Boycott israHell!

Boycott israHell!
Бойкот на израел и печелещите от окупацията! Boycott israHell and those who profit from occupation!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

1. Palestine’s peaceful struggle
2. Israeli settlement expansion in South Hebron Hills continues unabated
3. Israel authorizes building in another East Jerusalem neighborhood
4. Israeli forces raid Bil’in
5. UN: Gaza in worst condition since 1967
6. Libelled activist donates to ISM from court award
7. Why stop with Elbit?
8. Israel’s laws of persecution
9. Palestinian driver forced to unload truck despite papers
10. An open letter to Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

1. Palestine’s peaceful struggle

Mohammed Khatib | The Nation

11 September 2009

A few weeks ago, in the dead of night, dozens of Israeli soldiers with painted faces burst violently into my home. If only they had knocked, I would have opened the door. They arrested me. My wife, Lamia, was left alone with our four children. My youngest, 3-year-old Khaled, woke up to the image of Israeli soldiers with painted faces who were taking his father away. He has not stopped crying since. A few nights
ago he woke up in terror, sobbing: “Daddy, why did you let the soldiers take me?” That’s the way our children sleep–in a constant state of fear.

Many Americans know that the Obama administration has been pushing the Israeli government to accept a freeze on settlement construction. What is not commonly known is that even as Israel negotiates with the United States, it has been taking steps, including my arrest, to crush the growing Palestinian nonviolent movement opposing Israel’s construction of settlements and the wall on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

For over five years the residents of Bil’in and other villages have been protesting against Israel’s separation wall, which cuts off our village’s land for the sake of Israeli settlement expansion. We have even taken the struggle to the courts. The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled in July 2004 that the wall, where it has been built inside the West Bank, is illegal under international law,
as are all Israeli settlements. In September 2007, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled that the wall in Bil’in, which separates us from 50 percent of our land, is illegal according to Israeli law. The wall has yet to have moved.

The Israeli army is using more-lethal weapons and greater violence against protesters, and arresting many people, including many protest organizers. In Bil’in alone, twenty-nine residents have been arrested in the past three months. Twelve of them are children. Almost all were arrested during military raids in the middle of the night. Their detention has been extended repeatedly.

But the charges against them are baseless. As one example, I have been charged with stone throwing. I was released on bail with draconian terms only after my lawyers showed the court passport stamps proving that I was abroad at the time of the alleged offense. My friend, Adeeb Abu-Rahme, 37 years old and the father of nine, has been imprisoned for more than six weeks, though the charges against him are just as absurd.

Every Friday in Bil’in, we march to the wall in peaceful protest, along with our Israeli and international partners. Once a year we hold an international conference about the popular nonviolent struggle. Together we learn and gain inspiration. We struggle together to bring down the many walls between people that the occupation is creating. We’ve repeatedly addressed the Israeli soldiers here, telling them we
are not against them as people, but that we oppose their actions as an occupying military force.

Still, nineteen demonstrators have been killed by the Israeli army in these nonviolent demonstrations against the wall. Many have been injured, including Israeli and international activists protesting with us. Here in Bil’in we recently lost our friend Bassem Abu Rahme, who was fatally shot by soldiers in April while he was imploring them to stop shooting at demonstrators.

Several months ago we were warned by Israel’s occupation forces that they intended to crush the popular struggle.

Why has the Israeli government decided now to increase the suppression of demonstrations and to break the spirit of protest leaders? Maybe because they realize that the nonviolent struggle is spreading, that more and more villages have created popular committees that are organizing demonstrations. Perhaps the crackdown is a result of their concern and the growing international movement for the boycott of companies and businessmen such as Lev Leviev who are involved in Israel’s land grab. Or maybe they fear that the new American government could learn through our demonstrations that Israel’s wall is a means to annex land for the growing settlements, and that nonviolent Palestinian protests are being brutally suppressed.

Israel’s actions suggest that it is intimidated by people struggling for their rights in a nonviolent manner. The Israeli government seems to believe that Palestinians who struggle while partnering with Israeli activists endanger Israel’s occupation and that tearing down human walls is a dangerous act. Perhaps what the state of Israel fears most of all is the hope that people can live together based on justice and equality for all.

2. Israeli settlement expansion in South Hebron Hills continues unabated

Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove

10 September 2009

At a time when the international community is calling for a freeze on new building in settlements and the disbanding of settlement outposts, the settler community of the South Hebron Hills is continuing its expansion unabated.

Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement on Ma’on, in the South Hebron Hills area, are constructing at least five new caravans on the south-west side of the settlement. Internationals based in the nearby Palestinian village of At Tuwani first observed building preparatory work in Ma’on a few days ago. Today, as the new caravans were being built, settlers began preparatory work on a nearby hilltop for further settlement expansion. Over the past three months, internationals have also observed settlers constructing numerous new buildings in the nearby illegal Israeli outposts of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) and Avigail.

Since its establishment in 1981, Ma’on settlement has been a source of violence towards local Palestinians. The agricultural orchards of Ma’on are cultivated on private land belonging to a family from the nearby Palestinian village of At Tuwani. By 1997, ongoing settler violence forced the Palestinian inhabitants of three nearby villages (Sarura, Humra and Kharoubeh) to abandon their homes.

The original outpost of Havat Ma’on was established in July 1999, but was dismantled in September of that year by the Israeli military. The following year, the outpost was re-established on a nearby hilltop, Hill 833, and has remained and grown since then. Avigail outpost was established in 2001.

Settlers from Ma’on and Havat Ma’on attack and harass Palestinian children from Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed traveling to and from school in At Tuwani. In 2004, following two attacks on internationals accompanying the children, the Israeli Knesset Committee for Children’s Rights affirmed the need for a military escort for the
school children. The escort continues five years later. Settlers from Avigail and Havat Ma’on outposts also regularly attack Palestinian shepherds grazing their sheep.

For photos of new buildings in Ma’on go to:

3. Israel authorizes building in another East Jerusalem neighborhood
Akiva Eldar | Ha’aretz

9 September 2009

Three days after the U.S. administration criticized the decision of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to authorize the construction of hundreds of new housing units in settlements, the Israel Lands Administration published tenders for the construction of 486 apartments in the neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev in East Jerusalem.

The new construction project is designated for the outer edge of the northeastern municipal boundary of Jerusalem, and will narrow the distance between the homes on the edge of the neighborhood and the nearby Palestinian communities. Bids have been solicited for construction on an overall area of 138 dunams (about 34 acres), which
was subdivided into 25 smaller tenders.

The Obama administration has made it clear on a number of occasions that it is demanding that Israel freeze settlement construction in the territories, including in East Jerusalem. Two months ago, it was reported that Netanyahu had ordered a delay in the publication of the tenders.

In October 2008, the ILA canceled the tenders, arguing that the bids received from developers were too low compared to the value of the land. Then, last month, Haaretz-TheMarker reported that the tenders would be reissued after an appeal by contractors had led to the conclusion that the official assessment of the land value had been
excessively high.

Officials at the Ministry of Housing and Construction said at the time that they would offer or development more land in the neighborhood so as to lower the price of apartments in the area.

Daniel Seidemann, the founder of Ir Amim, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote coexistence in Jerusalem, said last night that tenders of such magnitude would not be announced if they did not have the support of the prime minister. Seidemann describes the bid-taking as yet another example of a fraud that leads to creating facts on the ground even though there is talk of a freeze in settlement

According to the ILA: “The tender was issued with the approval of minister of housing, and there was no additional approval needed at the political level. It is a tender that had been published last year in October and, for technical reasons, so far only two of the 25 plots had been sold.”

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the exchanges between Israel and the U.S. on the issue of a settlement freeze told Haaretz that the Obama administration is not interested in a crisis with the government of Netanyahu on settlements.

4. Israeli forces raid Bil’in

8 September 2009

Shortly after 2:30am, the Israeli occupation forces invaded the village of Bil’in again with five Jeeps and a military truck. They came to arrest Hamaza Burnat (age 16) but he was not at home at the time. This was the second time this week that the Israeli Army raided his house.

Bil’in is a small village of 1,700 inhabitants near Ramallah in the
West Bank. For nearly three months now, the Israeli occupation forces have been conducting night raids several times a week in this village arresting more than 20 people, mainly teenagers.

On behalf of Iyad Burnat, the Head of the Popular Committee, we call on all the supporters to help us in our struggle by organizing demonstrations and sending messages to the Israeli Embassies demanding to stop these night raids in Bil’in. Our children cannot sleep at night because of sound bombs and tear gas being fired by the invading forces. This village is under curfew, we need all your help to be able
to lead a normal life again.

To view video see:

5. UN: Gaza in worst condition since 1967

Ali Waked | YNet News

8 September 2009

A UN report published Tuesday says poverty in the Gaza Strip has deteriorated to levels unseen since 1967.

The UN trade and development agency says 90% of Gaza’s residents are currently beneath the poverty line and rates the damages caused by the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead at $4 billion, a sum it claims is three times larger than the Strip’s annual market performance.

The agency claims the operation halted all trade in the Gaza Strip, creating a deficit of around $88 million. This, in addition to material damages and loss of finances due to the siege and trade limitations later imposed on the Strip, make up the final sum.

The agency’s report claims the Strip has not been in such dire straits since 1967, and that the government has become the residents’ main force of employment.

Gaza’s production capabilities are also on a permanent downslide, the UN agency says, and its economy has been recessing for nine years.

The agency offers no solution, and says it regrets that the $4.4 billion dollars pledged to the Strip during a Sharm El-Sheikh conference has not yet reached its destination.

The conference, held in the Egyptian city in March, hosted representatives from 45 different nations. The US pledged $900 million, a third of the sum pledged during the conference.

6. Libelled activist donates to ISM from court award

ISM London

7 September 2009

ISM London wishes to thank activist Raphael Cohen for a generous donation he recently made from the funds the court awarded him after his recent libel action against a London newspaper.

Raph – as he’s known within the ISM – instigated legal proceedings against the Jewish Chronicle after it published a letter in November 2008 falsely claiming he had “sheltered” British suicide bombers five days before they blew up a Tel Aviv bar in 2003.

In April, Raph won the case in the high court, accepting substantial damages and an apology. The paper also paid legal costs. The weekly newspaper accepted it should never have published the letter.

This month, Raph announced to ISM London that he would donate part of his award to the ISM.

7. Why stop with Elbit?

Amira Hass | Ha’aretz

9 September 2009

The question is not why Norway divested from the defense electronics giant Elbit Systems, but why only now, and why only from that company? The country that gave the name of its capital city to what the world thought of as a peace process is still invested in companies involved in construction and development in the West Bank settlements – the principal factor in destroying any chance for peace (at least any peace other than the belligerent demand that the Palestinians say “thank you” for what Israel is willing to give them).

From the outset, instead of rebuking the Norwegian ambassador, the Foreign Ministry and Defense Minister Ehud Barak should have actually praised the citizens of Norway. Through their government pension fund, which invests oil revenues in 8,000 companies around the world for the sake of Norway’s future generations, those citizens continue to be active partners in Israeli construction in the West Bank.

Africa Israel (if its shares have not already been sold for purely economic reasons), Israeli banks that give mortgages to settlers, a Mexican company that has plants in the settlements and is a partner in mining in occupied territory, Israeli firms whose plants are in the occupied West Bank – these are just some of the over 40 Israeli and international companies that are involved in solidifying Israel’s
occupation, and in which Norway invests, according to data from the “Who Profits” project, run by the Coalition of Women for Peace.

The Norwegian Finance Ministry’s Council on Ethics, which recommended that the pension fund pull its investment from Elbit, also explained why it would divest from that company but not, say, from the U.S. company Caterpillar. Elbit, it said, developed equipment used specifically in the construction of the separation barrier, while the equipment sold by Caterpillar to the Israel Defense Forces has
legitimate uses as well, and the company should not be held responsible for it being employed in another, possibly illegal, way (namely, the wholesale destruction of Palestinian homes).

The council extended this conclusion to other companies involved in building the separation barrier that also benefited from Norwegian investment. In this way it corresponds indirectly with left-wing Norwegian activists, and with Palestinian and Israeli anti-occupation activists, providing a basis for their suspicions that the fund’s ethics guidelines have been violated. Those guidelines forbid investment in companies that “contribute to serious or systematic human-rights violations,” and are in blatant contradiction to the will or pretense of moving Israel and the Palestinians toward a just agreement.

And still, it seems that the Foreign Ministry and Barak know full well why they were so quick to issue a rebuke, and are once again trying to sow fear, forcing Norway to lower the bar it has set for itself and other countries, and blocking in advance the logical path the recommendations have paved. This is the first time a nation has adopted – actively and not just with words – the opinion of the International Court of Justice in the Hague about the separation contravention of international law.

If building the barrier is in itself illegal, it follows that so are the settlements, roads and factories serving the occupation. The Norwegian foreign minister also noted that the ICJ had ruled that it is the obligation of countries signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention to prevent that charter’s violation.

It is said that members of the ethics council are not influenced by social or political pressure. But the very creation of the council in 2004 stemmed from public pressure and struggle. We can only hope that forces within the Norwegian public continue to tell their government (even if it is replaced this month by a right-wing administration) that it is obligated not to drag them into being an accomplice.

8. Israel’s laws of persecution

Nimer Sultany | The Guardian

8 September 2009

Two cases brought before Israeli courts last week revealed the attitude of the establishment towards Palestinian Arab citizens of the state. One shows how Palestinian citizens are treated as victims of police brutality, and the second shows how they are regularly victimised because of their opposition to injustice.

In the first, a policeman who shot and killed an Arab citizen in 2006 was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The unbearable leniency of the sentence is more evidence of the total disregard for Arab life inside Israel, where ethnicity of the victim is a de facto mitigating circumstance in the case of Israel’s Palestinian citizens. Indeed, this was the only case in which any policeman or soldier was indicted
since the mass protests of October 2000, in spite of the fact that about 40 citizens were killed during this period.

The second case involved an indictment against Rawi Sultani, a 23-year-old law student, for “contact with a foreign agent” and “delivering information to the enemy”; two flawed articles in Israel’s laws comparable in their application to use of “national security” laws by authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the world. The young student is a political activist of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), a party that calls for the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a
state for all its citizens. Rawi is also the son of a well-known leader of the party. He is accused of having contact with another youth, who allegedly turned out to be a Hezbollah member, during a national Arab youth conference in Morocco. Allegedly, Rawi disclosed information regarding the Israeli army’s chief of staff, given their membership in the same gym. Yet the case is based on a tendentious
account of one statement of a publicly known fact regarding the chief’s membership in that gym made by the accused.

The identity of the accused, the identity of his father, the party to which they both belong, the timing of the case and the kind of charges chosen cannot be easily overlooked and give grounds to questioning the political incentives behind the indictment and the message behind it. One would be hard put to explain the extensive surveillance against leaders and activists of the NDA as revealed by this case.

Indeed, since the emergence of the NDA in the mid 1990s, it faced mounting legal and public attacks. These attacks took a stronger turn since October 2000 and culminated in the forced exile of Azmi Bishara, the leader of the NDA, who was accused with similar charges in 2007. What was supposed to be a fatal blow to the NDA and its legitimacy within the Arab minority has failed, with the party’s success in the Israeli parliamentary elections in February. However, this did not deter the establishment from mounting further attacks on the cadres of the party. Thus, we have witnessed in the last month show-arrests and interrogations of many young activists of the NDA that are reminiscent of crackdowns on pro-democracy activists in authoritarian regimes.

Its connections with the Arab world is a recurring theme of the persecution of the NDA as a party challenging the Jewishness of the state, and is the real incentive behind Rawi’s case. The NDA has, since its inception, challenged the iron cage surrounding Arab citizens following 1948. Israel has detached Arab citizens from their familial, historical, cultural and sociopolitical milieu. The legislation preventing family unification and the naturalisation of spouses of Arab citizens if they were residents of the occupied territories or other Arab countries surrounding Israel is only the most draconian example of this policy of segregation. Israeli law also defines a long list of Arab states as enemy states and prohibits Arab citizens from visiting them, and prohibits political parties from expressing support of Arab liberation struggles. In short, “national security” is broadly defined to fit the dominant ideology of the state rather than the security of citizens, regardless of their national affiliation.

Yet, as Rawi’s father correctly argues, the Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot be expected to treat the Arab world as an enemy and they cannot be held accountable for the political views or affiliations of other Arabs they meet in their travels outside Israel. Indictments such as Rawi’s aim at forcing Palestinian citizens to adopt the Zionist newspeak and refrain from connections with the Arab world and
from identifying with its legitimate cause against Israel’s continuing occupation of Arab lands.

Criminalising dissent is not unique to Israel. Many oppressive states, such as apartheid South Africa, have used it to de-legitimise parties, ideas and activities disliked by ruling elites and security apparatuses. Furthermore, persecution on grounds of “security” creates an immediate divide between Arab and Jewish citizens. In 2007, the head of Shabak, the Israeli general security agency, stated that
struggles against the Jewishness of the state, even if lawful and democratic, would be deemed subversive. The current right-wing government is seeking to condition citizenship on loyalty to Zionist ideology, a demand unparalleled in any democracy and contrary to the most basic of human rights. With this kind of attitude, it is no
wonder that young Arab men and women inside Israel are victimised because of their noble aspirations to equality and freedom.

9. Palestinian driver forced to unload truck despite papers

Ali Waked | YNet News

10 September 2009

The driver of a truck loaded with boulders drove last Friday to the Palestinian town, Ras Tira, to deliver his truck’s contents.

He was shocked to discover that, despite having all the proper documentation for delivering the goods signed by Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Authority, IDF soldiers at the checkpoint asked him to unload the boulders so that the bed of the truck could be checked.

The separation fence splits Ras Tira from the main bloc of Palestinian towns in the West Bank, creating an enclave on the side of the fence near Qalqilya.

Ras Tira Mayor Hisham Mara’adeh told Ynet that the driver reached the entrance of the town around 6:30 am, but was detained there until 12 pm explaining the situation to the soldiers.

The driver explained to the soldiers that he had no problem unloading the boulders from the truck.

However, because of their large size, he had no way of reloading them onto the vehicle and transporting them to their final destination.

This did not seem to deter the soldiers. They insisted that he unload the rocks, and the driver ultimately gave in. He then had to order a tractor with a crane, paid for at his expense, in order to reload the weighty goods back onto the truck. Only at 3 pm did the driver and his load enter the town.

“These scenes are almost daily. When we happen upon an officer who is not nice, the life of the village, mainly residents and drivers – especially those who have to deliver a load – turn into a nightmare,” said Mara’adeh.

The mayor said that all petitions to the Coordination and Liaison Authority and to human rights organizations have failed to change the situation. Mara’adeh, who filmed the event together with the women of MachsomWatch, also said that “the soldiers bully the residents.”

The women of MachsomWatch said that this incident occurred during a period when Israel is actually easing up on checkpoint activity in honor of the Ramadan holiday.

The IDF Spokesperson declined to comment.

10. An open letter to Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

Haider Eid | The Palestine Chronicle

10 September 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to express my dismay and disappointment with both your attendance at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies – a racist organization by any standards – as well as the content of your speech at that forum.

I am a naturalised South African of Palestinian origin. I spent more than five years in Johannesburg, during which I earned a PhD from the University of Johannesburg and lectured at the-then Vista University in Soweto and Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg.

I would like to take issue with the manner in which you express your support for the two-state solution: “It is a solution that fulfils the aspirations of both parties for independent homelands through two states for two peoples, Israel and an independent, adjoining, and viable state of Palestine” (emphasis mine). Allow me, Mr. President, as a resident of Gaza, to express my shock with the fact that – only 8 months after the Gaza massacre, in which 1500 civilians, including 434 children, were brutally murdered – you still believe that there are two symmetrical sides. You even call it the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict!” Was that your belief in the 1970’s and 80’s; that there were “two-sides” to the South African “conflict”? Were there two equal parties, namely White and Black, with equal claim to the land and equal historical responsibility for the-then status quo? No doubt, this sounds like a bizarre interpretation of South African history and one which we Palestinians find equally astounding when applied to our history and our reality today.

Mr. President, these words of yours are even more disturbing, given your own involvement in the commendable struggle against the brutal, anti-human apartheid system and the notion of “independent homelands” which were based on the separation of human beings. Your struggle as Black South Africans, was morally superior to apartheid because it was inclusive where apartheid focused on separation; it was embracing where apartheid focused on division; it was life-affirming where
apartheid was violent and murderous.

The South African anti-apartheid goal, adopted by anti-apartheid activists all around the world was unequivocal: the end of the racist system and ideology of apartheid. There could be no toenadering (rapprochement)with apartheid ideologues; no creation of homelands and puppet leaders: the system had to be dismantled in its entirety. Many South Africans supported by a sustained global anti-apartheid campaign, sacrificed their lives to bring down the Bantustansan euphemistically, called independent homelands by the apartheid regime. Mr. President, Steve Biko, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, the Mxenges, the Slovosac to mention but a few anti-apartheid heroes must have listened to the speech to the JBD and wondered what happened to the universal values and human rights espoused by the ANC.

Comrade Jacob (if I may),

I would like to brief you on the nature of the powerful party, i.e.Israel – with whom your post-apartheid government still, amazingly, maintains exceptional diplomatic and economic ties.

Unlike the new post-apartheid South Africa, which you helped to create, in the State of Israel all human beings are NOT equal. There are fundamental artificially created and selectively rewarded a level of of citizens in the state. Israel defines itself as a Jewish State. It, therefore, creates a bizarre distinction between “nationality” and “citizenship.” Almost 22% of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians who are excluded from such a definition. Israel thus, by definition is NOT the state of its citizens, but rather that of “The Jewish People”, most of whom, like the members of JBD whom you were addressing, have no birthright connection to it. The question which begs an answer is what the status of those Palestinian citizens in a Jewish state is? The answer is, as every single – to use a word you must abhor “non-white” South African knows: Racism.

The delegates at the national conference of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish, but at the same time, South African citizens “enjoy full rights” in Israel, rights that apartheid Israel denies to us, the indigenous people of this land. They also call us “Israeli Arabs”, “Jerusalem residents”, “Arabs of the territories”, not to mention the refugees living in the Diaspora, whose mere mention
always spoils any party, and whose right to return and compensation is sanctioned by International Law (UNGA resolution 194).

Israeli nationality, therefore, is non-existent. Instead, there is Jewish Nationality”. To make such a bizarre term comprehensible, think of “White Nationality” as opposed to South African. In your speech before the JBD, you state very eloquently that “(m)uch as we are conscious of who we are culturally and otherwise, it must not take away the national identity, as we should be South Africans first”.

The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crimes of Apartheid, Article 2, Part 3, clearly defines apartheid as:

“[a]ny 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 education, the right to leave and return to their country the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence.”

This definition, in its entirety, clearly applies not only to the Palestinian people residing in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also those living in Israel itself. This is precisely the reason that the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Territories, a fellow South African, John Dugard, concluded that “the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid appears to be violated by many practices”.

If you were born to Palestinian parents living in Israel – a fate you have been spared, Mr. President – you too would be denied the rights of “Jewish Nationality” and been forced to submit to institutionalized inferiority or choose to resist it.

Furthermore, ICSPCA (quoted above), Article 2, Part 4, makes it crystal clear that:

“[t]he term ‘the crime of apartheid’,’ shall apply to “any measures including legislative measure, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate measures and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups The expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof..”

Comrade Jacob, the word apartheid never appears once in your speech before the JBD! A listener would never know that you were speaking to an audience who actively support apartheid in another country.

Did you know that racist laws used to forbid Black property ownership in white areas in apartheid South Africa are in force in apartheid Israel? Indigenous Palestinian citizens of Israel are not only prohibited from living on land owned by “Jewish institutions”, but are also not allowed by force of “law” to reside in any areas designated “Jewish” either.

I, myself, Mr. President, a resident of Gaza, like so many Palestinians, have legal title to my parents’ land in Israel, but have no “legal” right to it because my parents’ property, like that of millions of other Palestinians’, was taken away from us and given over to Jewish ownership. The facts are that Jews owned only 7% of
Palestine before 1948; today 93% is considered “state land” and can only be owned by Jews or Israel.

This is only one example, Comrade Jacob, of the nature of the state your government deems “democratic”and “friendly” despite its past strategic ties with apartheid SA. In your presidential campaign, you were quoted singing “kill the Boer!” And yet, in your speech, you “unequivocally” condemn “all forms of violence from whatever quarter”, particularly where civilians are targeted!

I fail to understand this contradiction. Is this a reflection of the difference between comrade Jacob and President Zuma? Do you, as president, think that Palestinians have no right to resist their occupation and dispossession? You even equate our resistance with the War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity committed by the Israeli Occupation forces in the West Bank and, in particular, in Gaza.

Is it too much, comrade Jacob, for us, representatives of Palestinian Civil Society organizations to ask your government to sever all diplomatic ties with apartheid Israel, and endorses not to say lead the growing global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel? Is that really too much to ask a democratic post-apartheid South Africa for?

Is this the embodiment of Fanon’s prophecy about the “Pitfalls of National (Racial?) Consciousness?” Is it because the Black Middle class which your government represents and which has taken power from the White Middle class is underdeveloped? Fanon, whom you must have read while on the run from the apartheid police, says that this national middle class “has practically no economic power, and in any case it is in no way commensurate with the bourgeoisie of the mother country which it hopes to replace.” Is this why you are prepared to kowtow to the South African Jewish community which “has been called one of the most tightly-knit in the world, overwhelmingly united in its support for Israel?”

Your government, Mr. President, turns a blind eye to the war crimes of its own citizens against Palestinians. The South African war criminal David Benjamin was allowed to freely move around South Africa and share his tactics of support and defence for the Israeli Occupation Forces in its recent onslaught against the Gaza Strip with impunity. There are seventy other South Africans that are known to have links with the destruction of the Israeli Occupation Forces who enjoy the same impunity. It is left to individuals and civil society organizations in South Africa to take action against these criminals that should rightly be the task of the government.

Your post-apartheid government, Mr. President, unashamedly, supports the two-state solution: one for Palestinians (Muslim and Christians), and one for Jews. In other words, you support the re-birth of Bantustans, albeit in the Middle East this time. The two-state solution is a racist solution, comrade Jacob. If you did not accept it
for yourselves in South Africa, why force it on Palestinians instead of supporting us as we demand the right to our homeland every single inch of it?

Mr. President,

A politics based on narrow-minded, selfish pragmatism was rejected by all anti-apartheid forces, locally and internationally during the years of the anti-apartheid struggle. What was promoted, instead, was adherence to universal principles of equality and dignity.

I truly hope you will reconsider. I know that it is my constitutional right as a citizen of the New South Africa – which I am proud of – to address you directly. I do so to express my deep disagreement and dissatisfaction with your government’s Middle East policy and its continued support for the apartheid policies of the Israeli government, given that this support undermines and actively harms the
Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-determination.
Professor Haidar Eid
Gaza, Palestine

- Dr. Haidar Eid is Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is a founding member of the One Democratic State Group (ODSG) and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). He contributed this article to




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