Jul 28, 2008
Some Jewish anti-apartheid activists from South Africa said they were “shocked,” after a visit to the Occupied Territories in Israel. They noted the violence of the Israeli settlers, living, for example, in Hebron. One said, “How is it possible to turn the commercial Arab quarter into a ghost town in order to protect a few hundred Israeli settlers?”
Obviously the situation they observed in the Occupied Territories recalled the apartheid they knew in South Africa. The South Africans saw that the “Wall of Separation” and the roads reserved only for Israelis take up much of the territory there; they were created solely to protect Israeli settlers dispersed throughout the territory.
They also saw that Palestinians needed permits to move around, recalling the situation of black people in South Africa under the so-called “pass” system. But some members of the delegation pointed out that the South African system didn’t go as far as the Israeli system. In South Africa, said the visitors to Israel, “There were no separate roads, security checkpoints, different vehicle license plates denoting the different groups, or long waiting lines at the security checkpoints. And the raids by the [Israeli] soldiers are worse ... than they were under apartheid.”
The testimony of these South African militants is shocking. Some of their struggles against apartheid cost them several years in prison, and yet they find the Israeli situation worse.