Posts Tagged ‘Israeli democracy’

Even anti-Israel ardent critic R. Goldstone admits the “apartheid” slur, is a lie, a slander!

November 6, 2011

Even anti-Israel ardent critic R. Goldstone admits the “apartheid” slur, is a lie, a slander!

Richard J. Goldstone, is a former justice of the South African Constitutional Court, who led the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9. He was quick to “accuse” Israel of “war crimes” in its (2008-9) anti-Terror operation (‘Cast Lead’). But retracted it after learning the facts.[1] In 2011 (Oct.) he wrote an Op Ed in the New York Times: “Israel and the Apartheid Slander.”

The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater. So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it.

One particularly pernicious and enduring canard that is surfacing again is that Israel pursues “apartheid” policies. In Cape Town starting on Saturday, a London-based nongovernmental organization called the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will hold a “hearing” on whether Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid. It is not a “tribunal.” The “evidence” is going to be one-sided and the members of the “jury” are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known.

While “apartheid” can have broader meaning, its use is meant to evoke the situation in pre-1994 South Africa. It is an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations.

I know all too well the cruelty of South Africa’s abhorrent apartheid system, under which human beings characterized as black had no rights to vote, hold political office, use “white” toilets or beaches, marry whites, live in whites-only areas or even be there without a “pass.” Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.

In assessing the accusation that Israel pursues apartheid policies, which are by definition primarily about race or ethnicity, it is important first to distinguish between the situations in Israel, where Arabs are citizens, and in West Bank areas that remain under Israeli control in the absence of a peace agreement.

In Israel, there is no apartheid. Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: “Inhumane acts … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.” Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.

To be sure, there is more de facto separation between Jewish and Arab populations than Israelis should accept. Much of it is chosen by the communities themselves. Some results from discrimination. But it is not apartheid, which consciously enshrines separation as an ideal. In Israel, equal rights are the law, the aspiration and the ideal; inequities are often successfully challenged in court.

The situation in the West Bank is more complex. But here too there is no intent to maintain “an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.” This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there. South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races. By contrast, Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank, and is calling for the Palestinians to negotiate the parameters.

But until there is a two-state peace, or at least as long as Israel’s citizens remain under threat of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel will see roadblocks and similar measures as necessary for self-defense, even as Palestinians feel oppressed. As things stand, attacks from one side are met by counterattacks from the other. And the deep disputes, claims and counterclaims are only hardened when the offensive analogy of “apartheid” is invoked.

Those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank, or the building of what they call an “apartheid wall” and disparate treatment on West Bank roads. While such images may appear to invite a superficial comparison, it is disingenuous to use them to distort the reality. The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks; while it has inflicted great hardship in places, the Israeli Supreme Court has ordered the state in many cases to reroute it to minimize unreasonable hardship. Road restrictions get more intrusive after violent attacks and are ameliorated when the threat is reduced.

Of course, the Palestinian people have national aspirations and human rights that all must respect. But those who conflate the situations in Israel and the West Bank and liken both to the old South Africa do a disservice to all who hope for justice and peace.

Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and the West Bank cannot be simplified to a narrative of Jewish discrimination. There is hostility and suspicion on both sides. Israel, unique among democracies, has been in a state of war with many of its neighbors who refuse to accept its existence. Even some Israeli Arabs, because they are citizens of Israel, have at times come under suspicion from other Arabs as a result of that longstanding enmity.

The mutual recognition and protection of the human dignity of all people is indispensable to bringing an end to hatred and anger. The charge that Israel is an apartheid state is a false and malicious one that precludes, rather than promotes, peace and harmony. [2]

J. B. Pollack explains the context and timely importance of the Op Ed article:

Goldstone’s article anticipates the forthcoming “Russell Tribunal on Palestine,” to be held in South Africa. Named after the hearings held in the 1960s by philosopher Bertrand Russell in the United Kingdom to protest the Vietnam War, the Russell Tribunal will bring the emotive symbolism of apartheid to a make-believe judicial process whose outcome is already predetermined.
The chair of the panel, anti-war activist Terry Crawford-Browne, has already called for international boycotts of Israel. One of the star witnesses is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who conducted a reign of terror in South Africa’s black townships in the 1980s. Another is former U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney, who recently busied herself with propaganda for Muammar Gaddafi.

Despite the panel’s obvious lack of credibility, it will no doubt be touted by western leftists and third world governments as the basis for a renewed push at the United Nations to isolate Israel and promote unilateral Palestinian statehood. Goldstone’s op-ed is a timely rejoinder and the beginning of what appears to be sincere penance for the damage done by his slanderous report on the Gaza conflict of 2008-9.[3]

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No Arab land is occupied by Israel

March 8, 2009

No Arab land is occupied by Israel

Thursday, 8th January, 2009

By Ben Okiror

THE current fighting in the Gaza Strip needs clarification for people to understand its genesis. I accept that the situation is complex, and that might explain why even the US President-elect, Barack Obama has so far opted to remain silent since the war broke out.

However, I would like to bring out what seems to have been ignored and yet it is important for a balanced analysis of the conflict.

Whereas on the surface it is the terrorist group, Hamas, fighting the only Jewish nation, Israel, it is in fact a continuation of the war that Arabs have waged against the Jews since Israel was created in 1948.

The geographic area called “Palestine” was governed by the British after it took it from the Turks at the end of the First World War.

The League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations), according to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, mandated Britain to create a Jewish state in all of “Palestine” due to historical right.

Tragically, Britain did not fulfill its mandate and instead created a formerly nonexistent Arab-Palestinian state called “Transjordan” (now Jordan) on 77% of the Jewish soil in 1922.

Even when the United Nations decided on the Partition Plan on November, 29 1947, Britain voted against it and all the Arab states boycotted the vote.

Never mind that the Plan that gave the Jews only 23% of its original land was not legally binding since the UN Security Council did not ratify it.

In 1948 Britain abandoned Palestine without fulfilling its primary responsibility. Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948 but was attacked by six Arab states the next day.

Ironically, Jordan was led, armed and trained by Britain. It invaded occupied and annexed Samaria and Judea (now called the “West Bank”) as well as East Jerusalem.

On the other hand, Egypt invaded and occupied Gaza. These are the so-called “occupied territories” after Israel recaptured them in 1967.

Incidentally, for 19 years when Egypt and Jordan were in charge of those territories, nobody cared about creating a Palestinian state.

Instead Jordan destroyed 58 synagogues in East Jerusalem and desecrated 38,000 of the 50,000 ancient and modern Jewish graves in the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. They used the stones for latrines and walkways.

In 1967 when Egypt and Syria announced on national media their intention to attack Israel, Jordan joined and attacked Israel.

However, Israel defeated them all and took back Gaza and the “West Bank”, including capturing the Golan Heights from Syria from where it was shelling Israeli territory for sometime.

Due to international pressure, Israel, under prime minister Ariel Sharon, about two years ago, uprooted Jewish settlements from Gaza, from where Hamas has been firing rockets at Israel.

Last week alone it fired about 500 rockets. To those calling for peace talks, how can you talk peace with a person who does not recognise your existence and seeks to destroy you?

 

The goal of Arabs is simple: to wipe out the state of Israel from the map and create the twenty-second Arab state. If anyone doubts me, just listen to what Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, told a reporter, Arianna Palazzi in 1970:

 

“The question of borders doesn’t interest us…From the Arab standpoint, we mustn’t talk about borders. Palestine is nothing but a drop in an enormous ocean.

Our nation is the Arabic nation that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and beyond it….The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call ‘Jordan’ is nothing more than Palestine.” Need I say more?

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/667425?highlight

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