What are your thoughts on calling Israel an 'Apartheid State'? Is the Barrier an 'Apartheid Wall' or a 'Security Fence'?

I am writing a paper at the moment for presentation in a conference in 12 days and I still can't coherently formulate my argument against Diasporas engaging in dialogue from the position that Israel is an 'Apartheid State'. My thoughts thus far are that while the occupation, the "Matrix of Control" as Jeff Halper calls it, is suffocating and inhibits Palestinian statehood, not to mention breaching human rights and human dignity, using the analogy of apartheid in South Africa obscures the historical context of the I/P conflict. This has two downsides. For one, it undermines historical reasons for the current state of the conflict and obscures legitimate Israeli security concerns, assumes that Israel's reasons for erecting the Barrier were for racist reasons, and in the process attributes the whole of the conflict to skin color or religion over territory and nationalism. Two, it overlooks the specificity of Palestinian suffering, and the use of 'rights discourses' of Apartheid doesn't fully do justice to the totality of the conflict, the refugees, and Israeli Arabs in particular. So what I'm trying to say, I believe, is that on the one hand it downplays certain factors that shouldn't be overlooked while sensationalizing 'Apartheid' as a loaded political term, utilizing its expedience, dehuminizing lives lost over causes overshadowed by the analogy, on the other. I think in the case of Diasporas and dialogue the 'Apartheid' analogy is unhelpful because it doesn't lead to mutual understanding but rather engages the 'Other' in a disposition empty of trust and full of anger and hatred. I don't see how anger and hatred will facilitate a starting point to dialogue. But what do you think?

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Before I would answer you I looked at your bio and some of your previous statements.
I don't have a clear sense of your connection to the Holy Land other than some traveling that you did.
And that's not to say that you don't have a deep feeling about anything and everything regarding the Land.
I just feel that this type of rhetoric is divisive rather than supportive of peace.
We can continue to argue which side is right.
I noticed someone else talked about finding the "truth".
I have grown to understand that different people have different "truth".
What we can all agree to is that there must be peace and an end to bloodshed.
I hope you listen to Hanania at . You will see that there are Palestinians who want 2 states.
BTW - the large, established Arab countries sit on most of the world's oil reserves.
Israeli scientists have developed a lot of technology to clean the planet from the ravages of fossil fuels.
There is so much about Israel that is wonderful.
I would like to see a Palestinian state that can also contribute to the greater good.
The Palestinian people are very intelligent and capable and loving.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
Question: Is Egypt's new metal wall another Apartheid wall? == PmR
Egypt's metal wall sparks crisis with Hamas
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Jerusalem Post
Dec. 21, 2009

Egypt's decision to build an underground metal wall along its border with the Gaza Strip has triggered a crisis between Cairo and Hamas.

Hamas leaders believe that the wall is being constructed as part of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's desire to punish the Islamist movement for its refusal to sign an Egyptian-engineered "reconciliation accord" with Fatah several weeks ago.

Moreover, Hamas believes that Mubarak is also seeking "revenge" because the movement has preferred German mediation to Egyptian involvement in the negotiations with Israel over the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.

In both cases, Mubarak felt humiliated by Hamas's actions.

In assuming the role of mediator between Hamas and Fatah, Mubarak was hoping to succeed where other Arabs, specifically the Saudis, Yeminis and Qataris, had failed.

Just when the two sides appeared to be on the verge of signing a "reconciliation agreement" under the auspices of the Egyptians last October, Hamas bolted. Hamas justified its decision to stay away from the signing ceremony by citing Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's failure to support a resolution at the United Nations in favor of the Goldstone Report into Operation Cast Lead.

Hamas's decision not to sign the accord with Fatah was seen by Palestinians and Egyptians as a severe blow to Mubarak's personal prestige and Egypt's standing in the Arab world. Mubarak was hoping that the agreement would help Egypt restore its long-lost status as one of the most influential Arab countries.

On the personal level, he was hoping that success in resolving the Hamas-Fatah crisis would reaffirm his standing as a powerful and historic leader, thus improving the prospects of his son, Jamal, to succeed him.

Similarly, Mubarak was hoping that a prisoner-exchange agreement between Hamas and Israel would be achieved through Egyptian mediation. But in recent weeks he has been forced to see Hamas dump Egyptian negotiators in favor of German security officials.

Some Hamas representatives have openly chastised Mubarak's negotiators for being "biased" in favor of Israel. In other words, Hamas is telling the world that it trusts the Germans more than it trusts its Muslim brothers in Egypt.

Relations between Hamas and Cairo have been tense ever since the movement took full control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007. Since then, the Egyptians have done almost everything to isolate and weaken the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. This includes the continued closure of the Rafah border crossing and other restrictions imposed by Egyptian authorities.

The Egyptians' main concern is that Hamas would "export" its radical ideology to Egypt. Reports about increased cooperation between Hamas militiamen and Egyptian smugglers and members of other Islamic fundamentalist groups in Sinai have prompted the Egyptian security forces to beef up their presence in the area.

Tensions between Hamas and Cairo reached their peak last month with the death of a Hamas operative in an Egyptian prison. The victim was the brother of Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Hamas rushed to accuse the Egyptian General Intelligence Service of torturing the man to death. The allegation was broadcast on many Arab satellite TV stations, seriously embarrassing Mubarak, whose spokesmen have since been struggling to convince Arab and Muslim viewers that the Hamas man died of natural causes.

Over the past few days, Hamas militiamen have opened fire several times on Egyptian border policemen and laborers who are involved in the construction of the metal wall. The shooting incidents have also escalated tensions between the Hamas leadership and Cairo.

An all-out confrontation between Hamas and Egypt will undoubtedly undermine Mubarak, because it will make him appear as if he's helping Israel and the US in their war against the movement. A confrontation will also send the message that Mubarak is also involved in the "siege" on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, on the other hand, stands to win from a standoff with a regime that is regarded by many Arabs and Muslims as a puppet in the hands of the Israelis and Americans.

And any victory for Hamas is also a victory for Damascus and Teheran. /servlet/Satellite?cid=1261244345665&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
Jihadists Call for Attacks Over Egyptian Security Fence
21 December 2009

Jihadist chatter of recent weeks has been focusing on Egypt and its construction of a security fence along its border with the Palestinian Authority. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, calls the Palestinian Authority itself "sinful".

The Jihadist claims the fence Egypt is building between Gaza and Egypt is being constructed with Israeli funds.

According to analysts from the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), one intercepted communication, originating in North Africa, calls for "all the jihadist groups in Palestine to come out against the Egyptian forces on the border with Gaza, because they are trying lately to isolate Gaza from the rest of the world, and especially to build a steel 11-kilometer fence. ...We invite all the jihadist groups in Gaza to use all possible methods against the Egyptian army, from sniper action from afar to firing RPGs."

The jihadist claims that the fence Egypt is building between Gaza and Egypt is being constructed with Israeli funds and American support.

The planned fence is meant to cut down on above-ground smuggling and illegal migration between Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai. The fence will likely have little to no impact on the network of terrorist weapons smuggling tunnels operating freely between Egypt and Hamas-controlled Gaza. Another, below-ground obstacle is reportedly being planned for hindering the digging of tunnels.

While low-level jihadist chatter is focusing on Egypt, a new recording by Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, attacks the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas and Mohammad Dahlan. The PA leaders are chastised for signing a "sinful agreement" regarding the control over crossings into and out of Gaza. That expired agreement, Zawahiri says, "chokes our people in Gaza". %ad%

TRR analysts believe that "there will be some international jihadist or local Gaza attacks on Egyptian military forces, as well as the possible targeting of civilians as well." There is a distinct possibility that Muslim fundamentalists may escalate their efforts to carry out large-scale attacks on Sinai resorts, as has been the case in the past. Israelis and Americans in Egypt remain a high-priority target for Al-Qaeda and its sympathizers, noted the ITRR researchers.

Far-leftist and Anarchist activists from Israel and abroad hold regular violent protests over Israel's security fence along its border with the Palestinian Authority. IDF soldiers have confronted the protesters with tear gas and other riot control methods. There is no word if the protesters will be confronting Egyptian soldiers in anti-fence activities along the Egypt-Gaza border.
Dear Matt,

I basically agree with you and said so in print some time ago when Jimmy Carter came out with his now famous book on the subject. Interestingly, just today he formally apologized to Jews in writing through the Jewish Telegraph Agency for the pain his words caused. I believe that the way he use Apartheid in his title was not only purposely provocative, but it has in many ways disabled his ability to play a meaningful role as mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. I believe there is no end to the pain caused by the Israeli governments 40 plus year promotion of a hard willed occupation on the Palestinian people. I believe the reply of terror while never justified and ultimately deadly primarily to civilians is understandable in this highly asymetrical continuing war of attrition. I understand Jeff's Matrix of Control and have heard him speak about it in Jerusalem as well as here in Philadelphia and at other venues. But I believe peace must be built not only between the willing members of Israeli and Palestinian society, but taught through dialogue to extremists on boths sides and their sons and daughters as part of a mandatory curriculum in the schools in all of Israel and Palestine. I believe without education, fear and hatred will continue to defeat every peace effort. I hope you find this helpful.

Larry Snider
There is a tendency for Palestinians and Israelis to define their unique experience in the context of broader events in the world to help advocate a perspective. Calling the Wall "apartheid" is intended to usher audiences to the conclusion that Israeli does in fact discriminate against Arabs on the basis of religion (Christians and Muslims) although Apartheid is in fact discrimination and separation and occupation based on race. It is inaccurate to describe Israel's actions are Apartheid, although they may be Apartheid-like. However, the embrace of Apartheid is also a form of anger exertion by Palestinians who are incapable of actualizing their experiences outside of victimization. They view themselves as victims and they act as victims. And victims seek simplistic explanations to convey their frustration without any guilt. Israelis find it convenient to grasp the aspect that Apartheid is in fact not what Israel is engaged in but they lose sight of the reality of their brutality and occupation, which is based on a form of religious discrimination. Israelis live in a denial of their practices but find the criticism of "apartheid" a convenient means of responding without truly addressing their policies.

The failure of palestinians to accurately describe their oppression gives Israelis a convenient way to avoid responsibility. Israelis free themselves of guilt while Palestinians can avoid critical analysis of why Israel's occupation is so brutal and avoid accepting any role in the blame.

It's part of the game in which Palestinians and Israelis engage in avoiding responsibility, each in their own way. Using the term Apartheid allows each to do so without any guilt or acceptance of responsibility for the problems.

Hope that makes sense
Ray Hanania
Dear Ray,
I hope you have read my personal note to you. :-)
I really appreciate what you are trying to say here.
Without going into great detail - I will simply say that in one of the many wonderful programs I have experienced, for personal growth, I learned a very useful "self examination" question...
"How am I the cause in the matter."
In personal relationships this simple question can accomplish much to untangle misunderstandings and conflicts.
I have often thought that even in this complicated political, historical, and human issue between the people's of the middle east - if all parties took deep breaths, stepped back and asked themselves this same question, a great deal can be learned and understood. There needs to be a shedding of emotional defensiveness.
Sometimes this can be very emotionally painful, but hopefully, eventually it can be cleansing.
When we drop our defensiveness there can be much more availability to find common understanding.
I am so grateful for your ability to see and express both sides of this complex issue.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace
Even if I'd really like to disagree with what Ray wrote above, I won't. Why? Because it's stupid to disagree with obvious common sense.

All such issues must be put on the table and discussed with being put into a (subjectively and inconsistently interpreted) unmentionables basket.
I don't really hear such a friendly message from you.
I keep hearing you pointing out how the Jews are wrong and your perspective is the right one.
In any relationship - if the two parties are always trying to prove they are right and the other is wrong there will always be discord.
Just as the Palestinians need to be heard and understood, so do the Jews/Israelis.
As I've stated before - we all need to look inside ourselves and ask "How am I the cause in the matter?"
Also - we have to deal with what is. What is - is that there is a well established country, Israel, and territories where humans are suffering injustices and indiginities. We can argue, without end, as to how and why this has come to be. Or we can find ways to build trust and mutual respect.
Perhaps someday we will live in a world without borders. But, so far, humanity seems to still like having borders to dilineate it's social and cultural differences. This does not have to be a bad thing. As long as we don't use violence to protect those borders. Humanity has a long way to go - but, for sure, we are moving in the right direction.
I honor your search for truth.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace,
The waal built by the Zionist Israelis is a wall of separation and control. The Israelis want a Jewish only society, and keep the Palestinians in a ghetto, much like the one the Nazis built in Warsaw in WW2. The Palestinians are let out to work when Israel feels like it. What needs to happen is for Palestine to declare itself a state now.

it is well known that the Nazis had a plan to kill all jews, do you claim that the Israelis (20% arabs) plan to kill all the Palestinians?

When you are a pacifist does it imply you should not put words out that can lead to violence. these hints that the Zionist Israelis are planning a genocide in Palestinians is harmful and not true.

Israelis and Zionists do not plan any killing and this is the norm within Israel. The ethno-centric element of the conflict is not as simple and people with good intentions like you some times are making the conflict more violent.

Would you say that all palestinians wish to bomb their children and push the Jews to the sea?

I know that is not true, and I know that few individuals Arabs did express this ideas.

Israel is a young state with many faults, and the relationship with the Arabs is one of the bad faults of Israel creation but this forum is for multi-political and we host here people who believe different narratives.

If you try to educate all people with this narrative, there is no place to have peace with Israel and while you claim to advocate for peace you are advocating for violence that you justify with your claims that are not accurate as far I investigated them (and i did).

So please consider as a place of people to come and work out a future that include all of us, if that future does not include the Arabs, Palestinians or even Hamas we will not have change and no rest from aggression, same goes for tring to put the Jews,Zionists, settlers out of the future. they will not go away as Hamas will not disappear.

Just note that when I say "future that include Hamas and Settlers" i mean that these people will live with us but I know they will not be able to send bombs on civilians or build settlements that danger the future of all of us.
Dear Lilia,

For stopping the demolished houses we must get border agreement and acceptable palestinian independent state for these areas.

for getting that agreements we need to have one-political-palestinian system; while Hamas and Fatah fight for their ideology the Israeli side have the situation where it will continue with this process since it fear the Hamas ideology.

So element of a holistic solution is in the Palestinians society. in parallel we the Israelis need to fix the problem we have in our democratic political system that enable groups as settlers to push such actions that flame violence and enhance the conflict between the two societies.

I do not care for the Good name of Judaism, I care for the whole 2,000,000 jews and palestinians here as I am sure that only a future that include all of us is sustainable.

we must avoid balme game and focus on productive action.



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