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|Creating a Palestinian apartheid state?
By Ariel Natan Pasko
You know for years, leftists and Arabs, and all kind of anti-Semites have compared Israel to South Africa. For the last few years, there's been a divestment campaign against Israel as was done against South Africa. Many Jews shrugged off the comparison, or hid from it. And most decent people of all persuasions, argued, "No it's not true, Israel is a democracy, and the old South Africa had apartheid."
But it has dawned on me that the comparison makes some sense. Not between Israel -- the embattled victim of morally degenerate suicide bombings -- and the once racially segregated South Africa. Not between Israel, the victor in a defensive war -- that pitted several enemies against it, attempting a second Holocaust in 1967 -- and a cruel divisive South African regime that pitted one group against another for racial supremacy. But between Israel the country that since 1948, has wanted to live peacefully with its neighbors; between Israel who has won all the wars that were forced upon it and still made agreements to return territory captured -- territory that gave it much needed strategic depth -- in return for promises written on paper; and the new racially diverse South Africa of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and the current President Thabo Mbeki.
You see Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk -- winners of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize -- and Desmond Tutu -- winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize -- called for reconciliation between groups in South Africa. It might not be perfect now, but after Mandela's release from 28 years of imprisonment in 1990, the first thing he didn't do was call for killing whites. Being elected President in the first multi-racial election in South Africa in 1994, Mandela also knew how to step down after 5-years in office; instead of like Arafat -- the infamous Nobel Peace Prize winner -- who died in office, incapable of releasing power until his death. Desmond Tutu has used his Nobel money to set up the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre.
Will Yasser Arafat's heirs (Mahmoud Abbas, Marwan Barghouti, Hamas, and others), use some of his stolen money to set up the "The Yasser School of Safe Explosive's Use," maybe?
The Quartet's (US, EU, UN and Russia) so-called Roadmap to Middle East peace, envisions the first case of "Ethnic Cleansing" of the 21st century, this time internationally legitimated. The Sharon government in Israel intends to be a willing accomplice, if it carries out it's planned expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif-Gaza and Northern Samaria (euphemistically called "Disengagement"). I understand that if most countries would have favored the Nazi attempt to commit genocide against the Jews, or most of the world supported forced racial segregation -- apartheid -- in South Africa, that would have made them okay to do. You don't agree? So why is it okay to close Jewish "settlements," uproot several hundred thousand Jews from Judea and Samaria -- the West Bank -- and Gaza, in the name of "peace," when the world is being promised an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a democratic Palestinian State? Forget apartheid, they're planning a racially-ethnically pure Arab state free of Jews.
If the "democratic" Palestinian state that Bush and Blair keep talking about, and everyone else envisions, requires uprooting whole communities; towns and villages of thousands, expelling families from their homes, destroying everything built -- schools, synagogues, community centers, businesses, people's lives -- in the last 37 years, where may I ask is the reconciliation? Where is the peace? When the blacks in South Africa finally gained power, they didn't throw the whites out, or try to murder them.
Palestine won't be an apartheid state like the old South Africa, but a Nazi state, not racially supremacist but racially pure. And that's a far cry from the vision being presented to us by Bush, Blair, Sharon, and all those nice people who say, "we have to solve the Palestinian problem" or "The solution is two states living side by side in peace". The Palestinian Authority till now has done nothing to stop the Oslo War for over four years. Plenty of evidence indicates they've actually helped carry it out. Marwan Barghouti (founder of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades terror group, affiliated to Arafat and Abbas's Fatah) just called on Mahmoud Abbas (the Fatah candidate for PA President) not to give up the option of "armed struggle". The express purpose of the terror groups is to drive Jews out of their homes, and Sharon is helping them with his expulsion plan for Gazan Jews.
But Jews have a longer history as the indigenous population (almost 4,000 years) with these ancient Holy Places (Gaza, Hebron, Shechem, Bethlehem, Shilo, Tekoa, and Jericho) than the Arabs do. Most of whom came into the area from the surrounding Arab countries in the late 19th & early 20th centuries. Why should the Jews have to leave? If Arabs can live as equal citizens in Israel, able to be elected to the Knesset (there are Arab citizens in Israel's parliament), or serve on Israel's Supreme Court (there is an Arab Supreme Court Justice), why can't Jews be equal citizens in the democratic Palestinian state in the making, with full rights, responsibilities, and privileges?
The comparison between Israel and the old South Africa doesn't fly, but the comparison between the Palestinian state that they're trying to sell us, and the old racist South Africa goes quite well. On the other hand, the correct comparison is between Israel and the new multi-racial South Africa. The population of South Africa today is about 75 per cent black, with the remainder made up of white, coloreds, and Indians. Israel's population is about 80 per cent Jewish, with the remainder Arab, Druze, Bedouin, Circassian, Armenian, etc. Both are democracies with a dominant majority and minorities sharing equal rights.
The proposed Palestinian state will have an estimated population of between 2.4 and 2.9 million people, and almost 10 per cent of the population is Jews. In Judea and Samaria -- the West Bank -- there are about 1.5 to 1.8 million Arabs and almost 250,000 Jews, or about 15 per cent. When you include the post-1967 parts of Eastern Jerusalem that some want to make into the Palestinian capital city, it brings the total number of Jews in the so-called "occupied territories" to about a half a million, or almost 20 per cent of the proposed Palestinian state.
So why exactly can't Jews stay in "democratic" Palestine?
In Hebron for example, the media always tells you that there are 500 Jews living among 100,000 or 120,000 Arabs. What they "forget" to tell you is that the population figure for the Arabs, is for the greater metropolitan area of Hebron, surrounding villages (i.e. suburbs) and all, and if you include all the Jews living in the same areas (Kiryat Arba, and the Hebron Hills towns and villages) there are close to 10,000 Jews living there, or about 10 per cent of the total population. Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria like Ma'ale Adumim with almost 35,000 Jews and Ariel with 22,000 -- the size of Anytown, USA -- they're going to be expelled?
Why can't all these Jews stay living in Palestine, just as the non-Jews live in Israel? Real peace doesn't mean "Ethnic Cleansing," real peace means reconciliation, respect, and mutual trust. If there aren't any of these, there isn't any real peace ! So, why are the Jews being forced from their homes exactly?
Why does everyone (Bush, Blair, the Quartet, Sharon, Peres and Israel's left) just assume Jews can be moved like cattle (and have no rights)? Why does the world want to Ethnically Cleanse "democratic" Palestine of Jews? Why would the world voluntarily create -- at best -- another old South Africa -- at worst -- a Nazi Arab state? Does the world somehow have lower expectations from the Arabs? That Arabs somehow can't live peacefully among others? No one even mentions the possibility of Jews staying in their homes and becoming Palestinian citizens. Does the world have racist attitudes that somehow Palestinians can't live in democratic societies and share? Or, does the world not care about persecuted Jews? Just like in the time of the Holocaust.
Where are all the "Great Souls" of the world, morally outraged by a "Peace Plan" that calls for the expulsion of people from their homes? Where are all the anti-apartheid activists, who saw such evil in the old South Africa? Why aren't they protesting this latest injustice? Why not divest from Palestine?
So, I challenge you Desmond, I dare you Nelson, and all you "Anti-Apartheid Great Souls," stand up for those high morals everyone has attributed to you. Don't just sit back and watch as 8,000 people get expelled from their homes in Gaza. Don't let several hundred thousand more Jews get Ethnically Cleansed from their ancient homeland and call it "democracy".
Remember Rev. Tutu, the Land of Israel, Canaan or Judea, that place described in your Bible? Certainly men of such high moral fiber as yourselves, and all the others like you, will call out for "understanding," "tolerance," and "peace and reconciliation," between Arab and Jew in a democratic Palestine. And certainly, you will all oppose expelling people from their homes in Gaza and elsewhere, even if they are only Jews.
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko (c) 2005/5765 Pasko
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