state of israel
Zionists are always keen to reject any suggestion that the state of Israel is practicing Apartheid. Indeed, in California it is illegal to even us the word ‘Apartheid’ in connection with the State of Israel! Even so, it’s hard to think of anything that characterises an Apartheid regime better than a bus service restricted to one race of people!
The transport ministry claims, of course, that the intention of the new service is simply to ease congestion and that no one will be denied entry to the regular bus service on the basis of their race. Even so, according to this report from Ynet, Palestinians who choose to travel on the so-called “mixed” lines, will be asked to leave them.
Ministry launches ‘Palestinians only’ buses
Transportation Ministry sets up designated bus lines for Palestinian passengers in West Bank; insists lines are for general public, but only Palestinian villages have been advised of their existence
by Itamar Fleishman
Racial segregation or transportation mitigation? The Transportation Ministry announced that starting Sunday it will begin operating designated lines for Palestinians in the West Bank.
The bus lines in question are meant, according to the ministry, to transport Palestinian workers from the West Bank to central Israel. The ministry alleges that the move is meant to ease the congestion felt on bus lines used by Jews in the same areas, but several bus drivers told Ynet that Palestinians who will choose to travel on the so-called “mixed” lines, will be asked to leave them.
While officially the new lines are considered “general bus lines,” Ynet learned Saturday that their existence has been made public only in Palestinian villages in the West Bank, via flyers in Arabic urging Palestinians to arrive at Eyal crossing and use the designated lines.
The Transportation Ministry defended the plan, saying it was the result of reports and complaints saying that the buses traveling in the area were overcrowded and rife with tensions between the Jewish and Arab passengers.
A ministry source said that many complaints expressed concern that the Palestinian passengers may pose a security risk, while other complaints said that the overcrowded buses cause the drivers to skip stations.
The ministry has also gotten reports of scuffles between Jews and Arab passengers, as well as between Palestinians and drivers who refused to allow them to board their bus.
The ministry reportedly considered several alternatives before deciding to opt for designated lines – knowing that the issue of so-called “Palestinian lines” would be highly controversial.
‘Buses meant to improve service’
Still, the ministry eventually decided to launch the lines, which will run from Eyal crossing – near the West Bank city of Qalqilya – to Israel.
Legally, however, there is no way to stop Palestinians from boarding “regular” lines: “We are not allowed to refuse service and we will not order anyone to get off the bus, but from what we were told, starting next week, there will be checks at the checkpoint, and Palestinians will be asked to board their own buses,” a driver with Afikim – the company that holds the routes franchise for the area – told Ynet.
The volatile nature of the decision was not lost on the driver: “Obviously, everyone will start screaming ‘apartheid’ and ‘racism’ now. This really doesn’t feel right, and maybe (the ministry) should find a different solution, but the situation right now is impossible.”
Another driver said that, “Driving a bus full of only Palestinians might turn out to be tricky. It could be unnerving and it might also create other problems. It could be a scary thing.”
The Judea and Samaria Police is reportedly gearing for the move as well, and will deploy additional forces in Eyal crossing to maintain public order.
Police sources said that it is highly unlikely that Palestinians would be excluded from riding on existing bus lines, adding that the forces would “Do their best to execute the ministry’s decision.”
Afikim issued a statement saying that, “This plan aims to ease travel for Palestinian passengers and offer a solution that counters pirate bus companies that charge exorbitant prices. As for any question about removing Palestinian passengers from buses – that has to be addressed by the enforcement and security bodies.”
The Transportation Ministry issued the following statement: “The new lines are not separate lines for Palestinians but rather two designated lines meant to improve the services offered to Palestinian workers who enter Israel through Eyal Crossing.
“The new lines will replace irregular, pirate lines that charge very high prices from Palestinian passengers. The new lines will reduce congestion and will benefit Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
According to the statement, “The Transportation Ministry is forbidden from preventing any passenger from boarding any line of public transportation, nor do we know of a directive to that effect. Instating these lines was done with the knowledge and complete agreement of the Palestinians.”
Father Roy writes: I’ve done no highlighting in the article pasted below due to the sensitivity of the subject matter. However, I invite your attention to Burston’s opening sentence (beneath the picture of the Jews who are demonstrating) and his two concluding paragraphs. Peace, Roy
Will 2013 be the year American Jews secede from Israel?
If American Jews think that what is being done in their name is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.
by Bradley Burston
One day in the future, when it all comes horribly down, will Israelis finally realize that there were warning signs all along?
More to the point of the ultimate survival of Israel, could it be that when the real alarm sounds, when the genuine danger impends, Israelis won’t hear a thing?
The answers may lie in how Israelis react to the canary in the coal mine, their forward recon unit in the world, the American Jewish community.
In fact, as the new year dawns, there are mounting signs that 2013 may be the year in which U.S. Jews – in the main, liberal in outlook, committed to tolerance, pluralism, and a vigorous, sincere pursuit of peace – effectively secede from this state of Israel.
They remain committed to supporting the existence of an Israel which balances Israeli and Jewish culture with respect for minority rights, democratic values. They will stay active in promoting the welfare of Israel’s disadvantaged.
But many American Jews are already distancing themselves in word and deed from a government it sees as arrogant and short-sighted, enslaved to a runaway train of settlement, dismissive of the rights of Palestinians and other non-Jews, cold to the concerns of a sinking middle class and the drowning disadvantaged, contemptuous of the concerns of the larger Jewish world.
The catalysts: settlement expansion – especially as it strikes at Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects and mocks Washington – and backhanded insensitivity to the rights and ritual of non-Orthodox Jews.
In recent weeks, some of Israel’s most influential defenders in the States have warned of hardline Israeli policies and parties which could lead "to the destruction (the self-destruction) of Israel" (Jeffrey Goldberg), and "national suicide" (Thomas Friedman).
Israeli leaders lent them not so much as a deaf ear. Nothing.
Read the full article here: www.haaretz.com…
Vivienne Porzsolt, spokesperson for ‘Jews Against the Occupation’ in Australia, writes:
Dear Friends, In the spirit of those brave white apartheid dissidents such as Braam Fischer, Antjie Krog, Joe Slovo, Beyers Naude, Ruth First and others that spoke out from within their oppressive communities, a group of Jewish South Africans have issued an important and powerful statement. The statement was published in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian Newspaper:
AS JEWS, WITH OUR OWN PAINFUL HISTORY OF OPPRESSION…
“The temptation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine … yet we would be less than human if we did so.” – NELSON R. MANDELA
As Jews, with our own painful history of oppression, we are compelled to speak out against human rights violations being committed by the State of Israel – in our name – against the Palestinian people.
We note that the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) together with the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), recently met with the South African Presidency and other politicians. We also note, with great concern, the SAJBD and SAZF’s assertion that they represent and speak on behalf of all Jewish South Africans, particularly when it comes to Palestine-Israel.
Let us be clear, the SAJBD and SAZF’s position of supporting Israel at all costs does not represent us. We also appeal to the SAJBD and SAZF to respect one of the hallmarks of Judaism: respectful debate amongst those who hold divergent viewpoints. The SAJBD and SAZF’s position on Israel, and attempts to stifle opposing voices that speak out against Israel, is morally untenable.
The Jewish community is neither homogeneous nor monolithic. There is a growing number of Jews, in South Africa and around the world, who are organising to form alternative spaces and who unconditionally oppose Israeli policies and practices that shamefully privilege Jews over the indigenous Palestinian people. In this vein, we support the non-violent campaign of applying Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it abides by international law and respects basic human rights [see www.bdsmovement.net...].
We are encouraged that our South African government is joining those countries that are taking a clear stance against Israel’s violations of international law and its acts of violence against the Palestinian people [ see this City Press newspaper article: tinyurl.com...]. We also welcome and support our Department of Trade and Industry’s initiative to prevent the false labelling of Israeli settlement products [see this Israeli mainstream Ha'aretz newspaper article: tinyurl.com...]. We hope that the ANC and the SA Government goes further and completely bans Israeli settlement products. Israeli settlements are in clear violation of international law and seriously undermine any chance of negotiations and a just peace.
Such positions as those recently taken by our government against Israeli violence and violations of international law, in fact, serve to affirm a proud Jewish tradition of respect for justice and human rights; regardless of race, religion or creed. Such positions connect us to our fellow humanity.
We humbly – and sadly – acknowledge that our voices may not be the dominant ones in our community, but neither were Dietrich Bonnhoefer’s in Nazi Germany nor Beyers Naude’s, Antjie Krog’s, Braam Fischer’s and Joe Slovo’s in Apartheid South Africa.
Our individual consciences, our Jewish tradition and our painful history compel us to declare to the SAJBD, SAZF and to the Israeli government that we will continue to speak out and take a stand for justice and human rights. Taking such a stand is in the very interests of being Jewish. For when we proclaim “Never Again”, we should mean “Never Again”, unconditionally, and to any human being – including the Palestinians.
Issued by StopTheJNF, a campaign initiated by a group of Jewish South Africans committed to justice and rights for the Palestinian people and Jewish Israelis. Find the original statement and more information here: www.stopthejnfsa.org…
Mentioned in the above statement is Joe Slovo: the Rivonia Trialist, founding member of the Congress of Democrats, former SACP General-Secretary, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) Chief of Staff and leading member of the African National Congress. Slovo was an outspoken critic of Apartheid South Africa as well as a consistent critic of the Israeli regime – which he also considered an Apartheid state.
In fact, Slovo publicly exposed and highlighted the shameful military collaborations during the 1980s between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa (see this UK Guardian newspaper article: tinyurl.com…. In an unfinished autobiography, Joe Slovo wrote: “Ironically enough, the horrors of the Holocaust became the rationalization [by Israeli supporters] for … acts of genocide against the indigenous people of Palestine. Those of us who, in the years that were to follow, raised our voices publicly against the violent apartheid of the Israeli state were vilified…”.
Father Roy writes: Avigdor Lieberman is irate that the EU is calling for the destruction of the state of Israel. Tzipi Livni sees no resemblance between the EU’s policy towards Israel and Hitler’s policy towards Jews. Peace, Roy
Livni to Lieberman: EU policy on Israel bears no resemblance to Holocaust
Foreign Minister on Tuesday rebuked Europe for ‘once again ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel’; Livni: Israel’s policies must change.
By Barak Ravid
Opposition leader and Hatnuah Chairwoman Tzipi Livni on Wednesday blasted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for comparing the European Union’s policy toward Israel on the Palestinian issue to the behavior of European countries toward the Jews during the period of the Holocaust.
“Comparing Israel’s situation today to the Holocaust is contempt for the Holocaust,” Livni said during a conference organized by the Jerusalem Post in Herzliya. “It’s an incorrect comparison, and incomprehensible. There is absolutely no similarity between the situation of Israeli citizens today to that of European Jews then. Not everybody is against us, and not everyone is anti-Semitic.”
The fact that the international community criticizes the policies of the current government does not mean that the world does not accept Israel as a state, Livni added.
“I think this policy must change,” said Livni, “not as a favor to the world, but because it is in Israel’s basic interest.”
“Renewing negotiations with the Palestinians won’t just maintain Israel’s value as a Jewish and democratic state, but will also stop the erosion, and will give Israel back the legitimacy for military action when necessary, and for preserving its security interests,” added Livni.
In an interview to Israel Radio on Tuesday, Lieberman was asked to react to the EU foreign ministers’ decision on Monday to condemn Israel for advancing the plan to build in E-1.
Interviewer Aryeh Golan also mentioned the report in Newsweek magazine to the effect that United States President Barack Obama intends to let Europe apply pressure to Israel on the issue of the peace process with the Palestinians. “Are you satisfied with this?” Golan asked Lieberman.
In reply, the foreign minister launched into a fierce, and perhaps, unprecedented attack on the EU. “I can tell you what I am not satisfied with,” said Lieberman. “I am not satisfied with the position of Europe, which once again in history is ignoring calls to destroy the state of Israel … Europe is keeping silent. The call yesterday [Monday], what we saw, is not a condemnation of Hamas statements but rather a call to the heads of Hamas to refrain from incitement. We have already been through this with Europe at the end of the 1930s and in the 1940s.”
In his remarks Lieberman related to the speeches by Hamas political bureau head Khaled Meshal this weekend in Gaza, during the course of which he called for annihilating Israel. Contrary to Lieberman’s statement, along with the condemnation of Israel the European foreign ministers did in fact condemn Meshal’s remarks. “The EU finds inflammatory statements by Hamas leaders that deny Israel’s right to exist unacceptable,” they declared.
The radio interviewer asked Lieberman whether he is accusing the EU of anti-Semitism. “It isn’t an anti-Semitic motive but rather it’s a narrow motive of interests,” replied Lieberman. “They [the EU] are sacrificing all values in favor of interests. Then too, back in the 1940s. They already knew by the start of the 1940s exactly what was happening in the concentration camps, what was happening with the Jews and didn’t exactly act. Today they admit that even in the 1930s they prevented Jews for coming to the land of Israel.”
More wisdom from Uri Avnery, former Knesset member and founder of Gush-Shalom. Interestingly, Avnery sees the success of the UN bid as being a direct outcome of operation “Pillar of Cloud”. If that’s the case, it wasn’t the outcome Mr Netanyahu was looking for!
IT WAS a day of joy.
Joy for the Palestinian people.
Joy for all those who hope for peace between Israel and the Arab world.
And, in a modest way, for me personally.
The General Assembly of the United Nations, the highest world forum, has voted overwhelmingly for the recognition of the State of Palestine, though in a limited way.
The resolution adopted by the same forum 65 years ago to the day, to partition historical Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab state, has at long last been reaffirmed.
I HOPE I may be excused a few moments of personal celebration.
During the war of 1948, which followed the first resolution, I came to the conclusion that there exists a Palestinian people and that the establishment of a Palestinian state, next to the new State of Israel, is the prerequisite for peace.
As a simple soldier, I fought in dozens of engagements against the Arab inhabitants of Palestine. I saw how dozens of Arab towns and villages were destroyed and left deserted. Long before I saw the first Egyptian soldier, I saw the people of Palestine (who had started the war) fight for what was their homeland. Before the war, I hoped hat the unity of the country, so dear to both peoples, could be preserved. The war convinced me that reality had smashed this dream forever.
I was still in uniform when, in early 1949, I tried to set up an initiative for what is now called the Two-State Solution. I met with two young Arabs in Haifa for this purpose. One was a Muslim Arab, the other a Druze sheik.
(Both became members of the Knesset before me.)
At the time, it looked like mission impossible. “Palestine” had been wiped off the map. 78% of the country had become Israel, the other 22% divided between Jordan and Egypt. The very existence of a Palestinian people was vehemently denied by the Israeli establishment, indeed, the denial became an article of faith. Much later, Golda Meir famously declared that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people”. Respected charlatans wrote popular books “proving” that the Arabs in Palestine were pretenders who had only recently arrived. The Israeli leadership was convinced that the “Palestinian problem” had disappeared, once and forever.
In 1949, there were not a hundred persons in the entire world who believed in this solution. Not a single country supported it. The Arab countries still believed that Israel would just disappear. Britain supported its client state, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The US had its own local strongmen. Stalin’s Soviet Union supported Israel.
was a lonely fight. For the next 40 years, as the editor of a news I brought the subject up almost every week. When I was elected to the Knesset, I did the same there. In 1968 I went to Washington DC, in order to propagate the idea there. I was politely received by the relevant officials in the State Department (Joseph Sisco), the White House (Harold Saunders), the US mission to the UN (Charles Yost), leading Senators and Congressmen, as well as the British father of Resolution 242 (Lord Caradon). The uniform answer from all of them, without exception: a Palestinian state was out of question.
When I published a book devoted to this solution, the PLO in Beirut attacked me in 1970 in a book entitled “Uri Avnery and Neo-Zionism”.
Today, there is a world consensus that a solution of the conflict without a Palestinian state is quite out of the question.
So why not celebrate now?
WHY NOW? WHY didn’t it happen before or later?
Because of the Pillar of Cloud, the historic masterpiece from Binyamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak and Avigdor Lieberman.
The Bible tells us about Samson the hero, who rent a lion with his bare hands. When he returned to the scene, a swarm of bees had made the carcase of the lion its home and produced honey. So Samson posed a riddle to the Philistines: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”. This is now a Hebrew proverb.
Well, out of the “strong” Israeli operation against Gaza, sweetness has indeed come forth. It is another confirmation of the rule that when you
start a war or a revolution, you never know what will come out of it.
One of the results of the operation was that the prestige and popularity of Hamas shot sky-high, while the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas sank to new depths. That was a result the West could not possibly tolerate. A defeat of the “moderates” and a victory for the Islamic “extremists” were a disaster for President Barack Obama and the entire Western camp. Something had to found – with all urgency – to provide Abbas with a resounding achievement.
Fortunately, Abbas was already on the way to obtain UN approval for the recognition of Palestine as a “state” (though not yet as a full member of the world organization). For Abbas, it was a move of despair. Suddenly, it became a beacon of victory.
THE COMPETITION between the Hamas and Fatah movements is viewed as a disaster for the Palestinian cause. But there is also another way to look at it.
Let’s go back to our own history. During the 30s and 40s, our Struggle for Liberation (as we called it) split between two camps, who hated each other with growing intensity.
On the one side was the “official” leadership, led by David Ben-Gurion, represented by the “Jewish Agency” which cooperated with the British administration. Its military arm was the Haganah, a very large, semi-official militia, mostly tolerated by the British. On the other side was the Irgun (“National Military Organization”), the far more radical armed wing of the nationalist “revisionist” party of Vladimir Jabotinsky. It split and yet another, even more radical, organization was born. The British called it “the Stern Gang”, after its leader, Avraham Stern”.
The enmity between these organizations was intense. For a time, Haganah members kidnapped Irgun fighters and turned them over to the British police, who tortured them and sent them to camps in Africa. A bloody fratricidal war was avoided only because the Irgun leader, Menachem Begin, forbade all actions of revenge. By contrast, the Stern people bluntly told the Haganah that they would shoot anyone trying to attack their members.
In retrospect, the two sides can be seen as acting as the two arms of the same body. The “terrorism” of the Irgun and Stern complemented the diplomacy of the Zionist leadership. The diplomats exploited the achievements of the fighters. In order to counterbalance the growing popularity of the “terrorists”, the British made concessions to Ben-Gurion. A friend of mine called the Irgun “the shooting agency of the Jewish Agency”. In a way, this is now the situation in the Palestinian camp.
FOR YEARS, the Israeli government has threatened Abbas with the most dire consequences if he dared to go to the UN. Abolishing the Oslo agreement and destroying the Palestinian authority was the bare minimum. Lieberman called the move “diplomatic terrorism”. And now? Nothing. Not a bang and barely a whimper. Even Netanyahu understands that the Pillar of Cloud has created a situation where world support for Abbas has become inevitable.
What to do? Nothing! Pretend the whole thing is a joke. Who cares? What is this UNO anyway? What difference does it make?
Netanyahu is more concerned about another thing that happened to him this week. In the Likud primary elections, all the “moderates” in his party were unceremoniously kicked out. No liberal, democratic alibi was left. The Likud-Beitenu faction in the next Knesset will be composed entirely of right-wing extremists, among them several outright fascists, people who want to destroy the independence of the Supreme Court, cover the West Bank densely with settlements and prevent peace and a Palestinian state by all possible means.
While Netanyahu is sure to win the coming elections and continue to serve as Prime Minister, he is too clever not to realize where he is now: a hostage to extremists, liable to be thrown out by his own Knesset faction if he so much as mentions peace, to be displaced at any time by Lieberman or worse.
ON FIRST sight, nothing much has changed. But only on first sight. What has happened is that the foundation of the State of Palestine has now been officially acknowledged as the aim of the world community. The “Two-State solution” is now the only solution on the table. The “One-State solution”, if it ever lived, is as dead as the dodo.
Of course, the apartheid one-state is reality. If nothing changes on the ground, is will become deeper and stronger. Almost every day brings news of it becoming more and more entrenched. (The bus monopoly has just announced that from now on there will be separate buses for West Bank Palestinians in Israel.)
But the quest for peace based on the co-existence between Israel and Palestine has taken a big step forwards. Unity between the Palestinians should be the next. US support for the actual creation of the State of Palestine should come soon after. The strong must lead to the sweet.
More Avnery articles online: zope.gush-shalom.org………