Friday, April 23, 2010

Israel is not a democratic state

Targeted Citizen - English from Adalah on Vimeo.

In a recent interview with 'Democracy Now's' Amy Goodman, Norman Finkelstein points out that,  in July 2004, the highest judicial body in the world, the International Court of Justice, forwarded what it termed its advisory opinion, and stated that East Jerusalem is “occupied Palestinian territory.” Therefore, not only, the occupation of the West Bank but also the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem is illegal. It is the law, it is international law, and, although, the illegal construction continues unabated and while Netanyahu might defend that construction by stating, that "Jews have been building in Jerusalem for 3,000 years," and that "Jerusalem is not a Jewish settlement," the law is quite clear. Indeed, the quesiton might be asked, if any Palestinian delegation were to abrogate this law in so-called "final status negotiations", would it not in fact be breaking the law? Most certainly, it would have given up any right to represent the Palestinian people.

Nevertheless, it is another point I would like to discuss and while, the status in international law of the  illegal occupation, the illegal wall and the Palestinian "right of return" are generally well known, less well-known, perhaps, is the situation regarding Israel's Palestinian citizens or, as Israel puts it, "Israeli-Arabs". It would exceed the limits of this post to look at that in too much detail and it might do to direct the reader to the excellent insight into the daily discrimination, which is given by the British journalist, and Nazareth resident, Jonathan Cook. However, a couple of points should be mentioned to demonstrate in no uncertain terms the true nature of the so-called "Jewish Democracy". For,  the dilemma and discrimination that they face, emphasises the apartheid, non-democratic, character of Israel.

These Israeili citizens are the people who David Ben Gurion, the 'Haganah', 'Palmach' and the terrorists from the 'Stern Gang' and 'Irgun' did not quite manage to ethnically cleanse. The Palestinians who stayed on after 1948, who have Israeli citizenship but who face discrimination at every turn. Constituting 20% of the population they own 2.5% of the land, much more likely to be unemployed they will also earn less, very often for the same job, as their Jewish Israeli counterparts and who also  have their political and civil rights  curtailed. Sometimes, with our eyes turning to the illegal occupation they and their prediciment is important because it is they who show just how farcical it is for the state of Israel to portray itself up as some "democratic" beacon of hope in a sea of Arab despots. Not only does the Zionist state trample on the rights of the Palestinians and others in the region outside the recognised borders of Israel, it also does not guarantee even the most basic of rights for 20% of its own citizens. Of course, the very nature of Israel means that, to quote Martin Luther, it "can do no other" and being unable to "do no other" we should, indeed, question the state, as it is constituted at the moment, and its legitimacy. Or, at least, its legitimacy as a democratic state.

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