The time has come for Israel to accept apartheid and begin efforts to end it.
The unforgettable image should still put the enlightened Israelis to shame.
This is July 2014. Israel has once again decided to teach the Palestinians a long, deadly lesson. Inevitably day and night by land, sea and air, Israeli forces systematically wipe out swaths of Gaza and imprisoned children, women and men, who often try in vain to escape the repeated terror.
The whole time, the joyful Israelis gathered, sitting securely on top of a hill overlooking nearby Gaza. A UPI photographer captured three young men in flip-flops, sitting on a dense, cream-colored leather sofa, with close-cut hair and binoculars. A green, half-empty beer or pop bottle appears to rest upright on a man’s bare feet. Another has trained his black telescope on violent scenes, in order to see the death and destruction unfolding below him up close and more satisfyingly.
The picture of slaves on a hill depicts not only three hardened men, but also of several other Israelis who treat Gaza’s wholesale demolition and its indiscriminate killing of Palestinians. Residents like a relaxing afternoon or evening of games – with popcorn and refreshments in hand.
Reportedly, the mood prevailing among the Israelis on that hill that day was a strange mixture of celebration and satisfaction. A gallery of happy Israelis took selfies and cheered and bombs were dropped, while plumes of smoke and dust filled the sky over Gaza.
Despite a preponderance of tragic stories about Israel being seized for fear of attack, no one on top of that hill was intimidated or intimidated by Hamas and its flaming kites, balloons, or metal firecrackers.
Israelis smile when Palestinians are killed.
We know that Israel has jailed, maimed and killed more Palestinians in Gaza and beyond since 2014, including during an 11-day deadly attack in May. Meanwhile, Israel continues to disregard international law by destroying and stealing Palestinian homes, businesses and land in occupied Palestine.
Many Israelis are satisfied, perhaps even curious, to see more Palestinians imprisoned, maimed and killed in Gaza and beyond. Many Israelis are shouting and cheering as Israel continues to defy international law by destroying and stealing Palestinian homes, businesses and land.
There are, of course, enlightened Israelis who understand that Israel’s continued imprisonment, crippling and killing of Palestinians and the systemic eradication and theft of their homes, businesses and lands are illegal, wrongful, and blatantly insulting to any form of decency and humanity.
In January, Israel’s human rights group, B’Salem, found that Israel had committed apartheid in occupied Palestine. Israel’s calculated, overarching intent is to enforce a “rule of Jewish supremacy” through a decades-old, implicit policy of “divide, separate and rule” enabled and enforced by a brutal military occupation .
“One organizing principle is rooted in a wide range of Israeli policies: advancing and maintaining the domination of one group – the Jews – over the other – Palestinians,” B’Salem wrote.
Solution? Enlightened Israelis must oppose the apartheid “regime” and dismantle the grinding, humanizing machinery of state-sanctioned racism in their name.
“We should all choose to say no to apartheid first,” B’Salem urged the Israelis. “The people created this regime and the people can make it worse – or work to change it… does not mean giving up. On the contrary: it is a call for change.”
B’Salem is correct. Israelis can, if they choose, end apartheid injustices and crimes committed against Palestinians since Israel’s engineered establishment in 1948. But, first, they must ultimately acknowledge that the crimes and injustices experienced by generations of Palestinians constitute apartheid. It is a matter of international law, not of rhetoric.
Many Israelis have failed this fundamental challenge and test. Instead, many Israelis have chosen to reject any blame for the deep, grievous hurt and trauma for which Israel is actually responsible and find comfort in the terrifying delusion that their country is free from liberalism and democracy. A shining avatar of
Instead of accepting the outright truth, many Israelis have denied and castigated the same regrettable, familiar accusations that arose out of grudge and misogyny that are increasingly evident to much of the world – Israel is an apartheid state.
More evidence of this fact was published in April by Human Rights Watch. In a detailed 213-page report, HRW confirmed, in clear, clinical detail, Israel’s long-standing history of intentionally committing crimes against humanity in occupied Palestine.
Like B’Tselem, HRW concluded that the sinister purpose of Israel’s full, government-sanctioned oppression of Palestinians is not to keep Israel safe, but to impose its ethnic hegemony in occupied Palestine and drive Palestinians out of their homes and businesses. have to remove. Land in ever-shrinking ghettos, where life is enjoyed, not enjoyed.
HRW called on Israel and, by extension, the Israelis, to change their catastrophic, inhumane course. It called on Israel: “End all forms of systematic oppression and discrimination that privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians and otherwise systematically violate Palestinian rights in order to ensure the dominance of Jewish Israelis and to end the oppression of Palestinians.”
Primarily, Israel’s frenzied response to the HRW report reflected an army of apologetics at home and abroad who, at the sly sign, weary of “anti-Semitism”, discredited the flamboyant envoy with stock charges.
Shouting “anti-Semitism” in front of what HRW describes as the obstinate, “reality on the ground” is slowly, but surely, losing its posture and power.
I think clever Israelis recognize this. Old, proud certainties, defenses and assurances have given way to a new, shaky realization: Israel is as guilty as it is alleged.
Evidence of Israel’s brutal iniquity can no longer be dismissed or ignored by enlightened Israelis. They now need to make a fundamental choice: to remain silent on the horrific outrage, loss and suffering Palestinians have been forced to brave, or to reshape the future by saying “Wait, not in my name.” is.
it has to be done. Will enlightened Israelites finally invoke the resolve and human capacity needed to do so?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial stance of Al Jazeera.