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09/03/07

Permalink 04:11:38 am, Categories: Voices, 1773 words    

Prophets on Apartheid: Part 2

eileen fleming

"An apartheid society is much more than just a 'settler colony'. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges." [1]

In June 2005, this reporter interviewed a young American who moved to Israel because of the incentives of Aliyah who told me:

"Aliyah means 'going up,' and this deal was hard to pass by. I get fifteen hundred shekels or about thirty-six hundred dollars a year in increments to help with my expenses. I can apply for unemployment benefits after seven months, as long as I look for a job.

"I just completed Ulpan, which was five hundred hours of Hebrew language immersion studies that took five months, five hours a day, for five weeks. I get subsidized rent and just moved out of the Absorption Center Projects. All the new immigrants get room, utilities, and three meals a day for the first five months in Israel. We also receive free medical care and all the doctors here are dedicated. We can go to the university with 100 percent of the tuition paid by the government. College is much cheaper here; it's about three thousand to four thousand dollars a year. Until I am thirty years old, I can receive up to three years of education for my master's degree."-[2]

Apartheid can be summed up as a structured process of gross human rights violations perpetrated against a conquered ethnic majority by a state and society mainly controlled by an invading ethnic minority and its descendants, mainly immigrants, that have been deemed part of the ethnic elite.

The following nine categories make up the necessary, sufficient, and defining characteristics of apartheid regimes:

1. Violence: Apartheid is a state of war initiated by a de facto invading ethnic minority, which at least in the short term originates from a non-neighboring locality. In all main instances of apartheid most if not all members of the invading group originate from a different continent. The invading ethnic minority and its self-defined descendants then continue to dominate the indigenous majority by means of their military superiority and by their continuous threats and uses of violence.

2. Repopulation: Apartheid is also a continuation of depopulation and population transfer. One example is seen in the obliteration of the indigenous Bedouins that Israel denies free movement to graze their herds and are silently transferring the Bedouins to new locales, such as atop of garbage dumps.

3. Citizenship: The indigenous people are often denied citizenship in their own country by the apartheid state authorities, which are ironically and irrationally, run and staffed by the recent arrivals to the country.

4. Land: Apartheid entails land confiscation, land redistribution and forced removals, almost without exception to the benefit of the invading ethnic minority. Usually, members of the ethnic majority are forced on to barren and unfertile soils, where they must also try to survive under impoverished and overcrowded conditions.

5. Work: Apartheid displays systematic exploitation of the indigenous class in the production process and different pay or taxation for the same work.

6. Access: There is ethnically differentiated access to employment, food, water, health care, emergency services, clean air, and other needs, including the need for leisure activities, in each case ensuring superior access for the favored ethnic community.

7. Education: There are also different kinds of education offered and forced upon the different ethnic groups.

8. Language: A basic apartheid characteristic is the fact that only very few of the invaders and their descendants ever learn the language(s) of the indigenous victims.

9. Thought: Finally, apartheid contains ideologies or 'necessary illusions' in order to convince the privileged minorities that they are inherently superior and the indigenous majorities that they are inherently inferior. Much of apartheid thought is shaped by typical war propaganda. The enemy is dehumanized by both sides' ideologies, words and other symbols are used to incite or provoke people to violence, but mostly so by the invaders and their descendants. [3]

During this reporters visit to Hebron, I learned 450 Israeli settlers and 3,000 IDF, eighteen- to twenty-one-year-olds patrol the streets with their weapons at the ready. The IDF refused access through one of the many checkpoints to me and my guide Jerry Levin, former secular Jew and CNN's Mid East Bureau Chief in the 1980's who was kidnapped in Lebanon and held for nearly a year by the Hezbollah. On Christmas Eve, Jerry had a mystical experience of Jesus and miraculously escaped a short time later. [ Jerry shares that story in "Reflections on My First Noel", HOPE Publishing House]

Jerry is now a full time volunteer with CPT/Christian Peacemaker Teams. He told me, "Most of the soldiers don't like the CPTs. Whenever they won't let us through, we just go another way, and always, eventually, get where we want to go." [4]

The village of Hebron had once been a thriving Palestinian neighborhood, but now the narrow, winding stone streets between the colonists and the indigenous people are only connected to the other by a deeply sagging netting that the squatters hurl huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture, and all manner of debris upon with hope it will break and hit an unfortunate Palestinian upon the head.

Jerry Levin informed this reporter, "It gets cleaned out about every year or so. Come back in a few months, and this netting will be much closer to your head. The settlers just throw whatever they want onto the netting; they do what ever they want and get away with it. The CPT's run interference by nonviolent resistance; we get the children and woman to where they need to be going and back again. Sometimes, the settlers curse and stone us all; it keeps it interesting." [5]

Hundreds of now empty formerly Palestinian homes have been spray painted by the colonists with Stars of David and graffiti such as: "GAS THE ARABS."

Minister of Intelligence in South African Government, Ronnie Kasrils recently returned to Palestine's West Bank and Gaza Strip, and wrote how it was "like a surreal trip back into an apartheid state of emergency. It is chilling to pass through the myriad checkpoints -- more than 500 in the West Bank. They are controlled by heavily armed soldiers, youthful but grim, tensely watching every movement, fingers on the trigger…A journey from one West Bank town to another that could take 20 minutes by car now takes seven hours for Palestinians, with manifold indignities at the hands of teenage soldiers…The monstrous apartheid wall cuts off East Jerusalem…Bethlehem too is totally enclosed by the wall, with two gated entry points. The Israelis have added insult to injury by plastering the entrances with giant scenic posters welcoming tourists to Christ's birthplace." [6]

On the cover of my Memoirs from OPT, Meir Vanunu provided the photo of the enormous Orwellian sign Karlis refers to, that hangs upon The Wall next to the checkpoint that leads from Jerusalem to her sister city, Bethlehem:

"PEACE BE WITH YOU"

The Wall or as Israel prefers to spin it as a 'security barrier', "is designed to crush the human spirit as much as to enclose the Palestinians in ghettos. Like a reptile, it transforms its shape and cuts across agricultural lands as a steel-and-wire barrier, with watchtowers, ditches, patrol roads and alarm systems. It will be 700km long and, at a height of 8m to 9m in places, dwarfs the Berlin Wall. The purpose of the barrier becomes clearest in open country. Its route cuts huge swathes into the West Bank to incorporate into Israel the illegal Jewish settlements -- some of which are huge towns -- and annexes more and more Palestinian territory." [7]

If The Wall is truly to keep out terrorists, why was it not built on Israeli land?

"It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers."- Minister in the Presidency Essop Pahad. [8]

"The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force. Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison...roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa." [9]

On December 20, 2006, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who received a Nobel Peace Prize for his relentless work confronting and challenging South Africa's Apartheid regime spoke to The Guardian: "I've been deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land. I have seen the humiliation at the checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about…Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace can ultimately be built only on justice…If peace could come to South Africa, surely it can come to the Holy Land."

Justice requires equal human rights, liberty and self-determination for all people. Justice requires honoring International Law and the Declaration of Human Rights. When the state of Israel complies, peace and security will flow from the Holy Land and it truly will be a land of milk and honey for all of Father Abraham's children.

"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the establishment of Israel

---------------------------

1. Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.
2. KEEP HOPE ALIVE, by Eileen Fleming, page 99.
3. Paraphrased from pages 71-73, Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present.
4. KEEP HOPE ALIVE, page 105.
5. Ibid
6. Mail & Guardian, Israel 2007: Worse than Apartheid, by Ronnie Kasrils. comment_and_analysis/" target="_blank">http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=308966&area=/insight/insightcomment_and_analysis/
7. IBID
8. IBID
9. IBID

-###-

September 3, 2007 © Copyright Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor http://www.wearewideawake.org/ Author Keep Hope Alive and Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl's' Life in Occupied Territory, Producer "30 Minutes With Vanunu" Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged. Only in Solidarity do "we have it in our power to begin the world again." -Tom Paine

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