February 23, 2007

Israel's apartheid regime, but where?

Another one of those irritating observations, reported in the Guardian, that Israel's regime in the West Bank and Gaza is like apartheid, like the rest of Palestine is an oasis of liberal, or even social, democracy. The headline and article are a tad confusing. The headline, Occupied Gaza like apartheid South Africa, says UN report, refers, as you can see, to Gaza but the comparison with apartheid is about the settlements:
After describing the situation for Palestinians in the West Bank, with closed zones, demolitions and preference given to settlers on roads, with building rights and by the army, he said: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose of such action is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report."

He dismissed Israel's argument that the sole purpose of the vast concrete and steel West Bank barrier is for security. "It has become abundantly clear that the wall and checkpoints are principally aimed at advancing the safety, convenience and comfort of settlers," he said.
Then we get to Gaza:
Gaza remained under occupation despite the withdrawal of settlers in 2005. "In effect, following Israel's withdrawal, Gaza became a sealed-off, imprisoned and occupied territory," he said.
So Gaza is a Bantustan and the West Bank has an apartheid regime. And Israel "proper?" You'll have to delve into the Guardian's archives for that one.

The compiler of the report for the was John Dugard, a South African law professor who is the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories.

If I had a hat I'd tip it to Justin Horton of, er, Justin Horton fame.


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