To: Saugerties Times
Countering the opinions of Susan Puretz in her Oct 8 letter, I will refer to Jewish Israeli writers, researchers, journalists, and organizations.
Puretz writes: “Arab citizens, a minority in the State of Israel, just like their majority Jewish counterparts, enjoy full and complete citizenship rights.”
Nurit Peled-Elhanan, Faculty of Education, Hebrew University Jerusalem and member of Israeli-Palestinian Bereaved Parents for Peace, writes in Palestine in Israeli School Books: Ideology and Propaganda in Education that in spite of Israel’s success advertising its regime as a Democracy, researchers define it as an ‘Ethnocracy’ or ‘ethnic Democracy’ because ethnicity and not citizenship is the main determinant in Israel for the allocation of rights, power and resources. Jews who are citizens of other nations and Jewish settlers outside state borders have full citizenship rights while Arab citizens inside state borders don’t and Palestinians from the occupied West Bank are ‘state-less.’
Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston writes (Aug 15, 2015) “It’s time to admit it, Israeli policy is: Apartheid.” “… I used to be one of those people who took issue with the label of apartheid as applied to Israel… I’m not any more … Not after terrorists firebombed a West Bank Palestinian home, annihilating a family…—only to have Israel’s government rule the family ineligible for financial support and compensation granted Israeli victims of terrorism, settlers included… Not after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, declaring stone-throwing terrorism, passed a bill holding stone-throwers liable to up to 20 years imprisonment… one week later, pro-settlement Jews hurled rocks, furniture, bottles… at Israeli soldiers and police at a West Bank settlement; in response Netanyahu rewarded the Jewish stone-throwers with a pledge to build hundreds of new settlement houses... This is what has become of the rule of law. Two sets of books. One for us, one for them. Apartheid… We are what we turn a blind eye to.”
Regarding the Occupation: Read reporters of Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Haaretz,: Gideon Levy, Amira Hass. Hass reports from Ramallah, West Bank: “Palestinians Are Fighting for Their Lives; Israel Is Fighting for the Occupation—That we notice there’s a war on only when Jews are murdered does not cancel out the fact that Palestinians are being killed all the time.” Look up Jeff Halpern’s work with ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, “a human rights/peace organization dedicated to ending the prolonged Israeli occupation over the Palestinians.”
The international legal definition of “genocide” is not as simplistic as Puretz poses. This definition includes “intent to destroy… a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” and “killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to group members; inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction …” Here, I recommend Israeli historian Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
For statistics -- on Fatalities, Detainees and prisoners, Destruction of property, Demolition of houses, East Jerusalem, the Separation Barrier, Settlements, Residence (Deportation,) Restrictions on movement (Checkpoints and roadblocks, unemployment and poverty, Death following restrictions on movement) and water crisis data -- check out B’tselem - The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.