November 4, 2013
Israel exceeds the worst of apartheid South Africa. Ninety-year-old Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) founder, Uri Avnery, has many commendable attributes. Recognizing apartheid reality isn't one of them. More on that below.
He supports peace between Israel and all Arab countries. He calls Gush Shalom "resolute," "militant," "radical," and "consistent." He wants Israeli occupation ended.
He endorses Palestinian self-determination inside pre-1967 Green Line borders. It represents 22% of historic Palestine. He's for minor territorial exchanges based on mutual consent.
He wants Jerusalem established as the East and West capitals of two states. He opposes the inviolable right of all diaspora Palestinians to return. He wants annual quotas.
Establishing them violates international law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13 states:
"(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."
UN Resolution 181 called for an Independent Arab state by October 1, 1948. It said:
"(A)ll governments and peoples (were) to refrain from taking any action" to delay it.
The Security Council was asked to take all "necessary measures" to implement it.
Resolution 242 called for an end to Israel's Six Day War and withdrawal of its armed forces from occupied territories.
Resolution 298 called territory acquired by military conquest inadmissible.
According to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, apartheid reflects unconscionable acts "committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over (another) or groups, and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime."
Israel's Law of Return applies only to Jews. It violates international law.
Palestine belongs to Palestinians. They're willing to settle for 22% of their historic land. They're entitled to it all. Perhaps Avnery never read international law. It's inviolable.
He doesn't understand apartheid. On October 26, he headlined
"Taking Apartheid Apart."
"Is Israel an apartheid state," he asked? It's that and much more. It's an international crime. It's far worse than what South African Blacks endured.
According to Avnery, "apartheid is often used purely for propaganda purposes." It's "rhetorical(ly) use(d) to denigrate one's opponents."
South Africa was based on "racial superiority," he said. True enough. "Racism was its official creed." Zionism isn't racist, he claims. It "mix(es) nationalism and religion."
Zionists claim anti-Semites are racist, he said. "On the whole, (Arabs) inside Israel (are) much like many national minorities in Europe or elsewhere."
"They enjoy equality under the law, vote for parliament, are represented by very lively parties of their own, but in practice suffer discrimination in many areas. To call this apartheid would be grossly misleading."
At age 90, perhaps Avnery is senile. His account of Arab life in Israel is polar opposite reality. Annual Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) reports assess conditions accurately.
Police state harshness targets Israeli Arabs. Their fundamental human and civil rights are denied. Tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens perhaps fare worst.
They're systematically dispossessed. Their homes are demolished. Theyĺre ethnically cleansed from their own land.
Those remaining are denied schools, healthcare, running water, electricity, paved road, postal service, and other vital services.
Fundamental rights of other Israeli Arabs don't matter. Inflicting harshness is longstanding Israeli policy.
In Occupied Palestine, Israeli apartheid way exceeds South African cruel and inhumane punishment. Independent observers of both systems say so.
It includes murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, arbitrary arrests, illegal imprisonments, denial of the right to life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive acts imposed by Jews on Arabs.
Former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, John Dugard, said:
"Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories). At the same time, elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law."
Current UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine, Richard Falk, said "Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid in relation to the Palestine people should be taken with the utmost seriousness by all those who affirm human solidarity and care about making visible the long ordeal of a suffering and vulnerable people."
Karine MacAllister wrote about the crime of apartheid, saying:
It "involves or necessitates the denial of the other; of their presence, rights and existence on the land and reconstruction of the past, namely that the land was empty before the advent of Zionist settlement, hence the movement's slogan describing 'a land without people for a people without land.' "
Zionism's essence is "a sophisticated legal, social, economic and political regime of racial discrimination that has led to colonialism and apartheid as well as the dispossession and displacement of the Palestinian people."
Israeli apartheid separates indigenous Palestinians from their land and heritage. Doing so is lawless. According to Fourth Geneva's Article 49:
"Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of the motive."
Nor shall "(t)he Occupying Power...deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
The Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention) defines it as:
"similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa (for) the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."
Apartheid is racism's worst form. Israeli apartheid is worst of all. It mirrors what Nazi Germany did to Jews.
Avnery denies reality. South African apartheid pass laws segregated blacks from whites.
Their movements were restricted. Carrying pass books at all times was required. They had to show them on demand or face arrest.
South Africa's law evolved from the 18th and 19th centuries. Entry into cities was restricted. Blacks were forcibly relocated.
Most were denied public amenities and many forms of employment. Pass books became apartheid's most hated symbol.
Israel's military occupation is far worse than South African repression. It's a sophisticated form social, economic, political and racial discrimination.
It combines suffocating strangulation and slow-motion genocide. It incorporates and worst elements of colonialism and apartheid.
It includes repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism. It separates Palestinians from their land, heritage and culture.
It denies them fundamental human and civil rights. It treats them like subhumans. It wants their resistance crushed. Ideally it wants them eliminated altogether.
It does so through violence, intimidation, land theft, home demolitions, targeted assassinations, murder, mass arrests, torture, destruction of agricultural land and isolation.
Israel's ID/permit system mirrors South African pass books. It requires all permanent residents and citizens over 16 to have color-coded ID cards. They're called te'udat zehut.
They're for West Bank and Gazan Palestinians, East Jerusalem ones, Israeli Arab citizens, and Jews solely to distinguish them from persecuted Arabs.
Palestinians are denied fundamental rights. They're constricted on where they may live, work, move, or be allowed through West Bank checkpoints. Less restrictive permits are extremely hard to get.
Jews may come and go freely. Palestinians are treated worse than undesirable aliens.
ID cards and permits are part of Israel's Kafkaesque matrix of control. Jews only communities, commercial and other areas exclude Arabs. Bypass roads are for them alone. Checkpoints, roadblocks, barriers, and other impediments control movements.
So do border crossings. Curfews are regularly imposed. Israel's Separation Wall is stealing 12% of post-1967 Palestine.
It has nothing to do with security. It further ghettoizes Palestinian communities. It isolates them.
Gazans are besieged. Travel to and from the West Bank is nearly impossible. Rarely granted special permission is required to do so.
For most Palestinians, leaving or entering Israel freely is virtually impossible. So are ordinary activities most people take for granted.
About 2,500 military laws govern things. They cover virtually every aspect of daily life.
Permits are required to build, make home renovations, grow crops, open a factory or business, import equipment, export merchandise or crops, or conduct many other day-to-day activities. Freedom is a four-letter word. It's nonexistent.
Bureaucratic harshness imposes enormous burdens. Palestinians are virtual prisoners on their own land. Comparing Israeli apartheid to South Africa's is simple.
It's far worse than what Blacks endured. It's over 46 years old and counting. It shows no signs of ending.
Its worse than ever now. Institutionalized racism defines it. So does state terror ruthlessness.
Life under South African apartheid reflected cruel and unusual punishment. Israel upped the stakes to an unprecedented level.
It's unrelenting. It's unforgiving. It reflects longstanding ruthlessness writ large. Police states operate that way. Israel is one of the world's worst.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."