– By Batsheva Haber
“Israel = Apartheid”
This is the message that we hear time and again. The critics of Israel use the historic tragedy of hideous discrimination in South Africa, in order to convince the world of Israel’s heinous crimes. The security fence being built between Israel and the Palestinian Authorities is “racist”, the checkpoints are “discriminating”, and the Israeli military is “inhumane”. They attack, condemn and boycott.
And Israel? Israel bends over backwards, does everything they possibly can, to convince the world that they are not the monsters they are painted out to be. Israel points out that there are no laws discriminating or separating the Arab citizens from the Jewish ones. That they attend the same schools, use the same public transportation, are treated in the same hospitals. They add that Arabs work in all the same careers as the Jews in Israel, holding the same, or higher positions. They explain that there are members of the Israeli Knesset who are Arab, even ones who have publicly spoken or acted against Israel, all because Israel is a democratic, equal country.
But the world turns a deft ear to Israel’s reasoning, choosing to condemn them as human rights violators.
So while there is human trafficking, slavery, children being forced into marriage, and genocides all over the world, Israel is the one country the UN’s human rights council “condemned” as human rights violators (to put things in perspective, towards Sudan the council only expressed “deep concern”). Likewise, the review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel is a permanent feature of every meeting of the Human Rights Council.
I am writing today, to say enough! I no longer care! Go ahead! Condemn us, call us names, and boycott our products.
Why? Because as Israel is doing all in its power to prove that they want peace, the Palestinian Authority is in bed with terrorist organizations, and the result – the harming of innocent Israeli civilians.
Almost two weeks ago 3 boys, hardly more than children, were kidnapped on their way home from school by Hamas. And where did this happen? In one of those areas where the world points their finger at from afar, accusing the Israeli government and the IDF of mistreating Palestinians.
As a resident of the area, I can tell you that the allegations are true. Palestinians are treated differently. They are pulled over more often by the soldiers on the road, put through more security at our supermarkets, and are regarded by the Jewish residents with caution. But this does not stem from hatred or racism. Sadly this is a practical necessity. Because, some of them (not all, but enough) want us dead, and given the opportunity they would arrange for it to be so.
This is a reality that goes back years in these territories. From the tragic story of the Lamed Hey in 1948 – the convoy of 35 Hagannah members, who were killed while attempting to bring rations to the Jews under a blockage in Kfar Etzion, all because they chose to trust that the 2 Arab woman they encountered didn’t want to hurt them – through countless attacks during the Intifada by Arabs who were considered trusted as acquaintances, co-workers and friends, and up until the recent kidnapping.
The way Arabs are treated in Israel is not racism, it’s realism. A sad, but necessary precaution. So go ahead, call us apartheid. Yell, stamp your feet, and point fingers. I no longer care. Because at the end of the day, I’d rather have your false accusations on our hands, than the blood of our children.