Why have some observers, including former USA president Jimmy Carter, current Secretary of State John Kerry, archbishop Desmond Tutu, along with many black South Africans warned that Israel is or risks becoming an apartheid state.
It is a fairly straightfoward observation. Since 1967, Israel has exercised complete sovereignty over the occupied territories. 4 million people of arab ethnicity are ruled over by Israel but granted none of the rights and privileges which are accorded to citizens or legal residents of Israel. These 4 million ethnic arabs are stateless persons who are denied participation in Israeli society based on ethnic grounds. A person of jewish ethnicity born in the West Bank is automatically granted all the rights of citizenship, whereas a person of arab ethnicity born in West Bank is a stateless person governed by military law. This is, in effect, an ethnic test for citizenship.
The crime of apartheid is specified as follows:
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid,Israel is has been in full violation of sections c. and d. for the past 47 years. Some defenders of Israel acknowledge this fact, yet state that it is only temporary. If the stateless arabs in the occupied territories were to be granted a fully sovereign nation, Israel would no longer be committing the crime of apartheid. This is true, but the current system is indisputably apartheid and the current prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has ruled out the possibility of a sovereign nation for Israel's stateless population.
For the purpose of the present Convention, the term 'the crime of apartheid', which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:
Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person
By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;
Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognised trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;
Exploitation of the labour of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour;
Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.
If Israel is unwilling to give its stateless population either equal rights or allow them a sovereign nation, then it will always remain an apartheid state.
Historically, Israel was also an apartheid state from 1948 to 1966. During this period, the population that is now known as Israeli Arabs lived under military law within Israel. In 1966, Israeli Arabs were granted citizenship.
Now citizens, Israelis of arab ethnicity are permitted most of the rights of citizenship. Israeli courts have ruled, however, that laws and organisations are allowed to discriminate based on ethnicity. Israeli citizens of arab ethnicity are currently discriminated against in over fifty laws. This however is a question of civil rights and does not contribute to the ongoing crime of apartheid which concerns the treatment of Israel’s population of stateless people of arab ethnicity living in the occupied territories.
I hope this helps explain the situation.
Please be civil in the comments.
8:30 AM PT: correction:
Someone helpfully pointed out in the comments that there is a factual error in this diary. Israeli arabs were eligible for citizenship from 1948 - 1966. They were governed by martial law at the time but were not stateless persons such as the palestinian of the occupied territories are now.
In light of this, my assertion that Israel was an apartheid state from 1948 - 1966 becomes very debatable. I therefore withdraw that assertion and will leave that argument to the historians.
The fact remains that Israel is currently acting as an apartheid state with respect to the occupied territories and has been for 47 years.
My apologies for the error and for the distraction that it has caused