Is Israel An Apartheid State?

As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I am against settlement expansions. I want to see an independent state of Palestine, next to the state of Israel, based on the Clinton Parameters.

This is one of the main reasons why I voted for Meretz in the recent elections.

In my opinion, unless we reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel’s future could be endangered. I also believe in peace because I believe in human rights. I believe that the current regime of checkpoints, walls and tough security measures make the life of Palestinians in areas B and C miserable.

Such measures could be short term security solutions, but in the long run, they are more likely to create enemies for Israel and for peace. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like to go through checkpoints everyday, manned by a foreign army asking me who I am, were I am going and coming from. Imagine going through such an experience everyday! How angry would you feel?

Add to that the security wall which in some cases has cut villages in half. The Oscar nominated documentary “5 broken cameras” (you can watch the entire movie here) vividly shows the hardships which many Palestinians go through because of the security barrier.

At the same time, I do not believe that Israel is an apartheid state.

If Israeli citizens were subjected to a different treatment as Palestinians in areas C and B of the West Bank are because of their nationality, then I would agree that Israel is an apartheid state.

If Arabs who are Israeli citizens were given discriminatory water allocations and different roads to travel on as Palestinians living in area C and B of West Bank have to, then I would say that Israel is an apartheid state.

But the fact remains that people who live the West Bank’s areas B and C are not citizens of Israel, therefore the different treatment which they are subjected to can’t be called apartheid.

And lets not forget that Israel’s own Arab and non Jewish citizens enjoy the same political and legal rights as the majority of their compatriots. Israel’s Arabs have had democracy and the freedom of speech which comes with it long before any other Arab peoples did in this region.

Nevertheless, I still believe strongly that Israel must provide the same services that it offers to its citizens to Palestinians who are living in areas B and C of the West Bank. This means water, transportation, as well as legal protection. This is the duty of every occupying power and we are not fulfilling our duty.

There will be no peace until both peoples are treated equally.

At the same time, Hamas must stop calling for the elimination of Israel and must stop teaching hate. The Palestinians Authority also has its responsibilities. As Greg Roman points out in the often heated debate below, sale of land to Jews is punishable by death by the PA. This is wrong at every level.

The debate below about the new bus line in the West Bank is a good example of the numerous discussions about this topic.

The Upside of UN Palestine Vote for Israel

Soon after I returned home we heard that Palestine won at the UN. No surprises there.

At that moment I thought of all the people who Mahmoud Abbas is probably thanking for their support. Suddenly the name of two people came to my mind, so I wrote the following on my facebook wall:

Mahmoud Abbas should thank Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Lieberman for being important contributors to the success of tonight’s Palestine vote. It was their unilateral settlement expansion policy which produced much sympathy and legitimacy for the PLO’s position at the UN tonight.

I truly believe it.

Despite the concern here in Israel, there are upsides to the recent promotion of Palestine at the UN as a non-member observer.

After yesterday it’s not just the Palestinians who can refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Israel can do the same to the PLO. If any PLO official is involved in acts of terror, unlike before, Israel can now start legal action against them at the ICC. This should send a strong warning to all future potential terrorists.

I am no legal expert, but perhaps Israel can even take anyone inciting hatred against Jews or Israel in the West Bank to court as well.

None of these would not have been possible before.

Future Israeli Prime Ministers can also use Palestine’s new position at the UN and its ability to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court to put the brakes on extremists within their own governments.


Now that Palestine can take Israel to the ICC for things like settlement expansion, if at any time any future prime ministers really does not want to build more settlements but is under pressure to do so, he can now use the ICC as a deterrence to his advantage. He can say to those who want more settlements “if I do this, I could be taken to the ICC. No way.”

It’s difficult to imagine that any ultra right-wing MK would want to step in and face the possibility of being dragged in front of the ICC.