Apartheid 2.0: Israel is the new South Africa

Published December 10th, 2013 - 10:46 GMT

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israel palestine arrest
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Image 1 of 13: Race: At least 20 laws favor Jewish citizens over Muslims and Christians. Jews are granted citizenship immediately in Israel; others are not. People of different races are given different colored ID cards. People are required to carry their ID card at all times and have to present it to an officer of the law on demand.

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Image 1 of 13: Land: Since 1947, Israel has confiscated land for settlement purposes. In direct violation of the Oslo accord, 2013 saw a 70% increase in settlement activity, even as peace talks were underway. Over 40% of settlement land is privately owned by Palestinians. With every new settlement, a two state solution becomes less likely.

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Image 1 of 13: Travel: Reminiscent of South Africa’s “pass system”, Palestinians must to show permits at several military checkpoints to travel from one village to another. The “security barrier” (which dwarfs the Berlin Wall) runs through the middle of Palestinian towns. Palestinians need a special permit just to approach the walls.

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Image 1 of 13: Religion: Jews in Israel are conferred more rights than Muslims and Christians. The state has also frequently imposed curbs on the freedom of worship. Since Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque in 2000, Israel has frequently imposed restrictions on Muslims wanting to enter the mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

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Image 1 of 13: Economy: According to the U.N., Palestinian farmers have lost access to over 40% of land due to settlements. Fishermen are restricted to 5 kilometers of coastline. Goods produced in the settlements for export are heavily subsidized by the Israeli government. Today, the Palestinian Authority suffers from a budget gap of $350 million.

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Image 1 of 13: Freedom of press: According to the Press Ordinance law, the Israeli Minister of the Interior can shut down newspapers "without giving a reason." This law has frequently been used to shut down Arabic newspapers.

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Image 1 of 13: Technology: Israel has blocked the access to the 3G spectrum to Palestinian telecom companies like Wataniya and Jawwal. In a smartphone era, these restrictions have caused these companies to lose out big time to their Israeli competitors and stifled innovation and job creation - creating conditions favorable for people being drawn to militancy.

PALESTINE EDUCATION
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Image 1 of 13: Government services: Jews get better access to government services than their counterparts. The “separate, but not equal” schools for Arabs are markedly inferior to schools for Jewish children. Over 100 Palestinian villages are not recognized by Israel. They are not found on maps and receive no water, electricity, healthcare and other services.

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Image 1 of 13: Prejudice: Endemic racism is a characteristic of apartheid societies. A January 2011 poll found that nearly 50% of Jewish Israelis don't want Arabs for neighbors. According to a September 2010 report, half of Jewish Israeli students don't want Arabs in their classrooms. As many as 59% of Jewish Israelis oppose equal rights for Arabs.

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Image 1 of 13: Marriage: The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law denies residency and citizenship to Palestinians from the Occupied Territories who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel. As a result, many Palestinians are forced to leave Israel and live apart from their families.

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Image 1 of 13: Defense Emergency Regulations: A throwback to the colonial era, the regulations give the state the right to imprison people without trial, ban travel, demolish homes, and seize property. The state has declared several farmlands as closed areas - farmers can't even go to their land to pick olives without a military permit.

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Image 1 of 13: Freedom of expression: Israeli lawmakers have passed a law that makes it illegal to call for a boycott of Israeli goods, services or cultural organizations. Military law makes it illegal for Palestinians to gather to protest -- even in a non-violent way.

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Image 1 of 13: Legal rights: The Israeli Supreme court has consistently said discrimination between Jews and non-Jews is legally permissible and that race is a legitimate basis for discrimination. Palestinians convicted of manslaughter can be sentenced to life in prison - for Israelis, the max is 20 years (or if you’re the settler who killed a child, 6 months).

Throughout his life, Mandela was a dedicated champion of the cause of Palestinian freedom. He famously remarked, “We know too well that our freedom will be incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.” Indeed Israel (a supporter of the apartheid regime in South Africa) was one of the few countries that didn’t invite Mandela to visit when he was released from prison in 1990. 

Mandela wasn’t the lone figure from South Africa who drew parallels between the way the whites treated the blacks in South Africa and how the Israelis governed the Palestinians in the Middle East.  After a visit to the Holy Land, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, "The treatment of Palestinians by Israelis reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa". 

"Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?" he asked.

Is the Israeli treatment of Palestinians as bad or even worse than apartheid?

Apartheid is an Afrikaans word which literally means “to keep apart.”  As a political system, apartheid was institutionalized in South Africa and has come to mean a system that discriminates against people based on ethnicity.

As explained in this article in the BBC, apartheid in South Africa rested on three pillars:

1. Race classification act: classified people into different races and discriminated against those not of a European descent.

2. Mixed marriages act: outlawed marriage between people of different races.

3. Group areas act: forced people of certain races into definite areas.

Even a cursory knowledge of the Israel-Palestine situation reveals that the policies practiced by Israel are not too different from the white apartheid regime in South Africa. In fact, one could argue that Israel’s policies of apartheid and even more sophisticated and repressive than those of South Africa. The state has used a variety of tools to discriminate against it Arab Muslim and Christian minorities.

And just what does apartheid 2.0 entail? Read this slide show to find out.

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