My friend Nicholas Wibberley writes: “You may already know about it, but there is a relatively new book published in France [last spring] by Michel Bôle-Richard ‘Le nouvel apartheid’ which looks pretty powerful stuff. He was Le Monde correspondent in South Africa during the apartheid period and later stationed in the occupied territories. He did a piece last Thursday for the paper here which I have given a quick translate (below). The book is not translated into English yet. I am ordering a copy though.”
Michel Bôle-Richard in Le Monde: “Nelson Mandela est mort mais l’apartheid est toujours vivant”
After saluting the demise of a “moral leader of the first order ,” Netanyahu decided not to attend the funeral of Nelson Mandela because of the cost of the trip. The reason given is surprising to say the least when the world is paying tribute to the heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle. The Israeli Prime Minister perhaps recalled that his country had maintained close economic and military relations with the white regime of South Africa? Did he perhaps remember that one close to Nelson Mandela had quoted him saying on December 4, 1997 that “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”?
Perhaps he was afraid of being pointed to as the propagator of an exclusion and segregation system in so many ways similar to that in South Africa until June 1991, when the four main pillars of apartheid were abolished? A crime against which Nelson Mandela fought relentlessly?
The question deserves to be asked. Nelson Mandela is dead, but the apartheid lives on in a uncodified, illegal but very real form, especially in Israel. A disguised apartheid, rampant, despised. Many believe that the use of the term “apartheid” is exaggerated or outrageous for the Jewish state, but they forget that apartheid takes various forms derived from the domination of one group over another or several others and leading to exclusion, marginalization or expulsion. Apartheid is not only the product of the occupation, it is the consequence of the colonisation and the wish to get rid of a group of people by sticking them in particular locations or Bantustans to be replaced by another group. Removing or confining the Palestinians to leave the field open to the Jewish community. Is not that the definition given in 1973 by the UN resolution 3068 which decided that “the crime of apartheid means inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of humans on any other race of human beings and systematically oppressing it”. Who can deny that this is not a reality in Israel today? For years, Western leaders regularly call for an end to colonization, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the brutality of the army at the end of the blockade of Gaza, the release of political prisoners without getting any echo from the Israeli authorities.
Almost every week, new housing programs are advertised in the West Bank or Jerusalem. Almost every week, Palestinians are killed.
Twenty- six from the beginning of the year. The latest on December 7. He was fifteen years old, killed by a bullet in the back to Ramallah[Wajih Al-Ramahi killing here]. The penultimate , November 30, a Palestinian worker in an irregular situation in Israel, shot by a border guard. According to the UN, a third of those wounded in 2013 are children. Military court is about to close an investigation by refusing to pursue a soldier who killed a demonstrator in December 2011 by firing a tear gas grenade just a few feet from his face. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu continues the implementation of the Prawer Plan to settle the Negev Bedouins who, from time immemorial lived as nomads in order to make room for settlers [Update on Prawer plan here]. Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy, proposed on December 8, annex “the area where 400,000 settlers live and only 70,000 Arabs .”
What term should we use to define such a policy? How describe the restrictions in Area C (62% of the West Bank ) which, if they were lifted, would increase the GDP of the Palestinian Authority of 35% according to the World Bank? What should we conclude from the recent OECD survey which highlights one Arab in two lives under the poverty line while the figure is one in five for Jews? Since the creation of Israel in 1948, no Arab village or town has been built while the population has increased tenfold and 600 Jewish municipalities have been created. More than thirty framework laws that “discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens of Israel” are listed by Adalah, the Human Rights advocacy organization.
What words are there to characterize the 600 kilometers of roads reserved for settlers in the West Bank alone, the hundred different types of permits required of the Palestinians to be able to move, the separate infrastructures for each community and their virtually complete partitioning?
Need we expand the list, give further details? In October 1999, during a visit to Gaza, Nelson Mandela invited the Palestinians not to give up, to continue to fight for, as he had said on his release, “Our march to freedom is irreversible. We can not let fear win.” Fear, that dominates Israeli politics and in whose name all can be justified. Mandela understood. Yitzhak Rabin too. He was murdered. Nobody has replaced him. And if Marwan Barghouti, Fatah leader imprisoned for eleven years , says that ” apartheid was defeated in South Africa, it will not prevail in Palestine,” we do not see that now, we must bring it to an end.