South Africans think Israel is practicing apartheid

on 25 Comments

Paging Judge Goldstone . . . From the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa:

The HSRC commissioned an international team of scholars and practitioners of international public law from South Africa, the United Kingdom, Israel and the West Bank to conduct the study. The resulting 300-page draft, titled Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid?: A re-assessment of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories under international law, represents 15 months of research and constitutes an exhaustive review of Israel’s practices in the OPT according to definitions of colonialism and apartheid provided by international law. The project was suggested originally by the January 2007 report by eminent South African jurist John Dugard, in his capacity as Special Rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council, when he indicated that Israel practices had assumed characteristics of colonialism and apartheid . . .

Regarding apartheid, the team found that Israel’s laws and policies in the OPT fit the definition of apartheid in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Israeli law conveys privileges to Jewish settlers and disadvantages Palestinians in the same territory on the basis of their respective identities, which function in this case as racialised identities in the sense provided by international law. Israel’s practices are corollary to five of the six ‘inhuman acts’ listed by the Convention. A policy of apartheid is especially indicated by Israel’s demarcation of geographic ‘reserves’ in the West Bank, to which Palestinian residence is confined and which Palestinians cannot leave without a permit. The system is very similar to the policy of ‘Grand Apartheid’ in apartheid South Africa, in which black South Africans were confined to black homelands delineated by the South African government, while white South Africans enjoyed freedom of movement and full civil rights in the rest of the country.

The Executive Summary of the report says that the three pillars of apartheid in South Africa are all practiced by Israel in the OPT. In South Africa, the first pillar was to demarcate the population of South Africa into racial groups, and to accord superior rights, privileges and services to the white racial group. The second pillar was to segregate the population into different geographic areas, which were allocated by law to different racial groups, and restrict passage by members of any group into the area allocated to other groups. And the third pillar was “a matrix of draconian ‘security’ laws and policies that were employed to suppress any opposition to the regime and to reinforce the system of racial domination, by providing for administrative detention, torture, censorship, banning, and assassination.”

The Report finds that Israeli practices in the OPT exhibit the same three ‘pillars’ of apartheid:

The first pillar “derives from Israeli laws and policies that establish Jewish identity for purposes of law and afford a preferential legal status and material benefits to Jews over non-Jews”.

The second pillar is reflected in “Israel’s ‘grand’ policy to fragment the OPT [and] ensure that Palestinians remain confined to the reserves designated for them while Israeli Jews are prohibited from entering those reserves but enjoy freedom of movement throughout the rest of the Palestinian territory. This policy is evidenced by Israel’s extensive appropriation of Palestinian land, which continues to shrink the territorial space available to Palestinians; the hermetic closure and isolation of the Gaza Strip from the rest of the OPT; the deliberate severing of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank; and the appropriation and construction policies serving to carve up the West Bank into an intricate and well-serviced network of connected settlements for Jewish-Israelis and an archipelago of besieged and non-contiguous enclaves for Palestinians”.

The third pillar is “Israel’s invocation of ‘security’ to validate sweeping restrictions on Palestinian freedom of opinion, expression, assembly, association and movement [to] mask a true underlying intent to suppress dissent to its system of domination and thereby maintain control over Palestinians as a group.”

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25 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    November 1, 2011, 12:10 pm

    Let’s not forget
    Co-authors back Goldstone report, blast critics

    Published April 14, 2011

    |o-authors of a scathing U.N. report on Israel’s conduct during its 2008-2009 offensive in Gaza said Thursday they stand by their work, hitting back at critics who’ve pushed to have its findings withdrawn after the report’s lead author, Richard Goldstone, aired doubts about one of its central conclusions.

    In a statement published on the website of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Goldstone’s three colleagues said there was “no justification” for any move to review or rescind the 575-page report — which among other things accuses Israel of deliberately targeting civilians in its campaign against Hamas militants. The report also condemned Hamas for targeting Israeli civilians by firing rockets at Israeli cities.

    Read more:

  2. Richard Witty
    November 1, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Not all South Africans believe that Israel is practicing apartheid.

    Maybe the headline should read “Some South Africans think Israeli is practising apartheid” rather than the generalized “South Africans think”.

    100% of South Africans?

    • annie
      November 1, 2011, 12:43 pm

      no it is not clear at all. you can’t reliably gauge what people believe when they stand to profit off their deceptions.

      • eee
        November 1, 2011, 12:46 pm

        “you can’t reliably gauge what people believe when they stand to profit off their deceptions.”

        Nice guideline. Yet you never apply it to what Palestinians say.

      • annie
        November 1, 2011, 2:03 pm

        in this instance i was primarily referencing financial gain or holding onto political power, like the kind of kowtowing our congress does for the lobby vs payback in the way of filling campaign coffers. i should have made that clear.

        wrt what else you said i would say, never is too strong a word. give me an equivalent example of ‘their deceptions’ and what you think they really believe vs what they say and i will address it.

      • eee
        November 1, 2011, 2:23 pm

        Do you apply this guideline to Hamas who receive funding from Iran?
        Or do you trust Hamas more than your own Congress?

    • eee
      November 1, 2011, 12:44 pm

      Yes, and the report is also missing which other states this group of SA thinks is practicing apartheid? Is China practicing apartheid in Tibet? Russia in Chechnya? Assad and his Alawite clan in Syria? Let’s have the full list and let’s discuss it.

      • mig
        November 1, 2011, 1:19 pm

        Yes, you talk about anything but Israel actions. I guess that china uses apartheid in tibet because israel uses apartheid vs. palestinians. Same to russia & syria. They all claim that all is apartheid because israel started it. They just follow example.

        Right eee ?

      • dumvitaestspesest
        November 1, 2011, 1:32 pm

        Does the fact that other people, in other places , are abusing another, innocent human beings, gives you the green light to abuse them too??
        What kind of twisted morality you were taught?

      • eljay
        November 1, 2011, 1:56 pm

        >> What kind of twisted morality you were taught?


      • eee
        November 1, 2011, 2:20 pm


        Does the fact that some people think that the Chinese practice apartheid in Tibet lead to a movement against Chinese nationalism in an attempt to destroy it? Yet, you guys posit anti-Zionism but never anti-Chinese nationalism. What kind of twisted morality were you taught? Yes, the one that holds Jews to different standards than others.

      • justicewillprevail
        November 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

        I have often used the Tibet situation as an equal of Israel’s determination to wipe Palestine off the map. There are many groups and websites supporting Tibet’s rights against the Chinese. So you are in good company. there is no different standard. ISrael is similar to apartheid SA, China, Burma and prewar Japan. Happy now?

      • Citizen
        November 1, 2011, 7:18 pm

        eee, last I heard US was not giving China 20% of our total foreign aid, nor was US underwriting China’s debt, even now still, after US credit rating dropped below Israel’s. Now did we get involved in Iraq to enhance China’s hegemony in its local. Nor do I hear any war drums to bomb Iran to support Israel’s continued hegemony in ME. I also don’t think we’ve cheapened our UNSC veto power in aid of China. All this despite fact China is where we get credit to survive, not Israel.

      • petersz
        November 1, 2011, 11:03 pm

        The Chinese have not built a separate road system for Tibetans to my knowledge. Tibetans are Chinese citizens though so its not apartheid. Nice try! Apartheid exists in the Zionist state though:- separate road system, separate judicial systems, unequal allocation of resources etc.

    • dumvitaestspesest
      November 1, 2011, 1:01 pm

      You are really a pain ,Mr Witty.
      Does it really matter? 100% or not?
      The main point is that all good people, people who know, what is right and wrong, are able to recognise it.
      You are always balancing, trying to find excuses for something that does not deserve any excuses, that is not excusable.
      There is NO excuse for the way Israelis treat Palestinian people.
      None. No existe.
      Try to repeat it to yourself. Daily.

      • Citizen
        November 1, 2011, 7:19 pm

        Witty’s grasping at the cheapest straws available–he’s ready to fall with so little to stand on.

    • justicewillprevail
      November 1, 2011, 5:24 pm

      Witty, what a tiresome pedant. Apparently your latest pastime is coming on to Mondoweiss and complaining about the headlines while ignoring the articles. Have you really got nothing better to do than patronise the writers on this site, with your tedious attempts at acting the journalism monitor? Coming from somebody who can barely write coherently, you don’t think a little humility might be in order? I suppose you would love it if we came and decried your appalling headlines and stilted writing on your blog, but I can’t think of anything more soul-sapping.

  3. Opti
    November 1, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Funding illegal Israeli settlements? Priceless.

    Visa, Mastercard and PayPal all enable donations to be made to US-registered groups funding illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank in defiance of international law.

    • pabelmont
      November 1, 2011, 5:26 pm

      Yes, but it is OK, because they (or some) do not allow payments to the WikiLeaks. they know which side a buttered slice of bread falls on.

  4. RoHa
    November 1, 2011, 7:41 pm

    Fneh! South Africans? What do they know about it?

  5. lobewyper
    November 1, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Doesn’t anyone remember that Jimmy Carter guy? Didn’t he say something about this a while back? How soon we forget!

  6. RoHa
    November 1, 2011, 9:17 pm


  7. Opti
    November 1, 2011, 11:50 pm

    where do I get a copy of this 300-page report?

    Also, why did they need 300 pages when Carter’s book was just 247 pages :)

  8. piotr
    November 2, 2011, 1:35 am

    eee: Yes, and the report is also missing which other states this group of SA thinks is practicing apartheid? Is China practicing apartheid in Tibet? Russia in Chechnya? Assad and his Alawite clan in Syria? Let’s have the full list and let’s discuss it.

    I am a great supporter of that. I think that one should make a table of various Israeli policies and checking if anybody else is doing it.

    Are Tibetans/Uighurs/Chechens/Kashmiri/non-Alawites

    forbidden to build as much as an outhouse without permission, almost always denied, of military authorities

    denied access to water and electricity and even forbidden to capture rainwater in cisterns (very original IMHO)

    denied permission to purchase ingredients of their traditional foods (very original IMHO)

    forbidden to travel around the territory of the state that controls their lives (very original IMHO)

    I think eee could propose some entries that would make Israel look better, and then we could tabulates:

    50 categories, how far is Israel from dead bottom in each of them.

  9. Linda J
    December 5, 2011, 10:44 pm

    Glad to see this. Got a “walk-by” comment at the vigil last week — I should look up the definition of apartheid. Of course, I retorted that I had and maybe SHE was the one who needed a dictionary!

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