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Monday, May 25, 2015

Apartheid Denial

Palestinian laborers with permits to work in Israel step off a minibus as they return to the West Bank at Israel's Eyal checkpoint near the West Bank town of Qalqilya, May 20, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

First international blunder of Bibi's new government
Author Mazal Mualem Posted May 21, 2015
TranslatorDanny Wool
“A government was elected. It has a clear agenda, which is the security of its citizens throughout the country, including in Judea and Samaria. People sitting in the cafes on Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv must not be allowed to set the country’s agenda.” That was part of a response by the Likud’s new Knesset member Oren Hazan to a decision to suspend a pilot program segregating Jews and Palestinians on buses in the West Bank.

Palestinians who enter Israel for work now can return directly to the West Bank using public transportation. According to the new plan, they would have to get off the buses for a security check when they re-enter the territories. What these instructions effectively do is create a situation in which Palestinian commuters are forced to leave their buses, while Jewish commuters can continue unhindered...

Moti Yogev, a colonel in the reserves and a resident of the settlement of Dolev, waged a long struggle on behalf of this kind of segregation. When the pilot segregation program was announced May 20, Yogev of HaBayit HaYehudi was quick to congratulate it, considering it a personal and political achievement. He responded to widespread condemnation of the plan by saying, “None of those criticizing the decision is actually familiar with the reality of the situation. What they are saying about it is hypocritical, false and irresponsible. The reality is that the Arabs in Judea and Samaria live better here than they would in any of the neighboring Arab states. (note A)

Ya’alon also defended his decision, saying, “There is no segregation. A properly functioning state can keep tabs on who is coming in and leaving. That’s all this is about.” This time, however, the use of public safety considerations to excuse the galling ethical injustice of segregated buses did not withstand the test of reality. Security arguments barely survived a few hours before Netanyahu ordered that the pilot be stopped. By then, however, the plan itself had already caused serious diplomatic damage to Israel, including the settlements of Judea and Samaria.

This example of segregation for reasons of security was immediately presented as an example of Israeli apartheid. As an exceptionally talented apologist, Netanyahu immediately recognized the potential damage that the sinister combination of buses and segregation would have in an enlightened international narrative, and particularly in the collective memories of the United States and South Africa. (note B) 

With the term “apartheid” appearing more and more over the past few years, in the context of Israel’s occupation of Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu realized that he must act quickly to limit the damage, and ordered the program to be suspended immediately...

This article speaks for itself. What I found interesting was the speed with which it was stopped due to similarities to segregation in the two USAs (United States of America and the Union of South Africa) - note A:

- and the line of thinking that bore similarities to discourse about slavery, in particular how certain slaves, the ones who worked in the master's house, were better off than slaves who did not - note B:

Although many deny that Apartheid exists, yet its manner of thinking and processing information exists in the minds of many.

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