Apartheid Inside the Green Line

Danielle Ni Dhighe nidhighe at irsm.org
Tue Dec 18 20:31:50 MST 2001


Irish Republican Socialist Committees of North America
http://www.irsm.org/irscna/

Apartheid Inside the Green Line
By Sean O'Nunain

The cornerstone of Israeli propaganda in the U.S. and Europe is the
claim that Israel "the only true democracy in the Middle East."
Through endless repetition the "Israel is a democracy" mantra has
saturated popular consciousness and become part of many people's
common sense.  Although it is true that Israel has multiple political
parties and regular elections this is not sufficient to include
Israel in the family of democratic states.  From its inception in
1948 Israel has always been a specifically Jewish state, legally
assigning Jews a privileged position in society over and against
Palestinians who make up 20% of the citizens of the "Jewish" state.
Unequal treatment under the law  and systemic unequal treatment in
practice based on so-called race, ethnicity and religion is not a
characteristic of a "true democracy" but rather an apartheid state.

The state of Israel was created in 1948 when 600,000 Jewish
immigrants to Palestine unilaterally declared a mono-ethnic state and
then proceeded to ethnically cleanse at least 750,000 of the more
than 1 million indigenous Palestinians from their homeland.  Once
Israel was a reality on the ground the Jewish state enacted a law
that guaranteed every Jew in the world Israeli citizenship upon
reaching Israeli territory.  As a consequence of this "Right of
Return" several million of Jews from around the world have migrated
to Israel over the past 53 years.  At the same time the initial
number of  Palestinian refugees without the "Right of Return" has
grown to at least 3.5 million.  During the 1990s over 1 million Jews
from Russia migrated to Israel and immediately became citizens while
not a single Palestinian refugee was allowed to return to their
homeland.  This is state sponsored racism.

Following the creation of Israel the majority of the land inside
the new state came under the control of an agency of the Jewish
state.  It is illegal for this land to be sold to a non-Jew.  Some of
this land has been used to build exclusively Jewish housing projects
where it is illegal for Palestinian Israelis to take up residence.
When a Palestinian-Israeli challenged this policy in the Israeli
Supreme Court the judges refused to address the issue in the fear of
setting a dangerous precedent for residential integration.
Furthermore, numerous Palestinian villages, some dating back to the
Ottoman Empire, are legally designated non-entities where the
Palestinian residents of these villages are denied the right to
construct building on their own land and receive no state funding for
roads, sewers etc.  This is apartheid.

Israeli schools are ethnically segregated and follow different
curriculums for the Jews and Palestinians. The physical
infrastructure (roads, bridges, sewers) and utility services (water,
electricity) of Israel are segregated along ethnic lines as well.  A
comparison of per capita domestic water allocation between Jewish-
Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli municipalities found that the average
per-capita allocation for Jewish municipalities is nearly 2.9 times
greater than the average for Palestinian-Israeli municipalities.  Per
capita domestic water consumption for Jewish-Israelis is roughly
equivalent to western European standards while Palestinian-Israeli
water consumption is restricted to third world standards.  This too
is apartheid.

Azmi Bishara is the leader of the National Democratic Assembly
Party, and an elected member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament).
Since Bishara speaks out against the racism of the Israeli state he
is subjected to constant surveillance, intimidation and harassment at
the hands of the Israeli internal security agency, Shin Beit.  Last
October 9th several hundred Jewish-Israelis rampaged through the
Palestinian-Israeli town of Nazareth, intent on an ethnic pogrom, and
set about fire bombing Palestinian-Israeli shops, mosques and Azmi
Bishara's home.  When the Palestinians called the police (really the
Border Guard because Palestinian-Israelis get their own special
police force too) the police pulled the rampaging Jews back from the
Palestinian crowds and then opened fire on the Palestinians, killing
two and wounding over a dozen.  Ironically one of the Palestinian-
Israelis killed was a prominent peace activist who had attended
a "peace camp" in New Hampshire with Jewish-Israelis a year earlier.
In recent months Jewish-Israeli members of the Knesset attended a
conference to discuss the issue of "transferring"  the rapidly
growing  Palestinian-Israeli population out of the state of Israel.
All in attendance at the conference agreed that since the Palestinian-
Israeli birth rate is much higher than the Jewish-Israeli birth rate,
by 2020 the Jewish population of Israel will no longer provide the
numerical majority necessary to preserve the specifically Jewish
character of the Israeli state.  The debate broke into two camps. One
camp argued for redrawing Israel's borders in order to accomplish the
political transfer of parts of Israel's Northern District (where
Palestinian-Israelis are the majority) to Jordan or a future
Palestinian statelet. The other camp openly advocated another wave of
ethnically cleansing against Palestinian-Israelis to physically drive
the non-Jews from the Jewish state.  This is fascism.

Israel is a racist, apartheid, police state.  Equality under the
law and some minimum baseline of equality in practice is a mandatory
prerequisite for democracy. Israel can not be a democracy so long as
it is an officially Jewish state using principles of apartheid inside
it's own borders and in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza
strip, which it has illegally occupied for 34 years.  Israel will
become a democracy only when there is a single, secular, multiethnic
and democratic state in all of historic Israel-Palestine with full
political and economic equality for all Jews and Palestinians.


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