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ISRAEL: Apartheid? Yes and no

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Jan. 4, 2013 at 11:34 am | No Comments »
January 4, 2013 11:34 am

On successive days (1-3 and 1-4), The News Tribune has published letters from writers discussing Israel and a policy of apartheid.

The first writer contended that such a policy was in place, whereas the second writer stated that “to label Israel an apartheid state is false.” Both writers were essentially correct, as they were referring to different political entities.

Within the boundaries that all the world (outside of Israel) accepts as the state of Israel, there reside approximately one million Arab citizens, and these are more or less treated by the state as full citizens, with the rights and protections of citizens. The “West Bank” (of the Jordan River) lies outside the borders of Israel and is viewed by the United Nations, the United States and most of the world as “occupied territory,” since it was taken from Jordan in the 1967 war.

Many Israelis, and successive governments of Israel, view the West Bank as historically belonging to the Jewish people. Within the West Bank, a policy of extreme apartheid has existed for more than 45 years, and that policy is steadily worsening. There are more than 600 checkpoints, which make it difficult and sometimes impossible for Arabs to move about on their own land. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers move on a system of roads from which Arabs are excluded.

My own belief is that the Israeli government is trying to make life so unbearable for Arabs that they will leave the West Bank of their own accord – effectively gradual “ethnic cleansing.”

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