Everything about Israel’s politics spells ‘APARTHEID’

Palestine Update  81

Everything about Israel’s politics spells ‘APARTHEID’There are many who once shunned reference to Israel as an apartheid State, partly from conviction and also from fear of being branded anti-Semitic. In recent times, many in that camp have shifted in droves to the faction that firmly defines Israel as irreversibly racist-apartheid. One-time skeptics and fence-sitters today audaciously decry Israel’s racial policies and discriminatory actions as unacceptably apartheid-like.

In a hard hitting article “Israel is an apartheid state. Period”, Jonathan Cook says:“When people call Israel an apartheid state, they are referring to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. According to the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, apartheid comprises inhumane acts “committed 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…So what colour the victims of apartheid are, what proportion of the population they constitute, whether the economy depends on their productive labour, whether the early Zionists were socialists, whether the Palestinians have a Nelson Mandela, and so on have precisely zero relevance to determining whether Israel is an apartheid state”.

Even judging exclusively by the quantum leap in settlement construction and the political stresses that emanate there from, it is clear that Israel’s actions fall within the notion of apartheid according to international law. It is out to separate Palestinians from Palestinians by planting Jews in areas that cement this separation. This is also overt in other Israeli political decisions such as Israel’s refusal to accept the reconciliation deal between PA and Hamas, or the inconceivable conditions about the reconciliation that they are setting. Israel’s insistence on being recognized as a Jewish State is a perverse and illogical ask. It’s the same when Israel is armed to the teeth and demands that Hamas must disarm. Israel also wants a say in the PA’s role in Gaza. Netanyahu is entitled to also ask for the sky. But internal negotiations between Palestinians are autonomous. Israel does not hold a veto but these are all Netanyahu’s overt strategy to evade negotiations and prop up the occupation.

It is not just Arabs who are the victims of Israel’s apartheid tactics. Jewish converts stumble upon severe difficulties to obtain visas to study and live in Israel despite having obtained official status as a recognized community. Because of astonishing bureaucratic technicalities, their conversions to Judaism have effectively been declared redundant. Netanyahu himself has raised the levels of hate speech referring to Muslims as animals who deserve to be ruthlessly killed. Apartheid is also evident in the matter of resource sharing.

On another apartheid front,  EWASH, a coalition of 30 NGOs,  has , in a report, shown how water is sparse for Palestinians, but not for Israeli settlers. Settlers consume 81 times more water per capita than Palestinians in the West Bank.  Israel’s policies regarding water distribution tantamount to “water apartheid”.

It is little wonder then that more and more groups such as in The Caribbean region and in distant Japan have joined the BDS campaign. The message from the world is clearly: ‘Everything about Israel’s politics spells ‘APARTHEID’.

Ranjan Solomon

Netanyahu’s strategy to avoid negotiationsAl Monitor reports: “Israel’s security Cabinet convened in special session Oct. 17 to discuss the recently signed reconciliation agreement between the two major Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas”. Benjamin Netanyahu had made clear his view on the deal after it was signed Oct. 12. So, there did not seem to be any reason for a nonscheduled meeting to adopt decisions that were hardly urgent. For Netanyahu’s, the Cabinet seal of approval, or even a rubber stamp, was needed in order to present the US administration with an Israeli decision that enjoys the backing of ministers tasked with responsibility for Israel’s most sensitive diplomatic and security issues. Israel has vowed it would not conduct negotiations with any Palestinian government based on Hamas. Netanyahu told members of his Likud Party Knesset “We expect everyone who talks about a peace process to recognize the State of Israel and, of course, to recognize a Jewish state.”
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Charity Commission warns grants to Israeli settlements could breach UK law

The UK Charity Commission has warned that making grants to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) could potentially constitute a breach of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, in a significant hardening of the Commission’s approach to the issue. The new statement from the Commission comes in response to questions about UK Toremet, a charity which, as revealed by Middle East Monitor in September 2015, is acting as a conduit for donations to Israeli settlements in the oPt. Settlements are considered a serious violation of international law, a position held by the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and the Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
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How Israel engages in ‘water apartheid’
Following the 1967 war and Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, one of Israel’s first acts was to declare all water resources to be under Israeli military control. For Palestinians to build wells, repair pipes or develop irrigation networks, they had to obtain Israeli-issued permits, which are hardly approved. Palestinians even have water tanks seized and pipes cut by Israeli authorities. Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley recall how, before 1967, when they liberally used the water from springs that ran through their villages and watered their crops with canals. After the 1967 war, the Israeli government appropriated land and diverted the water to nearby agricultural settlements. Water is now scarce for Palestinians, but not for Israeli settlers. Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley consume 81 times more water per capita than Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel’s policies on water sharing amount to “water apartheid”.
Read article by Mersiha Gadzo in Al Jazeera

Israel using technicality to deny visas to Ugandan Jews
Jewish converts from Uganda have in recent months encountered severe difficulties obtaining visas to study and live in Israel despite having obtained official status as a recognized community. An unforeseen bureaucratic technicality means their conversions to Judaism have effectively been rejected. The Abayudaya community split from Christianity in the early 20th century and began observing Jewish laws and customs. In 2002, a rabbinical court sent to Uganda by the Conservative movement formally converted most of the 1,500-strong community.

Israel has now refused to approve requests to immigrate to Israel or study in Israel from members who converted before 2009 and were officially recognized as a Jewish community. It seems “a combination of racial prejudice, a bias against non-Orthodox conversion, a failure to issue timely decisions as demanded by the criteria of the Interior Ministry, and a structure where the responsibility to resolve the issues relating to immigration and the issuing of student visas is passed from one person to the next” leaving Jews seeking to live or study in Israel, in limbo.
Read article in Haaretz by Judy Maltz


Japan advances rights and justice in Palestine through BDS

The upscale Mitsukoshi department store in the Ginza district of Tokyo has withdrawn Israeli settlement products. Earlier this month, the store was scheduled to host an event featuring Israeli wines, including wines made in illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen land. Japanese civil society pressures shortened the event and removed all wines made in Israeli settlements. Palestine Forum, Japan, a network of BDS activists welcome the decision by Mitsukoshi department to pull product of illegal Israeli settlements from its shelves in line with international law and Japanese foreign policy.
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