Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Since it IS Apartheid, what should we do? Part 3

As I mentioned in previous posts, recently on the Israel Palestine Forum there have been a number of comments posted on the topic Palestine: Occupation not Apartheid. I have argued that it is apartheid. I am posting excerpts from some of my posts where I suggest that international law be used since it says that apartheid is a crime against humanity.

Quote from A
The label of apartheid is problematic precisely because it turns-off one of the aggrieved parties (just like the label of Terrorists turns off the other). The research i present in my latest book is pretty convencing in one respect: Most Israelis and Palestinians want to achieve a solution around the Clinton/Geneva parameters. The would do it today if the could, BUT they don't trust each other. ....The use of labels such as apartheid/terrorism might be good for PR. Is terrible for trust building, dialogue, and ultimately reconciliation. SO, the question is, what do you want? Reconlciliation? Then drop the labels and work towards dialogue. Pressure and activism? Then by all means, go for them. You will indeed "rally the troops." And continue the bloodshed.

Before I return to apartheid, a question. What does it mean to say that the Palestinians don't trust the Government of Israel? Are you saying that they would not permit the Government of Israel to stop demolishing their houses, not permit them to stop uprooting their olive trees, not permit them to stop destroying power plants, not permit them to dismantle settlements, not permit them to tear down the Wall? Trust is not an issue for the Palestinians vis-a-vis the Government of Israel. The Palestinians just want the Government of Israel to stop violating their human and civil rights.

I am not sure if you read my comment above about apartheid. If not, I recommend it to you. Apartheid is much more than a PR gimmick. Apartheid is an international crime. In 1973, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which entered into force in July 1976. By February 2002, it had been acceded to or ratified by 101 states. Would it surprise you that I could not find the Government of Israel and the Government of the United States on this list?

It is possible that some Israelis might get upset when the Government of Israel is accused of establishing a state of apartheid. Many people who are accused of a heinous crime react in a negative way. So what? The reason folks take out a criminal complaint is not to win friends with the accused. It is to seek justice. It is to ask a judge to find the accused guilty or liable and to punish the wrongdoer.

By the way, what makes you think that the Government of Israel is really angry about being accused of apartheid? The major offended party seems to be The Israel Lobby. Now that I think of it, perhaps The Israel Lobby knows what it is doing and is not just "insulted". Likely it is quite aware of the international crime of apartheid and is just working hard to defend the Government of Israel against this legal charge.

Trust building and dialogue have gotten the Palestinians the 88 vicious hate-filled Jewish squatters in Hebron in 1968, 11 Jewish settlements by 1972, 53 Jewish settlements with 12,500 squatters in 1980, 120 Jewish settlements with 100,000 squatters in 1992 and 123 jewish settlements with 250,000 squatters now.

Quote from B
In Israel, apartheid is practiced to achieve a more sinister aim than just separation of Jews and non-Jews ( as we see more blatantly in the occupied territories but stealth apartheid nevertheless exists in Israel). The aim of all of this oppression and separation is to ultimately force people out of their country. In South Africa, while transfer of population took place within the country, moving blacks to bantustans, Israeli aims to push the natives outside of the country

If you assume, as B and Jeff Halper say, that the endgoal of the Government of Israel is to finish 1948 and dispossess the Palestinians, the Government of Israel will use Annapolis to continue a charade of being willing to talk about being willing to talk about being willing to talk.

Dialogue with the Government of Israel is not an option.

I was fortunate enough to have acted as a divorce mediator for 15 years. The process was one which the parties entered voluntarily. What I knew was that if one party had much more power than the other and was not willing to work towards a fair and just agreement, the mediation would be unsuccessful. Since the Government of Israel has all the power and is unwilling to pursue a just peace, negotiations are doomed to fail.

You recommend reconciliation. That is premature

Quote from Wikipedia
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was a court-like body assembled in South Africa after the end of Apartheid. Anybody who felt he or she had been a victim of violence could come forward and be heard at the TRC. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from prosecution. The TRC was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa and, despite some flaws, is generally - though not universally - regarded as successful.

After Aparthied has ended, then will be an appropriate time for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Again assuming that the Government of Israel's goal is dispossession of the Palestinians, isn't there even more reason to take urgent action.

Pressure and activism is not at all what I am recommending. I favor a trial before an international court. If a judgment is rendered against the Government of Israel as having violated the international law against apartheid, an appropriate remedy/punishment might lead to justice for the Palestinians.

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