Boycott_&_Divestment

Time to apply South Africa remedy to Israel

by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh | New Haven Register | 27 July 2004

THE United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly last week to accept the ruling of the International Court of Justice on Israelís apartheid wall and demand Israel dismantle it.

The vote was 150-6, the dissenters being the United States, Israel, Australia, and three U.S.-dependent island states.

The wall literally makes concrete the colonization of roughly 30-40 percent more of the 22 percent of Palestine that remains. Palestinians will end up with about 12-15 percent of their land, but even this will be in disjointed ghettos that will have no sovereignty.

Israel is in defiance of over 35 U.N. Security Council resolutions and countless General Assembly resolutions. Israel was also shielded from many others by U.S. vetoes or threats of veto. But this will be different.

In 1971, despite U.S. objections, the U.N. General Assembly asked the International Court of Justice to rule on South Africaís violations of international law in Namibia. An international movement to dismantle apartheid in South Africa followed the ruling. The movement succeeded because of resistance within South Africa buttressed by an international boycott and divestment campaign. Already such campaigns are being initiated against Israeli apartheid.

The center of this problem is the ethnic cleansing of Christian and Muslim Palestinians while opening the gate for any Jew or convert to Judaism to take their place. Some two-thirds of the 9 million Palestinians are refugees or displaced people and that number increases daily with new home demolitions.

Their right to return to their homes, lands, and businesses cannot be signed away by anyone, despite what President Bush and candidate John Kerry have to say to woo the money and votes of the Israeli lobby. A state with different laws for different segments of its society and a "law of return" that allows people of a certain religion to acquire automatic citizenship while denying it to those born and raised there cannot be called democratic.

Adding insult to injury, building large ghettos surrounded by walls, ditches, and fences is apartheid and racism, no more and no less.

Increasingly, nations are resisting U.S. diplomatic, economic and military pressures. In the United States, many groups have resisted the pressures and speak truth to power. The Green Party and Presbyterian Church community are but two examples of groups that recently joined the chorus calling on the United States to stop supporting Israeli apartheid.

Many mainstream U.S. media outlets are trying in vain to shield the public from knowing the extent of Israeli atrocities or the extent of world condemnation. But anyone with access to unfiltered news is amazed at the range of groups and countries that have declared "enough is enough."

An endless war to protect colonialism and accompanying ethnocentric separation is now being waged. People around the world refuse this philosophy of "might makes rights" and proclaim in unison that humanity deserves better.

Israelís economic, physical, and psychological onslaught on native Palestinians has gone on for six decades, first with the support of the British government and now with the support of the U.S. government.

Israeli colonial activity, including the wall, violates a number of international laws and covenants: The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949; U.N. resolutions; the Hague Regulations; the U.N. Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials; International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights/Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on Rights of the Child.

Israelís human-rights violations have been condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Physicians for Human Rights, Israelís human rights organization Bítselem, and many other organizations.

U.S. military and economic assistance of $5 billion per year and diplomacy aid war crimes and crimes against humanity. This is contrary to U.S. law.

Violence always kills more native civilians than the settlers or colonialists. The ratio is 5-to-1 in the case of Palestinians. But violence is a symptom of the disease of colonialism.

Peace can only be accomplished by disbanding apartheid and racist laws.

Careful research debunks a lot of the Zionist myths used to prevent peace. The only viable solution is one based on the right of return for refugees and coexistence in a pluralistic and democratic society.

As happened in South Africa, the logic of boycotts and divestments by the world community is materializing. In South Africa, the U.S. and Israeli governments remained defiant of the will of the international community until they realized the tide was turning. History, indeed, repeats itself.

Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is co-founder and media coordinator of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. He is the author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan," published by Pluto Press. Readers may write him at P.O. Box 1172, Orange 06477. He e-mail address is mazin@al-awda.org

A copy of this article is also available on Mazin Qumsiyeh's site: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/timetoapplysouthafricaremedytoisrael/



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