I have written before about how similar is Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and its occupation of Palestinian lands to the apartheid policies of the former Afrikaner South African regimes.
Juan Cole describes the latest actions of the Israeli government, involving the ethnic cleansing of large numbers of Palestinians to make room for Jewish settlers, actions that are bringing it ever closer to that reality. As Jonathan Cook writes:
Israel cultivates, as South Africa once did, what scholars term “grand apartheid”. This is segregation, largely covert and often justified by security or cultural differences, to ensure that control of resources remains exclusively in the hands of the privileged community.
At the same time, Israel long shied away from what some call South Africa’s model of “petty apartheid” – the overt, symbolic, but far less significant segregation of park benches, buses and toilets.
The avoidance of petty apartheid has been the key to Israel’s success in obscuring from the world’s view its grand apartheid, most obviously in the occupied territories but also inside Israel itself.
But as Cook writes, now even that petty apartheid is increasingly becoming visible with many ugly incidents of Jewish people attacking Arabs, destroying the façade that had been carefully constructed.
Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again started making the rounds of the media with scaremongering about the threat posed by Iran. This is probably for two reasons. One is that he is clearly worried that the image of the new Iranian president as a moderate is undermining his attempts to get the US to act as Israel’s proxy and wage war on Iran. The second is to distract attention from the massive ethnic cleansing that his government is pursuing.