Israeli security shifts focus from armed Palestinian resistance to suppressing nonviolent activists

As reported in AlterNet, there has been a shift in Israel’s security priorities: from targeting the armed Palestinian resistance to primarily focusing on Palestinian and Israeli activists involved in popular protest and building international pressure abroad. Apparently, the intent of Israel’s General Security Services is now to “thwart the subversive activity of entities seeking to harm the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, even if their activity is conducted through democratic means,” according to Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet (Sherut haBitachon haKlali, שירות הביטחון הכללי‎, شاباك‎, the Israel Security Agency, or ISA). This past December, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said that Israel would “use all the resources at its disposal” to “delegitimize the delegitimizers” in a statement directed at Palestinian and Israeli activists bringing international attention to Israeli abuses of Palestinians, particularly the growing international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

As Israel’s security establishment has shifted its main Palestinian target, it has also broadened its scope to include Jewish-Israeli citizens calling for international sanctions in support of Palestinian popular struggles. In a context where the Israeli parliament is launching an investigation into Israeli human rights organizations and tabling legislation to make BDS activities illegal, Israeli pro-boycott activists are catching the ire of the Shin Bet….

From targeting Palestinian protest leaders and barring activists from leaving the country to intimidating its own citizens, it appears that the absence of a significant armed threat has only resulted in the Israeli government expanding the net of delegitimization over its opposition. Israel’s security forces now appear focused on stopping those illuminating its denial of Palestinian rights, while the series of pending laws and government probes demonstrate that the prevailing Israeli concern is of a global discussion about being held accountable for its treatment of Palestinians.