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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Indeed Connie: "in the word Darwin we can see the words Dare to win" .

The Israeli (JOOOS) DARed to WIN. Again and again... That is the problem.

I am just amazed at how little you know the terror emanating from Gaza and even less about the Israeli-Arab conflict or the situation prevailing in Gaza. You failed to address the Egypt situation altogether and just continued with a very skewed analogy and perception. You even managed to bring the Holocaust into your discussion as if there was any comparison, where there is none.

Suffice it to say that after the Six Day War Gaza and Judea and Samaria were flourishing economically and there were no walls and no checkpoints.

Settlements, Occupation and checkpoints are just plainly Red Herrings. Netanyahu has exposed all of these already

These are rhetorical questions that you ask. Suffice it to say that Israel has historically as much right to Judea and Samaria (if not more) than the Palestinians.

As for Gaza, Hamas has made it into terror staging areas instead of the Paradise when the settlers were there. To paraphrase the Bible "make plows out the Qassams and your lives will improve"
I originally posted this question with the intention of soliciting sympathy on both sides - not Israeli or Palestinian per se - but security and justice. Many people have responded with the same anger and fear that I alluded to in the preface to my my question. That was not the point, for the record, though sometimes erring grievances, fears and anger is important. It would be nice to hear people answer with both peoples in mind and with both security and justice at heart. Try to understand where the 'other' is coming from. Accept that your viewpoint is one among thousands. There is no one truth or one narrative that stands alone. Dialogue is, as I have already said, premised on mutual trust, dignity, and respect, all of which are founded on a recognition of common humanity. Let's find that humanity, move away from the ignorance caused by hatred and fear, and engage the other, not as different and therefore evil, but as partner in peace, thus making a friend out of an 'other'.
Hear! Hear! :-)
Matt and others:

Please have a look the discussion about stakeholders I started here on June 22, 2008. It is at . There I introduced the concepts of three categories of stakeholders: direct, indirect, and presumptive. Note that a stakeholder in this case simply means a person or group who for their own reasons themselves as stakeholders. Whether such people groups really have a direct stake is not (conceptually) relevant.

Matt wrote: "Dialogue is, as I have already said, premised on mutual trust, dignity, and respect, all of which are founded on a recognition of common humanity."

Most such dialogues are intended for direct stakeholders only. My view is that the long-ongoing Muddle East conflict, notionally between an (essentially) Arab Palestine and an (essentially) Jewish Israel, is greatly complicated and fanned by what I see as the indirect stakeholders and presumptive stakeholders. Note that Jewish here means The Jewish People and NOT the faith Judaism.

This raises two discussion points:

  1. Do the indirect stakeholders and presumptive stakeholders really (needlessly) complicate dialogue?
  2. If the indirect stakeholders and presumptive stakeholders really (needlessly) complicate dialogue, how can we best minimise the complications they introduce?

Please discuss that here or at in the discussion about stakeholders I started here on June 22, 2008. It is at .
A post card from the 19th century showing the rich mix of ethnic and religious types in the Middle East. the picture shows a Jew (5), a Hindu, a zoroastrian (4), a Christian, a muslim, and others. The good old days!

Hey I'm down, let's make it happen.
1) There is no IDF policy of bombing children

2) and note that about Richard Falk:
According to a UN press release, then Israeli H.E. permanent resident Ambassador to the United Nations Itzhak Levanon said that the mandate of the Special Rapporteur was "hopelessly unbalanced," "redundant at best and malicious at worst." Referring to Falk's statement that it was not "an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with the criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity," Levanon argued that "someone who had publicly and repeatedly stated such views could not possibly be considered independent, impartial or objective." He stated the council was "missing an opportunity" to lay "the groundwork for better cooperation with Israel."

Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, criticized Falk's appointment to the United Nations Human Rights Council, stating that "This is exactly why we voted against the new human rights council" and that "He was picked for a reason, and the reason is not to have an objective assessment — the objective is to find more ammunition to go after Israel."

Yitzhak Levanon, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, criticized Falk's appointment in an address to the council, stating: "He has taken part in a UN fact-finding mission which determined that suicide bombings were a valid method of 'struggle'. He has disturbingly charged Israel with 'genocidal tendencies', and accused it of trying to achieve security through 'state terrorism'. Someone who has publicly and repeatedly stated such views cannot possibly be considered independent, impartial or objective."

Here Akiva Eldar from haaretz show the different trends within Israel about relationship with Palestinian and consideration of the term apartheid.

I do not agree with him. but I think this is relevant to this discussion.

Akiva Eldar / Is there really a difference between Israel and apartheid South Africa?
By Akiva Eldar
Tags: South Africa, Israel News

The day after the murder of the settler Meir Hai about 10 days ago, Major General (res.) Amos Gilad was asked to comment on the claim by settlers that the attack was able to take place because roadblocks had been lifted on West Bank roads. The security-political coordinator at the Defense Ministry told his radio interviewer that the policy of thinning out internal roadblocks has greatly contributed to the West Bank's impressive economic growth. According to Gilad, who until recently was coordinator of activities in the territories, the improvement of the Palestinians' economic lot has contributed substantially to Israelis' security.

An army man, who is not suspected of belonging to a human rights organization, thus upsets the simplistic and most accepted formula: restrictions on Arabs means more security for Jews. The Supreme Court ruling last week to lift the ban on Palestinians using Route 443 shows that members of the judiciary also no longer stand at attention when they hear the magic word security. Nonetheless, the judiciary members, like politicians and the media, still find it hard to let go of their paralyzing dependency on this term. This is intentional: If discrimination is not mandated by security considerations stemming from the threat of Palestinian terrorism, how can we diagnose this regime as segregationist? If it is not diagnosed as such, there is no need to treat it.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which appealed against the ban on Route 443, dared suggest the word apartheid and was reprimanded for it. In her ruling, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch wrote that "the great difference between the security means adopted by the State of Israel for defense against terrorist attacks and the unacceptable practices of the policy of apartheid requires that any comparison or use of this grave term be avoided." A similar argument was voiced during the days of Israel's military administration over its Arab citizens, which was lifted in 1966, and which is today considered a dark period in the country's history.

Beinisch herself is a co-author of about a dozen rulings that exposed the malicious use of the segregation regime in an effort to take over Palestinian land. In some cases, most notably one concerning the separation fence near Bil'in, she wrote that the invasive route set by the army was inferior from a security point of view to the route proposed by experts at the Council for Peace and Security. In another case the state admitted that the person in charge of planning the fence did not inform government lawyers that the route had been adjusted to the blueprint for expanding the settlement of Tzofin. Were it not for human rights organizations and conscientious lawyers, who would prevent shortsighted politicians from annexing more and more territory "for security against terrorism"? asked Beinisch.

One of the myths among whites in South Africa was that "blacks want to throw us into the sea." Many of apartheid's practices were formally based on security, mostly those involving restrictions on movement. Thus, for example, at a fairly early stage, black citizens needed permits to move around the country. During the final years of apartheid, when the blacks' struggle intensified as did terrorism, its practices became more severe.

To avoid the rude word apartheid, Beinisch pulled out the well-known argument that apartheid is "a policy of segregation and discrimination based on race and ethnicity, which is based on a series of discriminatory practices designed to achieve the superiority of a certain race and oppress those of other races." Indeed, systematic segregation (apartheid) and discrimination in South Africa were meant to preserve the supremacy of one race over others.

In Israel, on the other hand, institutional discrimination is meant to preserve the supremacy of a group of Jewish settlers over Palestinian Arabs. As far as discriminatory practices are concerned, it's hard to find differences between white rule in South Africa and Israeli rule in the territories; for example, separate areas and separate laws for Jews and Palestinians.

Last Wednesday, Israeli policemen blocked the main road linking Nablus and Tul Karm. Dozens of taxis with Palestinian workers on their way home from another day on the job in the settlements were told to park on the side of the road. Cars with yellow license plates passed by. There was no roadblock for security inspections; it was just the memorial ceremony for Rabbi Meir Hai. Just as long as they do not say that there is apartheid.
I think that some of the motives to call the situation in Israel "South Africa Apartheid" is to claim same solution - "one state solution with Arab majority as south Africa".

I think that is the secret motive and I think it is wrong, we need to have two state phase in order to build confederation. one state solution will be disaster for Jews and Arabs and destroy more they create a good future.

there are many problems with Jews Arabs relationship and there are many racist Jews in all ranks of governance and military but Israeli values are much more evolved then the Afrikaners and I do not think that Israel segregation is outcome of the conflict more then the potential of the Israeli society.

please notice that there is open debate in Israel and the courts rule against the army and government including on cases where Arab were rejected from living in "Jewish" places (within "Israel territory"). Arabs are ministers in the government and there are many Israeli jews who work together with Arabs to bring change.

at the moment all the "resistance" people focusing on Israel apartheid claims instead of build Palestinian capacities that are needed for the Palestinian future. this is why Fayyad initiative is so important and show other way to address it.

As Israeli citizen I have a commitment to change in my country; but when such claims of Apartheid appear ... it just make to work harder on us as Israel political system is so "public opinion" based such "attacks" on Israel society strengthen the right wing claims that Israel existence is under attack.

some of the people here think that Israel need to disappear, and one arab state is what we need to have, but this is ignoring the 21st century of trans-national understanding we have in our societies.
Israel never claimed West Bank and Gaza in 1967 !

The international law consider these territories as Egypt and Jordan at that time.

There is a movement in Israel the claim settlements in these territories and they also built settlements in Sinai but israel never claimed this territories, it just controlled them.

"The reason that Gaza has been bombed, is precisely to perform ethnic cleansing. " this is total confusion, if israel wanted ethnic cleansing you know it has the weapon and ability to achieve that but Israel try to control the population while the conflict (and the Nakba) continue with inner political dynamic push settlements supported by aggression from palestinian groups which translate into justification of the control for security purposes.

Israel is different from palestine as it has strong social identity with Jewish nationalism while the Palestinains has strong culture bonds to the arab world and has arab-Palestinian national identity. the economy and social connection is different. this gap need to be respected ... the palestinian do not want to be israelis and the Israelis do not want to be arab ... so we need different way to progress.

I do not claim this is the only way, but I think this can work:

1) end the settlement movement in Israel for good.
2) have a territory for Palestinian state that respect the population
3) share Jerusalme with the world as center of Abrahamic religions.
4) end the Palestinian inner conflict and form one political system that recognize existence of Israel
5) sign territorial agreements
6) support the creation of Palestinian national state economically
7) create co-federation that aim to protect the citizens of Israel and Palestine for ecological and social dissasters
8) respect the memory of the past, focus on creating a future that include all
Lilia, it wouldn't make sense for Israel to just bomb Gaza children to reduce the population for a few reasons:

1. Israel removed thousands of settlers from Gaza in 2005. This shows that Israel has no interest in annexing Gaza or to rule it. Hence the Gaza demographic does not play into the overall makeup of Israel.

2. Thousands of Gazans have gone to Israeli hospitals, even after 2005. On a side note, Israel trains a lot of Arab doctors, some of whom are from the territories. Also noteworthy, 30% of Technion Medical students are Arab, in an Israeli university funded by Jewish donors abroad and the Israeli government.

3. In the 90's, Israel upgraded Gaza's hospitals. Additionally, Israel gives discounted medical service to Palestinians. Israel gives the same medical service to its Arab population that it gives to its Jewish population (though lacking in some areas because of a few diverse reason I won't mention here).

4. Israeli Arabs have a much higher life expectancy than Israel's Arab neighbors. Also, West Bank Palestinians enjoy a high life expectancy, mostly due to Israeli medicine.

You should freshen up on your international law studies. When one country takes over another, it is not entitle to conquered territory, nor is it obliged to integrate the territory into itself. It has several obligation as an occupying power. No matter how democratic and free the conquering country is, there is no moral or legal basis for annexation. The US conquered Iraq, you can't possible entertain the idea that the US should integrate Iraq as a 51st state.

Israel is not Palestine. Israelis and Palestinians are two different nations. What you argue for goes along the wishes of both Israelis and Palestinians. They need mediation, not intrusion.



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