Apartheid Israel: right word, right place, right time
Some people can’t bring themselves to say or write “Israel”, putting it in quotation marks or referring to the “Zionist entity”: an understandable wish, to deny legitimacy to the ethnic cleansing and land thefts since 1948. But those actions surely should be placed at the door of the State of Israel.
The press commonly refer to it as “Israel proper”, to distinguish it from its highly improper holdings across the Green Line, though that does imply a thumbs-up for Israel’s own “domestic” practices.
On this site we have sometimes called it “mainland Israel”, graphically suggesting the settlement archipelago with its hundreds of hilltop islands and causeway roads, floating above and lording it over the West Bank.
Israel itself, which is very particular about words and names, has persuaded the Big Powers that the 1967 conquests are not “occupied” but “disputed”.
And what do we call the whole land? Historic Palestine? The land between the River and the Sea? Certainly not Greater Israel surely, the concept that started, shockingly, with the far right and the religious zealots, but is now commonplace, especially among the country’s brainwashed youth.
And this, too, is now the reality, as many advocates of a single state are saying: Israel has created One State of Greater Israel. If it’s no longer a matter of two states for two peoples (a problematic concept in itself), what we clearly have is one state for two peoples: one with rights, the other without rights. And the only thing we can call that is apartheid.
Today, critics commonly say that if a sovereign state in Gaza and the pre-1967 West Bank is not agreed, then the enclaves of the Ramallah puppet regime would become no more than Bantustans — named after the apartheid enclaves that white South Africa created to fence in its unwanted black population.
But behind the “Peace Process” smokescreen, the Palestinian Authority zones are already Bantustans within a fully fledged apartheid system.
This has been amply demonstrated in a major study by the Human Sciences Research Centre of South Africa. They weighed up Israel’s practices against international law, Israel’s law, legal rulings, and Israel’s legal argumentation, and compared it with South Africa’s apartheid regime.
While including “Israel proper” in its general remit, the detailed legal study and conclusions relate to the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza strip.
The major pillars of an apartheid regime are
1. to privilege one racial group over another,
2. to segregate according to ethnicity, and
3. to suppress any opposition.
On these criteria the study found that “Israel, since 1967, is the belligerent Occupying Power in occupied Palestinian territory, and that its occupation of these territories has become a colonial enterprise which implements a system of apartheid.” Additionally “The study did contain much evidence of similar practices within the state of Israel”.
Most significant, the study reminds us that characterising Israel as an apartheid regime has legal implications and is not just a rhetorical insult. Findings of apartheid, a crime against humanity, can give rise to individual criminal responsibility.
The State of Israel has the duty to: cease its unlawful activity; dismantle the structures of colonialism and apartheid; promote full rights and expression of the Palestinian people; and pay reparations and damages to the Palestinian people.
Third party states are obligated to: not recognise the illegal situation as lawful; not render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation; cooperate to bring the illegal situation to an end; and not become complicit in the crimes by failing to fulfill the first three obligations.
Individuals and groups taking action such as protests and boycotts do so with the support of international law.
See Documents for the full text of a Summary of this study written by Frances ReMillard for ICAHD-USA, containing damning facts and figures covering every aspect of life under Israel’s occupation and a selection of some of the 2,500 extraordinary Military Orders governing Palestinians.
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