Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Israeli apartheid

Today's Guardian has a substantial article on Israel's apartheid-style policies towards both Palestinians and its own Arab citizens [long]. Many will object to any comparison between Israel's policies and those of South Africa, but reading the article, it is entirely appropriate. Oh, there's not the petty segregation of public facilities of South Africa or Jim Crow, but the core - the confiscation of land, the use of ethnic classifications, the systematic use of planning restrictions to oppress and dominate and encourage demographic change, the legal restrictions on marriage aimed at preventing cross-cultural ties, the channeling of public resources overwhelmingly towards one ethnic group, leaving the other without public housing, schools, parks, or access to government services, the institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one group over another - its all there. And it is truly a tragedy that a country founded by people fleeing exactly these sorts of tactics would go on to use them in turn.

Apartheid is recognised as a crime against humanity in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It deserves to be. And nations which practice it deserve to be made pariahs and their leaders tried before an international court. In the 1980's, the international community showed its opposition to this crime in South Africa with a sustained international boycott. Is Israel does not change its policies soon, then that is exactly what deserves to happen to it.


I remember talking to a retired history prof who specialised in the middle east not too long ago. I asked him where his sympathies lay iwth regards to Israel/Arab conflicts and tensions, and he said that the only conclusions he could draw were that all sides had acted incredibly badly. Israel depserately needs a new govt and America needs to be a more demanding ally: not merely a 'carte blanche' apologist.

Posted by Anonymous : 2/07/2006 12:52:00 PM