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Amnesty's report on Israeli apartheid a welcome development

By John Wight

Amnesty International’s report highlighting and condemning the Israeli regime’s structural and systematic oppression of the Palestinians comes as a welcome and significant development. Titled ‘Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity,’ the report ‘sets out how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law.’

The oppression of the long-suffering but never vanquished Palestinian people has from the very beginning been made even worse by their depiction as a people deserving of their plight on grounds of their resistance to it posing a threat to the Israeli regime’s security. This is a lie. The self-evident truth is that Palestinian resistance, when it occurs, is undertaken in the name of liberation from the Israeli regime’s terrorism, which has been the very basis of this settler-colonial regime’s existence from its inception in 1947 up to the present.

In what amounts to one of history’s cruel ironies, a regime which claims to act in the name of the six million victims of a European judeocide in the 1940s - marked recently under the auspices of Holocaust Remembrance Day - has far more in common with the perpetrators of said judeocide, while the Palestinians have more in common with its victims. This on the basis that victims of oppression and national destruction share a bond that transcends religion, culture, nationality, race, and so on.

Plumbing the depths of indecency and mendacity, the Israeli regime has gone out of its way to leverage the Holocaust to its advantage in its ongoing structural oppression of a people whose only crime is that they dare to exist and confound the lie that the Israeli regime has been established on land bequeathed to its Jewish citizens by God.

Back in the real world - the one underpinned by facts not biblical myths - the West has an ocean of blood on its hands over its complicity and culpability in this lie, condemning thereby the subject Palestinian population to the unremitting brutality and unfreedom that defines their existence. Indeed, riding shotgun for apartheid has long been the unofficial obligation of every candidate for political office in Washington, London, Paris, Bonn et al., while those who dare break ranks and evince support for the Palestinians are subjected to character assassination. Here, the demonization of Jeremy Corbyn over the issue of anti-Semitism in the UK stands as the proverbial case in point.

But things, while slowly, are beginning to change, measured in increasing international support for the Palestinian struggle in the streets if not staterooms of the aforementioned Western capitals. On this issue, like so many others, there is a chasm of understanding between the masses and their leaders, one that brooks no sign of being bridged anytime soon.

Back to Amnesty International's report and who could possibly argue with the following: ’Whether they live' in Gaza, East al-Quds, and the rest of the West Bank, or the 1948-present occupied Palestinian territories itself, 'Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.’

The most important takeway from the above passage is the refusal to fall into line with the mantra that the Palestinians are made up of different antagonistic entities; those living under siege in Gaza, those under occupation in the West Bank, and those living in the rest of the 1948-present occupied Palestinian territories. Recognizing the oneness of the Palestinians and their common structural oppression is crucial in countering the determined efforts by Tel Aviv to sow discord and disunity between them.

Amnesty: ‘There is no possible justification for a system built around the institutionalized and prolonged racist oppression of millions of people. Apartheid has no place in our world, and states, which choose to make allowances' for the Israeli regime 'will find themselves on the wrong side of history.’

You can see why this report has lit a veritable firestorm in the corridors of power in the Israeli regime, firing as it does a welcome shot across the bows of this apartheid regime, which for far too long has been able to commit its many and manifold crimes against the Palestinians with impunity. Further still, for far too long, supporters of the Israeli regime have enjoyed near complete hegemony when it comes to shaping the narrative with regard to this issue. Such people have and still continue to deny that the human rights of millions of Palestinian civilians are being systematically violated simply because they do not accept that the Palestinians are human beings in the first place.

Again, though, things are beginning to change. Amnesty: ‘Governments who continue to supply" the Israeli regime 'with arms and shield it from accountability at the UN are supporting a system of apartheid, undermining the international legal order, and exacerbating the suffering of the Palestinian people. The international community must face up to the reality' of the Israeli regime’s 'apartheid, and pursue the many avenues to justice which remain shamefully unexplored.’

In breaking ranks with the hitherto unofficial, but ironclad consensus that has long held sway among Western NGOs concerning the Israel-Palestine question - amounting to its depiction as a struggle between two opposing sides rather than one between an oppressed people and their oppressor - Amnesty International has planted its flag on the side of truth and justice. 

That sound you hear is the sound of a tide turning.

John Wight is an author and political commentator based in Scotland.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

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