FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Israeli Labor Party Adopts the Apartheid Mantra

by

shutterstock_291471716 (1)

On Sunday night, Israel’s Labor Party unanimously approved their leader’s diplomatic plan.

Labor’s premier Isaac Herzog laid out his vision a few weeks earlier at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, telling the audience that he “wish[es] to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.”  Herzog continued by explaining that “we’ll erect a big wall between us. That is the kind of co-existence that is possible right now… Ariel Sharon… didn’t finish the job. We want to finish it, to complete the barrier that separates us.”

Examining Labor’s new plan more closely, what becomes bitterly clear is that “We are here, they are there” does not signify the withdrawal of Israeli power from Palestinian territories, but rather a devious way of entrenching the colonial enterprise even further.

Herzog’s underlying assumption is that under current conditions a two-state solution is impossible. He is, however, adamantly against a one state solution, whereby Jews and Palestinians live together as equals. His objective is to formulate a plan that guarantees the continued existence of a Jewish state, with about five million Palestinians living within its territory.‫

On the one hand, then, Israel should not take steps that would undermine the two-state solution, because sustaining the two-state chimera is crucial for preventing the alternative: a democratic state between the Jordan Valley and Mediterranean where Palestinians, like Jews, enjoy full citizenship. On the other hand, Herzog realizes that the two-state solution is no longer an option. He therefore lays out the blueprint of a plan that is in effect an Apartheid regime.

The specifics informing the plan, which the Labor Party approved, are not really new, but the fact that they have been outlined in writing is another crucial step in the consolidation and legitimization of Apartheid rule.

The plan unabashedly promotes Palestinian Bantustans. Herzog notes that Palestinians will gain more autonomy to run their daily lives in areas A and B, which comprise only about 40% of the West Bank. “Palestinians will have total freedom in civil but not military matters,” he said. “They’ll be able to build new cities and expand existing ones, to develop agriculture, industry, employment.”

In order to ensure the consolidation of the division of the West Bank into archipelagoes, the plan emphasizes the importance of completing the separation barrier around settlement blocs in the West Bank, because the blocs, according to Herzog, will always remain under Israeli sovereignty and “will be part of the permanent solution.”

In order to get rid of Palestinians who are residents of Israel and have an Israeli identity card, Herzog endorses cutting off Palestinian villages from Jerusalem. As he put it: “Issawiya is not and won’t be part of Israel’s eternal capital. Neither is the refugee camp in Shoafat. We’ll separate from them. We’ll build a wall. Terrorists won’t have access to Jews. Those who want to work and make a living rather than stabbing people – we’ll leave those for the consideration of the defense establishment.”

Finally, the IDF, according to Herzog, should continue to control the entire West Bank.‪

With respect to Gaza, Hamas, in Herzog’s words “will have no immunity and for every attack they’ll pay a heavy price. This won’t mean dummy bombings of empty areas.” Herzog thus criticized Netanyahu’s government for being too soft on the Palestinians – the Likud government, he maintains, is not really bombing Palestinians in Gaza, but only empty spaces. He went on to announce that if gains power he will employ an “iron fist,” including shutting down their radio and TV stations and ensuring that Palestinians won’t have internet or mobile phone services.

Looking closely at Labor’s plan, the logic informing it becomes crystal clear: since it is difficult to envision a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future, Israel should no longer be ashamed for adopting a Bantustanian approach.

It is crucial to remember that the Bantustans in South Africa were classified as “self-governing” and that the Africans living within these territories did not have South African citizenship and thus did not enjoy the most basic political rights. Moreover, because no viable economy could be developed in the Bantustans, these areas were kept afloat by massive subsidies provided by the South African government. Similarly, the Palestinians are currently being kept afloat by the EU, US and a few other countries. By concentrating large parts of the African population in Bantustans, the white supremacist Apartheid regime did manage to sustain itself for many years. This, in a word, is Herzog’s vision, as well.

The Labor Party, which is the only viable alternative to the current Likud government, and which is considered by many both in Israel and among international leaders to be a progressive substitute, has, in other words, unanimously supported a plan that would have  been applauded by Apartheid South Africa.

Given this reality, it does not seem likely that a just solution to the Palestinian plight will come from within Israel. Indeed, at this historical juncture, international pressure is perhaps the only hope and is desperately needed.

This article first appeared in Al Jazeera.

Neve Gordon is the co-author (with Nicola Perugini) of the newly released The Human Right to Dominate.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
Andy Thayer
More Cops Will Worsen, Not Help, Chicago’s Violence Problem
Louis Yako
Can Westerners Help Refugees from War-torn Countries?
David Rosen
Rudy Giuliani & Trump’s Possible Cabinet
Joyce Nelson
TISA and the Privatization of Public Services
Pete Dolack
Global Warming Will Accelerate as Oceans Reach Limits of Remediation
Franklin Lamb
34 Years After the Sabra-Shatila Massacre
Cesar Chelala
How One Man Held off Nuclear War
Norman Pollack
Sovereign Immunity, War Crimes, and Compensation to 9/11 Families
Lamont Lilly
Standing Rock Stakes Claim for Sovereignty: Eyewitness Report From North Dakota
Barbara G. Ellis
A Sandernista Priority: Push Bernie’s Planks!
Hiroyuki Hamada
How Do We Dream the Dream of Peace Together?
Russell Mokhiber
From Rags and Robes to Speedos and Thongs: Why Trump is Crushing Clinton in WV
Julian Vigo
Living La Vida Loca
Aidan O'Brien
Where is Europe’s Duterte? 
Abel Cohen
Russia’s Improbable Role in Everything
Ron Jacobs
A Change Has Gotta’ Come
Uri Avnery
Shimon Peres and the Saga of Sisyphus
Graham Peebles
Ethiopian’s Crying out for Freedom and Justice
Robert Koehler
Stop the Killing
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Of Dog Legs and “Debates”
Yves Engler
The Media’s Biased Perspective
Victor Grossman
Omens From Berlin
Christopher Brauchli
Wells Fargo as Metaphor for the Trump Campaign
Nyla Ali Khan
War of Words Between India and Pakistan at the United Nations
Tom Barnard
Block the Bunker! Historic Victory Against Police Boondoggle in Seattle
James Rothenberg
Bullshit Recognition as Survival Tactic
Ed Rampell
A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits
Kristine Mattis
Persnickety Publishing Pet-Peeves
Charles R. Larson
Review: Helen Dewitt’s “The Last Samurai”
David Yearsley
Torture Chamber Music
September 22, 2016
Dave Lindorff
Wells Fargo’s Stumpf Leads the Way
Stan Cox
If There’s a World War II-Style Climate Mobilization, It has to Go All the Way—and Then Some
Binoy Kampmark
Source Betrayed: the Washington Post and Edward Snowden
John W. Whitehead
Wards of the Nanny State
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail