Tariq A. Al-Maeena
Hameed Abdul Karim, a Sri Lankan writer and social activist who has demonstrated sympathy for the oppressed through his writings, has recently put out another piece titled: Israel: Where ‘A’ Stands for Apartheid. It is a clear definition of what is the actual state of affairs in the Zionist government’s treatment of occupied Palestinians.
He writes: “Supposing a country imposes strict regulations on its Jewish community and tells them that there are places in the country they cannot go to, or gives them special colored number plates for their cars which identifies them as Jews or constructs a ‘barrier’ around their residences restricting their movements and effectively blocking them from accessing other parts of the country, or makes a strict checkpoint system where Jews would have to queue up for hours to get a permit to go to taboo places for legitimate business or to visit a sibling or to take a patient to hospital.
“Add to this mix an official announcement that henceforth that country would be an exclusive state for a particular race, thus automatically relegating everyone else to second class status. Can you imagine the outcry such outlandish racist policies would make? The world press would go to town denouncing the country as racist along the lines of the white ruled apartheid system in South Africa. World leaders would join the pundits on TV calling for sanctions on that country and its removal from the United Nations among many other things.
“Take the ‘barrier’ that is now called the apartheid wall that Israel has built on the pretext of protecting its citizens. The ‘barrier’ is 406 miles long and is as high as 25 feet which means it is more than five times longer than the Berlin Wall which came under severe criticism by the West until it was taken down by ordinary citizens of Germany. And yet the same West mentions no word of condemnation for Israel for its blatant apartheid policies of oppressing the Palestinian people.
“If a country were to create a ghetto and put a ‘barrier’ around its Jewish population, you can imagine the consequences. There would be a steady stream of news everyday to fill us all with the horror and the suffering of the Jews. Yet when Israel shamelessly does the same thing to the Palestinians, it becomes kosher. And yet such a state exists in this time and age. It’s called Israel where the letter ‘A’ stands for apartheid.”
He backs his claim with factual events. “Back in 1987 Dr. Uri Davis, a prominent Israeli academic and activist, wrote a book titled ‘Israel An Apartheid State’ in which he describes how Israel imposes its spiteful racist policies under the banner of its avowed ideology of Zionism to harass and humiliate Palestinians on a daily basis. The motive is to drive out the remaining Palestinians who weathered the storm that was the Nakba in which the Jewish Zionists expelled more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes to make way for the state of Israel. Ninety percent of the land has been legally defined as land which only Jews can cultivate or lease. Other key institutions such as the kibbutz are based on the same principles as apartheid. They are reserved for Jews only at the expense of the original inhabitants who have tilled the land for generations.
“In recent times former US president Jimmy Carter says in his book ‘Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid’ that former Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban had told him that ‘Arabs and Jews were inherently incompatible and would ultimately have to be separated’ despite the fact that historically Jews have lived side by side with Christians and Muslims without any discrimination or pogroms like in Europe. Going further Jimmy Carter says the Israelis ‘utilizing their political and military dominance, are imposing a system of partial withdrawal, encapsulation, and apartheid on the Muslim and Christian citizens of the occupied territories’. Examining options for Israel, Carter says one is ‘a system of apartheid, with two peoples occupying the same land but completely separated from each other, with Israelis totally dominant and suppressing violence by depriving Palestinians of their basic human rights. This is the policy now being followed.’
“Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that he dreaded the day when the Palestinians demand voting rights. He said ‘If that happens, Israel as a Jewish state is done for’. It seems that all issues vis-à-vis the Palestinian question are always centered round Israel and never is a word mentioned about any of the grave injustices the ‘Jewish’ state commits on the Palestinians. We always hear of Israel looking for a ‘peace partner’ but never hear of Palestinians looking for justice and dignity that they have been deprived of by the Western-backed ‘Jewish’ state of Israel, do we? Why is it that we never hear that Palestinians are looking for a peace partner from among the oligarchy in Israel?
Hameed Abdul Kareem concludes with: “South African anti-apartheid campaigner and Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is a vociferous campaigner against Israeli apartheid and has fearlessly called for a boycott of Israel by the world community until it abides by all UN resolutions. He has called on Israel to end the occupation and comply with the resolution calling for a two state solution.”
I salute the writer for this piece which I feel should be shared with others. His call is nothing short of a principle based on human rights that we shall continue to demand until justice is granted to the oppressed and their dignity restored.