South Africa slams Israel at the United Nations as an apartheid state
"This year, the 14th Israeli Apartheid Week is being commemorated in over 200 cities around the world. Commonly referred to as IAW, as a South African I do not think that a more apt name could have been chosen to highlight the atrocities carried out by the Zionist regime on a daily basis.
Whenever the plight of the Palestinian people is compared with Apartheid, there are more than a few strong objections from the pro-Israel community. The very idea that such a comparison can be made repulses those who support the oppressive system run by the Israeli government, and passionate statements against such remarks are sure to be vented. However, if we analyse the situation from a historic and non-biased view, the similarities between Apartheid South Africa and the situation in Israel are startling and simply cannot be ignored. The restrictive policies applied in the old South Africa are comparable to those presently carried out in occupied Palestine. We know that the government implemented the Group Areas Act here in South Africa, and non-white people were forced to live in specific areas while families were torn apart; all movements were restricted through the use of pass books. A similar policy is seen in Israel, where Jewish settlements are established within and between Palestinian cities and then encircled by concrete walls and barbed wire, completely cutting off Palestinians from other family members and even basic necessities such as access to hospitals. If they need to reach any destination outside of their “homeland”, their papers must be approved by Israeli soldiers, a process which often takes hours, and approval isn’t always given. Countless horror stories have been reported where Palestinians, often children and the elderly, have suffered great deterioration to their health or even death due to these “security” checks.
We can also evaluate the specific repressive policies employed by both governments. The Apartheid government in South Africa worked in a very orderly and structured way. The arrest and detention of political and community leaders was the order of the day and suitable steps were always taken in order to justify the government’s actions. This is precisely how the Israeli government works. It announces that it will “terminate” Hamas leaders or young Palestinians resisting occupation, and truth be told we are then sure to hear of the killing of a leader or ordinary person soon afterwards. Teenagers who are suspected of “terrorist” activities are dragged savagely from their homes in the middle of the night, and must usually endure torture and interrogation without due procedure.
The most notable and current example of this is 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, who is spending her third month in an Israeli prison for resisting the unjustified storming of her home by Israeli forces. If these young Palestinians are lucky, they will be released — months or even years later — without being charged and tried, but definitely changed for the rest of their lives.
South Africa’s National Party government oversaw a rapid militarisation of society and the army was sent into the non-white townships regularly. Having had the privilege of visiting Palestine myself recently, I can testify to the fact that the entire Israeli society is based around the military. Israeli forces patrol everywhere and, under the illusion of ensuring security, soldiers keep a close and suppressive eye on the Palestinians, monitoring their every move. PW Botha’s government also became famous for its violent suppression of protest marches, and when I witnessed powerful Israeli tanks encroaching on a group of adolescent Palestinians trying to repel them with stones, it is as if o,e was witnessing history repeat itself.
I believe that the similarities are so undeniable, that it seems as if the Israeli government has used, [besides nazi tactics], the Apartheid laws as the basis for its oppressive rule over the Palestinians living under occupation. It is correct to say that the occupation of Palestine by the nascent state of Israel in 1948 was indeed a Nakba, a Catastrophe". DR. Ayesha J Soni.
Norman Finkelstein & Mads Gilbert
The United States government announced that it is formally established the embassy in Jerusalém on May 14, a day Israel uses as a day of independence. A day that Palestine labels as the "Nakba", or catastrophe. A day of international shame.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian was beaten by multiple Israeli soldiers, and later died in custody.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are planning a 45-day tent city protest near the Israel border in the coming weeks to raise their continuing demand that refugees be allowed to return to the Palestinian occupied territory.
Hundreds of thousands of families plan to set up tents near the border starting March 30, the annual "Land Day", which commemorates the six Palestinian citizens of Israel who were killed by Israeli forces during démonstrations in 1976 over Israeli land theft.
It will en on May 15, the Day of the Nakba, or "catastrophe. When Palestinians mark the displacement and expulsion of thousands in their community with the creation of Israel in 1948.
"This national project endorses peaceful resistance as a new way to win our rights, foremost the right of return", says another member of the committee.
Palestinians have long been the targets of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition in the West Bank and along the Gaza border.
The announcement for the protest has come on the same day that the Israeli parliament passed a law to allow the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem, if they engage in a "breach of loyalty" to Israel.
Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), called the law "an extremely racist piece of legislation. By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian law".
Other groups have also chimed in to say that the law is illegal under international law.
The Palestinian oral History Archive Project