Israel: Homegrown accusations of apartheid

 

Israel: Homegrown accusations of apartheid

Israel is not a democracy, but an apartheid state, said Hagai El-Ad in The Guardian (U.K.). As executive director of B’Tselem, Israel’s largest human-rights group, I have come to the realization that this bitter truth can no longer be avoided, and my organization has released a report detailing the reasons why. “There is demographic parity between the two peoples living here,” but life is managed so that one half holds “the vast majority of political power, land resources, rights, freedoms, and protections.” Everything the government does works to perpetuate “the supremacy” of Jews like me over Palestinians in the occupied territories. “That is apartheid.” Of course, Israel learned from South Africa not to be too blatant about discrimination: There are no “Jews only” signs here like the “whites only” signs that dotted apartheid-era Johannesburg. Instead, our state has pursued the “patient, quiet, and gradual accumulation of discriminatory practices” to the same end. Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza is a farce when all matters of import are decided in Israel, where most Palestinians have no vote. It is time for Jews to recognize the injustice we perpetrate, “name it without flinching, and help bring about the realization of a just future.”

B’Tselem makes a strong case, said Ilana Hammerman in Haaretz (Israel). Palestinians quite obviously lack equal rights— but that’s been the case since the establishment of Israel in 1948. So why point the finger now? What has changed is the “willingness of Israeli officials” such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to enshrine Jewish supremacy in law and openly state their intentions.” Such hideous accusations are simply anti- Semitism internalized, said Amir Avivi in Israel Hayom. The Israeli state’s “core founding principle” is to be “the democratic home of the Jewish people.” It is a place where Jews can finally be safe after millennia of persecution, but it is also a land where Arab- Israelis have equal rights. Why is every other nation allowed its national identity, but when the Jews assert theirs they are accused of racism? The Palestinian territories are governed and administered by Palestinians, not Israelis, and what goes on there is separate from Israel.

It’s not news to Palestinians that they’ve been living under apartheid, said Ali Syed in Al Binaa (Lebanon). Consider how Palestinians are treated in the occupied West Bank: Jewish settlers have the “right” to use 2,400 cubic meters of water a year, Palestinians just 50. Jewish settlers may come and go at will; Palestinians are trapped. “The system of apartheid is not peace, and will not bring peace.” It’s the same situation with the coronavirus vaccine rollout, said Al Sharq (Qatar) in an editorial. Israel leads the world in inoculations. Yet Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank go without, and Israel only began giving shots to the 4,400 Palestinians in its prisons this week, after an outcry from human rights groups. If Israel still claims to be an occupying power and not an apartheid state, why is it not fulfilling the duty of such a power “to provide for the medical treatment” of the occupied?

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