Ben White, author of Palestinians in Israel and Israeli Apartheid, writes on Juan Cole’s renowned Middle East blog Informed Comment to mark Palestinian Land Day, which commemorates protests against Israeli land appropriation in 1976, during which six Palestinians were killed. Ben writes:
Israel’s systematic ethnic discrimination means the manipulation of regional authority boundaries and the planning regime. Misgav Regional Council, established in the 1980s, is an illustrative example. Given “a highly irregular geographical shape, in order to include most Jewish settlements and exclude most Arab villages”, the result has been to reinforce “patterns of functional and social segregation in the region”. In other words, Misgav is “not a regional plan in the ordinary sense” but “a strategic plan…to preserve state lands”.
Remember – this is all inside Israel’s pre-1967 borders, the supposed ‘democratic’ Israel loved by liberal Zionists who restrict their criticisms to West Bank settlements. But what do liberals say about admission committees that operate in around 70 percent of all communities in Israel, a key tool in the exclusion of Palestinian citizens and the maintenance of Jewish control over rural land? These committees are now supported by legislation in around 40 percent of communities; supporter of the law MK David Rotem said that he believed Jews and Arabs could be “separate but equal”.
This is the reality for Palestinian citizens that Israel and its advocacy groups don’t want to talk about, preferring false platitudes about ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’. These policies are what unite the experiences of Palestinians in both the pre-67 borders and in the West Bank.
Visit Informed Comment to read the post in full.
Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy
Ben White. Foreword by Haneen Zoabi
Argues that Israel’s insistence on declaring itself a Jewish state leads to discrimination, segregation and a guarantee of continued conflict.
“This book debunks convincingly and forcefully the myth of Israel being ‘the only democracy’ in the Middle East. As this book shows, the treatment of the Palestinians in Israel is the ultimate proof that the Jewish State is anything but democratic.” – Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and Out of the Frame
“Essential reading to understand why there can never be peace unless Palestinian citizens of Israel are granted full equality, something they are systematically denied by Israel’s aggressive, and increasingly unrestrained Zionist ethnocracy.” – Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of Electronic Intifada, author of One Country
A Beginner’s Guide
Indispensable introduction to the Israel/Palestine conflict, examining the current structures of Israeli domination.
“A very strong and clear voice that does not shun from exposing in full, and in a most accessible manner, the essence of Zionism and Israeli policies in Palestine. In a world confused by competing narratives, disinformation and fabrication, this book is an excellent guide for understanding the magnitude of the crimes committed against the Palestinians and the nature of their present suffering and oppression.” – Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, Israeli historian and author of ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’ (2007)
“This book deals rationally and cogently with a topic that almost always generates considerable heat even just with book titles. The reader may not agree with everything that White asserts but it is a highly commendable effort to throw light on a fraught subject.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate