Posted by Rafiq A. Tschannen
Not a single week passes without news reports on Israel’s unfair treatment of its subjects and Israel is awash with ubiquitous apartheid practices, particularly in the occupied territories.
These ominous signs that could one day turn Israel into an apartheid state are also factors that might end Israel’s existence.
This outrageous video shot by Israeli human rights group B’tselem clearly shows wide and clean Jews-only streets separated by a fence from a narrow, dirty pavement that only Palestinians can use in Hebron. No matter what kind of justification Israeli authorities make, this segregation is exactly what Israel was warned about avoiding if it wants to live in peace and sustain its existence.
Last week, Israel introduced Palestinian-only bus routes, which are also allowed only for use by Palestinians who have work permits in Israel. American journalist in Ramallah Anna Lekas Miller says here this development is only the tip of an apartheid iceberg in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
A stream of uprisings that engulfed the Middle East in the past two years has also revived fears in Israel that the wind is not in its sails and that the uprising could reach the occupied territories. The mass uprisings across the Arab world provided an enabling environment for Palestinians to seek for their long-denied rights. The last time the Palestinians stood up to demand their freedom 13 years ago, more than a thousand Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians were killed.
It is not Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon or even a nuclear-armed Iran that would put an end to the existence of Israel. Israel faces no formidable military adversary in its neighborhood that is determined to abolish the country. What will make Israel cease to exist are its increasingly institutionalized apartheid practices.
“If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished,” former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Haaretz back in 2007.
Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for the Atlantic, claims that the Palestinian liberation movement is one of the world’s least successful post-World War II national liberation movements and that Israel will make concessions for an independent Palestinian state only after Arabs start demanding political rights and civil liberties.
New opportunities for Palestinians to seek greater freedom in their country have also unveiled deeper challenges and dangers to the way how Israel is functioning as its apartheid mindset is corroding the foundations of its own state.
For only few people inside Israel, this situation remains both a source of threat and a cause of concern. Much to the chagrin of Israelis and other states who lobby for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, the prospect for the two-state solution is now almost dead.
Today, Israel is facing two options: First, it could create a bi-national state with citizens enjoying full voting and other fundamental rights regardless of their religion. This, however, will slowly erode the Jewish character of Israel as the Palestinian population will soon surpass the Israelis. Second, Israel may permanently keep Palestinian territories under occupation and deny them a right to vote — the only way to save Israel besides a two-state solution.
There could not be a better way to finish this post with a quote from Saturday’s “Road to Apartheid” Forum in Doha: “It wasn’t only blacks who were freed when Apartheid ended — whites were also freed. Freed from hate and fear.”
You can follow the author on Twitter @MahirZeynalov (English) and @MahirZeynalov_ (Turkish).