Haaretz Commentator Gideon Levy Arrested for ‘Spitting’ at Israeli Soldiers”
Israeli police on Monday arrested Gideon Levy, the well-known columnist for the left-wing Haaretz newspaper, for allegedly spitting at and cursing Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarm, Israel Radio said.
Gideon Levy, who is strongly pro-Palestinian and infamous for his scathing attacks on the IDF and the Israeli right, was attempting to enter Palestinian Authority area A, without a permit, along with photographer Alex Levac.
The two “confronted [the soldiers], causing a provocation and spitting and cursing at them,” according to The Jerusalem Post. Haaretz later reported that Levy and Levac had been released following questioning.
Earlier in the day, soldiers caught a Palestinian man in an attempted stabbing attack at the checkpoint.
Israeli Jews, with limited exceptions, including journalists, are generally forbidden from entering areas under full Palestinian security and civil control, due to fears for their safety.
Area B is under Palestinian civil control, and area C is where the large majority of Israeli towns and villages are located. Area C is under full Israeli control, although PA civilians also live and work there, in some cases, alongside Israeli residents.
On Dec. 16th, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein threw out an incitement complaint against Levy, after he slammed IAF pilots for striking Palestinian terror targets during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza this summer.
In July, the left-of-center Ometz Lesarev movement turned to Weinstein to check if Levy could be prosecuted for incitement to refuse military orders for an article he wrote entitled “Lowest deeds from loftiest heights,” in which he claimed, “Israel’s ‘heroic’ pilots push buttons and joysticks, battling the weakest and most helpless of people.”
The column, which outraged even hardened leftists, came as Hamas and other terror groups fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
Weinstein, in his response to the group, said, essentially, that a freedom of speech issue was at stake, and not one of incitement.