Monday, 20 February 2012

Israeli Apartheid Week: Call it as it is

This week is Israeli Apartheid week
Calling the Israeli regime as one of apartheid is not rhetoric, nor is it an exaggeration or a propaganda tool. This is the reality in modern day Palestine, where the Israeli regime is based on discrimination, through laws,practices and most aspects of life. This apartheid regime is not only imposed on the people in Palestine, but also on millions of Palestinian refugees denied their right to return home because they are the wrong religion.
As awareness across the world continues to increase regarding the Israeli Apartheid regime in Palestine, each effort in this aspect would help accelerate the conclusion of this shameful page in history. And as this awareness rises, campaigns to boycott, divest and sanction this regime provide a very effective and natural response. The world witnessed a similar response transpire and bear fruit in the case of South Africa, and there are very good reasons to believe that it will do the same in the case of Palestine.
Palestinians are also being regularly and illegally barred from reaching the Dead Sea Beaches in the occupied |West Bank according to a Supreme Court Petiton filed by Israel's leading civil rights organisation, The Association  of Civil Rights (ACRA) The Israel military is using the Ha'avera checkpoint on Route 90, the only open access route in the occupied West Bank for travel to the Dead Sea, to turn back Palestinians, mostly on weekends and on Jewish holidays. Also Israeli policies on Palestinian residency have also arbitrarily denied thousands of Palestinians the ability to live in and travel to and from the West Bank and Gaza, and according to Sarah Leah Whitsun  the director at  Human Rights Watch  " Israel has never put forth any concrete security rationale for blanket policies that have made life a nightmare for Palestinians whom it considers unlawful residents in their own homes. The current policies leave families divided and people trapped on the wrong side of the border in Gaza and the West Bank. Israel should revise these policies, and allow requests for families to re-unite, so that Palestinian can live with their families where they want.
Israel Apartheid Week, ( this year will be its eighth) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across across the globe. It hopes to educate people about the nature of Israel. They demand full equality for Arab citizens of Israel ( who already have it), an end to what is known as the occupation and the dismantling of the apartheid wall, with the protection of Palestinians, and their right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in U.N resolution 194. Also the Russell Tribunal on Palestine held in Cape Town 2011 which used International Law as its basis found Israel guilty of the crime of apartheid and the persecution of the Palestinians,
The Wall is but one element of the wider system of severe restrictions on the freedom of movement imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinian residents of the West Bank. There are over 600 closure obstacles blocking Palestinian movement within the West Bank. In addition, the system of roads is segregated: travel on hundreds of kilometres in the West Bank is restricted or prohibited outright for Palestinians, whereby Israelis are able to travel about freely. About one third of the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, is completely prohibited to Palestinians without a special permit issued by the Israeli military.
These severe restrictions violate not only the right to freedom of movement. They also effectively prevent Palestinian residents from excercising a wide reange of other human rights, including their right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living. Farmers are stopped from assessing their fields and thus from exersising their right to sustain their livelihood. Many Palestinians are also prevented from seeking work outside their locality. Children are prevented from accessing schools and students face restrictions in choosing their university of choice. Patiients are prevented from assessing hospitals, blocking them from exercising their right to the highest sustainablr standard of health , and so on.
Yesterday amazingly it was announced that the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy would dispatch 'envoys' around the world in an attempt to undermine plans for Israeli Apartheid week and in effect legitimise Israel's actions, as they have done time and time again.
However  Former Attorney General of Israel Avi Zer-Aviv says
"Despite its best intentions, Israel has created a system of seperation in the West Bank which fits the textbook definition of apartheid. According to Michael Ben-Yair, Attorney General of Israel throughout the nineties, "in effect, we established an apartheid regime in the Occupied Territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day." He is not alone in asserting this perspective. Many notable Israelis like Meron Benvenisti, Akiva Elder, and Shulamit Aloni, to mention a few, agree that Israeli style apartheid is a reality."

At this moment in time, around the world a new internationalism is being formed. People are standing in solidarity with each other in struggle. Standing together for democracy, equality, human rights and economic justice. After 63 years of struggle, is it not the Palestinians time,  as they resolve to continue their struggle against Colonisation, occupation and apartheid, an inspiration to movements struggling for freedom , justice and equality around the world.
Palestine I hope, too  will soon be free. 
Israeli Apartheid Week in Europe is 
February 20 -March 10

No one is free until everyone is free!

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