*Amjad Alqasis is a legal researcher and the legal advocacy program coordinator of BADIL Resource Center
Many Palestinian human rights organizations limit their scope to territorial divisions propogated by the occupying power - Israel. Organizations are adapting to the current state of affairs rather than seeing the historic origins of the conflict. The Zionist colonialists entered this territory with the intention to permanently colonize it. Movements that started to emerge in struggle against this colonization slowly began to disconnect from each other, from one common struggle into various different struggles. So today, in 2013, based on the realities on the ground (the Wall, settlement expansion, discriminatory laws within Israel, the siege on Gaza), the reality which the colonial power evolved into has had a huge impact on those who are trying to resist this colonization.
Israeli practices and policies are a combination of apartheid, military occupation, and colonization as a means to ethnically cleanse the territory of historic Palestine from the indigenous Palestinian presence.
This Israeli regime is not limited to the Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), but it is also targeting Palestinians residing on the Israeli side of the “1948 Armistice Line” as well as those living in forced exile. Reflections on whether a one or two-state solution would be the appropriate means to end the injustice and suffering in historic Palestine overlook the fact that one legal entity has already been established within that specified territory: Indeed, Israel’s treatment of non-Jewish Palestinians throughout Israel and the oPt constitutes an overall discriminatory regime aiming at controlling the maximum amount of land with the minimum amount of indigenous Palestinians residing on it.
In 1973, The United Nations rightfully condemned ‘the unholy alliance between Portuguese colonialism, South African racism, Zionism and Israeli imperialism.’1 And only two years later the same international organization determined ‘that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.’2 Although this resolution was revoked in 1991, at the behest of the U.S. administration, in order to pave the way for the Madrid Peace Conference that same year, the equation of Zionism with racism is still valid. Apartheid is based on the principle of the establishment and maintenance of a regime of institutionalized discrimination in which one group dominates others. In the case of Israel, the driving-force behind the Palestinian reality of apartheid is Zionist ideology; its manifestation is population transfer and ethnic cleansing.
The South African session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine discussed intensively whether Israel’s practices against the Palestinian people constitute the crime of apartheid.1 The findings of that session concluded that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people. This Israeli apartheid regime is not limited to the Palestinians living in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) but it is also targeting Palestinians residing inside the “Green Line.” Reflections on whether a one or two-state solution would be the appropriate means to end the injustice and suffering in historic Palestine overlook the fact that one legal entity has already been established within that specified territory: the Palestinians, wherever they may reside, are collectively exposed to one coherent structure of apartheid. The main components of that structure discriminate against Palestinians in areas such as nationality, citizenship, residency rights and land ownership. This system was originally applied in 1948 in order to dominate and dispossess all forcibly displaced Palestinians, including the 130,000 who were able to remain within the "Green Line" and later became Israeli citizens. After the occupation of the remaining part of historic Palestine by Israeli forces in 1967, this territory became subjected to the same Israeli apartheid regime.