Israel, an Apartheid state
By Dr Firoz Osman
There has been a concerted attempt by Zionist apologists of Israel to counter convincing arguments of Israeli racism is a vain attempt to befuddle and obscure the root cause of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict – the colonial occupation of Palestinian land.
Their insipid and convoluted rebuttals in disputing facts about Israel’s apartheid character and blissfully hopes that Israel cannot be blamed for the massacre of civilians in Gaza. They raise decrepit, tattered and discarded assertions long debunked by Zionist propagandists.
Inherent in any colonial project is the element of discrimination against the indigenous population, and the Zionist occupation of Palestine is no different. Apartheid is an aggravated case of racial discrimination, which is constituted according to the International Convention for the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid by ‘inhuman acts committed for the purposes of establishing and maintaining domination of one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them’.
The late Professor Israel Shahak, a Jew and Chairperson of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights has been explicit about Israel’s and Zionism’s racism. He said:
"It is my considered opinion that the State of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of the term. In this state people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried out today mainly in co-operation with the institutions of the Zionist Movement."
Israel is singled out for opprobrium because it remains as the last outpost of apartheid in the world. The Israeli academic and author Dr Uri Davis explained the difference between racism and racial discrimination versus apartheid in his book "Israel, an Apartheid State".
‘The term "racial discrimination" is defined in Article 1(1) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination of 1966 (any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.)
Apartheid, however, is not racism. Apartheid is an exceptional form of racial discrimination predicated upon the enforcement of racism in law through Acts of Parliament. Israel is precisely such a state- a state that legislates racism through Acts of Parliament and enforces racialist behaviour upon its citizens by exercising the might of the law.
In apartheid South Africa the apartheid divide was between people classified as ‘whites’ versus people classified as ‘non-whites’. In apartheid Israel the apartheid divide is between people classified as ‘Jews’ versus people classified as ‘non-Jews’- the Palestinian Arab Christian and Muslim people." Many prominent South African stalwarts who fought against, and were victims of Apartheid, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Minister of Education Blade Nzimande, and of course Ronnie Kasrils, attest to the fact of Israel being an Apartheid state.
However, an over-emphasis on minute similarities and differences confines the use of the term Apartheid to narrow limits. Thus, UN General Assembly resolution 3068 (1973) and the Rome Statute of the ICC (2002) attests to the universality of the crime. No matter how much perfume Saks pours on the fetid, foul-smelling racist Israeli laws, the putrid stench of its evil will never be masked. The practice of Apartheid is an international crime.
They compare Israel’s desire to be a “Jewish state” since Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania and Saudi Arabia declare themselves to be ‘Islamic states”. Since neither Egypt nor Kuwait claim to be “Islamic”, and because Saudi Arabia’s western-backed monarchy violates basic tenets of Islam, these states are no more than Muslim majority nation-states. A far cry from "Islamic"!
More importantly though, in the appropriate context of Israeli claims to legitimacy,none of these countries were established on lands originally inhabited by other people. In the case of Israel, it has systematically and illegally expelled the indigenous population to make room for Jewish immigrants from other parts of the world, including South Africa, to establish the Jewish state.
These people who came to Palestine had no link or relation to the land. And as argued by Kasrils, with Israel declaring itself a Jewish state and allowing only Jewish people from all over the world to come and become citizens while the indigenous Palestinians are denied these rights is discriminatory.
In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jews are not forced to leave the country, nor are they prohibited from owning land in Iran. There are Jewish members of Parliament in Iran’s Majlis who represent the interests of the Jewish community. These 25000 strong Jews have flatly spurned all cash and other incentives to immigrate to Israel.
In fact, President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad gave a government grant to build a synagogue for the Jewish community in Tehran. Now compare this act to the Israeli actions of tearing and down and converting (Judaizing) Muslim and Christian institutions in Jerusalem, and prohibiting Muslims from worshipping in the Al-Aqsa mosque.
With regard to the Gaza invasion, the devastating report by Israeli reservists from Breaking the Silence indisputably confirms that Israel committed war crimes, demolishing the Zionist’ despicable defense of the Israeli occupation force.
Twenty-six Israeli combat soldiers acknowledged that they forced Palestinian civilians to serve as human shields, needlessly killed unarmed Gazans and improperly used white phosphorus shells to burn down buildings as part of Israel’s three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip. This reaffirms many other damning reports of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity by many independent Human Rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)and Palestine Medical Relief Society (PMRS).
Professor Shabbir Wadee, head of the forensic pathology at University of Stellenbosch and Western Cape, was part of an international, independent fact-finding mission invited by PHR-I to investigate violations of human rights following Israel’s invasion of Gaza.
The report validates all the claims made by Breaking the Silence- the maiming and killing of civilians; the use of disc and dime bombs and white phosphorus on civilians; the attacks on clinics, and hospitals and ambulances and their personnel, all in violation of the Geneva and International Human Rights Conventions.
The ‘collective punishment’ of the Palestinians in Gaza is an intensification of the long drawn-out war crime that began with their expulsion in 1948 known as the Nakba (Catastrophe). Never before has the international community collaborated with a country (Israel) that has violated International Law with impunity, to impose sanctions on an occupied people.
Israel’s savage and barbaric attack on Gaza, resulting in the killing of almost a thousand civilians and a casualty rate of 100 to 1, was a desperate attempt to eradicate all the resistance from this resilient people and to subdue them once and for all.
Every single Qassam rocket fired from the occupied territory is a stark reminder to the Zionists that the Palestinians exist, and that by itself is a victory. Israel’s attempt to wipe out Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah has failed, and short off annihilating all Palestinians, the Zionist project is dead.
It was pointed out in a research paper edited by Professor Virginia Tilley of HSRC entitled Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?, that " Faced with a violation of the prohibitions of colonialism and apartheid, all States have three duties: to cooperate to end this violation; not to recognise the illegal situation arising from it; and not to render aid or assistance to the State committing it." Hence the increasingly desperate and hysterical fulminations by Zionist apologists to repudiate Israel as an Apartheid state.
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