Double-Edged Apartheid Claims
Ultimately, after all the major experiments that failed; after 100 years of conflict during which the Arabs never really agreed to share the land with us and never recognized any right of the Jewish people to any part of it, we are left with the demographic threat — a scarecrow used by the redemption rejectionists as an excuse not to enter Jerusalem. Jerusalem hides Judea and Samaria in its wings, and the three of them are not just a geographic location, but also a region that is a spiritual and a national possession that touches upon the question of questions that has been stuck in our heads since we came back into history some time in the middle of the 18th century: Who are we?
The demographic threat is spoken of by those who frequently accuse of “racism” anyone who doesn’t agree with their opinion. They are the ones fearmongering against the Arabs. Interesting. Firstly, we must remove Gaza from the demographic count. There is an Islamist political entity there, and it is unlikely that the Hamas leaders will give up their rule. Regarding Judea and Samaria, no one really knows until today what the number of Palestinian Arabs there is. The Palestinian interest is to increase their numbers, not just as a strike against us, but also in order to receive more funding from around the world (a large part of which disappears into private pockets).
Demography expert Professor Sergio DellaPergola estimates that there are about 2.4 million Palestinians actually living in Judea and Samaria. He relies on data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. Former ambassador and Yoram Ettinger and the team of experts he put together estimate some 1.75 million. Other research groups claim that the number may be even lower. Even the smallest number is not certain because of the deception surrounding fake identity cards, doubled identification numbers, deceased people included in the count, as well as those who have left and not returned. Lt. Col. Eyal Ze’evi, head of the Operations Branch in the Civil Administration, estimated that more than 175,000 Palestinians left and haven’t returned over the last 15 years through the Allenby Crossing alone. And what about the other crossings?
At the same time, we must take into account the amazing rise in Jewish fertility in recent decades, especially among secular couples, as well as the number of new immigrants to Israel. At the height of the First Intifada at the end of the 1980s, did anyone imagine that more than a million new Jewish olim (immigrants) would move to Israel before the end of the 20th century? And we are expecting another million immigrants soon. It is no dream.
The demographic threat also has a conceptual facet to it, taken from the history of South Africa: apartheid. They assume that no one knows South Africa’s political history. White people in South Africa made up 10-20% of the population. In Israel’s case, the Jews are the majority. Less than two weeks after the establishment of the state of Israel, on May 26, 1948, the National Party won the elections in South Africa on the platform of segregation, known in Afrikaans as “apartheid.” NP institutionalized racial segregation using a complex system of laws and regulations that promised the existence of four separate population groups: white, black, colored and Indian.
The first two rules that were legislated were a prohibition on intermarriage and the Immorality Act, which prohibited sexual contact between people of different races. In 1950, the Population Registration Act was legislated, forming the basis for apartheid. It defined the criteria of the different racial groups. The most difficult thing to define was the colored group, people of mixed race, so they sometimes checked a person’s hair with a comb — bushy hair: colored; soft hair: white.
The Group Areas Act determined distinct residential areas for each racial group. The law was the basis for the racial segregation of public and cultural institutions, beaches, public benches, hotels, restaurants, public transportation, and other places where there was potential for unnecessary interracial contact. The Bantu Education Act, legislated in 1953, imposed a curriculum upon nonwhite populations meant to prepare them for their “rightful” place in the social order. The law forced them to study in their traditional languages rather than in English. In 1959, the academic system was segregated and universities were prohibited from accepting nonwhite students. Other, separate, inferior academic institutions were established for them, and there was no freedom of research or instruction.
From this, we can see that any comparison between what is happening between Jews and Arabs — not just in little Israel but also in Judea and Samaria — and the history of South Africa are not even slightly founded. What remains for the enemies of the settlement enterprise? “Bantustans.”
In the 1960s, NP began to develop the nonwhite areas into independent nation-states that were called Bantustans. According to this vision, South Africa was the nation-state of the white man and around it, they arranged a sort of horseshoe of nonwhite populations in separate states. Look, those who think themselves wise say, you want to give the Palestinians autonomy or a pseudo-state, like the Afrikaners did to the natives in South Africa.
And so, after WWI, the Middle East was completely freed from Ottoman Empire rule. Ninety-nine percent of this huge territory was given to Arab nations, some of which were not nations in the modern sense, rather a collection of tribes and ethnic groups forced together by pressure from the superpowers (Iraq and Syria, for example). A measly percentage of the territory was given to the Jewish people in the Balfour Declaration, and later at the San Remo Conference, so they could realize their national ambitions.
From that measly percentage, four-fifths were taken for a consolation prize that the British gave to the Hashemite family from Hejaz, which in 1921 established the Kingdom of Transjordan. In 2005, following the disengagement, the Gaza Strip was torn from the borders of the national home. What do we have left? If anything, a Bantustan. After all, that is Israel’s situation in relation to the enormous territory of all the Arab countries. Moreover, the vision of a single state means granting equal citizenship to all Arab residents, so the claim of racial segregation disappears.
Ah, the opponents say, we did not ask the Palestinians if they agree. Well, the Palestinians do not accept our existence even on one small street in Tel Aviv. And did the Left ever ask the Arabs of Israel if they were interested in the citizenship granted to them? From their perspective, we put them in prison and allowed them to choose the prison management. Moreover, what would those who make claims of apartheid say about the Law of Return, which prefers one population group to another and allows only one group (Jews) to immigrate to Israel and to become citizens there?
If we look at the overall picture of dozens of Arab countries in the face of a single small Jewish state, the justification for this law is clear. However, those who hurl claims of apartheid should know that their false claim is a double-edged sword that essentially harms the justification for the Zionist project as a whole.