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Milestone in the Right Direction
Boaz Okon
Yedioth Ahronoth
30.12.2009,



`Route 443 is just one example of the practices employed in the territories, which are part of a systematic and declared policy of applying` one law to Jews and another to Arabs. This is not related to the war on terror, it is related to the policy that prefers the Jewish interests in the territories in the areas of water, lands and so on.
No one likes to hear that our state is almost like South Africa or becoming like it. Nevertheless, we should beware. Apartheid states are created slowly and tend to collapse all at once. When they do so, it happens without advance signs, like the collapse of the ceiling in the Versailles hall [in Jerusalem in 2001] or like marionettes whose strings are suddenly cut.`

* * *
The court reached the only logical outcome. The ban on Palestinian movement on Route 443 was lifted. The ruling was courageous, but the reasons may elicit misunderstandings. Instead of declaring that the separation regime on the roads is fundamentally wrongful, it was determined that the ban on Palestinian movement on the road, which was paved on lands taken from them, was imposed by the army without proper authority. It was also determined that a sweeping and total ban on Palestinian movement was disproportionate. However, anyone who makes an effort could understand between the lines that another solution of separation, for example, granting some of the Palestinians travel licenses, is possible.

In practice, any separation regarding travel of the roads is a kind of Israeli-style near-apartheid, which is taking form right outside our window. The argument that the separation is between Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents, and therefore it is not racial separation, does not hold water. The separation is between Jewish residents of the territories who move freely on the road and Arab residents of the territories who are barred from movement.

The time has come to determine that the separation regime in the territories is completely wrongful. This outcome is necessitated by the law prohibiting discrimination in public places, which prohibits discrimination in entry to a public place on grounds of race, religion, nationality, personal status and more. We are familiar with this law because it is employed here and there in Israel , mainly when bouncers prevent members of various ethnicities from entering clubs. The rationale of this law should also apply to Route 443, since its operators are Israelis. It is in this spirit that we should address the most important statements made by Judge Beinish in the ruling. She pointed out the risk involved in complete separation between different populations in use of the roads in a manner that evokes a sense of inequality and even an association of wrongful motives. But in her reluctance [to accept] the bitter truth that arises from her words, she warns against the use of the word apartheid. Not every wrongful discrimination is apartheid, Judge Beinish said, because apartheid expresses a policy of racial separation and discrimination based on race and nationality, which is based on a series of discriminatory practices aimed at establishing the superiority of a certain race and oppressing members of other races. Therefore, a separation based on security measures taken against terror attacks is not apartheid.
But this is precisely the problem. Todays apartheid no longer comes in an outspoken wrapping, which explicitly declares superiority or oppression. It lurks beneath the surface, and crawls slowly and cunningly to the surface, with all the prejudices sprouting next to it, and it is already permissible to speak about someone who looks like an Arabush [derogatory term for an Arab] or explain where prostitutes come from. Route 443 is just one example of the practices employed in the territories, which are part of a systematic and declared policy of applying one law to Jews and another to Arabs. This is not related to the war on terror, it is related to the policy that prefers the Jewish interests in the territories in the areas of water, lands and so on.
No one likes to hear that our state is almost like South Africa or becoming like it. Nevertheless, we should beware. Apartheid states are created slowly and tend to collapse all at once. When they do so, it happens without advance signs, like the collapse of the ceiling in the Versailles hall [in Jerusalem in 2001] or like marionettes whose strings are suddenly cut.

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