By Terry-Crawford Browne
(source: Cape Times Letters – 13/01/2011)
The letter below written by Terry Crawford-Browne, was published in the Cape Times, 13 January, 2011. It provides factual and clear first hand evidence of his experiences whilst monitoring the check points between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Prior to leaving on his maiden journey to Palestine Crawford said “ I’m going to come home and talk about the experience. Churches have tended to be silenced on this issue because of the holocaust era. The Israeli lobby has been clever in maximising the Christian sense of guilt about its involvement in the holocaust,” . He further stated that “The Israeli lobby in South Africa has always been very strong, so people are weary to stick their heads out.”
I have just returned to Cape Town after three months of monitoring the checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and the villages of the Bethlehem area. My colleagues and I were at the checkpoint four days a week from 4am until 7.30am to collect data for the World Council of Churches and the UN, and to provide a calming international presence when tension flared. We formed part of a team of 27 people from 12 countries.
The “apartheid wall” runs 750km – the distance from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. In Bethlehem it is 12m high. In rural areas, where it is a “fence”, it is even more economically devastating because it cuts a swathe of 100m, and prevents farmers from tending their fields. The rationale always is “security”. This is utter rubbish, as monitoring the checkpoints soon confirms. The “apartheid wall” is there to strangle the Palestinians economically so that they emigrate and, secondly, to foment fear among Israelis to support right-wing militarisation. The “apartheid wall” is about land and water theft, and it is totally illegal in terms of international law, including the Geneva Conventions.
After 62 years of military occupation of Palestine, every aspect of Israeli society is corrupted – political, legal, economic, religious, social. Israel is a military dictatorship masquerading as a democracy, where everything is trumped by “national security”.
The “rule of law” is a farce. There is massive war profiteering by Israeli and international corporations. The West Bank and Gaza are bantustans, even less economically viable than the bantustans of apartheid South Africa. The Holocaust was a crime against humanity. Sadly, the Zionist descendants of its victims have become the perpetrators of another crime against humanity in Palestine.
The good news is that the apartheid “two-state solution” is fast collapsing, and a bi-national state will emerge in which Palestinians will form the majority.
Even ardent Zionists within Israel now recognise that “Israel as a Jewish state” has no future.