Palestine

Illusions and Errors about Israel

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‘What is it with Israel?’ asks John Solsvik in a feature article in VG, 28 November 2012. And then he repeats the old illusions and erroneous information about Israel, for example that the state is a ‘democracy’, that Israel ‘guarantees human rights’, etcetera.


But this is unfortunately incorrect. Let me just take up the following:

Israel is a democracy?
This is not correct. Israel is democratic only for Jews. Those who are not Jews, and in Israel this means first and foremost Palestinians, do not have the same rights. They are discriminated in a number of areas of fundamental significance for their lives. This applies in relation to domicile and work, inasmuch as 92% of land in Israel is owned by the state, and is administered by the Israeli Land Authority in accordance with the regulations of the Jewish National Fund. These regulations deny (or limit) anyone who is not Jewish the right to live, open a business and often also to work on this state-owned land. Palestinians are also discriminated in a number of other areas, and most obviously when it comes to the ‘Act relating to Repatriation’. This Act gives any person who is publicly approved as a ‘Jew’ the automatic right to settle in Israel, acquire citizenship and gain access to a number of economic advantages. Palestinians and others are emphatically denied this right. Palestinian refugees, with roots in the land going centuries back in time, are denied the possibility of returning, while Polish, Russian and American Jews, without any such roots, are granted the ‘right’ to ‘repatriation’.

Israel ‘guarantees human rights’.
A state that is based on rights for one group of the population, and which systematically discriminates another one, does not guarantee human rights. Take Palestinian refugees as an example. They were driven out when Israel was created. And that happened precisely to ensure the exclusivity of the new state. Refugees must be allowed to return. It is their human right! But Israel denies them this right; it is presumed to threaten the nature of the state. Can this possibly create peace?

Roads to peace
Solsvik thinks that ‘dechristianisation’ may be a reason for criticism aimed at Israel. I wish to refer to a Jewish standpoint. It is postulated by my friend, Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, spokesman for Naturei Karta, an anti-Zionist Jewish group: ‘for hundreds of years Jews and Palestinians lived in peace. It is our goal that these earlier times with peace shall be followed by future times with peace. But it is our conviction that this will not be possible until the religious and therefore moral evils of Zionism (the ideological basis for Israel, my comment) have been admitted and reversed.’

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