Israeli Apartheid and the “demographic problem”

Israeli Apartheid

The Israeli government deny that the way they treat Palestinians in the occupied territories – and even sometimes ‘Israeli Arabs’ (Palestinian and Bedouin citizens of Israel) – is similar to the way black and ‘coloured’ people were treated under South African Apartheid. This denial is not least because UN resolutions have declared Apartheid systems contrary to international law.

However both black and white South Africans who lived under Apartheid and who have visited Israel and the occupied territories say they see Apartheid happening all over again.

For instance Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote in 2002 that “I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. (1)

South African Professor of Law John Dugard is an expert on the past Apartheid system in his country. He was also the the UN Special Rapporteur on Israel and the occupied territories. His report to the UN in 2007 found that Israeli laws and government and military actions towards Palestinians in the Occupied territories violated both the 1966 Convention against Racial Discrimination and the 1973 Convention against Apartheid (2), (3). He wrote :

" Israelis are entitled to enter the closed zone between the Wall and the Green Line without permits while Palestinians require permits to enter the closed zone; house demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are carried out in a manner that discriminates against Palestinians; throughout the West Bank, and particularly in Hebron, settlers are given preferential treatment over Palestinians in respect of movement (major roads are reserved exclusively for settlers), building rights and army protection; and the laws governing family reunification unashamedly discriminate against Palestinians. It is less certain that the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid is violated. The IDF inflicts serious bodily and mental harm on Palestinians, both in Gaza and the West Bank ; over 700 Palestinians are held without trial (; prisoners are subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment ; and Palestinians throughout the OPT are denied freedom of movement . Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? " (4)

The use of Palestinians as cheap labour and the offer of token ‘autonomy’ in their own islands of ‘autonomous’ territory are also similarities to South African Apartheid (see ‘The Oslo Charade’ ) as is the killing of Palestinian civilians by police and military units on governmental orders (see ‘See section titled "Not terrorists versus democrats" )

The “demographic problem”

Israeli governments, some academics and much of the Israeli media refer to Palestinians and Israeli Arabs as “the demographic problem” (a term also used by Hitler and German officials in world war two in reference to the Slav populations of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union) (5). They believe that for Jews to be safe Israel must be a Jewish state meaning that Judaism is the official religion and that a “large and stable majority” of its population (to quote Prime Minister Ehud Olmert) should be Jewish. There are several methods used to achieve this. First marriages of Jews to non-Jews are not legal in Israel (much as white to non-white marriages were illegal in Apartheid South Africa). Second Israeli Jews are given high child benefit payments for having children which are denied to Israeli Arabs. Third any Jew from anywhere in the world has “the right of return” to the Biblical “homeland” of Israel – a right denied to Palestinians who fled the massacres carried out by Israeli militias and then the Israeli military in one war after another (deceased Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was involved in several of these). (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11)

( Israeli governments also deny the right of asylum to any non-Jewish asylum seeker. Arab refugees fleeing the genocide and famine in Darfur are being sent back with Olmert’s government claiming they are “economic migrants”. (12) )

Another method is to exaggerate the (real but small scale) threat of anti-semitic violence in other countries in order to get more Jewish immigrants . In fact since 9-11 there have been far more murders of and violent attacks on Arabs and Muslims in Europe and North America than on Jews.) , (13)

The additional “problem” from these Zionists’ point of view is that Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have a higher birth rate than Jews. Israeli historian Benny Morris has called the Palestinian and Israel Arab population a demographic "time bomb" (14).

There is a range of views on how to solve this aspect of the “demographic problem”. Some Zionists want to just make life so hard for Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs that they leave the country. Then there are those (in the middle ground) who want them forcibly “transferred” (i.e expelled as refugees) from Israel and possibly all the areas it has settled. “Jordan is Palestine” is their slogan. Then there are those like Israeli government adviser Arnon Soffer who think that the only solution is to “kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.” to keep Arabs’ numbers down within Israel and the occupied territories (15), (16). This is against both Israeli and international law but from evidence provided by Israeli soldiers and human rights groups its one that has been and is practised by the Israeli military.


copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007

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Sources and Footnotes

(1) = Guardian 29 Apr 2002 , ‘Apartheid in the Holy Land ’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,706911,00.html

(2) = BBC News Online 23 Feb 2007 , ‘UN envoy hits Israel 'apartheid'’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6390755.stm

(3) = UN Human Rights Council 29 Jan 2007 ; Fourth session Item 2 of the provisional agenda ; IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251 OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL” ; Advance Edited Version ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard’, http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/4session/A.HRC.4.17.pdf

(4) = UN Human Rights Council 29 Jan 2007 ; Fourth session Item 2 of the provisional agenda ; IMPLEMENTATION OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 60/251 OF 15 MARCH 2006 ENTITLED “HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL” ; Advance Edited Version ‘Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard’, Section VII, page 19 , paragraphs 49 - 50 , http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/4session/A.HRC.4.17.pdf

(5) = Finkelstein, Norman G. (2003) 'Image and Reality of the Palestinian Conflict' (2nd Edition), Verso, London and New York, 2003 , chapter 7 "The Apartheid Option" (pages 172-184)

copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007

(6) = Independent 10 Mar 2006 , ‘ Olmert to redraw Israel's borders 'within four years'’, http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article350368.ece

(7) = USA Today 9 Mar 2006 , ‘Israeli PM: Jewish state to set borders’, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-03-09-israel_x.htm

(8) = Observer 16 Jun 2002 ‘Israel fears invasion of immigrants’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2152320,00.html

(9) = Cook, Jonathan (2006) ‘Blood and Religion – The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State’ , Pluto Press, London, 2006 , page 113-115

(10) = Morris, Benny(1999) ‘Righteous Victims – A History of the Arab Israeli Conflict’ , John Murray, London , 2000 (hardback) pages 197-198,256-258

(11) = Shlaim, Avi(2000) ‘The Iron Wall – Israel and the Arab World’ , Penguin, London , 2000 (paperback) page 31

(12) = Guardian 20 Aug 2007 , ‘Israel vows entry ban on Darfur refugees'’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,2152320,00.html

(13) = Finkelstein, Norman G. (2005) , 'Beyond Chutzpah', Verso, London, 2005 , Chapter 3, pages 66-85

(14) = ‘Survival of the Fittest?’, An Interview with Benny Morris By Ari Shavit, http://www.logosjournal.com/morris.htm (First published in Ha’aretz 09 Jan 2004, ‘Survival of the fittest’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=380986&contrassID=2 )

(15) = Cook, Jonathan (2006) ‘Blood and Religion – The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State’ , Pluto Press, London, 2006 , page 113-115

(16) = Pilger, John (2006) , ‘Freedom Next Time’ , Bantam, London, 2006 , page 152

copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007