dinsdag 6 mei 2008

Israëlische bezetting is slecht, maar geen Apartheid (Benjamin Pogrund)

Een voormalig journalist uit Zuid-Afrika legt uit waarom er geen sprake is van Apartheid in Israël noch in de bezette gebieden. In zijn ijver de bezetting en haar uitwassen te veroordelen heeft Pogrund wel weinig oog voor het feit dat het Israëlische leger vaak tot het uiterste gaat om burgerdoden te vermijden, en deze bijna altijd het gevolg zijn van het feit dat Hamas en andere groeperingen bewust vanuit dichtbevolkt gebied opereren en huizen, scholen en moskeeën als schuilplaats of als opslagplaats voor munitie gebuiken, waardoor men Israël bewust voor morele dilemma's plaatst. Het verschil met andere bezettingen is bovendien dat de meeste Palestijnen heel Israël als hun rechtmatige eigendom claimen, en niet slechts strijden tegen de bezetting van de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Geen Tibetaan, West Saharaan of Tsjetsjeen claimt respectievelijk heel China, heel Marokko of heel Rusland.

Israeli occupation is bad, but not apartheid

By Benjamin Pogrund
Haaretz, May 2008
Twice within 10 days, Israel has been labeled as "apartheid" in Haaretz: in an editorial in support of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter's efforts for peace; and in a column by Yossi Sarid, the former Meretz leader. Two authoritative voices, both misinformed.
Both Haaretz and Sarid focused on the territories. Both condemn Israel's nearly 41-year-long occupation. Haaretz ("Our Debt to Jimmy Carter," April 15) said that the "interim political situation in the territories has crystallized into a kind of apartheid," while Sarid ("Yes, It Is Apartheid," April 25) wrote with great emotion that "what acts like apartheid, is run like apartheid and harasses like apartheid, is not a duck - it is apartheid."
Yes, there is no question that our occupation policies and practices can be compared with apartheid. And, equally, with China's control of Tibet. And also, to one degree or another, with any other place in the world where one group of people oppresses another.
Domination and control are the common elements. Roadblocks, licenses and permits for every little matter, arbitrary seizure of land, privileges concerning water use, cheap labor - these and much else are the stock in trade of suppression.
But to apply the apartheid label is wrong, both with regard to the territories (to which Haaretz and Sarid refer), or to Israel within the Green Line (where Arabs suffer discrimination, but to say it's apartheid would be laughable). Why do I say this with such certainty? Because I was a journalist with the Rand Daily Mail newspaper in Johannesburg for 26 years, and my special function was to report and comment on apartheid's evils. And for more than 10 years I have lived in Israel, and have been engaged in dialogue work.
The labeling is wrong because the situations are entirely different. Apartheid in South Africa, from 1948 until 1994, was a unique system of racial separation and discrimination, institutionalized by law and custom in every aspect of everyday life, imposed by the white minority and based on a belief in white racial superiority. Skin color decreed inferior status from birth until death for blacks, Asians and "mixed-race" coloreds. In contrast, West Bank oppression is not based on a predetermined racist ideology. It stems rather from historical factors such as Jordan's attack during the 1967 war and the resulting Israeli conquest of the West Bank. From that, the settlement movement has developed because of a mixture of religious messianism, economic greed and security claims.
Some compare Israel's attempts to carve up the West Bank with South Africa's tribal mini-states, the Bantustans. This is wildly inappropriate. The Bantustans were devised to deny blacks South African citizenship, while continuing to exploit their labor. Blacks were penned in rural "reserves," and were allowed into white South Africa only when needed for specified jobs in factories, offices and homes and on farms. Israel's purpose on the West Bank is the opposite: to keep Palestinians there and to allow only an absolute minimum of them into Israel - and even them, reluctantly. Instead, the country's labor needs are met by importing large numbers of foreign workers.
I am among the majority of Israelis who believe that the occupation and the settlements are catastrophic for both Israelis and Palestinians. I want two states, side by side in peace: That's an agreed-upon separation, not apartheid. I share the dismay and shame of many Israelis about the morass into which the occupation has dragged us - the mutual killings, the infliction of suffering, and the brutalization of both Israelis and Palestinians as perpetrators and victims. I am desperately worried about our betrayal of our moral values and of the lessons of our own persecution down the centuries.
Calling it apartheid, however, is not only wrong but thoughtless - because it ignores what is happening in the world, and especially the imminence of the Durban Review Conference, due to be held next year. That meeting is to be the follow-up to the United Nations anti-racism conference in Durban, South Africa, in August-September 2001. The first part was an international conference of NGOs that went berserk in condemning Israel as "the new apartheid." The aim was simple: If Israel was branded like this, it would be as illegitimate as apartheid South Africa had been, and hence subject to the same severe international sanctions. Moreover, whereas the intention with apartheid South Africa was to force a change in regime, it is obvious that critics of Israel include those who seek the destruction of the state itself.
The conference of governments that followed tangled over similar anti-Israel and anti-Semitic wording. After pressures, it eventually dumped virtually every reference to Israel. A few days later, 9/11 overtook the Durban meetings. Singling out Israel as the fount of original sin in human-rights abuses went to the back burner. Now it is creeping back: The apartheid accusation is being spread in meetings around the world and on Internet sites. It could feature at next year's Review Conference.
Anticipating the worst, Canada has already announced that it will not attend the event. Israel is waiting to see what happens before deciding whether to take part. Apartheid deserves its unique place in human memory. Just as not every tragedy is a holocaust, so not every form of separation or oppressive rule is apartheid.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten