Israel Land of Apartheid

by Tanya Reinhart

Resist newsletter, January 2001


In today's setting, it is hard to recall that just a few years ago, only some fringe lunatics demanded Israeli control of 'Temple Mount., Every time they tried to enter the place and pray, Israeli police would be there to block their entrance or drag them out. Even the word 'Temple Mount' was perceived as belonging to the bizarre vocabulary of religious fanatics.

Today it is the Israeli government that launches the holy war. Israel's foreign affairs minister the ex-liberal Shlomo BenAmi declares day and night that "no nation can give up its sacred sites and the world nods and accepts.

[Former Israeli military leader Ariel] Sharon could not have entered the site without approval of Barak and the government. His visit had been carefully planned, with a thousand soldiers securing it and taking shooting positions on the roofs in advance. It is not Sharon who is responsible for the present massacre, but Barak, Ben Ami, the Israeli government, and Israel's "peacenicks" who have been supporting them all the way through.

Israel's claim on 'Temple Mount' is completely new brought up only since the recent Camp David negotiations. In 1 995's Beilin-AbuMaazen plan for the final agreement, which is the basis for the present 'negotiations,' it was still stated that the area will be in 'exterritorial Palestinian sovereignty'( 1). The more Arafat gives in, the more new demands are brought up by Israel.

The Beilin- AbuMazen document, itself, is a shameful document, which leaves all the settlements untouched, and acknowledges Israeli sovereignty over most of the central West Bank.

It was agreed that Arafat will renounce, on behalf of the Palestinians, any claim on Jerusalem, and the Palestinian institutions will move to the village Abu-Dis, bordering with Jerusalem. In return, Arafat will be allowed to call Abu-Dis the capital of the Palestinian state. The verbal trick was that Abu-Dis will be named Al-Quds, so it can be presented like the city is divided to the Jewish part 'Jerusalem, and the Palestinian part 'Al Quds,.

Arafat has agreed to this long time ago. For Example, in Haaretz (May 5, 1998) it is reported that "Yaser Arafat accepts the idea that the capital of the Palestinian state will be Abu-Dis, neighboring Jerusalem, and sees the understandings included in Beilin-AbuMaazen agreement as a realistic option for the final agreement with Israel.,,

"In a meeting with the Middle East section of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Arafat was asked if it is possible to reach an agreement with Israel also on the question of Jerusalem. Arafat: 'Certainly, it is possible to accept the idea of Abu-Dis, which belonged to Al-Quds also under Jordanian rule.

Even that was not good enough for Barak. In the original Beilin- AbuMazen plan, only the land with the Jewish settlements of the central West Bank (labeled "Jerusalem,,) was to be annexed. So they prepared a rather windy map that includes these settlements but includes no Palestinians. Israel's interest in doing it this way was to avoid the need of giving these Palestinians Israeli citizenship including social rights-health, etc, or political rights of voting.

Barak 'straightened, the maps. The annexation proposed in Camp David will include also the areas with Palestinian residents. But these residents will not be given Israeli citizenship, since "they will vote for the Palestinian state,,. This additional little trick then enables annexing the land without giving any rights to the annexed Palestinian residents (2).

It appears that the Palestinian negotiators in Camp David have also agreed to this proposal. Or at least we have never heard otherwise.

But then Barak came up with the new demand that the Palestinians will also renounce their hold in Al Aksa (Temple Mount). Even a collaborator like Arafat cannot accept such demands and survive.

No rational account could tie these facts together. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Barak is in the end not really wanting a formal agreement with the Palestinians, not even the rather full surrender that Arafat was willing to accept.

Barak and Sharon see only one solution to the 'Palestinian problem'-subjugation and control! It is not at all impossible that in their sick generals' minds they believe that if one applies sufficient force for sufficient time it may be possible to drive more and more Palestinians out of Jerusalem and the central West Bank so this area becomes more Arab-free. And this approach isn't confined to just the occupied Palestinians. For several weeks now, Israeli Palestinians have been subject to vicious attacks, and more and more voices in the media (orchestrated, as always, from above) complain about how they have too many rights and are not "loyal" to Israel.

Israel has become the land of apartheid.


Professor Tanya Reinhart teaches at Tel Aviv University and the University of Utrecht. This article is reprinted with permission from Mid-East Realities (www.MiddleEast. Org). For more information, contact the Committee On The Middle East, PO Box 1836, Washington DC 20036.

(I) Newsweek 9-],-00; Ha'aretz 9-18-00. (2) Nahum Barnea "Yediot Aharonot" 630-00: "The Arabs living in the settlement blocks which will be annexed to Israel will have the same rights as the Israelis living in Palestine: They will vote for the Palestinian state and will live by its laws. "

Israel watch

Middle East Watch

Index of Website

Home Page