Ask a real expert. In the histories and the modern consciousness of the world, perhaps, it was Nelson Mandela who ended apartheid in South Africa. But in as much as such an event can ever be the work of a small number of people, there is another man who made it happen as much as Mandela. He jointly received the Nobel Prize with Mandela.
That other man was F.W. de Klerk. Yesterday he was awarded an honorary degree by the (highly integrated) Haifa University and he gave an interview to Israeli Channel 2 news. Israel Muse has translated and transcribed it and I reproduce his work here.
But the headline quote for me has to be: “When we had deadlocks, our biggest success was when Mandela put himself in my position and went out of his way to understand my position and I at the same time put myself in Mandela’s position and went out of my way to accommodate his core concerns and to break a deadlock you need initiatives.”.
South Africa had two great men, one on either side to end an historic conflict without large-scale violence. Who has ever filled the role of a true partner which Israel and Jews could work with? When has the Arab side EVER thought about what we Jews need? We have countless NGO’s wailing and gnashing their teeth trying to make Israel nicer to our Arab neighbours. Name one Arab NGO that fights for Jewish rights in Hebron!
John Kerry, threw the word Apartheid into the Middle East debate a few weeks ago, which is what the radical Left in Israel also claims, but the person who knows the word Apartheid very well, the person who ended this racist regime as the President of South Africa, FW De Klerk, he is now the one who said today in a special interview with Udi Segal that this comparison is unnecessary and not fair.
On the other hand he says to learn from his experience to initiate this and to walk in the enemies shoes in order to try solve the conflict. Tonight he is receiving his honorary doctorate from the Haifa University. Here are his words:
This man who made history when he brought down the Apartheid regime with Nelson Mandela, former South African president FW De Klerk, rejects the international comparisons and he states, as someone with experience, that Israel is not an Apartheid state, and as opposed to Kerry’s comment, Israel is not on the way there.
FW de Klerk:
You have closed borders but America has closed borders, they dont allow every Mexican who wants to come in come in. You have Palestinians living in Israel with full political rights represented in the Knesset. You dont have discriminatory laws against them that they may not swim on certain beaches or anything like that. I think its unfair to call Israel an Apartheid state. If Kerry did so I think he made a mistake.
To be fair, Kerry said that Israel can be an Apartheid state if it will not go to the 2-state solution. Do you think it can be an Apartheid state?
FW de Klerk:
The test will be, does everybody living then in such a unitary state, will everybody have full political rights? Will everybody enjoy their full human rights? If they will, it’s not an Apartheid state.
In other words this is not the situation and Israel might only get to this state in the case where 1 state has 2 Nationalities.
De Klerk claims that the situation is different between the 2 states (IL & SA), that the idea of separation couldn’t have worked in South Africa but could be the most moral solution in Israel, however it may disappear.
FW de Klerk:
In the case of South Africa, we became economically totally integrated and it no longer made sense. We became an economic omelette and once you make an omelette out of eggs you can never separate the yellow and the white again. So no, in our case, the concept of separateness failed. I’m not saying its the right solution for Israel but there will come in Israel a turning point where if the main obstacles at the moment which exist through a successful 2 state solution are not remove, the 2 state will become impossible. So, as an outsider I would say, believing that a 2 state solution might be the best one, you will have to move fast, see the window of opportunity, jump through it, it might close.
This evening De Klerk received the honorary doctorate from the Haifa University.
It’s his 6th visit to Israel. He knows and loves Israel and he is careful not to give advice but give hints as to what the way is to get out of this deadlocks of the negotiations. In short, Netanyahu and Abu Mazzen are doing the opposite of this.
Its called trust.
FW de Klerk:
When we had deadlocks, our biggest success was when Mandela put himself in my position and went out of his way to understand my position and I at the same time put myself in Mandela’s position and went out of my way to accommodate his core concerns and to break a deadlock you need initiatives. We sat down and said lets draw a list, what do we agree upon? ,and the list was longer than we expected and then slowly but surely we worked first on the easier things, where it was more easy through a give or take process to find each other and we reserved the most difficult ones for later and in the end we forced ourselves, we weren’t forced by outside forces, we forced ourselves to say we have made such big progress, we must now resolve these difficult points.