December 13, 2006

Israel and apartheid

There was an article by a chap called Michael Kinsley in yesterday's Guardian arguing that Israel isn't an apartheid state. Here are couple of letters taking issue with the article:
In discussing Jimmy Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Michael Kinsley does not manage to address the "rigid system of required passes and strict segregation" Carter mentions in his comment article (Israel, Palestine, peace and apartheid, December 12). I would also point out one glaring inaccuracy in Kinsley's article. He writes: "No one has yet thought to accuse Israel of creating a phony country in finally acquiescing to a Palestinian state." In fact, that is exactly what organisations such as the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have been accusing Israel of for years.

Ehud Barak's "generous offer" was a state with no control of its own borders, fragmented by a network of settler roads for Jews only, designed to allow them free movement between settlements which appropriate the water resources requisite to a viable state. Bantustan is a word that has often been used.

Kinsley also asks "where is the Palestinian Mandela?" It is no argument to defend the systematic oppression of a community of people by lamenting that they don't behave as well as you feel they should under that oppression. If human rights were restricted to those people fortunate enough to be led by someone of the stature of Nelson Mandela, we'd all be in trouble. But again, just for the record, Mandela did endorse a bombing campaign, and our own prime minister of the day described him as a terrorist (while Israel sold guns to South Africa).

But if the Israelis are desperate for a Palestinian Mandela, how about Marwan Barghouti for a candidate? Now where is the Israeli De Klerk?
Qasim Salimi

Michael Kinsley's criticism of Jimmy Carter's new book ignores the obvious parallel: that both were the consequence of the colonisation.
Jon Vogler

Now how did he miss that?

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