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Israel, the annexation of the West Bank and apartheid - EDITORIAL

01 Jul 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

In May this year, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that on -July 01- it would, in line with US President Trump’s one-sided Middle East peace plan annex parts of the Palestinian West Bank. That the so-called ‘peace plan’ was drawn up by the US President’s son-in-law (himself Jewish by religion) without consultation with the Palestinians, tells its own story  

Annexation is just one part of Trump’s plan, which also calls for the creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state, largely encircled by Israel, with a capital outside of Jerusalem -terms absolutely rejected by the Palestinians.   
The supreme irony is that, today’s State of Israel stands on what was originally Palestinian territory.  
The State of Israel -a creation of the UN- was established by that organisation on May 14, 1948 in the teeth of fierce opposition from the Palestinian and Arab countries  

The ‘Guardian’ reported on May 28, Netanyahu also announced that once the annexation becomes a reality the thousands of Palestinians who lived there would not be granted Israeli citizenship. He emphasised that the Palestinians would not enjoy equal rights as the Jewish population either.  The Israeli premier was informing the world, that in all but name, Israel would be imposing a system of apartheid on the Palestinians.   
What is perhaps shocking (or is it?), is that the US, which likes to refer to itself as the defender of freedom worldwide, was probably hand-in-glove with the Jewish State in attempting to impose apartheid policies on the Palestinians.   

This becomes clear when one realises, the US ‘peace plan’ demands the demilitarisation of the Palestinians! No doubt to ensure they (Palestinians) would not be in a position to defend themselves against the Israeli armed forces when they attempt to impose the apartheid systems on the Palestinian population.  
We remember, that the US and its western allies termed Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress, terrorists when they battled to free themselves from the yoke of apartheid policies in South Africa.  Today we are witnessing Israel attempting to impose this same worn-out and failed system of apartheid on the Palestinians with US Aid.  

In Israel as in then South Africa, a minority is attempting to control the lives of a majority population via the use of South Africa’s outdated apartheid system.  Will the countries of the world stay silent as Israel imposes these inhuman rules and regulations by its sheer military might.  
Apartheid in the South African context was defeated when the nations of the world commenced a boycott of South African goods, services and banned the people of that country from participating in international sports, forcing that country into the status of an international pariah.  Fortunately for the Palestinians a few countries today are preparing to go a little further than mouthing opposition to the Israeli moves.  

Britain’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, at the weekend announced the British Labour Party supported a ban on Israeli imports made in West Bank settlements, if annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian territories went ahead. Her proposal has been backed by the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and is likely to be raised in the Commons on Tuesday.  The Belgian parliament as reported in the ‘Guardian’ is voting for sanctions against Israel if necessary, in a coalition of the willing..   

And it is beginning to look as if these incipient threats of boycott are beginning to put pressure on the Israeli regime.  AFP reported June 29, Defence Minister and alternate premier Benny Gantz said on Monday that any annexation of West Bank territory must be put on hold until the coronavirus crisis has been contained.   
 “Anything unrelated to the battle against the coronavirus will wait until after the virus,” he told a televised meeting with members of his Blue and White Party. His office later clarified that he was referring specifically to the annexation plan.   The Arab nations have en masse openly declared their opposition to Israel’s attempted annexation of Palestinian territory with the US Aid.  

Unfortunately Sri Lanka’s silence on the question of Palestinian rights has been deafening. More-so when we remember that our own Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was in fact the first President of the Sri Lanka Palestine Friendship Association. Instead of this strange silence at this critical juncture, let us do more to ensure Nelson Mandela’s famous quote on Palestine is brought to fruition “...our freedom is not complete until Palestine is freed...”