Israeli apartheid

Published February 4, 2022

FOR the Palestinians dispossessed by Israel in 1948 and subsequent waves of violence and state-sponsored brutality, ‘apartheid’ is an apt term to describe their plight. Today, they are strangers in their own land, uprooted, imprisoned and killed at will by the Israeli military machine. These grim facts have been highlighted time and again, with the latest iteration coming in an Amnesty International report. The extensive document serves as an indictment of the Israeli state, saying in very clear terms that Israel is involved in “the crime of apartheid against Palestinians”. The report, released earlier this week, says Tel Aviv routinely indulges in seizing Arab land, restricting movement, denial of nationality as well as unlawful killings. For those who have been documenting the Palestinian plight, none of this is new. Yet what is particularly ironic is that around the same time the human rights body released this damning indictment, the Israeli president was being feted in the UAE in a landmark visit, without so much as a peep from the Palestinians’ Arab ‘brothers’ in the defence of the former.

The response from the Israeli state has been predictable, terming the report ‘anti-Semitic’. Unfortunately, any criticism of Tel Aviv’s brutal behaviour elicits such defences of Israel’s indefensible actions. The US, Israel’s primary protector and patron, meanwhile has been even more blunt, with the American ambassador to Israel calling the report “absurd”, while the State Department has also rejected it. This, in essence, is the root of the problem. Any attempts by the international community to hold Israel to account are stymied by its powerful foreign friends, especially the US. Tel Aviv knows it can quite literally get away with murder, as its Western friends will defend its crimes vigorously. Amnesty’s secretary general Agnes Callamard has called for Israel to “dismantle the apartheid system and start treating the Palestinians as human beings”. Unless the West stops its hypocritical defence of Israel and the whitewashing of its crimes, this is unlikely to happen soon.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2022

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