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Israel, Palestine, and Apartheid

The term ‘apartheid’ was coined to describe the system of segregation, practiced for many years in South Africa. However, the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court omitted all references to South Africa in its definition of ‘the crime of apartheid’ and the term is now defined globally as a crime against humanity. This article explores the similarities and differences between the now abandoned practice of apartheid in South Africa and the current apartheid policies of Israel, highlighting the need to differentiate between Israel proper (within its pre-1967 boundaries), Greater Israel (within the post-1967 boundaries), and Greater Palestine. Whereas Israel claims to offer democratic rights for all its citizens, all seven pillars of apartheid can be shown to exist in the occupied territories, where the Israeli regime is the sole authority, leaving the Palestinian Authority powerless. The article details how the influx of different immigrant communities to Israel has dispossessed the Palestinians from their land. It provides a new definition for the policies practiced, and the many ways in which Israel dictates the lives of the Palestinians, as ‘apartheid of a special type.’ It concludes with a proposal to support the policy of bi-nationalism, as stated in the Haifa Declaration of 2007.

Israel Palestine and Apartheid
A Palestinian protestor holds a banner during a demonstration on a road to Jerusalem, January 23, 2019. ABBAS MOMANI / AFP via Getty Images
 

Received Date: 01/16/2020  •  Accepted Date: 02/20/2020  

 

 

Introduction: What Is Apartheid?


What do we mean when we speak about apartheid? On the face of it the answer is obvious: apartheid was a South African system of social and political domination between 1948 and 1994. During that period government policies imposed conceptual, legal, and geographical distinctions between people on the basis of race. Legislation divided the population into white and black groups, and the latter were further divided into sub-groups. Black African people were classified into ethnic groups, each with its ‘own’ homeland in which to exercise political rights and meet social needs. At the same time, in the key area of labor, black people worked for and served white people, a principle that shaped economy and society throughout South African history.

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