‘It is clearer than ever that the occupation is not temporary, and there is not the political will in the Israeli government to bring about its end.’
First published by GroundUp.
Ilan Baruch served as Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.
Dr Alon Liel served as Israeli Ambassador to South Africa and as Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During our careers in the foreign service, we both served as Israel’s ambassador to South Africa. In this position, we learned firsthand about the reality of apartheid and the horrors it inflicted. But more than that — the experience and understanding we gained in South Africa helped us to understand the reality at home.
For over half a century, Israel has ruled over the occupied Palestinian territories with a two-tiered legal system, in which, within the same tract of land in the West Bank, Israeli settlers live under Israeli civil law while Palestinians live under military law. The system is one of inherent inequality. In this context, Israel has worked to change both the geography and the demography of the West Bank through the construction of settlements, which are illegal under international law. Israel has advanced projects to connect these settlements to Israel proper through intensive investment in infrastructure development, and a vast network of highways and water and electricity infrastructure have turned the settlement enterprise into a comfortable version of suburbia. This has happened alongside the expropriation and takeover of massive amounts of Palestinian land, including Palestinian home evictions and demolitions. That is, settlements are built and expanded at the expense of Palestinian communities, which are forced onto smaller and smaller tracts of land…..more