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Saturday June 25, 2022

An apartheid nation

February 10, 2022

Israel dismisses charges of ‘apartheid against Palestinians’ as anti-Semitic propaganda, and the United States has been an enabler of Israeli racism over the years with its hands-off attitudes toward the inhumanity of Israeli actions on the West Bank and Gaza. But the tragic death of an elderly Palestinian-American on the West Bank last month highlights the worst aspects of Israeli policy. The nature of the death, directly due to Israeli brutality and negligence, amounts to manslaughter. The outrageously tepid response from the Israeli military’s central command tells us everything we need to know about Israel’s unconscionable occupation policy.

First of all, let’s deal with the issue of Israel as an apartheid nation, which Israeli information policy strongly denies. When serious human rights violations are committed by one racial group to maintain a system of prolonged oppression of another racial group, as in South Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s, international law refers to this as a crime against humanity or a policy of apartheid. South Africa’s apartheid sparked intense international and domestic opposition to that country. This hasn’t been the case with regard to Israel. Nevertheless, the fifty-years of apartheid in South Africa is echoed by the fifty-year period in Israel, starting with the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in the wake of the Six-Day War in 1967.

The circumstances of the death of Omar Abdelmajed Assad are dispositive. The man’s village was being patrolled by the Netzah Yehuda battalion, which is manned by Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the most racist element in Israeli society. Placing any members of an Ultra-Orthodox community in a policing role virtually guarantees that crimes will be committed against Palestinians. The Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, has fully documented the crimes in the occupied areas and has condemned Israeli military investigations of the killing of Palestinians as whitewashing.

The Israeli investigation of this particular incident was far worse than a whitewash; it was unconscionable. The pathetic nature of the punishment of the battalion, which involved letters of reprimand and a temporary removal of command for the leaders of the battalion, is particularly ugly. The investigation, moreover, stated that the soldiers used no violence ‘apart from when Assad was apprehended after refusing to cooperate.’ Eyewitnesses, however, stated that Assad was “severely beaten” and “subjected to harsh treatment and violence.” An autopsy established there was a traumatic brain injury as well as internal bleeding in Assad’s eyelids as a result of being tightly blindfolded. Imagine the consequences if the battalion had inflicted similar punishment on an elderly Jew who simply could not produce identification.

Israeli policy toward Gaza has become far worse, involving relentless and repetitive attacks on innocent civilians since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. In addition to using overwhelming and immoral military force against the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel has limited their use of electricity; forces sewage to be dumped into the sea; makes sure that water remains undrinkable; and ensures fuel shortages that cause sanitation plants to be shut down. Former President Benjamin Netanyahu and now President Naftali Bennett have maintained policies of enforced desperation among the innocent civilians who live in these conditions.

Gaza is essentially an outdoor prison, and a comparison with the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II would not be far-fetched. Both Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto point to the inhumanity of man. Living in such conditions might lead any human being to consider violent resistance as the only recourse.

B’Tselem issued a report last year that documented the violence of Israeli settler’s on the West Bank against Palestinians as well as the misappropriation of land. Over the years, Israel has built more than 280 settlements in the West Bank, now home to over 450,000 settlers. More than half of these settlements are outposts — the Israelis refer to them as ‘farms’ — that are not officially recognized by the government. There are two tracks: the Israeli government takes the land openly, using ‘official’ methods sanctioned by judges; the settlers, however, simply resort to violence against Palestinians.

Excerpted: ‘Israel, an Apartheid Nation? Of Course!’

Courtesy: counterpunch.org

Comments

    The Us sees nothing wrong as they treat Indigenous and Black citizens much the same. commented 4 months ago

    The US sees nothing wrong as they treat their Indigenous and Black citizens not much better.

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