An Apartheid Nation
By: Chaitanya Davé
Last July and August, 2014, while the world watched in horror, hundreds of Palestinians were being killed as if they were lambs and chicken being butchered in the slaughter house. The world watched in revulsion but was able to do nothing.
Yes, Hamas is wrong in firing rockets into Israel. But Israel occupies Palestinian territories since 1967, all illegally. They have kept Hamas and 1.4 million Palestinians in open air prison. What else do we expect Hamas to do? Desperate people resort to any means to defend themselves. Yes, Hamas must remove in its charter the destruction of Israel. But Israel must vacate all the territories acquired since 1967 war ; also the Syrian Golan Heights. Then the Arabs are ready to sign a peace treaty with Israel. This plan has been offered to Israel many years ago but to no avail.
In this immoral, unnecessary and totally one sided war, on the one side is a state armed to the teeth by the United States, illegally occupying Arab/Palestinian lands since its birth in 1948 and 1967 and on the other side are defenseless, poor Palestinian people, driven by force from their ancestral lands–in their hundreds of thousands by Israel’s ethnic cleansing in 1948–trying to defend themselves with homemade rockets that land anywhere in Israel, most landing in open grounds. For many years, 1.4 million people of Gaza are kept in open-air prison, biggest in the world, forcefully kept on a level of bare survival, imprisoned by land, air and sea. Over the years, Israel has restricted–besides drugs and few other essential items—food imports to levels below minimum necessary to maintain a minimum caloric intake. Child welfare groups have reported a sharp increase in poverty and chronic child malnutrition, typhoid fever, anemia and potentially fatal infant diarrhea. Human rights organizations have termed this as collective punishment.
Ever since its birth in 1948, Israel has fought many wars, most started by itself and captured more and more Arab lands.
In its recent relentless bombing of Gaza for 50 days, the carnage was as follows: Some 2139 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. This included many children. About 11,000 people were injured including 3000 children. One third of the children are maimed for life. 30,000 to 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans were forced to flee with nowhere to go; schools, mosques, hospitals, even several U.N. Shelters and U.N.-schools where civilians were taking shelter from the bombings were also bombed. It was evident the Israelis were targeting Gaza’s economy as 175 major factories were taken out according to The New York Times, in a place that had an estimated 47% unemployment rate. In addition, Israel destroyed Gaza’s only power plant, plunging the whole area into darkness. Israel lost 64 soldiers in fighting. Three civilians were killed by rockets fired by Hamas.
For 50 days, the world was appalled watching the kind of terror the civilians of Gaza were subjected to. Thousands of people were protesting all across the world but in U.S. mainstream news media, these protests were not reported. The protests taking place in New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles were not important for American news-media to report.
As usual, it was a mismatch, David Vs Goliath fight. The Hamas fired thousands of rudimentary, self-made rockets that did little damage besides killing 4 Israelis. But Israel mounted a massive bombardment by using U.S. Supplied F-16 fighter jets, Apache Helicopters, Hell fire missiles and 500 pound bombs, all financed by American tax-payers. Gaza was invaded by thousands of Israeli troops with tanks and artillery—all U.S. supplied—bombing and killing, shooting women and children at will, destroying buildings, homes, apartment complexes and factories.
Most amazing was a statement by our President Obama: “Israel has a right to defend itself.,” an unwise utterance by a Head of State who should know better who needs defending. Later, while outwardly, the U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were advocating ceasefire, the United States was supplying deadly weapons of war to its client state. What a hypocrisy!
Unfortunately, Israel has developed such an “octopus tentacle” grip on the U.S. political establishment that rarely a reigning U.S. President, nor any current U.S. Senator or Congressman will dare to criticize Israel. If they do and few have tried in the past, they meet the ultimate defeat at the polls in the next election; not that Israel is very popular with the American voters. Unfortunately what counts in U.S. politics today is the money power and Israel’s allies such as American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and many very rich Jews in the U.S. wield this enormous power shamelessly. The poor Palestinians and other Arab countries have no such friends in America besides the Arab population which is ineffective; and what is responsible for Israel’s such violent and aggressive behavior is its main benefactor, the United States and its unquestioned but foolish support, military, monetary and diplomatic. Since last several decades, United States doles out $3 billion of American tax-payers’ money every year to Israel. That is what keeps these wars going ever since 1967. In reality, the United States is waging a proxy war against the poor people of Palestine. If tomorrow, a U.S. President courageously declared that America will stop all its military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel unless it negotiates a just peace with all its Arab neighbors, within few days, Israel will be forced to negotiate such a treaty with its neighbors including the people of Palestine.
It is the unequivocal U.S. support that enables Israel to keep waging its immoral wars against the Palestinians, occupying their territories, building new settlements on stolen lands and keeping these people in concentration like camps.
America’s foolish Middle East policy is formulated not in Washington DC but in Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, no American political leader is able to challenge it today. It has been reported that in private, these Senators and Congressmen grumble and complain about Israel’s policies. They know in their heart that Israel is utterly wrong stealing and occupying other peoples’ lands. But they can’t say it publicly otherwise they will invite their political demise. But they are doing no favors to their own country, the United States which they have sworn in to serve. They all know that Israel is a parasite and a very harmful one causing immeasurable harm to the United States itself. But they are helpless and courage-less.
Today’s humanity, if they call themselves civilized, should not allow a violent and belligerent country terrorize, brutalize and kill a defenseless people whose lands it is illegally occupying at least since 1967. That country, if it does not change its behavior, does not belong to be with the civilized nations of the world. There is one way to force Israel and the United States to change its immoral policy in this conflict. People of the world can do it for them. Us Americans and other people of the globe can help United States free itself from this octopus-like grip by Israel. The answer is “Boycott”.
South African apartheid was the most cruel, racist system ever devised and practiced by Pretoria regime in South Africa in 1960s and 1970s onwards. The world decided to boycott South Africa economically, militarily, business-wise and culturally. Racist South Africa was boycotted on every front. It was totally isolated except with one country. That was Israel. While the world was boycotting this racist Pretoria regime, Israel was having the friendliest relations with this regime. This tells you a lot about Israel.
Finally, the global sanctions and boycott took its toll on the South African regime. It was forced to release African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela after 27 years of incarceration; and was forced to sign a treaty and relinquish power in South Africa, handing it over to African National Congress headed by Mandela.
Boycotts have worked in the past. Mahatma Gandhi led the nation to boycott the British goods. This had devastating effect on the British economy. And when the whole country refused to cooperate with the British, they had no choice but to leave India. By the same token, if the world boycotts Israel and all American, European and Asian companies that do business with Israel, it could have tremendous impact on the United States and Israel. They will be forced to change their policies. For this to succeed, the world’s peace loving and moral people need to join hands in boycotting this 21st century apartheid nation and those who support it. Many American and European institutions have already started divesting—taking out their investments—from Israeli and other companies who do business with Israel, like Caterpillar which supplies bulldozers used in bulldozing Palestinian homes. There are many Israeli companies in New York, NASDAQ and American stock exchanges. They all should be shunned by good hearted Americans, Europeans and other countries’ people. Luckily, it is already happening in the United States and Europe. It just needs much more momentum. For example, there are few ports in America and other countries where the longshoremen have refused to load/unload Israeli ships. This could be a very effective way to make an impact for all the port workers to contribute if more and more of them in various countries take similar actions. Dr. Martin Luther King had rightly said that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We must remember that inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.
As reported by Guardian of UK, on April 29, 2002, South African Archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu in a speech in the united States, accused Israel of practicing apartheid in its policies towards the Palestinians. As recently as March 10, 2014, he compared Israel’s treatment of Palestinians worst than the apartheid regime that discriminated against blacks in his native South Africa. Former President Jimmy Carter, in his classic book few years back, alluded to the fact that Israel’s policies towards Palestinians amounted to apartheid. The situation for the Palestinians has gotten worst since these statements. Desmond Tutu is a great supporter of boycott, divestment and sanctions by people of the world to bring Israel to its senses.
Every one of us has an obligation to do something to bring about the peace by boycotting goods, services and companies of Israel or American and other countries’ corporations doing business with Israel. Remember, wars affect us all around the world. For example, the most foolish and immoral war the United States waged against Iraq in 1991 and in 2003 helped sky-rocket oil prices globally. The result was, poor nations like India and other Asian, Latin American and African nations who could ill afford it, paid very high prices for the oil they had to purchase. Millions of poor people living in these countries—even in America and in Europe—were forced to pay high price for petrol, plastic goods, food and other essential items. This adversely affected their lives and their children’s. So it is obvious that suffering of Palestinians is everybody’s suffering. If we call ourselves civilized, such uncivilized carnage of the defenseless people can not be tolerated by people of the world. Their war is going to affect us all sooner or later. We the ‘global-humanity’ must act now before it is too late.
Some day in distant future, when U.S. elections are not controlled by money power but are federally funded, the Senators and Congressmen will be freed from this highly destructive Israeli-grip on their behavior; and this so called support for Israel will disappear immediately. Then, with the absence of U.S. support, Israel will be forced to come to its senses to sign a just peace treaty with all its neighbors, return the stolen lands and live in peace with its neighbors.
If you like this article, please forward it to all your friends everywhere. That way, it could reach millions of people around the world in few days. That will be immensely helpful to humanity.