Apartheid refers to a political system where one group has less rights than another based upon their ethnicity. The term originates in South Africa, where white South Africans under apartheid were given specific rights denied to the black population, such as the right to vote.
In the case of Israel, the state of Israel controls both the Gaza strip and the West Bank, but denies the people of those areas any rights. Jewish settlers in the West Bank are dealt with under civil law, while Palestinians are dealt with under military law. That is apartheid.
When the three Israeli settlers went missing civil law would have demanded a police investigation, and bringing the perpetrators to trial, in the normal manner. Military law meant that Hamas members in the West Bank could be arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned (and indeed shot) merely on suspicion. It doesn’t matter who did it: justice demands that all people be treated equally under the law.
The nature of the apartheid state means that when the two Palestinians were shot in the weeks before the latest conflict started, no one was charged, and no one went to jail, while after the 3 Israelis were murdered, Israel merely had to blame Hamas without any evidence in order to attack its members. Indeed, as we now know, it lied, knowing full well that the teenagers were dead and that Hamas were not responsible.
I’m not assuming that only Israel can act wrongly, nor that Hamas is more justified than Israel. Hamas too have acted illegally, but the extent of their crimes pales into insignificance compared to the crimes of Israel. Also because Israel is supported by the West, that makes us culpable in their crimes. In the case of the United States, the USA gives Israel $3 billion a year and provides it with arms, which is what allows it to continue.
If there is to be peace in the region, all sides have to be consulted, as the IRA were consulted in order to bring peace to Northern Ireland and the ANC were consulted to bring peace to South Africa. Both were considered terrorist organisations in their day. Both have transformed to become political organisations. The same would happen to Hamas.
You cannot imprison a people, humiliate and degrade them, treat them as 2nd class citizens, steal their land, steal their water, deny them proper health care or any hope of a future, build walls around them, shoot at them, arrest them and assassinate their leaders, dig up their olive trees, wreck their farms, break families up and not allow them to visit each other, and then expect them not to react.
Hamas are the symptom, not the cause. There are non-violent forms of Palestinian resistance too. They are treated with equal disdain by this racist, violent, apartheid state.
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