By Daniel H. Trigoboff
Douglas Turner was correct in characterizing as anti-Semitic John Kerry’s allegation that Israel would soon be an apartheid nation, despite Greg Slabodkin’s opinion to the contrary in his recent Another Voice. He began his errors by characterizing Israel’s administration of the West Bank as “brutal.” Yet Palestinians there have a higher living standard, better access to (Israeli) medical care and better access to a fair (Israeli) legal system than any of their brethren in any surrounding Arab country.
For example , Palestinians pursuing land claims near Hebron are often successful. Compare this with the fate of Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, where they have been killed indiscriminately with no legal redress.
Slabodkin’s characterization of Israel as inflicting apartheid-like policies is equally flawed. The internationally agreed upon definition of apartheid applies when the government of a single country attempts to treat different ethnic groups of its own citizens in an unequal manner, discriminating against one group, and advantaging the other.
The situation with Israel and the Palestinians does not meet these criteria. Palestinians are not citizens or residents of Israel; instead they regard themselves as citizens of a Palestinian Authority, and in compliance with the Oslo Accords, are so regarded by Israel.
Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank is instead influenced by provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention, which requires a military power in control of disputed territory to maintain safety and security for all residents, and explicitly to avoid subjecting the residents affiliated with the other side of the dispute to civil law jurisdiction; hence Palestinians in the West Bank, as required by this treaty, have access to the Israeli Military Court system.
Restrictions such as fences, checkpoints and limited road access are necessary to prevent the reoccurrence of the frenzy of terrorism and murder inflicted by Palestinians during the Second Intifada; and if Israel permitted this murderous chaos to go unchecked, it would be remiss in honoring the relevant safety and security related provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention.
Israel’s treatment of its own Arab Israeli citizens, while not perfect, similarly does not amount to apartheid. With Arabic being one of the official languages of Israel, with Arab members of the Knesset, Arab judges serving in high Israeli courts and Israeli Arabs excelling in all professions and businesses in Israel, the notion that their treatment amounts to apartheid is clearly false.
It is also notable that Slabodkin is silent in the face of the apartheid-like actions of the Palestinian Authority, including its demand that territory in its control be free of Jews. His silence on this outrage betrays his real agenda.
Daniel H. Trigoboff, Ph.D., of Williamsville is a 2014 Honoree of the Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting in America.