By Mutasem Awad and Hiyam Noir
Richard Goldstone's op-ed published for New York Times and dated October 31 2011, with the offensively noticeable title: “Israel and the Apartheid Slander", astounded us because of the fallacies, aimed at blurring the truth and to justify the policies pursued by the Israeli occupation for decades.
In the main hypothesis of his article, Goldstone suggest there is no apartheid in Israel, and that Israel is not an apartheid state which official policy is a rule of racial segregation, as formerly practiced in the pre-1994 apartheid Republic of South Africa, involving political, legal and economic discrimination against nonwhites. According to Richard Goldstone: the Palestinian Arabs have equality, they have political parties, and they have representation in Knesset, and they can accept and secure important positions, and they get professional medical care in Israeli hospital lying in beds alongside Jewish patients
Goldstone then continues attacking those who claim that Israel is an apartheid state, he describes these statements as “unfair and inaccurate slander, aimed to isolate, demonize and de-legitimize it." What is dangerous is that Goldstone justifies Israel's violations of the Palestinians' right, which in its full concept imply to most of the members of the international community, that Israel is violating the rules and provisions of international humanitarian law, international law, and human rights.
Goldstone says in this context; "as long as the citizens of Israel are at risk of attacks from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel will maintain checkpoints and similar standards are necessary to secure the defense of the same even if the Palestinians felt that they are oppressed."
What the judge, Richard Goldstone has forgotten is that, the establishment of Israel in 1948 was a result of displacement of more than 750 thousand Palestinians, a great tragedy for people shattered and separated into refugee camps across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. These operations further enacted the Immigration Act of 1952, which allowed Jewish immigrants to arrive from various parts of the world, to the State of Israel, to live there as citizens, and enjoy the wealth of the people whom were expelled from their land and prevented from returning back to it. This cataclysm is confirmed by many historians and other academics around the world, as well as by some Israelis.
In this context, we suggest that Goldstone to thoroughly read the book, - “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” written by the Israeli historian Ilan Pappè, where you will find the evidence of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Israel in 1948. Judged by comparison, a much more severe, scrupulous perpetrated ill-treatment of the indigenous Palestinian population, than what took place between 1948 and 1994, the awful era of South African apartheid, a system of racial segregation, a repressive system accompanied by the seizure of land belonging to the indigenous African people for the use of white colonizers. Except from the book: "The Unspoken Alliance/Israels secret relationship with apartheid south Africa".
A reminder; the Israeli political and economic system of apartheid did not stop at this point, but continued in the occupation/colonization of the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights occupied in 1967, and since 1967 the establishment of new settlement on Palestine owed lands in those areas, extracting the wealth of the land they confiscated to serve their own interests. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying power's to transfer the population from the land they occupy. We need an explanation of how can you justify the Israel’s policy of settlements in the occupied West Bank and the transfer of the Palestinian population?
Furthermore, how one can explain the policies of plundering the wealth of an occupied territory for the benefit of the occupying power and its citizens, while at the same instant depriving the indigenous owners to benefit from their lands, or even have access to it?
And how to explain the demographic war launched by the Israeli occupation authorities in Jerusalem, which prevents Arab citizen from building homes in most neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and exert impossible conditions such as imposing building permit fees (about 50.000 usd/apartment) by the Jerusalem municipality. While it facilitates building the huge settlements which consists of hundreds of housing units (apartments) making all the arrangements aimed to encourage settlers to move into it? We recommend you to go back and read reports on East Jerusalem by OCHA and other UN and human rights institutions. Better knowledge of the situation for Arab citizens in East Jerusalem may change your way of thinking.
Here, Mr. Goldstone will learn that tens of thousands of Palestinian families have been covertly dispersed, attributable to the blockade imposed on Gaza, to the construction of the wall and to military checkpoints that prevent transition of citizens of the West Bank into Jerusalem or to the inside of the Green Line. Did you know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been deprived for more than a decade to enter the holy city of Jerusalem? Jerusalem is located a few hundred meters away from Palestinian homes in the West Bank, sometimes when watching TV broadcasts it feels as if it is located thousand of miles away.
We wonder if you could explain the discrimination in allocating resources, the total means available for economic and political development, between Israeli and Arab cities and towns? Do you know that since the establishment of the state of Israel no new Arab city has been built, meanwhile tens of new Israeli cities and hundreds of towns and settlements were erected while the decades have past?
And how can you justify the arbitrary search of only Arab vehicles at the checkpoints, or security checks at malls, hotels, restaurants etc, while exempting the non – Arab Israelis from such humiliating procedures? And how do you justify the scrutinizing of Arabs in Ben-Gurion Airport, in a manner which is different from that of the treatment of non-Arab Israelis?
You also claim that Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment. So, then explain why the Israeli occupation authorities prevent sick, fatally wounded and dying Palestinian patients from reaching Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem? And how do you justify the policies of serial assassinations and murder of the Palestinian people and the systematic destruction of the Palestinian economic infrastructure in the occupied territories?
We the readers of your op-ed article conclude: either that you are not familiar with the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, how come you do not know that there are more political prisoners in Israeli jails than in South Africa under apartheid? Or in fact you do know very well of the dark reality of Israeli apartheid. You had your choice, and you preferred to be designated by Israel and Jewish groups to stand by and defend Israel, and to alter its disreputable image in the world.
Day by day, Israel is loosing its international legitimacy (both official and the public) and in the years ahead, it will no longer find people or might, among states in the international community to defend its positions - if it continues its occupation and its apartheid policies. The world is changing and this change might not be in the interest of the Israel that you are defending.
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|Timothy V. Gatto|