Frank Barat caught up with Jeff Halper, long-time Israeli peace activist, author and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), while he was on a European speaking tour which will take him from the UK to Poland. Here is what he had to say about the situation in Israel and Palestine…
I think what’s coming down the pipeline is that Israel today has basically finished this. We’ve gone beyond the occupation. The Palestinians have been pacified and from Israel’s point of view the whole situation has been normalized. Netanyahu went to Washington to meet with Obama last month. When he came back his adviser was asked what was new about this meeting and said ‘this is the first time in memory that an Israeli Prime Minister met with a US president and that the Palestinian issue was not even mentioned, it never came out.’
So, in this situation where the USA is really paralysed because Netanyahu has [influence over] both parties in congress and Obama does not want to do anything, Netanyahu is going to make the last move in nailing this whole thing down. Israel could well annex area C, which is 60 per cent of the West Bank. Now, a couple of months ago the European Council diplomats in Jerusalem and Ramallah sent a report to the EU saying that Israel has forcibly expelled the Palestinians from area C. Forcible expulsion is hard language for European diplomats to use.
So area C contains less than 5 per cent of the Palestinian population. In 1967 the Jordan valley contained about 250,000 people. Today it’s less than 50,000. So the Palestinians have either been driven out of the country, especially the middle class, or they have been driven to areas A and B. That’s where 96 or 97 per cent of them are. The Palestinian population has been brought down low enough, there is probably somewhere around 125,000 Palestinians in area C, so Israel could annex area C and give them full citizenship.
Basically, Israel can absorb 125,000 Palestinians without upsetting the demographic balance. And then, what is the world going to say? It’s not apartheid, Israel has given them full citizenship. So I think Israel feels it could get away with that. No one cares about what’s happening in areas A and B. If they want to declare a state, they can, Israel has no interest in Ramallah, Nablus and Hebron.
In other words, we’re finished. Israel is now from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, the Palestinians have been confined in areas A and B or in small enclaves in East Jerusalem, and that’s it.
Another term is ‘warehousing’ because I think that captures what’s going on better than apartheid. Warehousing is permanent. Apartheid recognizes that there is another side. With warehousing it’s like prison. There is no other side. There is us, and then there are these people that we control, they have no rights, they have no identity, they’re inmates. It’s not political, it’s permanent, static. Apartheid you can resist. The whole brilliance of warehousing is that you can’t resist because you’re a prisoner.
I often hear this argument, but those things when you look at it seem mostly for appearance.
Where were the Blacks serving in South African parliament and various other levels of national leadership during the Apartheid years? Where were blacks openly permitted to join the White areas of South Africa and move right into the White neighborhoods to share in everything they had....during those years?
Once again I have never seen anything to show that all that is anything more then appearance.
It's something I think goes badly under reported, but Israel isn't 100% Jewish and really, never has been. It's Jewish by vast majority and the whole intent of forming the nation, but, in practice it isn't apartheid at all. Check into this and it might shock you but "Israeli Arabs" isn't a contradiction in terms and they exist and serve in Government over there, right along side their Jewish citizens.
The Israeli Arab/Muslims with full status inside Israel are the ones who are NOT rooting suicide bombers and sincerely hoping their kid becomes the best bomber on their block. Unlike South Africa, the sides really can and *DO* get along in Israel. It's just not near enough who can seem to exist side by side.