In the absence of a peace settlement between the parties that will determine the boundaries of territories currently dispute, both the Palestinian Authority and Israel control parts of the West Bank. Measures such as roadblocks, checkpoints and a fence have been imposed not for the purposes of segregation, but for security and for self-defense. Although it is true that these security measures cause inconveniences and some hardship, they have been created to prevent terrorist attacks, not to impose discrimination by an oppressive regime. It is a tribute to the nature of democracy in Israel that its Supreme Court on a number of occasions has ordered the state to make changes in the fence route, often by a small amount, when the fence seemed to be imposing hardship on the Palestinians.
The world is all too well aware of the disputes between Israel and Palestinians, especially on the complex issues of settlements, refugees, and Jerusalem, but to accuse Israel of being “apartheid” is not only false, it is unhelpful and counterproductive for any hope for a peaceful settlement.
The unjustifiable, misguided, and extensively expressed “moral outrage” over the Big Lie directed against Israel can partly be explained by ignorance of the reality of political and social conditions in Israel and in the territories. For all the problems encountered by a state created by Jews, and with 21 Arab and Muslim neighbors openly threatening to destroy it — sometimes, as with Iran, to the illegal point of publicly advocating genocide — it is a remarkable success story — unlike the failures of every surrounding Arab and Muslim state except those benefitting from enormous oil resources.
One must conclude that the enemies of Israel, or inflexibly biased critics, are maliciously demonizing it with repetition of the word “apartheid” in the hope of goading the international community into denying Israel’s legitimacy as a state, in an effort to destroy it. Regrettably, one must also conclude that the perceptions of Israel have been colored for many people, now including Muslims, by an antisemitism which has become increasingly conspicuous both by rhetoric and physical assaults on Jews and Jewish institutions.
Critics of Israel may understandingly claim the mantle of compassion and express empathy for the Palestinians, whom they consider the weaker party in the enduring conflict with Israel. They may argue the case against what they consider oppressive behavior by Israeli authorities, and point to instances of injustice. Yet at the same time they ignore not only the repressive and corrupt governance of the Palestinian Authority to its own citizens, but also the principles of liberty and equality inherent in the state of Israel, and above all the need for all nations to take appropriate measures to defend themselves against those in hostile environments who are eager to destroy them.
Those individuals, groups, and organizations making use of the word “apartheid” are appealing to the emotions of those who rightfully find the concept deplorable, but by doing so they are polarizing political positions and unjustly oversimplifying a complex situation, in which one side, Israel’s, has so often offered reasonable compromises for peace, and the other side, the Palestinians, backed by many of the 21 Arab and Muslim countries has refused to enter into any real meaningful negotiations.
Originally published by http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org
About the Author: Michael Curtis is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, and author of the forthcoming book, Should Israel Exist? A sovereign nation under assault by the international community.
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