Just Another Week in the Life of an Apartheid State

Dozens of international activists detained and arrested at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for the crime of declaring their intention of visiting Palestine, Palestinian prisoners announcing the start of a mass hunger strike protesting Israel’s policy of administrative detention and occupation, and it’s business as usual when it comes to the world’s only apartheid state.

Who now apart from the ignorant or wicked can continue to deny the fact that for the State of Israel crimes against humanity are the norm rather than a departure from the norm? More, they are the very foundation upon which its government, institutions, armed forces, social relations, and entire history rests.

The fly-in organised by the international Palestine solidarity movement has succeeded for the second year in a row in laying bare the lie of Israeli democracy. However this year hundreds of those booked on flights to take part in the fly-in were prevented from doing so by airlines in their country of origin in response to a request by the Israeli authorities. This alone reveals the vulnerability of Israel to its apartheid heart being exposed. It also speaks to the shameful complicity of international companies and corporations in apartheid, illegal military occupation, and ethnic cleansing.

It is worth recalling that today four million Palestinians are incarcerated in the giant open prison otherwise known as the Palestinian Territories. Under the rubric of security, which occupying powers have always upheld as justification for barbarism, Israel operates an apparatus of military occupation, economic strangulation, settlement building, ethnic cleansing, harassment, arrest and imprisonment without trial, plus regular bouts of state-sanctioned murder. Taken together it makes the dystopia described in Orwell’s 1984 almost seem like Tenerife by comparison. Compounding the aforementioned crimes further is a massive propaganda operation designed to deny the Palestinians, forced to eke a semblance of a human existence out of this state of affairs, the right to be classified as victim.

Instead, utilising the inverted logic of an upside down world, they are deemed responsible for, to paraphrase former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, forcing Israel “kill their children”.

A particular insult to the very concept of human decency are the settlers, among them the most committed of Zionist thugs and terrorists, who act as the vanguard of the right wing Israel establishment’s objective of a Greater Israel. Imagine if the KKK in the southern states of the US enjoyed the tacit support of its government and you begin to understand the role eagerly played by these religiously and politically committed racist settlers in Palestine.

When it comes to the prisoners, according to the Palestine Monitor over 650,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. This forms approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Of the just under 5000 Palestinians currently being held in detention by Israel, around 300 exist in what is categorised as ‘administrative detention’, an Orwellian term designed to sanitise indefinite imprisonment without trial, charges being brough, access to legal counsel or any of the rights afforded prisoners in a civilised society. At present 11 Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike in protest at administrative detention, with two of those now having refused food for 46 days.

The case of one hunger striker, Hana Shalabi, recently became an international cause celebre to the extent that her plight became an embarrassment to the Israeli authorities. Originally from Jenin in the West Bank, Shalabi initially spent 25 months in administrative detention before being released as part of the prisoner swap with Israel last year for Gilad Shalit, who up to this point was the only Israeli being held prisoner by the Palestinians. Shalabi was re-arrested in February of this year and spent 43 days in hunger strike in protest before the Israelis agreed to release her, deporting her to Gaza. The commencement of a mass hunger strike of an additional 1600 prisoners will focus even more international attention on the injustice being suffered by the Palestinians both in and out of prison – though again who could argue that the West Bank and Gaza are not themselves glorified open prisons?

Previously, the injustice, cruelties, and depredations suffered by the Palestinians throughout the Occupied Territories would have remained more or less concealed from the world. Such was the ability of western governments and Israel’s supporters to provide effective political and moral support to the apartheid state. Not anymore.

Since Operation Cast Lead, described by Amnesty International as “22 days of death and destruction”, was unleashed on the Gaza Strip in 2008/ 09, a veritable army of activists from around the world has emerged. In the three years since it has organised and delivered numerous aid convoys to Gaza by land and sea – in the process being assaulted and murdered by Israeli commandoes – organised peace walks which have likewise broken the siege, and conducted fly-ins to Israel demanding open access to the West Bank. Most important of all has been the building of an international movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) with the aim of isolating Israel economically, politically, and culturally. It has grown exponentially since its inception in 2005, when the call for a boycott by Palestinian civil society was first made, and has succeeded in bringing the issue to public consciousness and awareness across the world.

The tangible result has been to increasingly turn support and cover for Israel from a political net gain to a political albatross for politicians and public figures in the West, cutting through the pro-Israel nexus of professional lobbyists and supporters, who despite their access to political power are now finding their influence on the wane.

It is only right that it is so. Israel is an apartheid state.

 

 

9 comments on “Just Another Week in the Life of an Apartheid State

  1. skidmarx on said:

    Here’s a story of an Israeli challenging the racism of other Israelis:

    Reli Margalit, a 50-year-old musician from Jerusalem’s Nayot neighborhood, said a fan hit her on the head while they were marching from Sacher Park to Teddy Stadium. Beitar beat Hapoel Acre 1-0 in the Premier League match.

    “I heard cries of ‘Death to the Arabs,’ and since I was still incensed by the Malha Mall attack, I decided that I had to confront them now,” she said. “I made a sign reading ‘Down with Beitar’s racism.’

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/beitar-soccer-fans-march-in-jerusalem-chanting-racist-slogans-allegedly-beat-woman-1.424475

  2. If a list of those airlines that collaborated with the Israelis could be published, it would be handy for organising boycotts.

  3. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    “Dozens of international activists detained and arrested at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport for the crime of declaring their intention of visiting Palestine”

    Others will, I’m sure know the answer, but how does this work? If one arrives in, say Tel Aviv, and answers “yes” to a question about planning to enter the West Bank or Gaza then the Israelis expel one? Amazing.

  4. It depends Janos.

    If you pose as a Christian (or riskier option Muslim) pilgrim, or as an apolitical tourist wanting to see the Holy sites they would let you in.

    When I visited Palestine I was open about visiting Bethlehem, but I claimed to be non political.

  5. tigger on said:

    anticapitalista,

    Rubbish – if you want to be a witness then you have to use any reasonable means to achieve that end. Posing as a tourist I recall is a time honoured way of meeting that objective, God knows enough western reporters used that ploy in Russia and the east prior to glasnost.

  6. Hasanyi_Janos on said:

    tigger:
    anticapitalista,

    Rubbish – if you want to be a witness then you have to use any reasonable means to achieve that end.Posing as a tourist I recall is a time honoured way of meeting that objective,God knows enough western reporters used that ploy in Russia and the east prior to glasnost.

    I’m sure that she was joking.

  7. Carole on said:

    is there someone who can publish how many breaches to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from Israel

    CAN SOMEONE LET ME KNOW WHY THERE IS ONLY ONE COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WHO DOES NOT HAVE TO ABIDE WITH the HR ISSUES

    Article 1.

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

    Article 2.

    Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

    Article 3.

    Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

    Article 4.

    No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms

    Article 5.

    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

    Article 6.

    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law

    Article 7.

    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
    Article 8.

    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

    Article 9.
    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

    Article 10.

    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

    Article 11.

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

    Article 12.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    Article 13.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    Article 14.

    (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
    (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    Article 15.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

    Article 16.

    (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

    Article 17.

    (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

    Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

    Article 19.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Article 20.

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

    Article 21.

    (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
    (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures

    Article 22.

    Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
    Article 23.

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    Article 24.

    Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

    Article 25.

    (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

    Article 26.

    (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

    Article 27.

    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
    Article 28.

    Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

    Article 29.

    (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
    (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
    (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

    Article 30.

    Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

  8. It might be easier for someone to try to compile a list of states which consistently adhere to those principles. It wouldn’t be a very long list.