of
government and public officials.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the relevance of this report to other current events. The message being transmitted to the public is extremely alarming: that an issue which is completely illegitimate – the forced revocation of the citizenship of some of the country’s Arab citizens – is perceived by the government as a reasonable and even likely possibility. It is so likely that it warrants a high degree of organization and preparedness ahead of its implementation. What’s equally appalling is that talk of revoking citizenship comes amid the recent campaign of delegitimization against Israel’s Arab citizens. This trend is manifested through a wave of anti-democratic legislation seeking to hold Arab citizens up against “loyalty tests” as a condition for realizing their rights and citizenship, among other faulty demands.

Citizenship is a basic right and every violation of it undermines the foundations of democracy. The citizenship of members of Israel’s Arab minority is not an exception. Citizenship is not a pawn in negotiations and cannot be conditionalized or revoked by force – this is also true in the context of political or diplomatic agreements or arrangements.

The approval, directly or by connotation, of a planned initiative or of implied agreement (through silence) to a plan to execute population transfers constitutes a dangerous and rapid deterioration of the very basic values of our society. As a result, we felt compelled to write to you and to demand a clear and immediate assurance that there are no plans or discussions being held within the government regarding population transfer – and that there will be none in the future.


Attorney Auni Bana
Director of the Arab Minority Unit,
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel

CC: Mr. Itzhak Aharonovitch, Minister of Public Security, Jerusalem

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Categories: Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Arab Citizens of Israel, Citizenship and Residency, Democracy and Civil Liberties, The Right to Equality

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