The Crime of Apartheid.
I’ve gone to the trouble of bolding portions of the definition that most obviously apply to the persecution of the Palestinians in Israeli controlled territory.
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid,
For the purpose of the present Convention, the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:
The existence of the state of Israel, which means the thing people are afraid of losing when they talk of the “destruction of Israel”, is a regime in which one racial/cultural group, the Jewish people, dominates systematically over any other group.
- Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person
- By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
- By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
A. Murder of Palestinians is a daily occurance. Six yesterday, two the day before that. It passes without even a notice in Israeli newspapers. Settlers can even shoot at Palestinians with firearms as their army stands by and does nothing.
B. Imprisonment and torture of Palestinians is a daily occurrence. Jail causes serious bodily and mental harm to Palestinians, and infringes on their freedom and dignity to the point that some of them are forced to become spies and traitors to their own people.
C. Israel’s practice of administrative detention, currently opposed by the hunger strike movement, is arbitrary and illegal imprisonment.
on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction
in whole or in part
The siege of Gaza is a calculated attempt to keep Palestinians on the brink of humanitarian disaster, and the massacre in Gaza was a calculated attempt to break the will of the people through the mass killing of civilians.
Any legislative measures
and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life
of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups
, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work
, the right to form recognised trade unions
, the right to education
, the right to leave
and to return
to their country, the right to a nationality
, the right to freedom of movement
the right to freedom of opinion and expression,
and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
It is illegal in Israel for Palestinians to discuss and teach their history in their own way – any institution that uses the term “Nakba” is in danger of losing state funding. Arabs in Israel can be accepted politically and culturally by the society on the condition of abandoning any kind of Palestinian nationalism. It is also illegal for Palestinians to fly their flag in the occupied Palestinian territory of East Jerusalem. The creation of the wall has denied many Palestinians the right to work in their home land. Israel’s laws about citizenship mean that Arab Israelis who visit family in “Enemy states” risk losing their citizenship. Palestinians are denied the right to return to their villages they were violently displaced from in 1948. Israeli policy in East Jerusalem denies many Palestinians the right to an education because there are not enough spots in the schools. The apartheid wall severely restricts Palestinians freedom of movement, even within the occupied 67 territories. Palestinians lack the right to free opinion and expression in Israel for the fear of being labelled a traitor or a terrorist and being subject to arbitrary detention.
including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines
by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos
for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages
among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group
or groups or to members thereof;
The state of Israel is the devision of the population along racial lines; principles of Zionism dictate that there should be separate Jewish labour, Jewish land, Jewish life. Palestinians are denied building permits in “Jewish” areas, even Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Israel builds settlements in the occupied 67 territories solely for the benefit of Jews. And while mixed marriages are not strictly illegal, if a Jew living in the occupied 67 territories maries a Palestinian living in the occupied 67 territories, the Palestinian will not have the right to live in Israel, whereas if the same person marries anyone else in the world they will have the right to live together in Israel. The expropriation of Palestinian property is the basis of the Israeli state, in 1948 only 6.5% of the land had been purchased by the Zionists, the rest was expropriated by state laws which arbitrarily stole land from absentee landlords who had been violently expelled. This law was only used to expropriate land from Arabs, not from Jews. This law continues to be used in Israel today by settler movements to take more and more Palestinian land in an attempt to increase Jewish presence in Palestinian areas of religious significance to Jews.
Exploitation of the labour
of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour
While Israel is careful not to rely completely on Palestinian labour and imports many exploited labourers from the third world, many Palestinians continue to work in bad conditions for Israeli bosses and this is an expression of the racial inequality in the system. Most extreme are those Palestinians so poor that they have to work building settlements which steal their land. Also extreme is the use of illegal Palestinian labour by Israeli contractors, labourers who must sneak across the apartheid wall and risk arrest or injury in the crossing.
of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.
All forms of resistance against apartheid in Israel are criminalized. Violent opposition to dispossession was never legitimized, even historically, by Israel in the Oslo agreement (as it was by Britain in the Good Friday agreement). Non-violent resistance is met constantly with flash grenades and tear gas. Known protestors, having committed no crime even by Israeli law, are regularly harassed, threatened, and arbitrarily detained by the army.
I’m not going to come out and say that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is simple – it clearly isn’t. But I do think that it is more simple than is commonly believed – the basic issue is the right of an indigenous people to self-determination on their territory, and the illegitimacy of the exclusion of an indigenous people from that territory by force of arms. That illegitimacy has been made clear by the history of the Palestinian revolution, which saw that the only way to oppose settler colonialism enforced by violence was to turn its own violence back towards it. However, today that illegitimacy is much more difficult to recognize, as the main Palestinian factions effectively support the right of Israel to exclude them from their homeland. At the same time, however, these factions can only maintain strong Palestinian support by keeping up the illusion that their way is the way to regain control of all their homeland. This is dishonest, both towards the Israelis they negotiate with, and the Palestinians they claim to represent.
The solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict is not to resolve the tensions that currently exist, but to change the conversation by affirming the need for new principles and new key questions. Rather than ask “how can a Palestinian right of return be consistent with the principles of a Jewish state”, we should ask, “how can a Jewish minority in Israel/Palestine be protected and valued without the oppression of a dispossessed majority? Because Israelis won’t start this conversation, activists should, and we should reach out to Israelis willing to live in a single democratic state in which the idea of “strategic Jewish majority” would be recognized as racist and the ideals of Jewish strength and endurance can be actualized without the perversion they undergo by basing themselves on the oppression of another people. The return of the Palestinians to their homeland is needed not only for the well being of Palestinian refugees, but without it the Jewish people will only continue the Zionist road, the road that perverts their own heritage, which turns them into just one more colonialist exclusionary nationalism.
Jewish history has been transformed by Israeli policy from a rich, complex legacy of human suffering and triumph to a stale combination of archeological findings and Biblical quotes, wielded together as weapons against human beings who happen to not be Jews, to expel them from their homes and to strip them of their land and their dignity.