ACRI angry over alleged prison service ‘transfer’ scenario

Head of the department of Arab minority rights blasts authorities for reportedly including the scenario of land, population transfer involving Israeli Arabs.

West bank attack 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
West bank attack 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Auni Bana, head of the department of Arab minority rights at The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, wrote an angry letter to the prime minister on Tuesday, blasting government authorities for reportedly including the scenario of a land and population transfer involving Israeli Arabs in a recent Israel Prison Service exercise.
The report of the exercise was broadcast by state radio military correspondent Carmela Menashe on October 8.
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“If the report is untrue,” Auni wrote Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, “it should be urgently and unequivocally denied by the most senior echelons because of its extreme gravity.
‘If it is true, the holding of the exercise is proof that the idea of the ‘transfer,’ which is called by different names such as ‘population exchange’ or ‘land exchange,’ are not just election slogans or the private fantasies of some ministers and politicians, but in fact a topic for consideration by the government and by those responsible for the decision to hold an exercise based on this scenario, one which is gaining increasing support from various government and public elements.”
Menashe reported last week that “the security forces completed a large-scale military exercise simulating coping with Hamas attacks and riots by the Israeli Arabs following the signing of a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
“Our correspondent reports that among other [eventualities], the forces practiced radical scenarios of violent demonstrations in the Arab sector following an agreement to exchange populations with the Palestinian Authority.”
Bana added that the exercise “cannot be detached from the present context. The message that the public is getting is extreme in its gravity. That a subject which is unacceptable in its very substance, of forcibly withdrawing the citizenship of part of Israel’s Arab population, appears in the eyes of the government to be reasonable and possible to such an extent that there must be a special preparedness for when the scenario is actually implemented.”
In his response to the letter, the IPS spokesman said, “There was no actual drilling of a scenario for the evacuation of any population group. The exercise, ‘Crosswise,’ dealt, as it does each year, with scenarios such as rockets falling on two prisons, a prisoner escape, riots in prison, an attack on a facility from the outside, absorbing a large number of detainees from the police or the army, dealing with incidents in which members of the IPS are taken hostage and more.”