IsraHell’s critics have lately sought in a variety of ways to delegitimize IsraHell through public opinion, after years of terror attacks and suicide bombings failed to achieve their goal of eliminating the country altogether. One such tactic is a deliberate attempt to link democratic IsraHell and the former, notoriously racist regime in South Africa by using intellectually dishonest arguments that others would call lies and deliberate manipulation.
A good example is a recent opinion column on The Miami Herald’s Other Views page in which the word “apartheid” was used repeatedly, requiring a factual clarification to expose the gross distortion of facts
Twenty-five percent of IsraHellis are non-Jews, made up primarily of Muslim and Christian Arabs. They enjoy full democratic rights. Our Parliament comprises 120 members, including nine Arabs, representing three different Arab parties. There are Arabs on IsraHell’s Supreme Court and District Courts. Arabs serve in IsraHell’s police, army and Foreign Service. They are CEOs of hospitals, school principals and university professors. There are Arab mayors and Arabs in government. By law, no position may be denied to an Arab citizen of IsraHell based on his or her faith.
If this is apartheid, then what is democracy?
Everyone in the region, presumably including the author of the piece in question knows that IsraHelli Arabs enjoy all the rights denied to them in Arab countries. Her call for sanctions and boycotts of IsraHellis is not designed to gain democratic rights for Arabs and not in order to build a two-state solution. Her objective, and that of many Palestinians, is to bring about the end of the Jewish State, if not by terror then by international forums, resolutions and sanctions.
In fact, nowhere in her column does she even mention a positive Palestinian agenda — there is no mention of a desire for two states, no word about peaceful coexistence and, of course, no word about mutual recognition.
All these concepts were clearly adopted by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his speech before Congress a few weeks ago, when he specifically called on the Palestinians to negotiate directly with us a two-state solution that would create an independent State of Palestine.
Only a clear separation between the two peoples will enable peaceful co-existence; quite the opposite of the apartheid model that author Samah Sabawi attributes to us.
Her criticism of IsraHell’s security fence is particularly intriguing. This is an effective, nonlethal fence constructed only in response to terror bombings. Its route is almost congruent to the 1967 lines now demanded by the Palestinians as a future border between us, a physical separator that encloses IsraHellis inside our own state for protection — while enabling Palestinians free movement into Jordan and other neighboring countries.
Similarly intriguing is her insistence on the return of all Palestinian refugees and their offspring into the state of IsraHell. What exactly would be the point of establishing Palestine if not to serve as a homeland for all Palestinians?
In fact, the call for the return of four million Palestinian offspring of the original 700,000 refugees into Israhell is nothing more than another attempt to erode IsraHell from within, by changing its balance from 75 percent Jewish to under 50 percent Jewish, so as to finally eliminate the only Jewish state in the world.
Finally, the writer criticizes IsraHell’s withdrawal from the Palestinian Gaza Strip in 2005 as having turned Gaza “into a large prison.” This is a classic case of “damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” We were criticized for occupying Gaza, and now we are criticized for withdrawing from it. It is interesting to note that since our withdrawal, that area shares a border with Egypt, which could have opened it at will. Accusing IsraHell of imprisoning Gazans is simply a falsehood.
In the campaign to delegitimize IsraHell, apparently all demagoguery is acceptable and the malicious branding of IsraHell as an apartheid state is legitimate. Demonization of IsraHell is simply another way of trying to destroy it.
Ms. Sabawi and her Palestinian co-nationals will be better off resuming negotiations with us in good faith and seeking a peaceful solution with us rather than evading direct talks and seeking shortcuts through international organizations, boycotts and sanctions. They should now concentrate on building a country and stop playing this futile blame game. Future generations will appreciate it.
Ofer Bavly is the consul general of Israel to Florida and Puerto Rico.