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Time to apply South Africa Remedy to Israel
Now's the time and the time is now.
(This article will get virulent Zionist letter responses published. Letters of 100-150 words from residents of CT can be sent to Letters [at] NHRegister.com )
Time to apply South Africa remedy to Israel
Mazin B. Qumsiyeh
New Haven Register 07/27/2004
THE United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to accept
the ruling of the International Court of Justice on Israel‚s apartheid wall
and demand Israel dismantle it.
The vote was 150-6, the dissenters being the United States, Israel,
Australia, and three U.S.-dependent island states.
The wall literally makes concrete the colonization of roughly 30-40 percent
more of the 22 percent of Palestine that remains. Palestinians will end up
with about 12-15 percent of their land, but even this will be in disjointed
ghettos that will have no sovereignty.
Israel is in defiance of over 35 U.N. Security Council resolutions and
countless General Assembly resolutions. Israel was also shielded from many
others by U.S. vetoes or threats of veto. But this will be different.
In 1971, despite U.S. objections, the U.N. General Assembly asked the
International Court of Justice to rule on South Africa‚s violations of
international law in Namibia. An international movement to dismantle
apartheid in South Africa followed the ruling. The movement succeeded
because of resistance within South Africa buttressed by an international
boycott and divestment campaign. Already such campaigns are being initiated
against Israeli apartheid.
The center of this problem is the ethnic cleansing of Christian and Muslim
Palestinians while opening the gate for any Jew or convert to Judaism to
take their place. Some two-thirds of the 9 million Palestinians are refugees
or displaced people and that number increases daily with new home
Their right to return to their homes, lands, and businesses cannot be signed
away by anyone, despite what President Bush and candidate John Kerry have to
say to woo the money and votes of the Israeli lobby. A state with different
laws for different segments of its society and a "law of return" that allows
people of a certain religion to acquire automatic citizenship while denying
it to those born and raised there cannot be called democratic.
Adding insult to injury, building large ghettos surrounded by walls,
ditches, and fences is apartheid and racism, no more and no less.
Increasingly, nations are resisting U.S. diplomatic, economic and military
pressures. In the United States, many groups have resisted the pressures and
speak truth to power. The Green Party and Presbyterian Church community are
but two examples of groups that recently joined the chorus calling on the
United States to stop supporting Israeli apartheid.
Many mainstream U.S. media outlets are trying in vain to shield the public
from knowing the extent of Israeli atrocities or the extent of world
condemnation. But anyone with access to unfiltered news is amazed at the
range of groups and countries that have declared "enough is enough."
An endless war to protect colonialism and accompanying ethnocentric
separation is now being waged. People around the world refuse this
philosophy of "might makes rights" and proclaim in unison that humanity
Israel‚s economic, physical, and psychological onslaught on native
Palestinians has gone on for six decades, first with the support of the
British government and now with the support of the U.S. government.
Israeli colonial activity, including the wall, violates a number of
international laws and covenants: The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949; U.N.
resolutions; the Hague Regulations; the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law
Enforcement Officials; International Covenant of Economic, Social, and
Cultural Rights/Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination and the Convention on Rights of the Child.
Israel‚s human-rights violations have been condemned by Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch, and Physicians for Human Rights, Israel‚s
human rights organization B‚tselem, and many other organizations.
U.S. military and economic assistance of $5 billion per year and diplomacy
aid war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is contrary to U.S. law.
Violence always kills more native civilians than the settlers or
colonialists. The ratio is 5-to-1 in the case of Palestinians. But violence
is a symptom of the disease of colonialism.
Peace can only be accomplished by disbanding apartheid and racist laws.
Careful research debunks a lot of the Zionist myths used to prevent peace.
The only viable solution is one based on the right of return for refugees
and coexistence in a pluralistic and democratic society.
As happened in South Africa, the logic of boycotts and divestments by the
world community is materializing. In South Africa, the U.S. and Israeli
governments remained defiant of the will of the international community
until they realized the tide was turning. History, indeed, repeats itself.
Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is co-founder and media coordinator of the Palestine Right
to Return Coalition. He is the author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan,"
published by Pluto Press. Readers may write him at P.O. Box 1172, Orange
06477. He e-mail address is mazin [at] al-awda.org.