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Nelson Mandela: "…injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; …which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians."
Find more quotes on this PDF.
More facts and resources on: It is Apartheid
Following his recent stay in Israel, Denis Golberg, veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, described his impressions thus:
The blindness to reality shocked me in Israel. Many progressive people who were opposed to apartheid would assert that there was no racism in Israel and that all were treated equally. Naturally they all knew I am not a Zionist because I would speak about Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Israelis to counter their bland usage of the word Israeli to mean only Jewish citizens. There are innumerable laws that make Palestinians aliens in their own land. I was asked to speak about apartheid in South Africa and it was striking that some in my audience would be very upset because they said I was describing Israeli life and law and segregation and racist ideology implanted in the minds of young people through daily experience, but also through their school texts, through religious instruction, through the youth movements and so on in their country when I was really describing our South African experience. I suspect that it was such talk that led Mr Segev to write the article I described above. As in apartheid South Africa, Zionist Israel does not like dissent. General Dayan said that there was not a Jewish settlement that had not been built on a Palestinian settlement that had been wiped off the face of the earth. General Sharon, an equally brutal General, later admitted that building settlements beyond the internationally agreed borders was in reality military occupation. As a matter of practical politics I accept the idea of the two state solution decided by the UN Security Council way back in 1948. That the secular PLO took so long to accept that basis does not alter the international legitimacy of this approach.
It is in my view not possible to achieve peace in a theocratic or priest driven society. Just as I reject the quasi religious basis of an exclusive Zionist Jewish state so I reject the quasi religious basis of Islamic states. One of the reasons for the ultimate lack of success of the secular PLO is that the feudal oil states of the Middle East would prefer to have Zionist Israel as their opponent and collaborator, than accept a secular Palestinian state. Palestinians are the administrators and skilled as well as labouring work force of the Middle East. As foreigners, albeit co-religionists, in the lands they find themselves in, they have virtually no political rights. With the backing of a putative secular Palestinian state, the feudal rulers would find themselves under threat of a revolution led by civil society and a demand for social democratic political systems.
Our world is a dangerous place – no conflict is more important than the demand for freedom by our Palestinian Brothers & Sisters. We in South Africa know about racial oppression. We fought it and defeated it because it was unjust. We fought it to be free to rebuild our country
The world condemned apartheid and international anti-apartheid campaigning was an important part of our struggle. It helped to isolate the apartheid regime politically, economically, diplomatically, socially and militarily all had their effects.
The condemnation of apartheid was of course based upon inherent denial of human rights and dignity to the mass of our people. the inherent violence of apartheid was condemned eg the military occupation of our townships the shootings and massacres shown on tv shocked people everywhere people, ordinary people, compelled their governments to take action against apartheid
The violence of the apartheid regime was as nothing in comparison with the utter brutality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. I mean the whole of Palestine from which Palestinian Arabs have been driven out. The greatest violence is seen in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
We did not see tanks with guns blazing protecting armoured bulldozers. Nor did we see armoured helicopter gunships “taking out” homes, children, whole families with great precision!
We did not see the destruction by bombing of the whole centres of towns. We did see the brutalisation of our people on the same scale. Not only the oppressed were brutalized; we saw the brutalisation of young white soldiers and policemen and those black soldiers and police who could be induced to serve the oppressor. That pain and suffering too has to be overcome.
We see the same brutalisation of whole generations of Palestinain Arabs. The suffering of people prevented from going to a doctor. Of ambulances being stopped. Of pregnant women forced to give birth at checkpoints. We see the same brutalisation of generations of young Israeli soldiers called upon to destroy a people and a society. Checkpoints and fences we know about from the bantustanisation/balkanisation of our Country with artificial boundaries and with migrant labour.
The Group Areas Act that determined where people could live. NO PRIZES for guessing who had the best and who had the worst
I must digress a little to talk about apartheid
Yes, a system of racial oppression. But why? Always more complex than “simple” hatred of another race It was a system of economic exploitation – no rights makes wages low Every business school teaches what every businessman knows: low wages make fat profits apartheid was a system of social segregation, labour laws for exploitation and control –ie an economic system “legal” control of people by race all overtopped by an ideology of racial superiority to explain away the iniquity of the system
We South African recognise all these features in the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians We recognise from our history that as the peaceful resistance intensifies the occupying power resorts to more and more force. The oppressed begin to say, as in South Africa, that they shall take up arms to defend themselves At that point the terrorised oppressed people suddenly become even more demonised as terrorists! At that point the world must help to find a political solution before the brutalisation and genocide of a whole nation is allowed to happen without our protest. We must stop that from happening Whatever the protestations by the Israeli state its policy has always been to drive all Palestinian Arab people out of that state. The boundaries of the state have steadily expanded until but 22 percent of the land is nominally left to the Palestinians We know that there are about one million Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel but they are denied many rights of citizens They may not acquire land or property. Where will their children live when they are adults and raise their own families? South Africa did the same under the Group Areas Act.
This is land theft on a grand scale. It is accompanied by falsehoods:
“Palestinians abandoned their land and effectively gave it to Israel” a statement that simply
ignores the massacres and deliberate destruction of villages.
Notoriously General Dayan said that there is not an Israeli village or settlement that is not built on an Arab village the armed forces of Israel have destroyed.
Denis Goldberg born in Cape Town, 1933 is a South African social campaigner, and veteran of the struggle against apartheid. He was imprisoned in Pretoria for 22 years. Goldberg was a spokesperson for the ANC and also represented it at the Anti-Apartheid Committee of the United Nations.
A number of injuries has been reported, among them MK Talab El-Sana, who apparently fainted while entrenched in a tent constructed to protest the village's demolition. By Jack Khoury and Yanir Yagna
Clashes broke out on Wednesday between residents of an unrecognized Bedouin village and Israel Land Administration workers, who arrived to stop Bedouin who were trying to rebuild the village.
Al-Arakib, which is located north of Be'er Sheva, was razed by authorities last week after it was deemed illegal; several tents have been erected since then in an effort to rebuild the village.
The Bedouin villagers claim that the police acted violently during the clashes. A number of injuries have been reported, among them MK Talab El-Sana, who apparently fainted while entrenching himself in one of the tents constructed to protest the village's demolition. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva for treatment. To the article...
A global coalition of Palestinian support groups is taking protest to a dangerous new point of brinkmanship this week, with an attempt to crash through Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in a flotilla of cargo and passenger boats now assembling in the eastern Mediterranean.
Converging at an undisclosed rendezvous in international waters, the four small cargo boats and four passenger vessels - ranging from cruisers carrying 20 to a Turkish passenger ferry for 600 - are a multimillion-dollar bid to shame the international community to use ships to circumvent Israel's tight control on humanitarian supplies reaching war-ravaged Gaza.
Full Article: Flotilla aims to break Israel's grip on Gaza
The world cannot expect Palestinians to abandon violence while remaining silent on Israel's repression of nonviolent activists
To the full article...
(...) We have grown desensitized to the consequences of actively denying basic staples and construction supplies to 1.5 million people in Gaza, many of them still waiting to rebuild homes we destroyed.
We have grown inured to the appropriation of Palestinian-owned West Bank land, to abusive treatment of law-abiding Palestinians at checkpoints, to the ill-treatment and summary expulsion of foreign workers, to racist, anti-democratic and, yes, fascistic rulings by extreme rightist rabbis, especially some of those holding official positions in the West Bank...
To the full article...
It was with great joy that I learned of the recent 16-4 vote at UC Berkeley in support of divesting the university's money from companies that enable and profit from the injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and violation of Palestinian human rights. Principled stands like this, supported by a fast growing number of U.S. civil society organizations and people of conscience, including prominent Jewish groups, are essential for a better world in the making, and it is always an inspiration when young people lead the way and speak truth to power.
Despite what detractors may allege, these students are doing the right thing. They are doing the moral thing. They are doing that which is incumbent on them as humans who believe that all people have dignity and rights, and that all those being denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings.
I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid. I have witnessed the humiliation of Palestinian men, women, and children made to wait hours at Israeli military checkpoints routinely when trying to make the most basic of trips to visit relatives or attend school or college, and this humiliation is familiar to me and the many black South Africans who were corralled and regularly insulted by the security forces of the Apartheid government...
To the full article...
(...) The general principles of the Declaration of Independence resemble those of the American Declaration, from 1776, the foundation document of the American dream, which Martin Luther King also quoted.
A re-reading of the dreams King set forth in his speech reflects a speaker who was living in a society that nurtured discrimination and especially segregation between the races. It is easy to forget he was speaking in the second half of the 20th century.
The situation of the Arabs in Israel in 1963 was also very difficult. Nearly all of them lived under the rule of military government, which imposed restrictions on mobility and other draconian regulations that were arbitrarily, insensitively and sometimes maliciously enforced.
One of the main purposes of the military government imposed on the Arabs was to make it easier to expropriate their lands. Most of them were allowed to vote and to stand for election, but the various government authorities, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Shin Bet security service, the Israel Defense Forces, the Histadrut labor federation and the political parties effectively denied them the right to free political organization. And they suffered discrimination in many other areas, too.
(...) The similarity between the struggle of America's blacks and that of Israel's Arabs is expressed in the contents of their respective dreams: a state of all its citizens. The blacks in America had, and still have, a basis for being optimistic. That is the main difference between them and the Arabs of Israel.
To the article: Are
Israeli Arabs the
new African Americans?
The United Nations requested in October an official Israeli response to a report claiming the state was inaccurate in describing the status of Bedouin living in the Negev.
The August 2009 report by the Negev Coexistence Forum, comprising residents of unrecognized Bedouin villages, says there are contradictions and inaccuracies in Israel's last annual statement on the implementation of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it submitted in July 2008.
This is the first time the UN has made such a request with regard to Israeli citizens. "In the area of political and civil rights, Israel represents the standards of a Third World country," forum coordinator Noam Tirosh said.
"How does this jibe with Israel's claim that it is the only democracy in the Middle East? It is inconceivable that in 2010, tens of thousands of citizens are not connected to the electricity grid, do not have running water and do not have basic civil and political rights."
Go to the
() What started out as a march of 20 youngsters protesting the entry of Jewish settlers into an East Jerusalem neighbourhood, has over the past few months turned into a political phenomenon that cannot be ignored. Several hundred activists, intellectuals and politicians gather every Friday at noon in order to demonstrate against the major wrongdoing. The strong-arm attitude displayed by the police only reinforced the struggle. It turned the struggle from a marginal cause to a symbolic centre that serves as a focal point for Leftists from around the country. They even dragged the State into the High Court of Justice. There they achieved a milestone when the judges authorised a large demonstration for Saturday night...
Go to the
Catherine Ashton on Tuesday leveled scathing criticism at the "Israeli occupation," in her first speech as the European Union's first high representative for foreign affairs and security policy.
The British stateswoman, who has also served as the Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission, said that in the EU's view, "East Jerusalem is occupied territory, together with the West Bank."
Ashton demanded that Israel immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, and reiterated that the
union opposes the existence of the West Bank separation fence, as it opposes evictions of
Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem...
For decades, efforts to bring about a two-state solution in historic Palestine have failed to provide justice and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli Jewish peoples, or to offer a genuine process leading towards them.
The two-state solution ignores the physical and political realities on the ground, and presumes a false parity in power and moral claims between a colonized and occupied people on the one hand and a colonizing state and military occupier on the other. It is predicated on the unjust premise that peace can be achieved by granting limited national rights to Palestinians living in the areas occupied in 1967, while denying the rights of Palestinians inside the 1948 borders and in the Diaspora. Thus, the two-state solution condemns Palestinian citizens of Israel to permanent second-class status within their homeland, in a racist state that denies their rights by enacting laws that privilege Jews constitutionally, legally, politically, socially and culturally. Moreover, the two-state solution denies Palestinian refugees their internationally recognized right of return...
Read The One State Declaration on
Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
The centenary of Tel Aviv, a city said to date from 1909, has provided a useful opportunity to present the face of Israel as a hip country built by Jewish pioneers on empty sands. Its vibrant cosmopolitan flavour, its commercial centre, its Mediterranean beaches, its liberal society and culture, are seen as signifying a truly commendable Zionist enterprise. According to the blurb on the centenary celebrations "several dozen families gathered on the sand dunes on the beach outside Yafo to allocate plots of land for a new neighbourhood they called Ahuzat Bayit, later known as Tel Aviv".
After the horrors of the Gaza onslaught and unending blockade, and the evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) early this year (which Israel has responded to with hysterical denial) no effort has been spared by the Israeli embassy and its propaganda machines to deflect the attention of the world to Israel's marvellous technical and medical discoveries, and to use Tel Aviv to present its upbeat image. Hence Tel Aviv festivities were organised in New York, Vienna, Copenhagen and Paris, with the creation of Tel Aviv beaches in Central Park and along the banks of the Seine, the Danube and Copenhagen's canals...
As Yonathan Mendel says in his article "Fantasising Israel" in the London Review of books:
It [Tel Aviv] didn't just emerge from the sand in 1909, as the Zionist myth tells us. Al-Sumayil, Salame, Sheikh Munis, Abu Kabir, Al-Manshiyeh: these are the names of some of the villages that made room for it and the names are still used today. Tel Avivians still talk about the Abu Kabir neighbourhood, they still meet on Salame Street. Tel Aviv University Faculty Club used to be the house of the sheikh of Sheikh Munis.
The Israeli organisation Zochrot has published maps of Tel Aviv showing where Arab localities existed, particularly in Jaffa and its suburbs to the south, and in smaller villages east and north of the city, but which have been erased from maps of the region and its posted signs...
Read the article in guardian.co.uk
The citation reads: Langer's life's work of humanitarian activity is impressive. She has engaged in an outstanding way for peace and justice as well as in the defence of human rights. Her long years of activity for the disadvantaged and oppressed deserve great respect and the highest recognition.
The award has caused a predictable wave of outrage from Israeli polititians and diplomats who are
already swinging the cudgel of antisemitism and hinting darkly that Germany is returning to its bad
old ways. More of such tripe may be read here: Jerusalem Post: Germany honors Israeli 'Israel hater'
The Special Rapporteur also gives relevance to the pre-existing blockade of Gaza, which was in
massive violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, suggesting the presence of war crimes and
possibly crimes against humanity. He considers the tactics pursued during the attacks by both sides,
condemning the firing of rockets at Israeli civilian targets, and suggests the unlawfulness of
disallowing civilians in Gaza to have an option to leave the war zone to become refugees, as well as
the charges of unlawful weapons and combat tactics. He recommends that an expert inquiry into these
matters be conducted to confirm the status under international law of war crimes allegations, and to
consider alternative approaches to accountability...
Download full report as PDF (128 kb) >
An Interview with UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk
Professor Richard Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is world-renowned as an authority on international law and has authored and co-authored 20 books. Recently, Professor Falk has focused much of his attention on the Israeli massacres in Gaza, alleging that Israel's actions are constitutive of both violations of the laws of war and indicative of crimes against humanity. This is the transcript of a phone interview with him from his home in Santa Barbara, California.
Can you begin by explaining the reasons why you believe that Israel is guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity?
Well that's a big question of course. I think that the attack on Gaza initiated on December 27th of
last year was a violation of a fundamental norm of the UN Charter, which prohibits non-defensive
uses of force. At the Nuremburg trials after World War II, that was treated as a crime against the
peace, which was viewed as the most serious of all international crimes.
To the interview at > imemc.org
The Court finds that the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and
its associated rgime are contrary to international law; it states the legal consequences arising
from that illegality...
International Court of Justice
Here is a collection of selected articles from previous years.