The conflict between Israel and Palestine has remained active for over two-hundred years. Prior to the late 19th Century, a predominately Muslim population, along with a smaller Christian population, and an even smaller Jewish population co-existed peacefully. The current situation between Israel and Palestine has intensified as Israel persistently tries to reclaim territory by force. On March 14th, 2013, a Penn State student claimed in an article titled, “‘Apartheid’ is an appropriate word to describe Israel” that the treatment of Palestinians and other minority groups in Israel can be described as apartheid. The student goes on to cite Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to describe the human rights violations that Israel’s government committed during the course of Israel’s reign. Although the student’s sources validate aspects of his claim of mistreatment, the definition and usage of the term “apartheid” is utilized wrongly and the term cannot stand in his argument. In order to rectify the student’s claim, the student must re-label the situation in Israel as increasingly hostile towards Palestinians with actual examples of mistreatment and offer an alternative solution to peace between the two sides rather than to just criticize Israel’s inaction on the situation.
To begin with, before applying a word to a specific event or group of people, a writer must fully understand the definition of the word. In this scenario, the student incorrectly labels Israel’s human rights violations under the term, “apartheid”. This word is directly associated with the racial segregation of Africans in South Africa from the white minority. The term literally means the state of being apart or “apart-hood”, which is not nearly the case in Israel. Black South Africans were gruesomely beat, harassed, and oppressed by their puppet government controlled by the white elitists. Palestinians in the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are represented by their elected leaders of the Palestinian Authority as well as the Hamas, which was not the case for black South Africans. An example of the mistreatment and a response against it is shown in an article that states an ex-Israeli soldier, Andre Pshenichnikov, now vows to apply for Palestinian citizenship after he had enough of the human rights violations against Palestinians (New Internationalist). The extent to which Israel has tormented and humiliated Israeli-Arabs has caused global outrage on the international stage. Even the U.S. has been warned of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians living in their territories as declared in a 1989 report, “The annual human rights report, released yesterday by the State Department, accuses Israel of a ‘substantial increase in human rights violations’, mainly in relation to the 14-month old Palestinian uprising on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, producing ‘many avoidable deaths and injuries,’” (Financial Times). The number of examples of mistreatment and abuse against Palestinians are endless due to the Israeli government’s abilities to cover up events or to ignore the human rights violations committed altogether.
Furthermore, a way and means to create peace and stability in the Palestinian-controlled territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank must be agreed upon. Presenting reports of human rights violations will not provoke action in the Israeli government; deliberation amongst the powers of Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the United States will stir up efforts towards achieving peace as well as non-aggression. This is highlighted in an excerpt of a commentary that reinforces, “On April 24, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House Appropriations Committee that U.S. and Arab support for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on the Netanyahu government’s willingness to accept the two-state solution and make the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state a principal goal,” (Glick 1). Without talks between all respective parties, there is no opportunity for advancements on the Israeli or Palestinian side. The Obama Administration has voiced its support for a Palestinian state and Israeli officials have agreed that it is ultimately the only plan that Palestinians would agree upon. The territory of the Golan Heights would be given back to Syria as a part of this plan. Regardless of what plan is finally agreed chosen, one must be agreed upon by all parties involved in the talks.
In a final analysis, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine cannot be described as “apartheid” contrary to popular belief. The word’s definition and use in context is not proper to describe the wrongful conditions that Palestinians are put under. Previous co-existence of Muslims, Christians, and Jews proves that present-day peace is attainable. In order to rectify the student’s claim, the student must re-label the situation in Israel as increasingly hostile towards Palestinians with actual examples of mistreatment and offer an alternative solution to peace between the two sides rather than to just criticize Israel’s inaction on the situation.
“Ex-Israeli soldier seeks Palestinian citizenship.” New Internationalist July 2012: 9. Gale Power Search. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.
Glick, Caroline B. “The stabilization plan.” Commentary 127.6 (2009): 34+. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 24 Mar. 2014
Riddell, Peter. “US Attacks Israel on Human Rights.” Financial Times, 8 Feb. 1989. Web. 24 Mar. 2014.