The apartheid charges levelled at Israel by those who wish her ill, are based on spurious or nonexistent sources. Some examination shows that the apartheid accusers simply have no case, and that their charges can only be attributed to prejudice or reckless ignorance. 
Myth: Israel is guilty of ethnic cleansing. David Ben-Gurion is accused of his intention for Israel to: …“expel Arabs and take their place,” and seeking “…an opportune moment for making it happen, such as war.”
Fact: Ben-Gurion wrote in a letter to his son: “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their places. All our aspiration is built on the assumption — proven throughout all our activity in the Land [of Israel] — that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.” (Efraim Karsh, Fabricating Israeli History, p. 49-50;). In a speech on December 13, 1947, Ben-Gurion said: “In our state there will be non-Jews as well — and all of them will be equal citizens; equal in everything without exception; the state will be their state as well.”

Myth: Israel practices water apartheid through the military that controls virtually all the water in the West Bank. “73% of West Bank water is piped back to Israel. Illegal Jewish settlers use 10% of West Bank water.”
Fact: Israel does not take “Palestinian water.”  Israel obtains roughly 50 percent of its water from the Sea of Galilee and the Coastal Aquifer, both of which are entirely within Israel’s pre-1967 lines.
Another 30 percent comes from the Western and Northeastern Aquifers of the Mountain Aquifer system. Most of the stored water is under pre-1967 Israel. 20 percent comes from aquifers along the Green Line and the Palestinians benefit from this supply too.
Myth: Palestinian water usage per person has actually declined since 1967: Palestinians had more water available per person before the 1967 invasion of the West bank and Gaza than they do now.
Fact: This charge is a vast inversion of reality. In fact, in the period from 1967 to 1995 West Bank Palestinians increased their domestic water use by 640%. By way of comparison, in the same 28 year period Israeli domestic usage increased by just 142% (Statistical Abstract of Israel 1996, V47) owing to desalination of sea water and sewerage recycling.

Myth: A regular apartheid calumny is the accusation that Israel’s Law of Return is apartheid. They claim that the Law of Return grants immigrant and residency rights to anyone who claims a Jewish identity but refuses the right of return to Palestinians and their descendants who were expelled in 1948.
 Fact: This is a blatant falsehood and distortion. The Law of Return is neither racist nor peculiarly Israeli. Similar laws have been in effect in such democracies as Mexico, Ireland, Finland, Greece, Poland, Germany, Italy, and Denmark. Furthermore, such laws are expressly permitted by, for example, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965). According to Article 1(3) of this convention, nations are permitted to favour certain groups for citizenship.

Myth: Before 1948 Arabs owned 80% of the land in Israel.
Fact: Total Arab holdings in 1948 amounted to just 2,754 square kilometers, which would be about 14%, rather than 80%, of the country.

Myth: Infant mortality rates among Arabs are twice those among Jews. The gap has grown over the years.
Fact: The infant mortality rate in Israel among Arabs is higher than for Jews, but the rate for Arab Christians is similar, and in some recent years actually lower than for Jews. This shows quite clearly that alleged anti-Arab discrimination is not the reason for the higher infant mortality rate for Israeli Arab Muslims but rather a higher birth rate and other factors. And rather than the gap growing over the years, the opposite is true — the gap has declined tremendously, thanks to intensive efforts by the Israeli health authorities.

Myth: Israeli Arabs are forbidden from serving in the Israeli army: Israeli Jews have to serve in the Israeli army when they turn 18. Most Palestinians are forbidden to serve in the army. Many of the benefits of society are given to people who have served. Preferential treatment of housing, education and other services are given to army veterans.
Fact: No Israeli Arab is barred from serving in the Israeli army — by consent of the Druze community Druze Arab men are drafted into the army when they turn 18 just like most Israeli Jews. Moreover, a higher percentage of eligible Druze serve in the army than eligible Jews, and 60% of Druze recruits choose to serve in combat units. Men from the Israeli Arab Bedouin community also routinely volunteer for the army, where they have served with special distinction. A case in point is Ishmael Khaldi, who last month was appointed as Israel’s ambassador to Eritrea.

There are no “group areas”, preferential housing, medical care restrictions, marriage restrictions or any other apartheid indicators in Israel. The above apartheid accusations are merely a pretext in the hands of Israel’s enemies regardless of the facts; they deserve absolutely no credibility whatsoever. In the propaganda war waged against Israel the apartheid weapon is trotted out to question Israel’s lack of humanity.
This is a most egregious accusation given that:
– Israel recently sent 120 truck-loads of food into Gaza to feed the Palestinian people there
– Hamas’ leadership is more interested in using Gaza’s population as human shields, launching rockets against Israel from within major civilian centres
– Palestinian media deliberately uses images of Syrian slaughter victims and presents them as casualties in Gaza to gain international sympathy
– Israel does whatever it takes to defend itself from outright attack by terrorists, targeting with great military precision only terrorists and their bases, avoiding civilian casualties.

Apartheid? Quite the reverse.

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Rodney Mazinter

RODNEY MAZINTER, a Cape Town based writer, poet and author. Past vice-chair of the South African Zionist Federation, Cape Council, he has held numerous leadership positions within a range of educational,...

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