Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Israeli Apartheid

A small victory in the fight against the Israeli de facto apartheid state:
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a major access highway to Jerusalem running through the occupied West Bank could no longer be closed to most Palestinian traffic.
In a 2-to-1 decision, the court said the military overstepped its authority when it closed the road to non-Israeli cars in 2002, at the height of the second Palestinian uprising. The justices gave the military five months to come up with another means of ensuring the security of Israelis that permitted broad Palestinian use of the road.
From the Association for Civil Rights in Israel:
In an earlier hearing in March 2008, the High Court issued an interim decision which effectively bestowed a stamp of approval on the separation of roads according to nationality - one set of roads for Palestinians and one for Israelis - representing a watershed moment in the legal history of the Occupation of the West Bank.
One set of roads for Palestinians, and one set of roads for Israelis. The "Israeli De Facto Apartheid State" is not hyperbole. It's impossible to read this without recalling the racist and segregationist "separate but equal" policy which could be found in the United States until the 1960's, or of the dehumanizing system of apartheid employed by the South African regime.
Why does Israel get a free pass? 

Right-wingers will, no doubt, say that it's necessary for security reasons. But historically, Israel has used these policies to appropriate land, money, and political power from Palestinians. This de facto apartheid is the cause of the security concerns, not a result of them. 

Some would say that this is none of our business. Perhaps they would be right, if we weren't sending Israel billions of dollars in aid and arms every year, and offering them unconditional political and strategic support. When we do this, Palestinian sympathizers (specifically, Muslims), assume that we support this policy of apartheid, which they rightly see as dehumanizing. This has a powerful tendency to radicalize Muslims, and to turn them against the Untied States. Radicalization eventually manifests itself in events like this, or this.

While I wouldn't advocate invading Israel over this, just as I wouldn't advocate invading Iran over their human rights violations, it is unconscionable that the United States does not object to these policies, withdraw support, and impose sanctions. This is what we would do if it were any other country but Israel.

This, of course, won't happen. America believes it is a moral, advanced, egalitarian country. Let's not forget that we're not too far removed from Jim Crow ourselves.

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