Ilan Pappé: “The Zionist goal from the very beginning was to have as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible”

Ilan Pappe

Interesting section of an interview with scholar Ilan Pappe:

The Palestinians in Israel are discriminated on 3 levels. The first is legal. By law, the fact that you are Palestinian means that you have fewer rights than a Jew. The most important law in this regard is the law on land ownership. According to the Israeli law, the land in Israel belongs to the Jewish people and them only. As a non-Jew, you are not allowed to trade or to purchase land and we are talking about 93% of the land. That’s why the Palestinians can’t grow and expand within Israel. Other laws do not specifically talk about the Palestinians, this is an old Israeli trick. The law says that if you have not served in the army you cannot have full rights as a student for example. You won’t get student’s subsidies, health services allowances, social security et al. All those things that the Western countries try to give to their citizens come with the precondition of military service in Israel. It is a trick because the Israelis do not want the Palestinians to serve in the army, in fact they are not allowed even if they would want to. There is an exception when it comes to Orthodox Jews, they do not serve in the army but they are not discriminated because they have a special annex to the Israeli budget. The Orthodox Jews get the money that the state would have used if they would have served in the army. So, Israeli law speaks for itself because it says that if you are Palestinian, you are a second-class citizen.

The second obstacle is policy discrimination. With this I mean that theoretically all citizens are equal. But when you look at the allocation budgets for schools, roads, infrastructure, anything at all, the Palestinians always get half or less than half of what the Jewish communities get. Here in Israel, you can see if you are in a Palestinian village just by looking at the quality of the roads. This is even nastier than you realise, because you can only improve the quality of the village by collaborating with Israel.

The third level is the worst one. It is the one of the daily encounter that Palestinians have with whoever represents the law in Israel. We undertook research in Haifa many years ago, which showed that in court, for the same charges, Palestinians always, always, got – and still get – double the punishment than their Jewish counterparts got.

To these three levels I will add two things. The Palestinians know that in the eyes of the Israeli authorities they represent a demographic threat. They live their whole lives knowing that the state they live in see them as a problem and want to get rid of them. That does not just mean the overt discrimination they face, because on top of that they are psychologically destroyed from within. We are not even talking about immigrants, but about people who are living in their homeland. This is exactly what Israelis do not understand, that the Jewish people were in the same situation when anti-Semitism was spreading around Europe.

Finally, if we want to compare this situation to South Africa, it is true that here we do not have a “petit-apartheid”, the one which for example creates separated benches and toilets for white and for black. Here it may not be visible to the public eye but is as bad as the one of South Africa.

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