There Is Apartheid In Israel
By Shulamit Aloni
02 February, 2007
self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an extent
that we fail to see what's right in front of our eyes. It's simply inconceivable
that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out evil deeds. Nevertheless,
the state of Israel practises its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid
with the native Palestinian population.
The US Jewish Establishment's
onslaught on former President Jimmy Carter is based on him daring to
tell the truth which is known to all: through its army, the government
of Israel practises a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies.
Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in,
or blocked-in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an
eye on the population's movements and to make its life difficult. Israel
even imposes a total curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally
usurped the Palestinians' land, celebrate their holidays or conduct
If that were not enough,
the generals commanding the region frequently issue further orders,
regulations, instructions and rules (let us not forget: they are the
lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned further lands for
the purpose of constructing "Jewish only" roads. Wonderful
roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night--all that
on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his vehicle
is confiscated and he is sent on his way.
On one occasion I witnessed
such an encounter between a driver and a soldier who was taking down
the details before confiscating the vehicle and sending its owner away.
"Why?" I asked the soldier. "It's an order--this is a
Jews-only road", he replied. I inquired as to where was the sign
indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use it.
His answer was nothing short of amazing. "It is his responsibility
to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here
and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he can
show the world that Apartheid exists here?"
Indeed Apartheid does exist
here. And our army is not "the most moral army in the world"
as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient to mention that every town
and every village was turned into a detention centre and that every
entry and every exit has been closed, cutting it off from arterial traffic.
If it were not enough that Palestinians are not allowed to travel on
the roads paved 'for Jews only', on their land, the current GOC found
it necessary to land an additional blow on the natives in their own
land with an "ingenious proposal".
Humanitarian activists cannot
transport Palestinians either.
Major-General Naveh, renowned
for his superior patriotism, has issued a new order. Coming into affect
on 19 January, it prohibits the conveyance of Palestinians without a
permit. The order determines that Israelis are not allowed to transport
Palestinians in an Israeli vehicle (one registered in Israel regardless
of what kind of numberplate it carries) unless they have received explicit
permission to do so. The permit relates to both the driver and the Palestinian
passenger. Of course none of this applies to those whose labour serves
the settlers. They and their employers will naturally receive the required
permits so they can continue to serve the lords of the land, the settlers.
Did man of peace President
Carter truly err in concluding that Israel is creating Apartheid? Did
he exaggerate? Don't the US Jewish community leaders recognise the International
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
of 7 March 1966, to which Israel is a signatory? Are the US Jews who
launched the loud and abusive campaign against Carter for supposedly
maligning Israel's character and its democratic and humanist nature
unfamiliar with the International Convention on the Suppression and
Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 30 November 1973? Apartheid
is defined therein as an international crime that among other things
includes using different legal instruments to rule over different racial
groups, thus depriving people of their human rights. Isn't freedom of
travel one of these rights?
In the past, the US Jewish
community leaders were quite familiar with the meaning of those conventions.
For some reason, however, they are convinced that Israel is allowed
to contravene them. It's OK to kill civilians, women and children, old
people and parents with their children, deliberately or otherwise without
accepting any responsibility. It's permissible to rob people of their
lands, destroy their crops, and cage them up like animals in the zoo.
From now on, Israelis and International humanitarian organisations'
volunteers are prohibited from assisting a woman in labour by taking
her to the hospital. [Israeli human rights group] Yesh Din volunteers
cannot take a robbed and beaten-up Palestinian to the police station
to lodge a complaint. (Police stations are located at the heart of the
settlements.) Is there anyone who believes that this is not Apartheid?
Jimmy Carter does not need
me to defend his reputation that has been sullied by Israelophile community
officials. The trouble is that their love of Israel distorts their judgment
and blinds them from seeing what's in front of them. Israel is an occupying
power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which
is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in
peace with us. We should remember that we too used very violent terror
against foreign rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of
victims of terror is quite long and extensive.
We do limit ourselves to
denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not only rob of them
of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to
millions of people and even, in revenge-driven frenzy, destroy the electricity
supply for one and half million civilians. Let them "sit in the
darkness" and "starve".
Employees cannot be paid
their wages because Israel is holding 500 million shekels that belong
to the Palestinians. And after all that we remain "pure as the
driven snow". There are no moral blemishes on our actions. There
is no racial separation. There is no Apartheid. It's an invention of
the enemies of Israel. Hooray for our brothers and sisters in the US!
Your devotion is very much appreciated. You have truly removed a nasty
stain from us. Now there can be an extra spring in our step as we confidently
abuse the Palestinian population, using the "most moral army in
[Translated from Hebrew by
Shulamit Aloni is the former
Education Minister of Israel. She has been awarded both the Israel Prize
and the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award by the Association for Civil
Rights in Israel.
Share Your Insights