Israel expelled the residents of Al-Sheikh Al-Jarrah in Western Jerusalem in 1948 and gave their homes to Jewish families.
The residents have been obliged to rent houses in which they are living now in the same neighbourhood according to a law that was supposed to protect them from eviction.
Israeli troops came in and expelled them for the second time in a racist savagery that does not care at all about human rights. They did this in order to provide a dwelling for settlers whose existence in occupied Arab Jerusalem is an infraction of international humanitarian law, as moving them to occupied territories, like transferring other settlers, is a war crime according to international conventions.
We have recently witnessed a succession of measures that not only entrench war crimes, but the racist apartheid system, including the setting up of a municipal council of Hebron settlers.
This is considered a serious development in two aspects. First, it is actually annexing parts of the city of Hebron to Israel. Second, it denotes the imposition of two systems and two laws for two groups of people in the same area, in which the settlers are treated favourably at the expense of the old city native residents in Hebron. This is the accurate definition of apartheid.
I have not participated in a debate, lecture or a conference during the last 15 years without describing Israel as an apartheid regime. Not one Israeli, whoever he was, in any forum was able to refute the apartheid description of Israel because the facts, realities, numbers, pictures and maps were compelling and decisive.
Today, Israel’s government is blending occupation, ethnic cleansing and racist apartheid in an historical precedent. Like those who rub salt into the wound, Israeli governments did not hesitate to describe those who criticise its crimes as anti-Semitic, terrorists or inciters. These are cheap means to evade facing facts and realities.
However, the most important question is: Why is large part of the world and its governments silent towards these crimes, which continue to be committed on a daily basis? Why were sanctions imposed on the South African racist regime yet not imposed until now on Israel?
The strange thing is that Israel is the only entity in the world that combines apartheid, ethnic cleansing and occupation, and in spite of all this is elevated above the international law and the principle of accountability.
All states and governments acknowledge that apartheid is unacceptable and most of them acknowledge that Israel is practising apartheid. Why then are measures not taken to deter this regime, even by the simplest means, such as depriving it of economic privileges, cancelling scientific rewards, and stopping military cooperation?
Why don’t European and non-European countries apply their own laws when it comes to Israel’s practices?
I don’t think that the reason for this lies in not accepting the principle of sanctions. Sanctions have been used and are still used, sometimes unrightfully, against Russia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan and other countries. Their use against the South African regime was decisive in the downfall of the apartheid regime.
I don’t think that world countries are lacking knowledge. Thus, they aren’t suffering from blindness or deafness. It seems that they suffer from a new illness, named “Fear of Israel."
There is no cure for this illness except through working strenuously, effectively and continuously with the peoples of these countries in order that they exert pressure on their governments as the South African militants have done. For if the peoples did not do what they did, the world’s governments would not have changed their stances towards the racial segregation regime, which some of them were colluding with.
There is no cure for this illness except through removing the cover called the “Peace Process,” shrouding Israeli crimes and at the fore the crime of settlements.
There is no cure for this illness except through taking Israel to the International Criminal Court and confronting it in every judicial, legal or diplomatic forum in the world.
What was taken forcibly can’t be regained except through force.
The writer is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative.