Sovereignty Over Judea & Samaria; Citizenship or Apartheid State, Wrong Again

“It is either a two-state solution or a bi-national state” they said.

If it is not a two-state solution, then Israel has to absorb all the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria/Gaza and make them citizens, hence destroying Israel as a Jewish state. In this scenario, the Arab population will soon outweigh that of the Jews making them the majority who will start running the country. They can then abrogate the law of return for Jews, repeal the Nation State law and change the character of the nation. Then where will Israel be as a haven for Jews against the antisemitic world?

If Israel refuses to give the Palestinians citizenship after applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, it then means that it has become an apartheid state. And who wants to be labelled an apartheid state with all the horrors and evil it connotes?

So Israelis and their supporters who are calling for exercising sovereignty over Judea and Samaria are in a quandary and dilemma; give the Palestinians citizenship, then have the Jewish state destroyed, refuse to make them citizens and become an apartheid state.

Between a rock and a hard place.

Like most of the accusations against Israel in this conflict, those making the above assumption assert wrong premises and continue harping on them as if they are facts till their supporters latch on to and start running with them. Many times, even supporters of Israel find themselves joining the bandwagon and prattling the same wrong premise. Be it accusations of occupation, colonization, violation of international law, illegal settlements, etc, the same wrong premises appear.

For example, the proponents of these claims scream “occupation!” at Israel when actual definition of occupation by international law says otherwise.

They scream “illegal” when provisions of law said it is legal.

They scream “violation of international law” when they cannot point a single International law been violated to justify their claims.

They scream “colonization of indigenous people’s territories” when facts said the Jews are the indigenous ones.

It never fails to amaze me how they are able to pull it off and have people who ought to know better, run around yapping the same wrong premise. In my hometown, we say that if a snake does not do that which made it a snake, children will use it to tie up gathered firewood. I think it is high time the peddlers of these claims are called back to order.

Now, the cliche is that exercising sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and refusing the Palestinians residing there citizenship will mean apartheid. The claim is wrong on many levels which can range from the definition of apartheid, its operation in South Africa and up to what are accepted practices all over the world.

Firstly, in 1973, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) while describing apartheid stated that “for the purpose of the present Convention, the term ‘the crime of apartheid’, which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhumane acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”. It then went on to describe those acts of oppression that could be termed apartheid.

Subsequently, in the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, it defined the Crime of Apartheid as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.

Based on the 1973 definition and characteristics of an act that could make it to be termed apartheid, one cannot in all honesty claim that Israel is practicing apartheid or will be doing such if it refuses to give Palestinians citizenship after exercising sovereignty, if how it was practiced in South Africa is to be used as a basis.

The major difference between South Africa, Israel and the Palestinians residing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza is that unlike the blacks of South Africa, the Palestinians are not citizens of Israel. Based on the South African Citizenship Act, 1949, both blacks and whites born in South Africa are citizens. But apartheid laws came in to play where many rights as citizens of a nation were denied the black population and they were placed under oppression. Arabs of Israel have citizenship and none of its rights are denied them. The Arabs calling themselves a Palestinians are not citizens of Israel and cannot be expecting rights that accrue to citizens to be given to them. It has zero to do with apartheid since as practiced in South Africa, it was about denying citizenship rights to people who were citizens of the country.

Secondly, the 1973 and 2002 definition of the crime of apartheid talked of a racial domination and oppression by another race.

The Jewish state of Israel is not a race. Israel is the nation state of the Jewish ethno-religious group of people. Ethnic groups unlike racial ones, are social constructs and not biological. They are social constructs like nations, schools, clubs, etc. Within the context of apartheid practices in South Africa where people were distinguished based on color and geography, race could be defined as stated in Merriam Webster dictionary as “a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits”.

With the above definition, Israel is not a race nor are the Jews. The Jews are made up of people of different distinctive phenotypical attributes; from blacks to whites who came back to their common homeland from diverse geographical areas. The Palestinians also are members of the Arab ethnic identity and not a race either. There is no situation in the country where one race could be said to be oppressing another one from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea hence the accusations of apartheid in that area, has no merit.

Israel is a democracy and the nation state of the Jewish ethnic group of people as obtained in every other nation states in Europe and Asia which include Greece, Poland, Armenia, Serbia, Malta, Estonia, Hungary, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Japan, etc. The dominant character of Israel is hence, a reflection of its Jewish identity and traditions like those other nation states. It does not mean domination nor is Israel oppressing the Palestinians. Like every other nation, Israel protects itself from terror and other attacks which the Palestinians engage in as the Arabs point tactical and political weapon deployed since 1964. Israel’s defense of itself against the plethora of attacks from the arsenal of Palestinians cannot be called oppression.

The above by the way, let’s move on with the issue of citizenship rights and the claim of apartheid. How can it be that if Israel denies the Palestinians citizenship rights after applying sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, it then becomes apartheid while other nations have their own Palestinians living within their territories and do not have citizenship rights either? Why should those other nations not be termed apartheid also? Or is it about that double standards and bias which the Jewish state is always measured with compared to every other nation on earth? Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and many other Arabic nations have their own Palestinians residing within their territories. Most of them do not have citizenship rights in those nations. Why are these nations not termed apartheid for refusing citizenship rights to Palestinians residing within their territories?

Many European nations like Germany, Greece, etc have numerous Palestinians residing there but they are not given citizenship rights. Does it also mean that those nations are apartheid too for exercising sovereignty over their territories without giving their Palestinians citizenship rights?

Fact is that refusal to give citizenship on its own does not mean apartheid as those claiming that Israel denial of citizenship to Palestinians will entail such. If that be the case, then Thailand of Asia ought to have been labelled apartheid for refusing citizenship to its Yao population. Kuwait and Syria of Middle East should also be apartheid for refusing citizenship to the Bidoon and many Kurds respectively. Kenya ought to be termed apartheid too for refusing citizenship to Nubians who are residing in the country. And many European nations from Germany to France, etc should also be termed apartheid for not granting their Gypsies citizenship rights, destroying their homes and deporting them.

In fact, many nations of the world from Canada to Australia and from Chile to Mongolia should all be termed apartheid when they refuse citizenship to illegal immigrants residing within their territories. Denial of citizenship rights to individuals or groups has nothing to do with apartheid. Those peddling that claim against Israel if and when it applies sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and even Gaza are wrong.

The “Palestinians” is a problem the Arabs created by themselves since San Remo when rather than accept and abide by the most fair, just and moral arrangement concerning Eretz Israel when the Ottomans relinquished it back to the Jewish indigenous and national owners, they chose otherwise. Rather than calling the Arabs to order, the UN encouraged that problem to fester because they felt they can bully Israel into paying the price for United Nation members greed. They ought to look for a solution to the problem they created but it will not be at Israel’s detriment. Plastering all these silly cliches against Israel and accusing it of all kinds of terrible things won’t work.


Emeka Paul

Emeka Paul is a Nigerian Zionist and author of the book "The Longest Prejudice."