Sanctions On Israel Recommended
- Why did Israel release 500 Palestinian prisoners?
From: Ron Francis
Somerville Divestment Project
More news today. Israel releases 500 prisoners.
It has become very apparent what the strategy of the government of
Israel has been in the last two months. They have said they will
enter talks, stop targeted assassinations, stop patrolling southern
Gaza Border, end home demolitions. (don't believe it by the way).
Today Israel released 500 prisoners.
So what's all this about ?
It's very clear. In exchange for Israel's actions, Israel has
entered into a deal with the US (which Sharon explcitly mentioned)
where they will follow the Road Map and essentially cement into
place the segregational system of laws that a) separate Palestinians
from their homeland and b) makes Palestinians second class citizens
in their own land. Virtually the entire world recognizes explicitly
such laws and policies; they constitute the Crime of Aparthied by
Isreal has made it clear that the deal is this: In exchange for not
starving, harassing, killing and imprisoning Palestinians, the
Palestinians must forego the Right of Return, give up Jerusalem,
give up the fertile land and resources near the Green line, and
accept a system that has discriminatory laws that makes Palestinians
second class beings.
Discrimination in housing, political expression, marital laws,
Jewish only roads, the racist Law of Return for Jewish people, the
expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians, and other laws or policies
make it clear what kind of State Israel has carved out as a result
of a colonial ethnic-cleansing based conquest in 1947 and 1948.
The Road Map is based on Israel's power over Palestinians and not on
international laws and conventions such as the Declaration of Human
Rights, the Geneva Conventions or the International convention on
the Crime of Aparthied.
The international community needs to make it very clear that this is
unacceptable. It is not sufficient in the current political context
to use strategies and language that only criticize Isreal's worst
human rights violations and not the entire discrimanatory system.
Although probably not intentional, failure to point out the
fundamental nature of the Israel's separation system is tantamount
to going along with the Bush Sharon bantustanizing apartheid model.
There is a reason why the international solidarity movement refers
to the Palestinian West Bank sections as cantons or Bantustans. It
is to make it transparent that Israel is instituting a separation
system that meets the definition of an aparthied system under
international convention. Omission of this type of analysis of the
situation is practically complicit in the Bush-Sharon deal.
As a solidarity organization, we need to make it clear that we
oppose the fundamental nature of the system that Israel is
instituting (by force with US help). As long as Isreal maintains
it's rigid stance on the key final status issues of return, water
resources, Jerusalem, and a separational and discriminatory system
that lacks democracy there needs to be economic and political
sanctions applied to Israel.
Sanctions Until Return and Democracy needs to be our rallying cry.
Not surprisingly, this was our rallying cry two decades ago.
Soon I will propose that a national, resource-sharing only (no
coordinated actions at this point), network of people who are
committed to a local, grassroots, power-building approach to
organizing be established. The proposed name will be Sanctions
Until Return and Democracy (subheading: Grassroots Actions for
Justice in Palestine) I hope that people will step forward and join
It will take some years to reverse Israeli apartheid but it can be
done if we are willing to do the grassroots organizing based on
In the 80's, we could have fashioned a movement that focused on
easing the horrific human rights violations faced by Black South
Africans and forego discussion of fundamental change. But we
didn't. There was a group that did however. Led by Ronald Reagan,
they believed in "constructive engagement" in which there were to
be no sanctions on South Africa. Instead Reagan and big business
believed that by encouraging trade with South Africa that eventually
change would occur by osmosis. It was bogus then and it's bogus
I look forward to our work over the next 5 years. The tide is
turning and grassroots actions will eventually bring about Justice
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