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Apartheid Policies Put Israel on Path to Becoming Failed State

Apartheid Policies Put Israel on Path to Becoming Failed State

It is not right-wing governments that institutionalized racial domination here; the process started decades before they took power.

Roy Isacowitz for Haaretz

I like and respect Benjamin Pogrund enormously, but he is wrong on three counts (“Israeli policy is not apartheid,” Haaretz  August 25.)
Since 2002, apartheid has been defined as a crime against humanity in international law. That definition is enshrined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which refers to the definition of apartheid in the 1973 United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

South Africa (or to be accurate southern Africa) is only mentioned once in the ICSPCA, as providing an example of the “policies and practices” of racial discrimination. It then goes on to define them in detail, without reference to South Africa. The Rome Statute doesn’t mention South Africa at all, other than specifying it as a signatory to the treaty (from 1998) and in various footnotes and references.
All of which means that apartheid has an international legal standing beyond and irrespective of its roots in South Africa. It is the exemplar of apartheid, but by no means the required model.

All that is necessary is that a country commit “inhumane acts,” as defined by the statute, 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,” as paraphrased in the first paragraph of Article 7 of the Rome Statute.

Anyone who thinks Israel fits that description can legitimately and accurately describe it as an apartheid state. Those are the facts. The rest is just semantics – and the pedantic flogging of a dead horse.
The fact that Israel is not a signatory to the Rome Statute has no bearing on the validity of its definition of apartheid in international law.

But it’s another statement by Pogrund that’s the real hair-raiser. “What [Bradley] Burston insists is apartheid,” he writes, “are the actions of a right-wing government behaving like a right-wing government.”

Really? As if the occupation began with Benjamin Netanyahu and he, rather than Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin, was the godfather of the settlements. As if it was a right-wing government that conducted the ethnic cleansing of 1948 and developed Israel’s clandestine nuclear capacity (according to foreign reports), thus thrusting the entire region into a nuclear arms race.

As if Israel’s current government is a Jewish version of Margaret  Thatcher’s or Silvio  Berlusconi’s – a little rough around the edges, a bit too strident in its pronouncements and no friend of the working man – but basically well within the Western, democratic consensus.

Israel’s colonial dispossession and subjugation of the Palestinians began long before Netanyahu and long before the first right-wing government took office in 1977. In fact, it began long before the first so-called left-wing government took office as well.

The Israel of today – irredentist, paranoid, intolerant and increasingly unhinged – is the culmination of a process that began at the turn of the 20th century, when the early Zionists created the myth of a “land without people for a people without land” and set about expropriating Palestinian land. (Not dissimilar, by the way, to the hundreds of years of racial discrimination that preceded the formal system known as apartheid.)

It took more than one group of right-wing Israeli politicians, however toxic, to create the “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,” described by the Rome Statute. It took over 100 years of determined effort – including wars, massacres, population upheavals, mass detentions, discriminatory legislation, military administration, arbitrary killings and so on – until Israel got to where it is today.

Rather than Pogrund’s blithe “right-wing government behaving like a right-wing government,” (with its promise that everything could just change at the next elections,) Israel is a solid, seemingly immovable edifice of colonial revanchism and ethnic superiority, led by a fanatic cult bent on ultimate glory or suicide.

In such a situation, I’m afraid Pogrund’s prescription of “Keep strong, stay on track” is of little comfort.

And then there’s Pogrund’s outlandish statement that “Opponents [of the apartheid regime in South Africa] felt helpless to stem the tide. But they stood firm and went on believing in a nonracist and democratic South Africa.”

Come on, Benjy, that’s just a little too much icing on the rainbow-nation cake. Some, mainly white, opponents stood firm and kept on believing, but many others – black, white and in-between – turned to violence. The regime deliberately turned tribes against each other; hundreds of thousands of people died in ethnic violence. Even more left the country in despair. The economy collapsed and South Africa became a failed state. Over 20 years later, it has yet to recover.

That South Africa didn’t disintegrate into civil war was more luck, Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk than anything else. It could easily have gone the other way. Is Pogrund really recommending that we chance the same thing here in Israel?

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Israeli Terrorists Set Fire To Bedouin Tent In West Bank

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers torched a Bedouin tent in the area of Ein Samiya near Kafr Malik village in northern Ramallah Thursday morning, local sources told Ma’an. A group of Israeli settlers raided the village of Ein Samiya and threw flammable material on a Bedouin tent before the residents noticed and attacked the settlers, making them immediately flee the area.An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the attack but could give no further details. The fire caused substantial damages to the tent but locals were able to put the fire out without any injuries, locals said.Israeli settlers also sprayed “price tag” near the scene and signed slogans calling for the killing of Palestinians and expelling them out of their lands.Locals said the Israeli forces and police arrived to the area, investigated the incident and took fingerprints.On Wednesday, Israeli forces had closed the Ein Samiya area road and prevented Palestinians from using it.Recent weeks have seen a rise in Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.
An 18-month-old Palestinian, Ali Dawabsha, was burned alive when alleged Israeli extremists firebombed their home at the end of last month in the village of Duma near Nablus. The toddler’s father, Saad Dawabsha, succumbed to his wounds a week later, after suffering third degree burns on 80 percent of his body.On Saturday morning, Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian home with firebombs and rocks in an area east of Tayba in the Ramallah district. The bombs landed outside of the house, causing no damage, locals told Ma’an. Israeli settlers have carried out at least 120 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of this year, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)

(MaanImages/Zakariyya al-Sidda)


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More Apartheid: Palestinian Terror Attack Victims Not Eligible For Israeli Government Compensation

Palestinian family can apply to exceptions committee, while settlers are automatically compensated for similar attacks.
Revital Hovel For Haaretz
Though there’s no dispute in Israel that the July 31 arson attack on the Dawabsheh family in Duma was a terror attack, the family won’t be entitled to the government compensation granted Israeli victims of terror.
The attack killed two members of the family, father Sa’ad and 18-month-old Ali, and seriously wounded the mother and the elder son, aged 4.

The law governing compensation to victims of terror applies only to Israeli citizens and residents – including West Bank settlers, who live in territory Israel never annexed. In 2006, following a shooting spree by a Jewish gunman the previous year that killed four Arabs in Shfaram, the law was amended to encompass Jewish terror attacks against Israeli Arabs as well, as long as they “stem from the Israeli-Arab conflict.” But it still applies only to Israeli citizens or residents.
Thus to seek compensation under the law, the Dawabsheh family would have to apply to a special interministerial exceptions committee that has operated under the Defense Ministry’s auspices since 1999.

Earlier this week, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to apply the law to all Palestinian victims of Jewish terror.

“The case of the Dawabsheh family underscores the absurdity that exists today in the legal and political arrangements related to paying compensation,” he wrote. “While the legal situation in Israel ensures payment of compensation for life and property to victims of attacks perpetrated by Palestinians, Palestinian victims of attacks perpetrated by Jews aren’t entitled to any compensation. In practice, this situation leaves the Dawabsheh family with no compensation, whereas Jewish victims in similar circumstances would be entitled to compensation from the state.”
Jabareen said this constitutes unacceptable discrimination. “Victims of nationalist attacks should be entitled to compensation from the state regardless of whether they are Jews or Arabs,” he wrote.

Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, concurred. “This is another example of the intolerable gap between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, in every walk of life,” he said.

While settlers are compensated for terror attacks automatically, a Palestinian victim of terror must apply to the exceptions committee “and essentially ask the Defense Ministry to help him as an act of grace,” Yakir continued. “This is intolerable, especially in light of the incident’s severity and the severe harm the Dawabsheh family suffered. The Defense Ministry should grant full compensation to the family of its own initiative, even without a request from them.”

He also proposed that the Israel Defense Forces commander in the West Bank, who is technically the sovereign there, issue an order applying the principles of the Israeli law to Palestinian terror victims. “This is his moral obligation, and also his obligation under international law,” Yakir said.

Jabareen’s letter to Weinstein noted that the harm suffered by the Dawabshehs was “terrible and irreversible. No amount of money can compensate the family for its losses.”

Nevertheless, he added, that doesn’t justify refusing to pay it, especially since Palestinians are in extra need of such help.

“This is a population without means or resources, which has been under Israeli control for about five decades,” he wrote. “Therefore, the state cannot deny its obligation to take care of this population. As long as the state controls the Palestinian territories, it is obligated under international law to protect Palestinian residents of the place, including the obligation to compensate them for crimes of hatred and racism against them simply because they are Palestinians.”

Weinstein’s office said that Jabareen’s letter had been received “and will be answered in the customary fashion.”


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Headlines From Palestine: August 10, 2015

PLO Official Visits Iran To Discuss Bilateral Relations

President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday sent an envoy to Iran in an attempt to improve bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic.

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Israeli Occupation Doctors Refusing To Force Feed Palestinian Hunger Striker (Small Victory)

Israeli hospital doctors on Sunday refused to force feed a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike more than 50 days, an international rights group said

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No Surprise : Israeli Occupation Releases Suspects Held In Terrorist Arson Attack

Israel has released all suspects detained in raids as part of a probe into the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old child and his father, Israeli authorities said Monday.

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Israeli Occupation Troops Demolish Palestinian House In Salfit, Deliver Notices In Nablus= War Crimes

Israeli forces on Monday demolished a home under construction in the village of Deir Ballut in western Salfit and delivered demolition orders in western Nablus, locals said.

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Israeli Occupation Orders Palestinians To Halt Work On EU Funded Water Tanks (Water Apartheid)

Israeli forces ordered the village council of Khellet al-Mayyeh, a locale to the east of Yatta, south of Hebron, to stop the construction work on two water tanks funded by the European Union, Sunday reported to a local activist.

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Israeli Occupation Orders Palestinians To Halt Work On EU Funded Water Tanks (Water Apartheid)

HEBRON, August 9, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces ordered the village council of Khellet al-Mayyeh, a locale to the east of Yatta, south of Hebron, to stop the construction work on two water tanks funded by the European Union, Sunday reported to a local activist.

Coordinator of the popular committee against the wall and settlements, Rateb Jabour, told WAFA that soldiers handed head the of Yatta village council, Khaled Abu Humaid, a notice ordering them to stop the construction works on two 1700 cubic meters water tanks. The order cited ‘unpermitted construction’ as a pretext.

Meanwhile, soldiers photographed a number of water wells belonging to several locals in the southern part of the locale. The same soldiers photographed sheds, tents, and other water wells in the village of Umm al-Khair to the east of Yatta.

Issuance of construction permits for Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli jurisdiction, is strictly limited, forcing Palestinians residing in such areas to embark on construction without obtaining a permit.

Humanitarian and legal bodies and institutions including the United Nations, OCHA and B’Tselem confirm that the planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits.

“As a result, many Palestinians build without permits to meet their housing needs and risk having their structures demolished. Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,” OCHA reports.

T.R/M.H


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Israeli Occupation Troops Demolish Palestinian House In Salfit, Deliver Notices In Nablus= War Crimes

SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday demolished a home under construction in the village of Deir Ballut in western Salfit and delivered demolition orders in western Nablus, locals said.

Dawood Abdullah, a local activist, told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted two bulldozers into Deir Ballut in the early hours of Monday and immediately started to tear down an incomplete house belonging to Adnan Abdullah.The activist said that the home, which was in an area known locally as Khallat Qaswal, was one of 60 houses in the village located in land classified as Area C.Adnan Abdullah, the owner of the house, told Ma’an that the Israeli authorities issued a demolition order three years ago.He said: “Since then, I have been trying to do anything to cancel this decision, but nothing worked out.”He said that the last demolition notice came was delivered two months ago.Separately, locals in western Nablus said that Israeli forces on Monday issued a number of demolition notices to Palestinian families living near an Israeli military checkpoint known as al-Hamra.The notices told the families to evacuate their homes in 10 days, after which point the buildings would be demolished.The owners of the houses were identified as Hayel Bsharat and Muhammad Hayel Bsharat. Under the Oslo Accords, building permits must be approved by the Israeli Civil Administration for construction to take place in Area C.As a result of rarely-approved permits, however, Palestinian residents are often forced to build structures without permits, which are liable to be torn down later by Israeli forces.Last year Israel demolished 601 Palestinian-owned structures, displacing 1,215 people.The UN said it was the highest annual number of people affected by the policy since it began keeping records in 2008.


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Israeli Occupation Doctors Refusing To Force Feed Palestinian Hunger Striker (Small Victory)

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli hospital doctors on Sunday refused to force feed a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike more than 50 days, an international rights group said.Physicians for Human Rights Israel tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “Hunger striker Muhammad Allan’s hospital doctors refuse to treat him against his will.”The rights group could not be reached for further comment and the claim could not be verified.Israeli authorities on Saturday declared their intention to force feed prisoner Muhammed Allan, who on Sunday marked his 56th day on hunger strike.If carried out, it would be the first case since the adoption last month of a new Israeli law permitting the practice.The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday that Allan, who has been held without trial since November, was “at immediate risk” of death after fasting for 50 days.Allan’s attorney Jamil al-Khatib said he had informed Allan of Israel’s plans to force feed him, but said that it had not changed “his intention to continue his strike.”He added that Allan was placed in intensive hospital care when his body became unable to absorb drinking water.Palestinian health minister warned Saturday that the force feeding procedure itself would endanger Allaan’s life.Allaan, himself a lawyer, is being held under a procedure allowing indefinite internment without trial or charge.On July 30, the Israeli Knesset approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike facing death to be force fed, sparking criticism from rights groups and doctors.The Israeli Medical Association called the law “damaging and unnecessary,” stressing that its doctors would “continue to act according to medical ethics, which prohibit doctors from participating in torturing prisoners.”In 2014, the association issued guidelines for the treatment of hunger strikers, saying that all treatment must be carried out “in accordance with the patient’s free will.”It added: “In accordance with generally accepted ethical principles in Israel and abroad, forced medical treatment, including force-feeding, is forbidden.”The UN issued a statement on Sunday condemning the new law, saying that it was a violation of the “fundamental human right” to peaceful protest.The ICRC also opposes forced feeding, saying: “It is essential that the detainees’ choices be respected and their human dignity preserved.”International guidelines for physicians, particularly the Tokyo Declaration, state that prisoners capable of rational judgement “shall not be fed artificially.”