Friday, June 30

Apartheid-like Rule of Palestinians under Occupation?

Map showing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in re...
Map showing the West Bank and Gaza Strip in relation to central Israel (situation of 2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel is not an apartheid state within the Green-Line. This cannot be stated in areas occupied by Israel after the June Six Day War of 1967. The whole issue of Israel slipping into an apartheid-like regime resembling apartheid South Africa from 1948 until 1994 is, unfortunately, becoming a reality despite the many denials of Danny Danon, Israel’s representative at the UN. We have not reached there yet but with the repressive laws including laws legalizing takeover of Palestinian lands for illegal Jewish settlement and the attempted interference of Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked, with Israel’s Courts of Law, and Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, trying to muzzle cultural activities that are not in accordance with her party agenda we unfortunately are moving in that direction.

The guidelines conformity with the EU's longstanding position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and with the non-recognition by the EU of Israel's sovereignty over the occupied territories, irrespective of their legal status under domestic Israeli law.1

Official Israeli and Palestinian population statistics indicate that Jews have been a minority in the territory Israel controls for several years now, and with no repercussions: A majority of the world's nations still speak of undemocratic rule by a Jewish minority as a hypothetical future, not an unacceptable present.2

We must not forget that Israel is faced with a very severe security problem that threatens her citizens, the source of which originates in the occupied territories. Israel is also faced with a Palestinian leadership, especially Hamas, which refuses to negotiate any form of peace treaty or agreement with Israel. It is also doubtful whether President Mahmoud Abbas has a mandate from his people to negotiate with Israel let alone sign a peace agreement with Israel. He has been ruling for over 10 years and there have been no elections. The maintenance of human rights for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation and the security risks that Israel has faced since the occupation of June 1967 is a tremendous challenge facing Israel. Some 5.6 million Palestinians now live in this area, which is divided between the State of Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza; these latter areas were captured and occupied by Israel in 1967.3

We must also bear in mind that the Palestinians and the Arab States, even prior to June 1967 with Egypt at the helm were never prepared to recognize Israel’s right to exist and were determined to destroy Israel. Israel fought a war of survival and occupied territories in the process. There were no “occupied territories “prior to the June 1967 war. The severe threat to Israel’s existence then was the reason for the war. On the other hand, Israel’s biggest mistake was the colonisation of territory captured in the June 1967 war rather than declaring it a closed military zone and using it as a bargaining chip for peace negotiations that would result in a settlement ending the conflict. The ramification of the occupation as we all know is the rule of Israel over the Palestinians.  

“Israel maintains a regime of apartheid over Palestinians” — UN report. It identified the four sets of Palestinians as Palestinian citizens of Israel; Palestinians in East Jerusalem; Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; and Palestinians living as refugees or in exile.4

Report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) 2017.Palestine and the Israeli Occupation, Issue №1
“The report concludes that the weight of the evidence supports beyond a reasonable doubt the proposition that Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people, which amounts to the commission of a crime against humanity, the prohibition of which is considered jus cogens in international customary law.”

The mantra that all Israeli Governments had and still do have to this day is the fear that granting human rights to the Palestinians under occupation will compromise Israel’s security. There is a strong belief in Israel that if the Palestinians are granted human rights in the territories under occupation, they (the Palestinians) will view this as Israel’s weakness and they will increase their terror activities against Israel.

The right wing Israeli Government Coalition maintains its power by playing on the fears of the Israeli Electorate. They view the left wing opposition to the occupation as traitors and NGOs such as B’tzelem and Breaking the Silence as a plague on Israel. They do all in their power to prevent overseas donors from donating money to these organizations that safeguard Palestinian human rights.

On the other hand, right-wing organizations receive money from overseas supporters unhindered. The biggest challenge that Israel faces today vis a vis the Palestinians under occupation is a balance between Israel’s security and basic human rights that the Palestinians are entitled. The present government is doing everything in its power to prevent any meaningful negotiations on a two-state solution. The extreme right wing flank - Habayit Yehudi of Naftali Bennett opposes the Two State Solution and has threatened to leave the coalition if any negotiations begin to initiate the Two State Solution.

The other options are a bi-national state which will be dominated by Israel and the Palestinians will remain in a quasi-apartheid situation inferior to Israelis and be forced to live in separate enclaves within the Jewish State. Needless to say, they will remain without basic human rights and a disenfranchised group subjected to abuse and exploitation. This will be far from the dreams of Israel’s founding fathers. The settlers that have occupied Palestinian lands will remain on these lands forever.

The situation on the ground is such that the increase in settlement activity encroaching further on Palestinian-owned land by right-wing religious Zionist Jews is making the two-state solution less and less a viable option.

A  list of obstacles Palestinians face as a result of the occupation is not exhaustive — there are a number of other human rights concerns and restrictions imposed on non-Israelis in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.5

EU grants, funding, prizes or scholarships will only be granted if a settlement exclusion clause is included, forcing the Israeli government to concede in writing that settlements in the occupied territories are outside the state of Israel to secure agreements with the EU.6

According to Benjamin Pogrund, a South African journalist, who had suffered under the apartheid government for opposing it, is the right person qualified to state that

What remains is for both sides to the conflict is to get their act right and move towards a Two-State Solution based on dual respect for both sides with a desire to end this tragic conflict. Ending the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and achieving a negotiated two-state outcome, is the only way to lay the foundations for enduring peace, the UN secretary-general stressed.7

Israel must refrain from building settlements and proclaim a total freeze on this illegal activity as starters. The Palestinian leadership must cease their hateful rhetoric and demands for Israel's total destruction and be willing to sit down and negotiate an end to this conflict. Trust-building measures on both sides must be initiated on both sides with the mediation of a neutral third party. Only in this way can a solution be found and a just end to the occupation.

The above YouTube clip is true within the Green line.Unfortunately, in the occupied territories, this is not the case.  However, in the occupied areas conquered during the Six-Day War, the Palestinians do not have the freedom to move around and are subject to human rights abuses. As mentioned in this article, the security situation that has to come to terms with Palestinian terrorist groups harming and killing innocent civilians by stabbings, suicide bombings and car rammings, has created a situation that resembles apartheid in the territories. The right-wing Jewish extremists, such as the "Hilltop Youth" and the messianic, religious Zionist settlers are not blameless for this situation either and the police hardly make any arrests of those responsible for violence against Palestinians.

  1. Accessed 26 Jun. 2017.
  2.  2 Jun. 2017, Accessed 24 Jun. 2017.
  3. Accessed 24 Jun. 2017
  4. 16 Mar. 2017, Accessed 26 Jun. 2017.
  5. 29 Dec. 2016, Accessed 24 Jun. 2017.
  6. Accessed 24 Jun. 2017.
  7. 5 Jun. 2017, Accessed 26 Jun. 2017.
Also, see:

  1. Israel and the apartheid analogy
  2. Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign 

The above two links are not necessarily the writer's opinion. I have inserted them for the reader to draw his own conclusions.

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