Thursday, January 04, 2007

Israel, an apartheid state?

Old habits die hard! It's been a while since i've blogged and for that, I am forever apologetic. Some friends informed me that they actually visit my blog frequently, and I thank them, and all my readers profusely. As you can imagine, not posting for a while is both embarassing in some ways and also lets hopes down.

So, again, my apologies!

The author, John Dugard, works in some capacity at the United Nations, and so this writing has special meaning. It's not written on behalf of the UN, but gives an interesting perspective to the issue of Israel and Palestine from a global, as opposed to Middle Eastern, perspective. Moreover, Dugard and former US President Jimmy Carter are riding on a wave of harsh criticism directed at Israel in recent months, first after the Israel Lobby report was published by two prominent American political scientists, and now after Carter's book was published.

I should have posted this article when I first read it, but at the time, did not, and am now repenting like a perpetual sinner because I can't seem to find the article in its entirety. Instead, I will post for you the first half, which I found buried deep within my email inbox. As always, comments - constructive and destructive! - more than welcome...

John Dugard, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 11/29/06

Former President Jimmy Carter's new book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," is igniting controversy for its allegation that Israel practices a form of apartheid.

As a South African and former anti-apartheid advocate who visits the Palestinian territories regularly to assess the human rights situation for the U.N. Human Rights Council, the comparison to South African apartheid is of special interest to me.

On the face of it, the two regimes are very different. Apartheid was a system of institutionalized racial discrimination that the white minority in South Africa employed to maintain power over the black majority. It was characterized by the denial of political rights to blacks, the fragmentation of the country into white areas and black areas (called Bantustans) and by the imposition on blacks of restrictive measures designed to achieve white superiority, racial separation and white security.

The "pass system," which sought to prevent the free movement of blacks and to restrict their entry to the cities, was rigorously enforced. Blacks were forcibly "relocated," and they were denied access to most public amenities and to many forms of employment. The system was enforced by a brutal security apparatus in which torture played a significant role.

The Palestinian territories - East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Although military occupation is tolerated and regulated by international law, it is considered an undesirable regime that should be ended as soon as possible. The United Nations for nearly 40 years has condemned Israel's military occupation, together with colonialism and apartheid, as contrary to the international public order.