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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*Syria* had access to the sea of Galilee before 1948, is perhaps what Lilia meant? (Don't know, must look it up on wikipedia)
But that had nothing to do with the Golan heights......
How do you think the Arabs and the Jews can reach peace?
So I wonder how to change Israeli government policy from this encroachment and resource theft of their neighbors? I guess that's my 64000 question. How to change government policy and persuade them to respect Palestinians democratically elected governments (not the US/Israel chosen puppets ones, they don't count). because when they don't it speaks volumes where they stand on creating a durable peace.
it worth more then 64000, but need more honesty and brave heart to see it.

There is change elements in any society, and the Israeli society has no exception. you are mistaken to think that "Palestinians democratically elected governments" has legitimacy to reject Israel existence and expect Israel to accept their violent resistance.

but we need to work within Israel as we need work done within Palestine. the core power that drive the conflict is within our societies and not between them.

In israel we had grate progress and now with the help of the US we stop the settlements that bring us to a grate challenge to manage the conflict with the settlers.

in Palestine there is work to be done, and there is a need to a united political system in order to sign the agreements that we all know what they say : Palestinian state and end of conflict and historic demands.

there is no way to create peace with one group of Palestinians and then get a different group come with new claims.

We probably progress to two state solution and then follow to a co-federation and in future have our societies mixed more then any one can imagine now.
Dear Seansmom/Neri,

You have to begin by recognizing that there is a lot of water over the dam on both sides. Israel has a political system with twenty parties and a coalition government that requires concessions to the right and left to generate a majority vote in the Knesset. The PNA is fractured after Hamas' takeover of Gaza although the literal power resides at the moment all with Fatah and Abbas and Fayyad. Just as you might say Israel has a friend in the US, Hamas has a friend in Iran and the PNA/PLO is responsive to the Arab League, the EU and even the US. I believe in a two track peace process with the political being negotiated on one level while the two peoples begin a national educational process that enables each to get to know the other, understand and even begin to accept. Without this developing acceptance at a personal level there can be no lasting peace. That is the beginning with political triangulation that includes a prisoner swap and the possibility of a long term Hudna between Israel and Hamas wirth international support and involvement in the reconstruction of Gaza.......

Peace Now,
Larry Snider

What you wrote in in my view is just hysterical hatemongering.

Please read what Salameh from the West Bank wrote in and my response.

Paul R
It is true that niether all the actions of appathide will give safty and secuirety to israel but peace and admit of palestinian rights will give peace and saftay to all in the area.israel must learn from the past expeirence in history since the romans to brlin wall and south africathat the rights and secuirity came from giving others rights
The word "apartheid" is highly emotive and when people use it they mean it to be emotive. I do think it is important that Israeli's realise that what many people outside of Israel see when they look at what is going on does awfully remind those people of apartheid; and those people are not all ignorant multi-culti softies or whatever. And the "excuses" which are made just don't ring true. Take another example. Was the murder of millions of Armenians a genocide? No say the Turks, because it wasn't systematic, it wasn't ordered in writing by the state, and lots of Turks were murdered too. Using the word actually encourages the Turkish people to be ignorant and/or deny their own history (they have their national pride you know, just like any other people!). So I agree with you and disagree at the same time. It is important to [try to] know the facts, all the facts; and it is important to [try to] know what other people know, and how and why they interpret what they know. So the word can have a useful function. In a debate, there is a place for exaggeration and a place for [over]simplification. But these places shouldn't be the destination.
I agree that ideally "there is a place for exaggeration and a place for [over]simplification. But these places shouldn't be the destination."

But they too often become the destination. Why? Because they hijack discussion of the real issues and are used only for the blame game and point-scoring, and inciting and inflaming the issues. .Those who use Apartheid simply just want to demonise others just like Jimmy Carter did.

Regarding use of the word genocide in the case of the Armenians, I disagree. My understanding is that the Turks dispute the scale. The word genocide is normally used to indicate the scale of the barbarity. I know that the UN definition of genocide has been watered down by some simply for political reasons. I consider that too to be barbarous.
Turks dispute *both* the scale *and* the label, but especially the label!!! The word "genocide" is an insult to their national pride.
I haven't got time to read the whole thread of posts so please excuse me if my post repeats what has been already said.

I think people are forgetting what was happenining up to the construction of the wall. Going to work, school, down the road or whatever was a game of Russian roulette for the Israelis. The probability of being at the wrong time at the wrong place, regardless of your political views and aspirations for Israel and Palestine, and of finishing in pieces was extremely high. Some of you may not care about this but I do. I'm sure that most mepeacers would have wanted the wall if they were exposed to constant risk of being blown up. Even now, there are hundreds of thwarted kamikazi attacks each year. I remember very well what was happening at the time.

It was understandable that ordinary people wanted quick relief from this situation. Amos Oz wrote at the time is was necessary to build a fence to separate warring neighbours . What went horribly wrong was the line the wall took, instrusions into properties and dismembering of Palestinian lands - deliberately done, some would say.

I would call "Aparteid" an inappropriate term to describe a wall that was conceived as a defense against indiscriminate attacks.

The total lack of sympathy towards israelis and their difficulties only strengthens the extreme right.

Just to clarify my position: I don't like what the IDF is doing (but remember war brutalises even the most innocent - look at the Mi lai massacre in Vietnam), I hope the wall does come down soon and that eventually the two sides can live in a borderless peace. Before the 2nd Intifada, there was a two-way free movement between Israel and Palestine and therefore also contact and communication.

I think there are too many distant "armchair" commentators (some of whom think they understand all because they spent some time in the region) who have no empathy for one side or the other. There is acute fear and suffering, of a different nature, on both sides - yes if you want to quantify it, there is more among Palestinians. If you're ready to label me as one-sided, please read my blog on Jenin.



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