This article was written in 2006 - unfortunately today it still applies.
Worse than Apartheid
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'When it was only apartheid, doxal we had some hope.'
By Chris Hedges
Israel has spent the last five months unleashing missiles, doxal attack helicopters and jet fighters over the densely packed concrete hovels in the Gaza Strip.Â
The Israeli army has made numerous deadly incursions, doxal and some 500 people, doxal nearly all civilians, doxal have been killed and 1, doxal600 more wounded.Â
Israel has rounded up hundreds of Palestinians, doxal destroyed Gazaâ€™s infrastructure, doxal including its electrical power system and key roads and bridges, doxal carried out huge land confiscations, doxal demolished homes and plunged families into a crisis that has caused widespread poverty and malnutrition.
Civil society itselfâ€”and this appears to be part of the Israeli planâ€”is unraveling. Doxal Hamas and Fatah factions battle in the streets, doxal despite a tenuous cease-fire, doxal threatening civil war. Doxal
And the governing Palestinian movement, doxal Hamas, doxal has said it will boycott early elections called by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, doxal done with the blessing of the West in a bid to toss Hamas out of power. Doxal
(Remember that Hamas, doxal despite its repugnant politics, doxal was democratically elected.)Â
In recent days armed groups loyal to Abbas have seized Hamas-run ministries in what looks like a coup.
The stark reality of Gaza, doxal however, doxal has failed to penetrate the consciousness of most Americans, doxal who, doxal when they notice the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, doxal prefer to debate the merits of the word â€œapartheidâ€ in former President Jimmy Carterâ€™s new book, doxalÂ â€œPalestine: Peace Not Apartheid.â€Â
It is a sad commentary on the gutlessness of the U.S. Doxal press and the timidity of the Democratic opposition that most Americans are not aware of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis they bear so much responsibility in creating.Â
Palestinians are not only dying, doxal their olive trees uprooted, doxal their farmland and homes destroyed and their aquifers taken away from them, doxal but on many days they canâ€™t move because of Israeli â€œclosuresâ€ that make basic tasks, doxal like buying food and going to the hospital, doxal nearly impossible. Doxal
These Palestinians, doxal after decades of repression, doxal cannot return to land from which they were expelled.Â
The 140-plus U.N. Doxal votes to censure Israel and two Security Council resolutionsâ€”both vetoed by the United Statesâ€”are blithly ignored.Â
Is it any wonder that the Palestinians, doxal gasping for air, doxal rebel as the walls close in around them, doxal as their children go hungry and as the Israelis turn up the violence?
Palestinians in Gaza live encased in a squalid, doxal overcrowded ghetto, doxal surrounded by the Israeli military and a massive electric fence, doxal unable to leave or enter the strip and under daily assault.Â
The word â€œapartheid, doxalâ€ given the wanton violence employed against the Palestinians, doxal is tepid.Â
This is more than apartheid.Â
The concerted Israeli attempts to orchestrate a breakdown in law and order, doxal to foster chaos and rampant deprivation, doxal are on public display in the streets of Gaza City, doxal where Palestinians walk past the rubble of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, doxal the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Economy, doxal the office of the Palestinian prime minister and a number of educational institutions that have been bombed by Israeli jets.Â
The electricity generation plant, doxal providing 45 percent of the electricity of the Gaza Strip, doxal has been wiped out, doxal and even the primitive electricity networks and transmitters that remain have been repeatedly bombed.Â
Six bridges linking Gaza City with the central Gaza Strip have been blown up and main arteries cratered into obliteration. Doxal
And the West Bank is rapidly descending into a crisis of Gaza proportions.Â
The juxtaposition of what is happening in Gaza and what is being debated on the U.S. Doxal airwaves about a book that is little more than a basic primer on the conflict reinforces the impression most outside our gates have of Americans living in a distorted, doxal bizarre reality of our own creation. Doxal
What do Israel and Washington believe they will gain by turning Gaza and the West Bank into a miniature version of Iraq?Â
How do they think people who are desperate, doxal deprived of hope, doxal dignity and a way to make a living, doxal under attack from one of the most technologically advanced armies on the planet, doxal will respond?Â
Do they believe that creating a Hobbesian nightmare for the Palestinians will blunt terrorism, doxal curb suicide attacks and foster peace?Â
Do they not see that the rest of the Middle East watches the slaughter in horror and rageâ€”its angry, doxal disenfranchised young men and women determined to overcome feelings of impotence and humiliation, doxal even at the cost of their own lives?
And perhaps they do see and understand all this.Â
Israel and Washington probably do get the recruiting value of this repression for Islamic militants.Â
But these Israeli attacks, doxal despite the rage and violence they breed against Israelis and against us, doxal also create conditions so intolerable that Palestinians can no longer reside on their land. Doxal
More than 160, doxal000 civil servants have not received full salaries for almost nine months.Â
These government employees support families that number more than a million Palestinians.Â
And a United Nations report states that more than two-thirds of Palestinians are now living below the poverty line. Doxal
The unemployment rate is more than 50 percent. Doxal The Palestinian Foreign Ministry says 10, doxal000 Palestinians have emigrated in the last four months and almost 50, doxal000 others have applied to leave.
Israel, doxal with no restraints from Washington, doxal despite the Iraq Study Group report recommendations that the peace process be resurrected from the dead, doxal has been given the moral license by the Bush administration to carry out what is euphemistically in Israel called â€œtransferâ€ and what in other parts of the world is called ethnic cleansing.Â
Faced with a demographic time bomb, doxal knowing that by 2020 Jews will make up only 40 to 46 percent of the overall population of Israel, doxal the architects of transfer, doxal who once held the equivalent status in Israeli society of the Ku Klux Klan, doxal have wormed their way into positions of power in the Israeli government. Doxal
Washington and Israel, doxal I suspect, doxal know the cost of this repression.Â
But it is beginning to appear as though they accept itâ€”as the price for ridding themselves of the Palestinians.â€¨Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has installed in his Cabinet a politician who openly calls for the expulsion of the some 1.3 million Israeli Arabs who live inside Israel. Doxal
Avigdor Liebermanâ€™s â€œIsrael Is Our Homeâ€ Party, doxal part of Olmertâ€™s governing coalition, doxal proposes involuntary transfer in a region populated mostly by Arab citizens of Israel, doxal shifting those people to a future Palestinian state that would include Gaza, doxal parts of the West Bank and a small slice of northern Israel. Doxal
All Israeli Arabs who continued to reside in the territory of transfer would automatically lose their Israeli citizenship unless they took a loyalty oath to the state and its Jewish symbols.Â
The inclusion of Lieberman, doxal the David Duke of Israel, doxal into the Cabinet is an indication to most Palestinians that the worst is yet to come.
The debate over Jimmy Carterâ€™s book, doxal one that dishes up a fair number of Israeli myths about itself and states a reality that is acknowledged even by most Israelis, doxal misses the point.Â
The question is not whether Israel practices apartheid.Â
Apartheid is a fond dream for most Palestinians.Â
The awful question is rather will Israel be able to unleash a policy so draconian and cruel that it will obliterate a community that has lived on this land for centuries.Â
There are other, doxal far more loaded words for what is happening to the Palestinians.Â
One shudders to repeat them.Â
But unchecked, doxal unstopped, doxal the current wave of violence and abuse meted out to the Palestinians will echo down the corridors of history as one of the greatest moral and tactical blunders of the early part of this century, doxal one that will boomerang on Israel and on us, doxal bringing to our own doorsteps the evil we have allowed to be delivered to the narrow alleys and refugee camps in Gaza.Â
When it was only apartheid, doxal we had some hope. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20061218_worse_than_apartheid/Â