Uncover the Truth

'Apartheid' and the Palestinian Territories

Israel’s policies in the West Bank, specifically Jewish settlement activity and the increasingly stringent security measures imposed on the Palestinian population after September 2000, are often compared to similarly repressive methods of population control inflicted on the black majority under apartheid. For example:

  • Roads and checkpoints in the West Bank isolate Palestinian communities

  • Israeli policies restrict the movement of goods between Israel and the West Bank, and into the Gaza Strip

  • Israel is accused of planning to divide the West Bank Palestinians into three separate areas completely surrounded by Israeli forces or settlements. This fragmentation is compared to “the Bantustans of South Africa”.

    All these and other Israeli policies do indeed impact very negatively on the day to day life of Palestinians. However, Palestinian violence has left Israel with no other choice.

  • Those who accuse Israel of apartheid-like practices in the West Bank play down or ignore the security threats that underpin such policies. These threats did not exist in Apartheid South Africa. In March 2002 alone, for example, more than twice as many Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian terrorism than the number of white South Africans killed in terrorist attacks over more than thirty years during the apartheid era. The two situations simply cannot be compared.

  • Israelis were killed and 6596 injured between September 2000 and the end of 2006.Suicide and other bombing attacks, the kidnapping and subsequent murders of individual Jews, sniper attacks, drive-by shootings and ambushes, aimed at soldiers and civilians alike, were a daily occurrence during this period and still occur to this day. The impact of this “total war” against soldier and civilian, young and old alike on a society that, like Israel’s, has a relatively small population cannot be under-estimated.

  • Apartheid in South Africa was based on not on what people did but on their skin colour. However repressive Israel’s current West Bank policies may be, it is in the power of Palestinians themselves to bring them to a swift end simply by abandoning terrorism and committing themselves to living in peace with Israel. For their part, the great majority of Israelis want nothing more than to end the occupation and live a normal life with their Palestinian neighbors. ‘Apartheid’ and the Palestinian Territories