Amira Hass explains in Haaretz how Mustafa Barghouti, a physician and Palestinian advocate of non-violence, has been refused entry to Jerusalem numerous times by the Shin Bet for alleged links to terrorists. How so, you ask? First you have to start with the notion that a great deal of what the Shin Bet does has no real security component at all. Instead, a great deal of what the Shin Bet does has a POLITICAL component that masquerades as security-related. Such is the case with Barghouti, who advocates the restoration of the Palestinian national unity government between Hamas and Fatah. For this, the Shin Bet calls him a terrorist. I kid you not:
The Shin Bet security service has told Haaretz…that “Mustafa Barghouti is forbidden to enter Israel, and this is because of, among other things, his connections with terror activists and activity on behalf of a terror organization…
So merely advocating a national unity government constitutes “activity on behalf of a terror organization.” I’ve got news for the Shin Bet. Brad Burston, another Haaretz columnist recently advocated Israeli talks with Hamas. That’s also activity on behalf of a terror organization. Why don’t they pick up him? Of course, the Shin Bet doesn’t want to make a habit of arresting Israeli journalists. It might not look too good. But seriously, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Hass talks further about the political inconvenience represented by Barghouti to the Israeli political echelon:
The travel permits are a way to tell Palestinian public figures exactly whom the Israeli patron wants to honor. Whose politics is tolerated, whose is legitimate and whose is intolerable…The messages that are linked with his name are clear, resonant and popular: Hamas and Fatah have to get down off their high horses, rectify the serious mistakes they have made in recent months, and get back on the path of unity to fight the occupation. Popular struggle – along the separation fence, against the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and against the apartheid roads – is the most effective means, which involves the entire society…And this is what makes Barghouti a thorn in the side of the Shin Bet.
Instead of beating him and fracturing his kneecap as they did in 2002, the Shin Bet should be grateful he’s adopted the path of Martin Luther King instead of Islamic Jihad. But the Shin Bet is too thick-headed to recognize any of this.