When true patriots speak

Zionists love to claim that Israel is not an apartheid state. This news, therefore, must be an abberation:

The Israeli authorities have been ordered by the High Court to give a formal explanation of why an important highway running from Jerusalem through the occupied West Bank has been barred to Palestinians living in the area.

The Israeli High Court ruled yesterday that the state – in this instance the Israeli military – has to explain why Route 443 is in practice barred to Palestinians and why roadblocks preventing access to the road from Palestinian villages along the route have not been dismantled.

While it only concerns a single stretch of road, the petition from the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (Acri) in several respects goes to the heart of the heavy restrictions on Palestinian movement and access in much of the West Bank. This is graphically illustrated in a UN map showing road closures and territory – about 40 per cent of the West Bank- which are either barred or heavily restricted for Palestinians, severing the sectors of the West Bank from each other, and from Jerusalem.

The map highlights restrictions imposed by the barrier and road closures largely to protect Jewish settlements, and the unimpeded travel of settlers in the West Bank, resulting in what critics call the “cantonisation” of the territory into enclaves separated from each other and Jerusalem. Closures imposed since the intifada began in 2000 mean that Palestinians are probably more restricted now than at any time during the past 40 years.

Such Jewish-only roads are common throughout the occupied territories. Of course, if you’re the Australian Jewish News, the occupation is actually the fault of the Palestinians. Yes, indeed, building more settlements on Palestinian land is the fault of the occupied, didn’t you know?

Back in reality, former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg – who wrote a stunning piece in 2003 that warned against Israel becoming an even-greater discriminatory state – has now said that the concept of a Jewish state is no longer acceptable in the 21st century and calls for the abolition of the Right of Return. He also claims that Israel is like pre-Nazi Germany.

Unsurprisingly, Zionists have reacted with fury to his comments. The importance of Burg’s statements should not be under-estimated, however. A growing number of prominent Jews are now speaking out publicly against Israel’s future. The Jewish state has to make a decision: democracy for all or racism. Thus far, its choices have been clear.

Personally speaking, Burg is a hero.