Israel Land of Apartheid
by Tanya Reinhart
Resist newsletter, January 2001
In today's setting, it is hard to recall that just a few years
ago, only some fringe lunatics demanded Israeli control of 'Temple
Mount., Every time they tried to enter the place and pray, Israeli
police would be there to block their entrance or drag them out.
Even the word 'Temple Mount' was perceived as belonging to the
bizarre vocabulary of religious fanatics.
Today it is the Israeli government that launches the holy
war. Israel's foreign affairs minister the ex-liberal Shlomo BenAmi
declares day and night that "no nation can give up its sacred
sites and the world nods and accepts.
[Former Israeli military leader Ariel] Sharon could not have
entered the site without approval of Barak and the government.
His visit had been carefully planned, with a thousand soldiers
securing it and taking shooting positions on the roofs in advance.
It is not Sharon who is responsible for the present massacre,
but Barak, Ben Ami, the Israeli government, and Israel's "peacenicks"
who have been supporting them all the way through.
Israel's claim on 'Temple Mount' is completely new brought
up only since the recent Camp David negotiations. In 1 995's Beilin-AbuMaazen
plan for the final agreement, which is the basis for the present
'negotiations,' it was still stated that the area will be in 'exterritorial
Palestinian sovereignty'( 1). The more Arafat gives in, the more
new demands are brought up by Israel.
The Beilin- AbuMazen document, itself, is a shameful document,
which leaves all the settlements untouched, and acknowledges Israeli
sovereignty over most of the central West Bank.
It was agreed that Arafat will renounce, on behalf of the
Palestinians, any claim on Jerusalem, and the Palestinian institutions
will move to the village Abu-Dis, bordering with Jerusalem. In
return, Arafat will be allowed to call Abu-Dis the capital of
the Palestinian state. The verbal trick was that Abu-Dis will
be named Al-Quds, so it can be presented like the city is divided
to the Jewish part 'Jerusalem, and the Palestinian part 'Al Quds,.
Arafat has agreed to this long time ago. For Example, in Haaretz
(May 5, 1998) it is reported that "Yaser Arafat accepts the
idea that the capital of the Palestinian state will be Abu-Dis,
neighboring Jerusalem, and sees the understandings included in
Beilin-AbuMaazen agreement as a realistic option for the final
agreement with Israel.,,
"In a meeting with the Middle East section of the Council
on Foreign Relations in New York, Arafat was asked if it is possible
to reach an agreement with Israel also on the question of Jerusalem.
Arafat: 'Certainly, it is possible to accept the idea of Abu-Dis,
which belonged to Al-Quds also under Jordanian rule.
Even that was not good enough for Barak. In the original Beilin-
AbuMazen plan, only the land with the Jewish settlements of the
central West Bank (labeled "Jerusalem,,) was to be annexed.
So they prepared a rather windy map that includes these settlements
but includes no Palestinians. Israel's interest in doing it this
way was to avoid the need of giving these Palestinians Israeli
citizenship including social rights-health, etc, or political
rights of voting.
Barak 'straightened, the maps. The annexation proposed in
Camp David will include also the areas with Palestinian residents.
But these residents will not be given Israeli citizenship, since
"they will vote for the Palestinian state,,. This additional
little trick then enables annexing the land without giving any
rights to the annexed Palestinian residents (2).
It appears that the Palestinian negotiators in Camp David
have also agreed to this proposal. Or at least we have never heard
But then Barak came up with the new demand that the Palestinians
will also renounce their hold in Al Aksa (Temple Mount). Even
a collaborator like Arafat cannot accept such demands and survive.
No rational account could tie these facts together. It is
hard to avoid the conclusion that Barak is in the end not really
wanting a formal agreement with the Palestinians, not even the
rather full surrender that Arafat was willing to accept.
Barak and Sharon see only one solution to the 'Palestinian
problem'-subjugation and control! It is not at all impossible
that in their sick generals' minds they believe that if one applies
sufficient force for sufficient time it may be possible to drive
more and more Palestinians out of Jerusalem and the central West
Bank so this area becomes more Arab-free. And this approach isn't
confined to just the occupied Palestinians. For several weeks
now, Israeli Palestinians have been subject to vicious attacks,
and more and more voices in the media (orchestrated, as always,
from above) complain about how they have too many rights and are
not "loyal" to Israel.
Israel has become the land of apartheid.
Professor Tanya Reinhart teaches at Tel Aviv University and
the University of Utrecht. This article is reprinted with permission
from Mid-East Realities (www.MiddleEast. Org). For more information,
contact the Committee On The Middle East, PO Box 1836, Washington
(I) Newsweek 9-],-00; Ha'aretz 9-18-00. (2) Nahum Barnea "Yediot
Aharonot" 630-00: "The Arabs living in the settlement
blocks which will be annexed to Israel will have the same rights
as the Israelis living in Palestine: They will vote for the Palestinian
state and will live by its laws. "