Calling it apartheid because that’s what it is

Mustafa Barghouti in Al-Ahram Weekly:

What we need to do in Palestine is to develop a better knowledge and understanding of the system of slavery that Israel created, and that some of us do not see, whether out of ignorance, out of fear, or out of a sense of impotence in the face of this reality.

Modern history offers no equivalent to the perniciousness and repressiveness of the racist apartheid system. In the course of seven decades, official Israeli policy built itself on the cumulative products of three processes. The first was the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, which reached its peak in 1948. The second was the longest foreign occupation in history. The third was the apartheid system that is more brutal than that which had existed in South Africa, to which testify the South African freedom fighters that visited us, such as Desmond Tutu.

Not only did Israel create what today amounts to six million Palestinian refugees who are deprived of the right to return, since 1948 it strove to deprive the Palestinians who remained in what became Israel of their land and to turn them into a source of cheap labour that remained under the thumb of military rule until 1966. Following the 1967 war, military rule moved to the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, where military authorities set into motion a drive to steal Palestinian land, expropriate natural resources and deprive the occupied people of essential needs for subsistence.

Today, Israel controls 90 per cent of the water in the West Bank. It allows illegal settlements to consume 2,400 cubic metres of water per person per year, compared to less than 50 cubic metres of water per year per person for Palestinians. In other words, Israeli settlers are entitled to 48 times more water than Palestinians in the West Bank.

To add insult to injury, Israel forces the Palestinians to pay twice as much as Israelis do for the water and electricity they consume.

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