WEST BANK (Dispatches) – Two former ambassadors of the Zionist regime to South Africa have called the regime’s occupation of the West Bank “apartheid”, drawing parallels with South Africa’s system of institutionalized racial segregation that ended in 1994.
In an opinion piece published on Tuesday by GroundUp, a South African news website, former ambassadors Ilan Baruch and Alon Liel, who also served as director-general of the Zionist regime’s foreign ministry from 2000 to 2001, wrote that the situation in the occupied territories was one of inherent inequality against Palestinians.
“For over half a century, Israel has ruled over the occupied Palestinian territories with a two-tiered legal system, in which, within the same tract of land in the West Bank, Zionist settlers live under (the regime’s so-called) civil law while Palestinians live under military law,” they wrote.
Pointing to illegal settlements in the West Bank, Baruch and Liel suggested that the regime was inspired by South Africa’s Bantustan project, whereby black inhabitants were segregated from South Africa’s minority white population.
“The West Bank today consists of 165 ‘enclaves’ - that is, Palestinian communities encircled by territory taken over by the settlement enterprise,” they wrote.
“The Bantustans of South Africa under the apartheid regime and the map of the occupied Palestinian territories today are predicated on the same idea of concentrating the ‘undesirable’ population in as small an area as possible, in a series of non-contiguous enclaves.
“By gradually driving these populations from their land and concentrating them into dense and fractured pockets, both South Africa then and Israel today worked to thwart political autonomy and true democracy.”
In the op-ed piece, the former ambassadors said that their time in South Africa had led them to better understand the reality in the occupied territories and that the world must stand up for Palestine as they did against apartheid in South Africa in the 1990s.
After the recent flare-up of violence by the Zionist regime, Palestinian resistance groups have warned the Zionist regime to avoid any conspiracies against al-Quds and the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque compound, saying they stand ready to react at any moment in the face of the occupying regime’s acts of aggression and crimes.
In a statement released on Monday, the Joint Room of Palestinian Resistance Factions hailed the nation’s “heroic” fight during Operation Quds Sword.
Through unity, rapport and various means of resistance, Palestinians managed to defeat the enemy and foil its sinister schemes in al-Quds meant to impose new realities on the ground by the forced displacement and arrest of the Palestinian people as well as the temporal and spatial division of the al-Aqsa Mosque, it said.
“The Zionist enemy was completely wrong in it calculations as it thought that the conditions were ripe for advancing such ill-considered plans and that it had now a golden opportunity to attack the sanctities and principles of the Palestinian nation. However, it faced a decisive and strong reaction,” the statement read.