Israel and Apartheid

Hasan in front of demolished house Jenin

Farmer Hasan Turkmen and his son Ahmad sit outside their demolished house just north of Jenin in the West Bank, September 2003. Israeli forces had arrived that very morning giving them ten minutes to clear out the house. There are no militants in the Turkmen family, their crime was to have built the house without a permit over a decade ago.

Anyone who spends any time in the occupied Palestinian territories – as I did in September 2003 and 2004 – will tell you that Israel is running an apartheid system there. Roadblocks, checkpoints, 24-hour curfews, house occupations, detention without trial are some elements of the system that never make it to our newspapers. Separate paved roads, control of water supplies, and license to carry arms are only some of the priviledges that the Israeli Settlers enjoy.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Jenin was under curfew for 3,466 hours between July 2002 and December 2004. That means about 150 days of complete shutdown; no work, no school, no leaving the house.

Curfew in the usually bustling centre of town, Jenin, September 2003:

curfew in downtown jenin


One man who recognises the apartheid is former US President Jimmy Carter. He’s drawn the ire of the Israel Lobby in the US by publishing “Palestine: Peace not Apartheid” which documents his involvement in peace efforts in the ‘holy land’. It’s not a fantastic book, but what’s important is Carter’s stance, he’s obviously decided that someone needs to speak out.

Although his views are seen as toxic in the US, Carter’s standpoint has been endorsed by former Israeli minister Shulamit Aloni writing in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely circulated Hebrew daily (English Translation / Hebew Original).

Talking of speaking out, “Breaking the Silence” is a group of Israeli soldiers – past and present – who want to speak about what’s going on in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly what they’re seeing in the Second Intifada.

This really is a fantastic interview because it describes first-hand what sorts of operations are being carried out by the Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza. Watch it to understand what’s going on.

And then ask yourself why you have to watch it on YouTube.

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