October 4, 2007 | 4:00 pm
Posted by Brad A. Greenberg
Lamenting the situation in the occupied territories, the editorial says:
The de facto separation is today more similar to political apartheid than an occupation regime because of its constancy. One side â determined by national, not geographic association â includes people who have the right to choose and the freedom to move, and a growing economy. On the other side are people closed behind the walls surrounding their community, who have no right to vote, lack freedom of movement, and have no chance to plan their future.
Sure, there are similarities between the lives of Palestinians under Israeli occupation and those of black South Africans under apartheid. Indeed, in certain respects, the conditions Palestinians face are arguably even worse. But while the Palestiniansâ circumstances may resemble those once faced by blacks in South Africa, the apartheid analogy ignores crucial context for why this is the case.
Unlike South African blacks, Palestinians bear no small share of the responsibility for their plight. If not for repeated Arab threats and efforts to destroy the Jewish state, there would have been no occupation in the first place. And if not for wave after wave of terrorism, there would quite possibly be an independent Palestinian state today instead of a West Bank security barrier. And, it goes without saying, constant rocket barrages from post-disengagement Gaza do little to encourage Israel to end its occupation of the West Bank.
But Israelâs foes do not deploy the âapartheidâ analogy simply because of its descriptive utility. It is also a term of moral opprobrium, a cudgel used to beat up and de-legitimize Israel in the court of world opinion. If Israel is like apartheid South Africa, then it is an evil regime that should be boycotted and ostracized, or so the analogy goes.
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