The Guardian • Issue #2075

Israeli Apartheid

Palestine support rally in Perth.

Palestine support rally in Perth.

While the world was shocked at the recent Hamas attack, the Western media has given little analysis to the background of for the attacks on 7th October. To acknowledge that the Hamas attack was the result of 75 years of Israel’s apartheid policies would mean facing up to what Israel has been doing in the Gaza Strip.

In its first week of retaliatory attacks on the Gaza Strip, Israel levelled 1300 buildings and killed over 2200 Palestinians.

King Abdullah of Jordan wants an end to the “War on Gaza.” The attacks have ended any promise of recognition for Israel by Saudi Arabia, which now calls for an urgent meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Secretary-General of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said the world “bears responsibility for the war crimes” committed by Israel. Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas Political Bureau, condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

Western media regards the Hamas attacks as cold-blooded murder committed by “terrorists.”

The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, called the Hamas fighters “human animals” and announced that he would crush Hamas, adding that it was the “biggest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust.”

For decades Israeli politicians have condemned Palestinians in the vilest manner. Golda Meir, former Israeli Premier declared that: “There is no such thing as Palestinians … they do not exist.”

Moshe Yaalon, Israeli Defence Minister until 2016 said: “The Palestinian threat harbours cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it is necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy.”

Eli Yishi, Deputy Prime Minister (2006-2013), urged the army to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”

During a televised debate in 2010, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said to Palestinian lawmaker Ahmad Tibi: “When you were still climbing trees, we had a Jewish state here.” In 2013 at a parliamentary debate on releasing Palestinian prisoners, Bennett said. “If we capture terrorists, we need to just kill them. I’ve already killed a lot of Arabs in my life, and there is no problem with that.”

Israeli journalist Haggai Matar said: “The responses we are hearing from many Israelis today – of people calling to ‘flatten Gaza,’ that ‘these are savages.’ ”

There has been no outcry by the West against the language used by Israelis in attacking Palestinians.

Anti-Palestinian prejudice is a hate crime which remains largely unrecognised in the West. Palestinian academic Edward Said wrote in The Question of Palestine (1979) that to merely “mention the Palestinians or Palestine in Israel, or to a convinced Zionist, is to name the unnameable, so powerfully does our bare existence serve to accuse Israel of what it did to us.”

“Digital apartheid” is the censorship of pro-Palestinian voices on the internet. Since the attack on Gaza, many pro-Palestinian websites are now blocked.

Palestinian dispossession is a fundamental pillar of Israeli apartheid. Amnesty International’s 2022 report, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity, lists the seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians. Under international law these are components of a system of apartheid, which is a crime against humanity as defined by the Rome Statute and the Apartheid Convention.

Apartheid is any serious human rights violation perpetrated by a regime of systemic oppression and domination by one racial/ethnic group over another. The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the report, saying it was a “detailed affirmation of the cruel reality of entrenched racism, exclusion, oppression, colonialism, apartheid, and attempted erasure that the Palestinian people have endured.”

All pro-Palestinian protests have been banned in France, and in NSW there has been pressure on pro-Palestinian demonstrators. Yasmin Catley, NSW Police Minister, told 2GB: “I don’t want to see protests on our streets at all, from anybody.” The NSW police announced Operation Shelter, designed to guide police responses to potential pro-Palestinian rallies. Police have threatened to use special stop-and-search powers on anyone attending a pro-Palestinian rally, while Peter Dutton has demanded deportation of demonstrators.

As Amal Nasser, co-organiser of Sydney’s pro-Palestinian rally told Maeve McGregor of Crikey: “This is a strategic political campaign to silence anyone that doesn’t fit the status quo and the state’s interest.”

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