Israel, The Real Apartheid State?

South Africa is infamous for its Laws of Apartheid from the year 1948 to 1994. Under these laws black residents of the country had no rights, they were segregated on buses and at all public venues. They had no citizenship or the right to vote. In the year 1994, after years of negotiations, elections were held that officially ended Apartheid.

Since then only two other states have ever been accused of Apartheid. A small state in Africa called Rhodesia (now part of Zimbabwe), where an apartheid state came about in 1970. This state was virtually unrecognized and lasted a mere nine years. The other state is, of course, the state of Israel.

Israel has been accused over and over of apartheid ideals, mostly on account of it’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs. The claims are of restrictions for Palestinian residents on the road through the use of roadblocks, restrictions on access of Palestinians into Israel, disallowing citizenship through marriage and other restrictions on the Palestinian communities of the west bank. Most notable is the security fence under construction around the west bank.

A noticeable theme regarding all the above is that it regards only Palestinians who are residents of the Palestinian Authority. The analogy to apartheid in this case is patently false. These are not racist laws, these are laws pertaining to citizens of a foreign entity (albeit an entity waiting final status pending the outcome of negotiations)! In essence as long as these people are part of another state Israel has no obligation to them, and any restrictions are a result of their refusing to negotiate with Israel on equal footing (without preconditions), but rather to pick up arms and terrorize the civilians of Israel and Jewish settlers.

None of these are discriminations against the Arab race since Arab citizens of Israel have full rights! They can vote, hold office in any department of the Israeli government and military, own land, take equal non segregated share in use of all public facilities and they have protection from racial abuse under the law! In fact Arabs hold some of the highest positions in the government whether in legislature as members of Knesset or in the judiciary as supreme court judges. Many officers of the IDF are Arabs as well.

Any Palestinians who would become citizens of the state of Israel would get all these rights too. In fact some factions of the Israeli government are proposing annexing the west bank and extending citizenship to all Arabs in its borders. Any difficulties Palestinians have are only on the basis of their resistance to try to come to a peaceful settlement with the Israeli government. If they were to drop their weapons and rely solely on the outcome of negotiations, there would be no restrictions and no wall!

On the other hand take a look at the PA government, racial discrimination abounds in the Palestinian Authority. Jews are not allowed to own land in the PA, in fact selling land to a Jew is a capital offense punishable by death!

Freedom of religion is non existent for Jews in the PA controlled territories. Jewish rights to the tombs of Joseph and Rachel, great figures in the Jewish religion, are only available through an Israeli military presence there. Access to the temple mount the most holy of places for the Jewish religion, and only the third holiest for the Muslims, is accompanied by anti Jewish demonstration and riots when anyone who is Jewish enters the compound. The Waqf, an Arab organization that administrates the temple mount as well as all the other Muslim holy sites in the West Bank, causes restrictions to Jewish access to the temple mount and forbids Jewish prayer there.

No Jew has Palestinian citizenship, and they are excluded from the citizenship granted to all pre-1948 citizens of the Mandate of Palestine. Jewish settlers are expected to be expelled as a precondition for any talks on the establishment of a Palestinian state. Hamas, a major party in the PA and ruling faction in Gaza, makes one of their objectives the eradication of the State of Israel on the basis of it’s being a Jewish State. A fact clearly expressed in their charter.

So who really is an Apartheid State? The above mentioned policies are a clear violation of racial equality and non-segregation. Yet no one has ever deemed it necessary to call Palestine an apartheid state! The Palestinians are simply a poor, misunderstood, racially abused people who can do no wrong!

In short, there is a famous saying “the pot calling the kettle black,” that is the situation here. The most democratic society in the middle east, where there is total equality between races under the law, is called racist by an out-rightly racist regime which calls for the expulsion and destruction of all Jews in Israel. So the next time you read about racist, war mongering, peace hating Israel, take the time to look a little deeper and determine for yourself who’s really the villain here.

About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago until the age of eight, Yaakov made aliyah in 1997. Since then he has lived most of his life in Israel with a brief stint in the states to complete High-School and gain his Bachelors degree. Upon his return to Israel Yaakov joined the Netzach Yehuda battalion of the IDF where he served three years as a field medic. He now studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan.