The favorite accusation of Palestinians has been to call Israel an apartheid state. Noam Chomsky is one of the writers who has joined in with many in the UN linking Israel with South African practices. This was even repeated in a recent meeting in Olympia of a Food Co-op who voted to boycott Israel's products because of their practice of "apartheid". They said they felt it was useful against South Africa. (see my previous blog on this)
Nothing could be further from the truth. According to international law of 1973, the U.N. defines apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group....over another racial group...and systematically oppressing them...including racial segregation and discrimination as in southern Africa.
Israel contains over one million Arab (Palestinian) citizens. They are in the knesset (the government). They are citizens with the same rights as the Jewish citizens. Nothing is restricted to them like our black citizens endured in the United States such as water fountains, bathrooms, schools, etc. An example is a hospital. Jewish and Arab babies are born in the same delivery room with the same doctors and nurses. In one case cited, the surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab, nurses were both. My apartment in Safed had Muslims speaking Arabic and Hebrew as well as Israelis speaking both. Schools teach Hebrew, English, and a choice of either French or Arabic. The children take three languages at the same time and think nothing of it. Arab and Jewish children help each other with their language lessons.
Israel is home to people from more than 70 countries. It is a small melting pot. Israeli Arabs are in politics, legal and medical professions and sports. In 1999, Rana Raslan, 21 years old, became the first Israeli-Arab woman to be named "Miss Israel."
Israel is made up of Jews that have lived outside of the Middle East called Ashkenazim, and Jews from the Middle East called Sephardim. Since its inception, as in the USA, they are inter-marrying. Not only did Arabs flee Israel, but Jews were pushed out of the Middle East countries into Israel.
Israel is a majority-rule democracy with equal rights for all citizens. Palestinians are Arabs who did not leave when Israel was created a state in 1948. Others, who left at the call of their leaders, were told that the Arab soldiers would win the attack which would allow these that fled to return and live in the homes of Jews if they wanted. It didn't happen and they wound up in camps in Gaza, primarily. Some also lived in Judea and Samaria. Actually, there were very few compared to the numbers of today. One reason is Muslim law that allows 4 wives per man, and they are having unlimited numbers of children.
I am a Jew and lived in Israel from 1980-1985. My girlfriend from our Hebrew class in Haifa was able to tour Egypt during our Spring break in 1982. This became possible after the War of 1972, another time when all the Arabs attacked Israel only to lose again. However, I could not tour in other Muslim countries. They did not allow Jews at all. Jordan's workers had been coming into Israel for jobs, and then they would go back. However, I couldn't go there as a tourist either, as I'm Jewish. It wasn't until October 26, 1994 that Hussein I of Jordan and Rabin signed a peace treaty which included an article 17 promoting tourism. How about Saudi Arabia? Forget it. I'm quite sure they wouldn't allow me in, even with my blonde hair. Luckily, we had signed a peace treaty with Egypt.
After the war of 1967, Gaza and the West Bank fell into Israel's hands as a result of their winning the war after a huge attack of all Arab countries. Gaza had been under Egypt's rule. Israel tried to make it better for the people, but they were more interested in killing Jews. This is why walls were put up in Judea/Samaria, and roads had to be monitored in Gaza. Israel even pulled out all its Jewish citizens from Gaza, but this only allowed the Hamas terrorists to take over and chase a more moderate but ineffectual Abbas out. He sought refuge in Judea/Samaria where he lives now. He was a leader replacing Arafat.
The Palestinian charter is definite in its goal to destroy Israel. We have offered the olive branch but it has been stomped on. It's hard to put up with people who only want to kill you, demonstrating their belief by rocket-shelling your land for over the past 6 years which continues today.
The Nazis found that by repeating something over and over, most people start to believe it. The Arabs were on the side of Germany in the WWI. That's when the Ottoman Empire of Turkey went kaput. They've taken into their own practice this idea of repetition, and keep crying that Israel is apartheid.
This problem is not one of racial hatred. It's a problem of religious intolerence of the Arabs refusing to accept a Jewish state back in its rightful place in their midst. Jews were in this ancient land before there was a religion of Islam or even Christianity. Jews have been the ones injured in this, not the Arabs. The U.N. has done nothing to prevent this type of action. It was the U.N. who baptized Israel as a state and accepted into the U.N. family, yet they side with Israel's accusers as they have money, power and oil.
Gaza and the Judea/Samaria area are not part of Israel and the people there are not Israeli citizens. Arafat maintained that distance long ago. Barriers have gone up for one reason, to protect Israeli citizens from physical harm from people who want to kill them. People in these areass are governed by Palestinian Authority, carry Palestinian I.D. cards issued by Palestinian Authority with Israeli permission and elect members of the governing Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian citizens in Israel would not be happy living under Abbas or Hamas's regime at all. They've been enjoying too many freedoms. By continuing to hate Jews, the rest in Gaza and Judea/Samaria can only blame themselves, not Israel, for any discomforts.
Israel is the only Jewish state in the world, created as a haven for Jews who have suffered from persecution ever since 70 A.D. I was a part of this ingathering of Jews from all corners of the world. This is a period of time prophesized about in the Bible. We have finally returned to our own land. There are 47 Muslim states in the world. Indonesia , the country President Obama lived in with his step-father and mother, ranks according to IMF's world Economic Outlook database for 2007 as #1 with 228,582,000 people and 86.1% are Sunni Muslims. Of Israel's neighbors, Egypt is #5 with 77,100,000 people and 90% are Sunni Muslims. Iran, though not really close, is in striking distance. It is #6 and has 71,517,100 people and 98% are Shi'a Muslims. Syria, on the border, has 19,405,000 people with 90% Sunni Muslims. Jordan , right next door on the Eastside, is #30 with 5,568,565 people and is 95% Sunni Muslim. That's about the size of Israel of about 6,000,000 Jews and a million Muslims. Lebanon in the North is #35 with 4,196,453 people at 60% Shi'a/Sunni. Their Major Hadad of the Christian Militia had been Israel's friend. In 82 we had a war with Lebanon over the Christians attacking the Muslims. That's another story.
We, of all people, are not practicing apartheid. That term applies a racial component and this isn't the case with Jews versus Palestinians. Because this doesn't fit the description of South Africa's Apartheid, in 2002 the Roma Statute of the International Criminal Court came up with an identifiable national, ethnic or cultural group instead of a racial group. Their 2009 report continued with socially constructed groups distinguished by ancestry or descent as well as nationality, ethnicity, and religion.
These may be the reasons Palestinians have been fighting us, but this law is turning the tables of who is to blame. The minute Israel was declared a state the Palestinians and other Arabs attacked us. This has been going on intermittedly for the past 62 years. Their religious intolerance has not allowed them to abide by international law in accepting us as a new state in the neighborhood. What is left to do but defend ourselves and hope for better times.
Dry Bones in the Jewish Review today says it all. Two people are talking. One says, Gaza is firing missiles again at Israeli cities and towns, But it's no big deal. The other fellow says, "It's no big deal?" "Nope", the first retorts. "And it won't be a big deal until Israel fires back." And that's the way it has been going. When we try to defend ourselves, everyone yells and complains.
The same paper headlined with Israel's right wing is now pushing for a one state solution, which would bring in over another million and a half Arabs in Judea/Samaria as citizens. The reasoning is that most Jews in Israel have been coming around in seeing that the two-state model won't happen because the obstacles to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement are insurmountable. Moshe Arans, former Israeli defense and foreign minister is behind this idea. He feels Israel would still have a 60% majority and still be a Jewish state. I say nope. It would only last for 9 months. The Muslims would quickly outnumber us, and might even bring in all their relatives on the outside. It's too risky. I just wish that Obama would see that he and the quartet are pushing for the impossible. Logic shows it isn't workable.
Free the Palestinians, they chant. Only they can free themselves by changing their intolerance and their charter. Perhaps then they will become productive citizens and have a better life.
Stand With Us publication- Israel Is... Diverse. http://www.standwithus.com/
Jewish Review, August 15, 2010. Page 1 (front page) & 19 Israelis debate one state.