Israel and Palestine: One or Two State Sollution

Figure 1.--

Apartheid is the system of racial separation established by the White minority in South Africa. In recent years the Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian allies have taken to calling Israel an Apartheid state. Is this accurate. The charge gets a lot of play in the left-wing and main=stream media. Is the charge true. Here we think it is useful to take a look at South African Apartheid and compare it to Israel as well as Palestinian and Arab countries. We have compiled some basic information, but this is a complicated question abnd we welcome reader comment, especially facts about South, Africa, Israel, and the Arabs. The issues here of course have ramifications concerning the possibility of a one-state sollution.

South Africa

Apartheid is the system of racial separation established by the White minority from the establishment of the Union of South ASfrica (1910). Blacks were denied the right to vote with limited exeptions only in the Cape Colony. The white government at this time laid the foundation for the Apartheid System. It primarily focused on economic rights and opportunities. The Afrikaaner-dominated right-wing Nationalist Party won South African elections after World War II (1948). The Afrikaners dominated Nationasl Party (NP) gained political control and expanded the already existing Apartheid system. Up until that time, the system was primarily an economic one. The NP expanded it into the all embracing social separation of the races. Apartheid was not ended until 1994 and Nelson Mandela's victory as the first democratically elected president of South Africa. South African Apartheid primarily established on three basic legal structures: 1) limited suferage--non-whites could not vote, 2) marriage--non-whites could not marry whites, and 3) residence--enforced separate living areas.


Israel has a substantial Palestinian population, about 15 pecent of the population. Using the three major Apartheid legal structures, lets look at the Isreali Palestinians. 1) Palestinians are fully elligible to vote in Isreali elections. Surprisingly, except for Iraq, Israel is virtutally the only country where Arabs are able to vote in any meaningful way. 2) There are no Isreali limiitation on inter-marriage in Israel. Virtually no Palestinians marry Jew, but this is because of Koranic prohibitions, not Isreali law. And Jews can freely marry Palestians if they choose to do so. We have seen critics charge that it is impossible to marry in Israel, except in religious courts. It is true that Isreli marriages are not performed in courts but in religious ceremonies by all religious denominations, Muslim, Christian or Jewish. This has nothing at all to do with apartheid and intermarriage is not prohibited. There is today unlike in the neighboring states there is increasing public pressure to introduce civil marriage. 3) Most Palestinians live in Palesrtinian villages, but this is out of choice and not because of Isreali law requiring them to live in specific areas. In Israel Jews, Arabs, and Christians are equal before the law. Israel has none of the Apartheid legislation establishing the separation of races: Population Registration Act, Group Areas Act, Mixed Marriages and Immorality Act, Separate Representation of Voters Act, Separate Amenities Act, pass laws, or any of the other myriad Apartheid laws. Israel is a vibrant liberal democracy, the only one in the Middkle East. It has a free press and independent judiciary. The Israeli constitution grants full political, religious and the full panaplay of other human rights to all its peoples, including the more than 1 million Arab citizens. Arabs in Israel hold positions of authority including that of cabinet minister, member of parliament, and judge at all levels of the Isreali judiciary, including that of the Supreme Court of Israel. All citizens vote on the same roll in regularly held multi-party elections. No Areab country offers such freedom not only to Christans and Jews, but to Muslim citizens as well. Today in Israel there is not the sligest resemblance to Apartheid South Africa. Arabs and Jews freely mix in the shopping malls. They have have equal access to public transport. Arab and Jewish doctors and nurses not only collaborate but work together in the hospitals. The Hadassah Medical Organization has been nominated for the Nobel Prize. It operates two hospitals in Jerusalem and treats thousands of patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds annually, without any trace of discrimination quite differebt from the separate hospitals of Apartheid Era South Africa. Even in the aftermath of Palestinian terror attacks, Isreli medical services and hospitals [rovide equal treatment of the injured.

West Bank and Gaza

There no doubt that the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza (WBG) suffer a variety of hardships and disadvantages. Palestinians complain about the the checkpoints and the security barrier constructed to limit access to Israel. Any fair assessment of these Isreali efforts have to consider that they did not occur in a vacuum. They were Isreali reactions to Palestinian attacks on Isrelis, especially suicide bombings. Thousands of Israelis were killed in terror attacks. And a basic right of any state is to protect its citizens. The more onerous Isreli security precautions stemmed from the Second "Intifada" (September 2000). Before this Palestinian and Israeli business people and merchandise moved feely between the WBG, Israel and Palestinian workers freely entered Israel without interference. There were 146,000 Palestinians working both in in Israel and the settlements. Average wages were 70 to 75 percent higher than those in the WBG and in neighboring countries. Palestinians under Isreli occupation actually had higher average income than other Arans in non-oil states. Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) cooperated in creating employment opportunities along what became known as the the "seam-line". A successful industrial zone was built-up at Erez which employed about 5,000 workers in some 200 different businesses. Half of these businesses were Palestinian-owned. They output was higly diverse. The products included everything from plastics to car parts. This activity went on during the period in which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cobtinued. raged. This included a large Gaza Industrial Estate (GIE) which was planned to create as many as 50,000 jobs. A joint industrial zone was planned south of Tulkarm which would have created over 5,000 Palestinian jobs. Other projects were s. Additional areas were planned for Jenin and the Kerem Shalom area near Rafah in Gaza. The Interfada changed this as the GIE was targeted with Palestinian terror attacks

Muslim Majority Countries

An analysis of the experience of Jews in Muslim-majority countries, both historically and in more modern times are very simiklar to the Apartheid structure established in South Africa.


Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad specifically said that Jews would be welcome in a Palestinian state (2009). But is that a reliable commitment. If Jews would be welcome, why are they not welcome now where Jews if not protected by Isreali soldiers. And if Palestine is such as open society, why has the population of Christian Palestinians declined so sharply? The best indicator of what might happen in a Palestinian state is what has happened in the various Arab states historically and in recent years.

Arab states

Historically there were Jewish populations in Arab states. Some Arab states had sizeable Jewish populations. In these countries they lived unders a system similar to Apartheid in many ways. They were subject to special taxes and generally confined to specific areas. The Koran enjoins Muslims not to befriend Christans and Jews. The Koran also forbids Muslims from convering, making inter-marriage very difficult. Assess the major three characteristics of Apartheid. 1) Even after indepencence, voting was either non existent. 2) Jews and other minorities lived in separate quarters in every country. This was either required or a matter of safety. 3) As the Koran does not allow a Muslim to convert to any other religion on pain of death, this meant that inter-marriage was virtually impossible. Arab and other Muslim states have a variety of laws concerning marriage. Jordan has similar laws to Israel where marriages are performed by religious authorities, although Jews are not allowed to luve in the country. In Saudi Arabia children as young as 8 years without any say in the matter are married to older men under religious law. Thus Arab countries despite modern attacks on Israel, were essentially de facto apartheid states. This is no longer the case, but only because there there is no longer a substantial Jewish presence in those cointries. Today in Arab states there are almost no Jews. They have been ethnically clensed. The frontline states (Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Jordon, and Egypt have only tiny Jewish populations, minisucle remnants of onece vibrant communities. The Jordanian Constitution actually prohibits Jews from living in the country. Jews are also prohibited from Saudi Arabia.


As in Arab states, Jews in Iran (until the 1930s Persia) lived in an Apartheid-like state. The country's name was changed because the reining Shah was impressed with NAZI racism and the Aryan race. The situation for Iran's much disminished Jewish community is similar to that in the Aran world. 1) Bahai, Kurds, Christians, and Jews can vote in Iran, but as could be seen in 2009, the vote is meaningless. 2) Jews largely because of past laws and reasons of safty lived in specific areas. 3) And as the Koran prohibits Muslims from recanting their faith, inter-marriage is virtually impossible.



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Created: 8:25 PM 10/28/2010
Last updated: 8:25 PM 10/28/2010