Column in the Swedish daily Expressen, July 8th 2014
An Apartheid State
It is tough to say something about Israel. It seems that I have said enough through the years and that really there is no more to say, except that it has all turned out much worse than I could imagine when I still thought it meaningful to say something. That was when I believed there was hope still for an Israeli-Palestinian peace on fairly just terms.
I don’t believe this any longer. I think that Israel is turning into an apartheid state with two blatantly unequal judicial systems; one justice for lawless Jewish settlers, another for outlawed Palestinians.
When recently three young Jewish men were kidnapped and killed by unknown Palestinians, the Israeli army staged a large military operation in which thousands of houses were entered, hundreds of Palestinians were arrested and some ten Palestinians were killed. When a few days later, a Palestinian boy was burnt to death by Israeli Jews, the only thing that got staged was a regular police investigation. When the Israeli military thought it had identified some Palestinian suspects they went on to dynamite their parents’ houses. When the Israeli police thought it had identified some Jewish suspects they dynamited nothing. The Palestinian suspects will be brought to a military court and judged according to military laws. The Jewish suspects will be brought to a civilian court and judged according to civilian Israel laws.
Different justice for different people is the definition of apartheid, not to mention separate roads and separate territories. Since for all practical purposes the two-state solution is now run over (or shall we say built over), it is the state of Israel that bears the full responsibility for all people under its sovereignty, including 2,5 million Palestinians under its sovereign occupation.
Nothing new here, of course. The occupation has been going on for 47 years and everything that happens today has happened before, and most of what there is to say has already been said.
The main reason I still want to say something has to do with Sayed Kashua. Sayed Kashua is one of Israel’s sharpest satirists, a columnist in the Israeli daily Haaretz, writer of popular books and TV-series, known, appreciated and successful.
He is also a Palestinian, born and raised in the state of Israel, educated in Hebrew schools and universities, living with his family in the western “Jewish” part of Jerusalem.
If anybody, Sayed Kashua has symbolized the dream of Jewish-Arab coexistence within the state of Israel (I am not talking here of the occupied territories).
The other day Sayed Kashua announced in his weekly column that he can’t stand it any longer. That he as soon as possible will leave Israel for good. That he will switch fron Hebrew to English. That his father was right: “to them you will always remain an Arab”.
I don’t know which exactly was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Perhaps it was the rapidly growing Jewish extremism (with the anti-Palestinian riots and the burning of the Palestinian boy as a final confirmation). Perhaps it was the new demand from the Israeli government that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish State (in which consequently Sayed Kashua forever will remain an Arab).
I guess what I really want to say is that if this is what is meant by a Jewish state I believe and hope that more and more Jews in the world will reserve to themselves the right to disagree.
In any case the Jews of the world ought to say something.