Evan Jones
Economiste retraité
Abonné·e de Mediapart

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Billet de blog 9 août 2022

Evan Jones
Economiste retraité
Abonné·e de Mediapart

Uri Davis' Apartheid Israel

In the wake of yet another outrage perpetrated on the imprisoned Gazan population, and the Israel-firsters in the National Assembly finding anti-Semitism under every rock, it is salutary to be reminded of Uri Davis' contribution to understanding the nature of the beast. What follows is a 6,000 word abridgement of Uri Davis’ Apartheid Israel (2003).

Evan Jones
Economiste retraité
Abonné·e de Mediapart

Ce blog est personnel, la rédaction n’est pas à l’origine de ses contenus.

It is of some interest to explore why and in what way it was possible for the State of Israel, an apartheid state, informed by the ideology of political Zionism, to project itself in the West as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East” and effectively veil from critical scrutiny, let along prosecution before international war crimes tribunals, the crime against humanity of the mass expulsion of the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people perpetrated by the Israeli army under the cover of the 1948-49 war as well as the war crimes perpetrated subsequent to the said war. (3)
During the heyday of the apartheid regime in South Africa the Dutch Reformed Church educated its constituents … that to oppose the political programme of apartheid, to be anti-apartheid, was somehow tantamount to being ‘anti-Christian’, and thus, ‘pro-Devil’, or worse, ‘pro-Communist’.
In a similar way … Zionist and Israeli educational and information establishments educated their constituents … and their supporters in the West and beyond, that to oppose the political programme of Zionism, to be anti-Zionist, is somehow tantamount to being ‘anti-Jewish’, and thus, ‘anti-Semitic’, or worse, ‘pro-Nazi’. (4)
And it will hopefully not take decades of struggle … before the criminal education of equating Judaism with Zionism and being a ‘good Jew’ with being ‘pro-Zionist’ is effectively challenged, so that in the new Palestine of tomorrow one would be hard put to find anyone admitting that they were ever pro-Zionist. (5)
[Quoting Ahad ha-Am from 1891, from the school of spiritual Zionism, opposed to the political Zionist agenda of unified settlement]:
From abroad, we are accustomed to believe that Eretz Israelis presently almost totally desolate, an uncultivated desert, and that anyone wishing to buy land there can come and buy all he wants. But in truth this is not so. In the entire land, it is hard to find a tillable land that is not already illed …(7)
Occupation is occupation. … the Israeli occupation of 1948-49 of some 77 per cent of the territory of geographical Palestine clearly did entail the crime against humanity of mass ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, mass transfer resulting in the depopulation of nearly 85% per cent of the native indigenous Arab population resident in the territories that came under Israeli control, dispossessing them of their vast rural and urban real estate and financial properties, illegally appropriating this huge wealth for the colonial settlement of Jews and only Jews, and stripping some three-quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs (today numbering over four million) of their right to citizenship in Israel, thereby manufacturing the 1948 Palestinian refugee problem. (13)
Zionist leaders who have made themselves accomplices by default, and sometimes by deliberate design, to the mass murder of Jews by the Nazi annihilation machinery would have little political, intellectual, moral and emotional hesitation in manufacturing by design and sometimes by default the mass ‘transfer’ of the people they considered an alien people, the majority of the native indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants of the country of Palestine, from the territories designated for the projected Jewish state. …
The mainstream of political Zionism, notably Labour Zionist leadership, having made criminal choices regarding ‘its own people’ in the name of Zionism and Jewish state-building … would not hesitate to make war criminal choices with regard to ‘another people’, the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people, for the same purpose. (16/17)
… so long as the Israeli occupation does not mass transport the Palestinian people into death camps, annihilate them in gas chambers … the cruelty of the Israeli occupation and the truly horrific suffering of the Palestinian people remain invisible to enlightened public opinion in the West. It is our responsibility to make this suffering visible. (18)
Labour Zionism is an attempt to reconcile the basic tenets of political Zionist and colonial practice with the tenets of the Enlightenment. Since these two sets of values are mutually exclusive, Labour Zionist literature has been largely predicated upon the obfuscation of Zionist colonial practice, and upon mystification, ignorance and cultivated deception. Revisionist Zionism … has attempted, with considerable success, to locate Zionism ideologically and practically inside the tradition of modern secular racism and imperial colonialism. (19)
[Davis quotes Joseph Weitz, ‘one of the architects of the Zionist settlement’, from 1967, quoting his own 1940 diary entry];
Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no place in the country for both peoples together … The only solution is Eretz Israel, at least the west part of Eretz Israel, without Arabs … and there is no other way but to transfer the Arabs from here to the neighbouring countries, transfer all of the, not one village or tribe should remain …(20)
[Davis then goes on to describe briefly as symptomatic the massacre perpetrated at Deir Yasin in April 1948.] On the site of the destroyed village the State of Israel Ministry of Health placed a hospital facility for the mentally ill, incorporating some of the houses that survived the mass destruction into the hospital compound. The official State of Israel holocaust memorial, Yad va-Shem, is situated on the lands of Deir Yasin, as is the city of Jerusalem cemetery. (25)
By the conclusion, in July 1949, of the Israel-Syria Armistice Agreements, which brought to an end the 1948-49 war, Israel had achieved a significant territorial expansion from 55.5% per cent of the territory of Mandatory Palestine, as allocated to the Jewish state by the 1947 UN General Assembly Resolution 181(II) recommending the partition of Palestine with economic union, to over 77 per cent. …
Having expelled the majority of the native indigenous Palestinian and/or Arab people form the territories that came under the control of the Israeli army in the course of the 1948-49 war, and being cognizant of the UN General Assembly Resolution 194(III) of December 1948 ‘that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date’, the Israeli authorities then pursued the systematic destruction of their homes with the aim that there be no homes for the refugees to return to.
Of the 500 or so Palestinian Arab villages and cities, some 400 … were destroyed and almost all razed to the ground by the Israeli army during the 1948-49 war and throughout the 1950s. (31)
In fact, all 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees and internally displaced persons are legislated in Israel as ‘absentees’ through the Absentees’ Property Law of 1950. Thus some four million 1948 Palestinian refugees today outside the ‘Green Line’ have been alienated from all rights to Israeli citizenship, to their lands, and to their properties in Israel. And of the 150,000 of the native indigenous Palestinian Arab people who found themselves in the wake of the 1948-49 armistice agreements inside the ‘Green Line’, the approximately one million Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel today, some 25 per cent, 250,000 persons, are internally displaced persons, ‘present absentees’, likewise denied all rights in their pre-1948 properties inside Israel. The enormity of this nation-wide, systematic practice of war crimes is indicated in the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights’ list of destroyed Arab villages. (32)
The vast number of properties classified under the Absentees’ Property Law of 1950 as ‘absentee property’ can be further assessed if one recalls that, until 1947, individual or corporate Jewish land ownership in Palestine did not exceed 7 per cent of the territory of British Mandate Palestine, or 10 per cent of the territories that came under Israeli rule and occupation following the 1948-49 war. (33)
Arab fruit [from former Arab groves] sent abroad provided nearly 10% of the country’s foreign currency earnings from exports in 1951. In 1949 the olive produce from abandoned Arab groves was Israel’s third largest export, ranking after citrus and diamonds. The relative economic importance of Arab property was largest from 1948 until 1953, during the period of greatest immigration and need. After that, as the immigrants became more productive, national dependence upon abandoned Arab property declined relatively. (35)
[Quoting from a 1969 speech by Moshe Dayan]:
You even do not know the names of these [Arab] villages and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only the books, but also the villages no longer exist. … There is not a single settlement that was not established in the place of a former Arab village.(36)
The regulation of apartheid in Israel

On the one hand, the new state [of Israel] was politically and legally committed to the values of the United Nations Organization, and the standards of international law … On the other hand, the driving force underpinning the efforts of political Zionism … was not liberal democratic, but ethnocratic … (36)
Racism is not apartheid and apartheid is not racism. Apartheid is a political system where racism is regulated in law through acts of parliament. … In an apartheid state the state enforces racism through the legal system, criminalizes expressions of humanitarian concern and obligates the citizenry through acts of parliament to make racist choices and conform to racist behaviour. (37)
Apartheid in Israel is an overarching legal reality that determines the quality of everyday life and underpins the circumstances of living for all the inhabitants of the State of Israel. … The introduction of [the] key distinction of ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ into the foundation of Israeli law is, however, accomplished as part of a two-tier structure. It is this structure that has preserved the veil of ambiguity over Israeli apartheid legislation for over half a century. (39)
The first tier, the level at which the key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ is rendered openly and explicitly, is in the Constitutions and Articles of Association of all the institutions of the Zionist movement and in the first instance, the [World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund].
The second tier is the level at which this key distinction between ‘Jew’ and ‘non-Jew’ … is incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel, notably the body of strategic legislation governing land tenure.
The situation alters radically after the establishment of the State of Israel, in that now the exclusivist constitutional stipulations of the WZO, JA and JNF (for Jews only) are incorporated into the body of the laws of the State of Israel through a detailed sequence of strategic Knesset legislation … Thus organizations and bodies that, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, could credibly have claimed to be voluntary have been incorporated … into the legal, compulsory, judicial machinery of the state:
* 1950: Absentees’ Property Law; Law or Return; Development Authority Law
* 1952: World Zionist Organization – Jewish Agency for the Land of Israel (Status) Law
* 1953: Jewish National Fund Law; Land Acquisition (Validations of Acts and Compensation) Law
* 1954: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Zionist Executive …
* 1958: Prescription Law
* 1960: Basic Law: Israel Lands; Israel Lands Law: Israel Lands Administration Law
* 1961: Covenant between the Government of Israel and the Jewish National Fund
In subsequent years this body of strategic legislation governing the terms of tenure of 93 per cent of Israel lands was further refined in such pieces of legislation as the Agricultural Settlement (Restriction on Use of Agricultural Land and Water) of 1967 and the Lands (Allocation of Rights to Foreigners) Law of 1980. The list above, however, represents the mainstay of Israeli apartheid …
… it is through this two-tier mechanism that an all-encompassing apartheid system could be legislated by the Israeli Knesset in all that pertains to access to land under Israeli sovereignty and control without resorting to explicit and frequent mention of ‘Jew’, as a legal category, versus ‘non-Jew’. (40-43)
In other words, in the critical areas of immigration, settlement and land development the Israeli sovereign, the Knesset, which is formally accountable to all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, has formulated and passed legislation ceding state sovereignty and entered into Covenants vesting its responsibilities with organizations such as the WZO, the JA and the JNF, which are constitutionally committed to the exclusive principle of ‘only for Jews’, that legal apartheid is regulated in Israel. And it is through this mechanism of legal duplicity that the State of Israel has successful veiled the reality of Zionist apartheid in the guise of legal democracy since the establishment of the State of Israel to date.
The same procedure has been applied by the Knesset in order to veil the reality of clerical legislation in Israel. Israel is a theocracy in that all domains pertaining to registration of marriage, divorce and death are regulated under Israeli law by religious courts. (48)
The critical importance of these structures of veiling and obligation cannot be sufficiently emphasized. They represent one of the primary vehicles that made it possible for official representatives and various apologists of the Zionist movement and the Government of the State of Israel to deliver the claim that the State of Israel was a democracy akin to western liberal democracies, the Palestinian nakba notwithstanding.
I have chosen to state the case of Israeli apartheid rather parsimoniously. In fact there are quite a number of instances of exactly such discrimination of ‘Jew’ versus ‘non-Jew’ or ‘Jews only’ in the body of Israeli law. (52)
The establishment of the State of Israel as a Jewish State

The State of Israel was established by unilateral declaration on 15 May 1948. The Declaration … does not declare Israel an independent state, nor does it declare Israel a sovereign state; rather it declares Israel a Jewish state. (60)
The legal basis for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine lies in United Nations General Assembly Resolution No.181(II) of [29] November 1947, recommending a partition plan for Palestine and the establishment of a ‘Jewish state’ on some 57 per cent of Mandatory Palestine and an ‘Arab state’ on the remaining approximately 43 per cent with the city of Jerusalem as a corpus separatumunder a special international regime administered by the United Nations. …
Both the native indigenous Palestinian Arab Population and the League of Arab States failed to see the justice of allocating Jewish sovereignty to 57 per cent of the land when Jewish individual and corporate landholdings in Palestine in 1947 consisted of less than 7 per cent of the total area of the country. …
The territory of pre-1967 Israel is classified by international law under two categories:
1. the territory allocated for the Jewish state by the UN partition Plan for Palestine;
2. the territory occupied illegally by the Israeli army in the 1948-49 war beyond the boundaries of the 1947 UN Partition Plan.
Under the UN Charter and resolutions, Israel has no legitimate rule in either category. Israeli rule over the territories allocated for the ‘Jewish state’ … was subject to a number of important conditions, notably compliance with the terms of the steps preparatory to independence and future constitution and government, none of which has been upheld by the incumbent state.
Likewise, the Israeli occupation, in 1948-49, of territories beyond the [1947 Plan] boundaries …, their colonization … and their subsequent annexation to the State of Israel are in violation of both the UN Charter and of international law, like all colonial occupation. From an international legal point of view, Israeli claims to West Jerusalem, Safad or Jaffa, occupied in 1948-49, are as thoroughly invalid as Israeli claims to East Jerusalem, Hebron or Gaza, occupied in 1967. (63-65)
The State of Israel has chosen to violate the constitutional stipulation posited by the United Nations General Assembly as a condition for its legitimate establishment.
… the elections for Israel’s Constituent Assembly, stipulated in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, were held in July 1949. The Constituent Assembly was elected … for the explicit purpose of endorsing Israel’s constitution. … Yet, when the Constituent Assembly convened, it became clear that an agreement had been reached by the major political parties represented by the Assembly to betray the mandate on which it had been elected …
… the Constituent Assembly passed instead the Transition Law (1949) transforming itself by fiat into the First Knesset … As former member of the Knesset and former minister, Advocate Shulamit Aloni, pointed out:
… There does not appear anywhere in the records, for instance, that Mr Hillel Cook, a delegate to the Constituent Assembly, cried out: ‘This is a political putsch! The Constituent Assembly must either adopt a constitution or disband!’(65-66)
But most significantly, the State of Israel is guilty of flagrant violation of the constitutional principle regarding citizenship as stipulated by the UN General Assembly in the 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine. There is no question that under the stipulations … all the 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants, by now some four million people defined under Israeli law as ‘absentees’, are constitutionally entitled without qualification to Israeli citizenship. …
The Israeli procedure of denationalization is far more radical and far-reaching than its apartheid South African equivalent. … South African apartheid recognized the legal personality of its black inhabitants in a way that Zionist apartheid does not. … South African apartheid still recognized them as legal persons (albeit inferior). (68-69)
The State of Israel and the legitimacy of its continued existence as a Jewish state were challenged at the outset, both locally in Palestine and regionally in the Middle East, as well as in all international, diplomatic and political arenas. … it was, therefore, politically impossible for the newly established State of Israel immediately to contravene the terms of the UN Charter by passing open and explicit apartheid legislation. For the newly established Government of Israel it was both politically and materially imperative to present Israel to the West as an advanced form of democracy and social progress. In order to do so, it was necessary to veil its apartheid legislation from the view of the UN. …
In 1950 the Israeli Knesset passed two defining laws in this regard. In March the Knesset legislated the Absentees’ Property law, defining the boundaries of exclusion (‘absentee’) and in July, the Law of Return, defining the boundaries of inclusion (‘Jew’). … The Law of Return of 1950 is the cornerstone of Israel’s Nationality Law of 1952. …
Under this body of legislation, as amended over the past dive decades … significant categories of Jews are similarly excluded: Jewish bastards, Jewish persons born to non-Jewish mothers, Jewish persons born to Jewish mothers who converted to another religion, and non-Jews converted to Judaism by conservative or reform Rabbis. The question of ‘who is a Jew’ has bedeviled Israeli political practice and legislation since the passage of the Law of Return in 1950. (70-71)
Israeli Jewish homes are built on the ruins of [Palestinian refugee] homes. Israeli Jews cultivate, develop and trade with [Palestinian refugee] land. Thus each Israeli Jew has a shadow: the Palestinian Arab refugee of 1948 turned into an intifada activity, or a soldier in the Palestine Liberation Army, a fida’i. [etc.] Human beings will rebel, must rebel, in such circumstances, to reconstitute their full human existence, to reclaim their rights, if necessary, by armed struggle, inside every part of the homeland from which they have been excluded. And to the extent that this struggle is carried out in conformity with international law the Palestinian Arabs deserve our full moral and material support. …
Many of those at the forefront of the ‘war against terror’, notably the Government of the State of Israel, seem to be unwilling to embrace an inclusive view of the phenomenon of ‘terrorism’ they so forcefully condemn. The first party victimized by ‘acts of terrorism’ is the Palestinian party – not the Israeli party. … The primary perpetrators of ‘acts of terrorism’ are the governments of the State of Israel sending death squads on assassination missions in the post-1967 occupied territories; strafing civilian residential areas with helicopter gunships; destroying clinics and medical infrastructure; devastating centres of learning, education and cultural heritage; subjecting the civilian population to protracted curfews; and denying the civilian population access to medical care. The primary ‘terrorist’ in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the Government of the State of Israel – not the Palestinian suicide bomber. …
All those committed to the values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights without hypocrisy or duplicity would recognize that the first party that ought to be charged under this new legislation [2002 amendment to the Israeli Penal Code of 1977] is none other than the Government of the State of Israel. (73-74)
… for Israeli-Palestinian dialogue to succeed it must take as point of departure a critical examination of the right of self-determination for the Hebrew people constructed in the process of the Zionist colonization of Palestine. (76)
Israeli apartheid
Pointing to these facts alone [Arab Israelis having the vote, access to the Knesset as members (in principle), and equal access to the Israeli courts (in principle)] is tantamount to an exercise in misrepresentation, manipulating these significant features in order to veil the fundamental apartheid structures of the Israeli polity in all that pertains to the right to inherit property; to access the material resources of the state (notably, land and water); and to access the welfare resources of the state (for example religious services and child benefits) such as fully justify the classification of the State of Israel as an apartheid state. …
As early as 1982 Amos Oz published an interview with a certain Mr Tz., a Jewish settler in a cooperative settlement, which accurately captures the Zeitgeist of Israeli apartheid:
[Yeshaayahu] Leibowitz is right. We are Judeo-Nazis, and why not? … Even today I am willing to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them … Hang me if you want as a war criminal … What you lot don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it. True, it could have been finished in 1948 …
Israel today and South Africa until 1994 represent two forms of apartheid. Either form of apartheid … represents a flagrant violation of international law, notably the Covenant on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid of 1973 … (83-84)
The Israeli apartheid legislator, unlike the South African apartheid legislator, did not insist on petty apartheid [buses for ‘Jews’ and buses for ‘non-Jews’, etc.]. The South African Forest, like all public spaces in Israel, is not segregated. … In all matters pertaining to the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the conflict between a settler-colonial state and the native indigenous population, namely, in all matters pertaining to the question of rights to property, land tenure, settlement and development, Israeli apartheid legislation is more radical than was South African apartheid legislation. … Not insisting on petty apartheid has veiled Israeli apartheid from scrutiny by the international community … (90)
Following the establishment of the State of Israel, the Palestinian Arab population remaining within the boundaries of the new state was immediately subject to a separate administration of the military government under the Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, introduced by the British mandate, and incorporate lock, stock and barrel by the Knesset into the legal corpus of the new state, previous condemnation of these Regulations by leading political Zionist lawyers as worse than ‘Nazi laws’ notwithstanding. …
Every aspect of the life of the Palestinian Arab population inside Israel was regulated and determined by the military government until 1966. In Israel, the military government was dismantled in 1966, only to be set up one year later in the post-1967 Israeli-occupied territories … It is important to note that it was the separate administration of the military government inside pre-1967 Israel that was dismantled, not the Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945. These have remained in force in all the territories under Israeli rule and occupation since the declaration of the state of emergency by the Provisional Council of State on 19 May 1948, four days after the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel on 15 May of that year. (103-104)
The Histadrut (‘The Federation’) was established in 1920 as the General Federation of Hebrew Workers in the Land of Israel … Until 1948 the Histadrut incorporated the primary economic infrastructure of the Jewish yishuv(Zionist community) in Palestine, controlling the mainstream of Zionist instruments of colonization, economic production and marketing, labour employment and defence … In other words the Histadrut, rather than being a trade union federation in the social democratic European sense of the term, was founded (together with the WZO/JA) as a primary forerunner institution of the State of Israel in the making. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Histadrut developed to become the second largest employer in Israel …
True to its name and commitment to Zionist ideology and practice, until 1960 the Histadrut did not allow Arab citizens of Israel into its ranks. It was only in 1960 that legal provisions were made extending membership in the Histadrut to Arab workers who were citizens of Israel. In 1966, the tenth Histadrut convention introduced the official change of the name of the Histadrut [the world ‘Hebrew’ was deleted]. … Prominent among the opponents of the change was future prime minister, Shimon Peres:
This is clearly a Hebrew Federation in Israel. Let us not make it nameless. … Let us not make it devoid of identity. … I heard that one of the additional arguments for change of name is: What will they say in the world? I do not consider the proposed apologetics as necessary. …
One year later, the Israeli victory in the 1967 war indeed gave ample scope for the Histadrut to demonstrated that the said change of name did not in any way entail alteration of the Zionist mission of the Histadrut, and that [it] could effectively accommodate itself to the realty of post-1967 Israeli occupation, and abandon the Palestinian-Arab workers of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to the most extreme and degrading forms of economic expansion and social and political repression. …
It is important to underline in this context that such changes as did take place over the years need to be understood in the context of the progressive process of empowerment of the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel pursuing together with Hebrew democratic citizens of Israel, decade after decade, since 1949 all avenues of struggle against the official policies of discrimination by all Israeli governments as well as all Zionist institutions, including the Histadrut. …
But in the area constituting the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – Zionist colonization of the land - the Histadrut continues to maintain the exclusion of its Arab members, denying them access to members in kibbutzand moshavand other cooperative settlements. Here apartheid still rules undented. (108-114)
There is no question that globalization and privatization weaken the hold of the Zionist ethnocratic institutions inside Israel and abroad, and in this regard work to the benefit of democratization of the Israeli political establishment as a whole, and the Histadrut establishment in particular, and therefore to the benefit of the Palestinian people as a whole, and the Palestinian citizens of Israel in particular.
There is a limit, though, to incremental reforms in institutions operating in the legal framework of apartheid states. … Israel has yet to undergo the kind of structured legal transition that led to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990 and transformed the Republic of South Africa from an apartheid state into a democratic state. (118)
The legal underpinnings of Israel’s apartheid land policies are widely known inside Israel. Note, for instance, the following [1979] presentation by former [Knesset member] and minister Shulamit Aloni:
… the Arab citizen in Israel, or his representatives, has no voice concerning the right of the lease of lands for cultivation or agricultural settlement. In all the government or public committees on this subject, there is not one single non-Jewish representative. Furthermore, all options for agricultural settlement are carried out through the Jewish Agency, and any person who is non-Jewish, even if he (or she) is the spouse of a Jew, cannot be a farmer here in this country, even if he (or she) is a citizen.(124)
Political repression in Israel
Given what goes on in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, writing about political repression in Israel is like a guest taking residence in a Third World seaside resort hotel and complaining that his steak is not properly grilled, while the people in whose midst the hotel is located are starving. …
Yet it would be unwise to disregard the instruments of political repression inside Israel, if only because the political structures of the State of Israel are currently undergoing dangerous transformations. (125)
It is important to emphasize at the outset that the primary legal instrument of political repression inside Israel within its pre-1949 armistice boundaries is identical to the instrument applied in the post-1967 occupied territories, namely, the Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945. … the State of Israel is administered under a dual system of law: civilian law (itself structured as a two-tier apartheid system) versus military law. …
The Defence (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, introduced into Palestine by the British Mandate authorities, were rightly condemned by leading Jewish lawyers at the time of their enactment. Jacob Shimshon Shapiro … later minister of justice, condemned the Regulations in the following terms:
The established order in Palestine since the Defence Regulations is unparalleled in any civilized country. Even in Nazi Germany there were no such laws … Only in an occupied country do you find a system resembling ours. …
In similar vein, Dr Dov Yosef (Bernard Joseph) of the Jewish Agency, also subsequently minister of justice, commented:
As for these Defence Regulations, the question is: Are we all to become victims of officially licensed terrorism or will the freedom of the individual prevail? … A citizen should not have to rely on the good will of an official, our lives and our property should not be placed in the hands of such an official … In a country where the administration itself inspires anger, resentment, and contempt for the laws, one cannot expect respect for the law. It is too much to ask of a citizen to respect a law that outlaws him.
The above is a rather accurate description of the legal underpinnings of the post-1967 occupation.
In July 1980, the Knesset passed a series of laws that, under the guise of legality and due democratic process, radically altered the framework of public and political life under Israeli law. [The new legislation’s intent was to] further suppress, in the framework of the civilian criminal code, independent political expression and organization, specifically, independent national Palestinian Arab political expression and organization. (126-132)
[As part of the legislation] the Knesset passed, on 28 July, the Law of Association, Amutot (Charities; Friendly Societies) Law of 1980, which stipulates as follows …
An amuta shall not be registered if any of its objects negates the existence or democratic character of the State of Israel or if there are reasonable grounds for concluding that the amuta will be used as a cover for illegal activities …
Until the coming into force of this new AmutotLaw on 1 April 1981, the bulk of civil society life in Israel had been carried out with the legal framework of the Ottoman Associations Law, 1909 … the Ottoman Associations under Israeli law were relatively autonomous. …
Because what constitutes ‘reasonable grounds’ is undefined, as are ‘illegal activities’, the law is open to serious abuse. The 1980 law can thus serve, and indeed does serve, as the basis for new measures of repression. …
Meir Vilner (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) … correctly pointed out that:
The Likud government, on the eve of the termination of its office, introduces and passes the Knesset laws whose meaning is the fascisization of life in the State of Israel. It is greatly regrettable that these laws are introduced in Israeli garb when they are more anti-democratic than the laws that applied under the foreign regime of the British mandate in the same domains.
[The Fourth Amendment (1980) to the Israel Nationality Law of 1952 facilitated the subsequent belated granting of citizenship to more than 30,000 ‘present-absentee’ Arab Israelis, with the prospect of citizenship for further Arab Israelis. A belated positive development. 'But the entitlement to Israeli citizenship does not in any way alter their status of 'absentees' as far as their right to property is concerned.' (104-107)]
But the Fourth Amendment also introduced and passed a modification to Article 11 (Annulment of Nationality) of the law. This modification, known as the ‘Shilonsky Amendment, reads as follows:
The Minister of Interior may terminate the Israel nationality of a person who has done an act constituting a breach of allegiance to the State of Israel. …
It was the same Dov Shilonsky [Knesset member, Likud] who introduced … the most notorious piece of the July 1980 legislation, the Amendment to the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (1948): …
A person who does any act manifesting identification or sympathy with a terrorist organization in a public place or in such a manner that persons in a public place can see or hear such manifestation of identification or sympathy either by flying a flag or displaying a symbol or slogan or by causing an anthem or slogan to be heard [etc., etc.] …
Silonsky’s introduction of this Amendment before the House is explicit and illuminating, accurately representing the rabid anti-Arab racism informing the mainstream of political Zionist society …
Two decades later the Knesset resolved to strip the parliamentary immunity of [Knesset member] Azmi Bishara … in order to enable the state to charge him with support for a terrorist organization … not only for alleged criminal acts, but also for political utterances delivered in public.
Also, two decades on, the minister of the interior in the Likud-led government coalition, Mr Eli Yishai, chose to apply his authority under the said Article 11(b) of Israel’s Nationality Law of 1952 as amended in 1980. On 10 September 2002 he nullified the Israeli citizenship of Nihad Abu Kishk and proceeded with the formal measures required to nullify the citizenship of Qays Ubayd and the permanent residency status of Shadi Sharafa …
In May 2002 the Knesset passed a bundle of statutes directed to further limit the articulation of democratic solidarity inside the State of Israel with the struggle against Israeli apartheid, such as is carried out in conformity with the standards of international law, including armed struggle. …
Together with the passage of the 2002 legislation, the 2002 proceedings [against Bishara, Kishk, Ubayd and Sharafa] signal a qualitative juncture in the process of the negative transformation of the Israeli body politic and its deterioration towards ever intensifying apartheid and fascism. (131-37)
The deterioration of the political structures of the State of Israel as reflected in the 2002 Knesset legislation above has been accompanied by manifestations of political corruption and economic deterioration of proportions hitherto unknown in Israel. … Over the past two decades, the discrepancies in access to income, property, capital, wage, education and consumption between the top 10 per cent and the bottom 10 per cent in Israel have polarized to a degree that Israel today is second only to the USA in this regard. (144)
But by its basic terms of reference, the core of the apartheid project cannot be reformed. As the case of South Africa suggests, an apartheid state can be reformed into a state governed by a democratic constitution only if and when the apartheid legal structures, predicated on institutionalized racism legislated by Acts of Parliament, are dismantled. …
The conclusion of this presentation is that, given the nature of the Israeli polity as an apartheid state as it unfolds in its concrete historical context, internal reform unaided by external intervention is unlikely. (164)
Almost three million Palestinian Arab people have lived under Israeli military occupation since 1967 for over thirty-five years. They are denied Israeli citizenship, they are denied their rights to land and property; they are denied their civilian rights; they are subject to mass arrests in Israeli jails; they are deprived of shelter by a systematic policy of mass house demolitions; they are subject to relentless state terrorist attacks, target assassination and bombing of the civilian population; they are crippled by on-going collective punishments, expropriation and destruction of property, agricultural land and crops; they are fragmented by the establishment of illegal Israeli settlements, the mass relocation of Israeli Jewish populations to the illegally expropriated Palestinian land and the development of a permanent and illegal Israeli infrastructure, including by-pass roads and the apartheid wall; they are terrorized by military attacks, torture, arbitrary arrests and detention; they are pauperized by the imposition of severe restrictions on movement (curfews, imprisonment and besiegement of towns and villages), and systematic collective punishment, including economic strangulation and deliberate impoverishment, denial of the right to food and water, the right to adequate medical help, the right to housing, the right to education and the right to work.
Over the 35-odd years of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and emphatically since the collapse of the so-called ‘Oslo peace process’, the political Zionist leadership, notably the Government of the State of Israel, has ideologically prepared Israel’s Zionist society to accept the ethnic cleansing, the mass transfer of the Palestinian Arab population in the post-1967 occupied territories …
It is these developments that led the late Professor Yeshaayahu Leibowitz to follow the warning and the condemnation first voiced by one of Israel’s leading anti-Zionist and human rights campaigners the late Professor Israel Shahak against the ‘Nazification’ of the State of Israel’s ‘Judeo-Nazi mentality’:
If we must rule over another people, then it is impossible to avoid the existence of Nazi methods. … What has happened in Lebanon, the terrible massacre committed in the refugee camps, is an additional step in the process of suicide of the State of Israel. Humanity will have no other choice but to destroy the State of Israel(1982).
Leibowitz’s observation[s] were true and accurate in 1982, and more so today. (166-167)

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Journal — France
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Le gouvernement veut trop vite tourner la page du « quoi qu’il en coûte »
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Journal — Europe
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La sélection du Club

Billet de blog
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Billet de blog
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Billet de blog
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