The Israeli “military state” is out of control, a danger to itself and the international community, and needs to come to its senses, according to former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils.
Kasrils, along with cartoonist Zapiro, anti-apartheid cleric Alan Boesak and activist Terry Crawford-Browne, spoke at UCT Thursday night on the theme of the “Israel apartheid analogy”. The debate formed part of a series of discussions held annually under the Israel Apartheid Week programme, which is marked around the world.
Zapiro said the Israel of today reminded him of the old SA of PW Botha.
“The struggle is really about land, and religion plays a strong role. As Jews criticises Israel, we are called anti-Semitic when we say we are anti-Zionist. Israel is on a suicide mission by continuing to oppress and occupy Palestine,” he said.
Kasrils said Israelis live in a state of insecurity. “They need to rediscover their humanity. Palestinians have been dispossessed, by invading Europeans, of their land based… on the God of real estate and it is justified using verses in the Bible. It is land, water, Israel über alles… They’ve not learnt a damn thing from what happened in the Holocaust.”
Crawford-Browne said in the past three years he had visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem with observers from the World Council of Churches to monitor checkpoints set up by Israel.
“People have to be there by 2am so that they can be on time when the checkpoint opens at 4am. They have to go through a holding area, metal detectors and the checking of handprints on the computer. If you don’t check out, you have to wait another three weeks, while you can’t work and can’t make money to feed your family,” he said.
“Military security trumps everything. The priority is to make life impossible for Palestinians,” Crawford-Browne said.
Boesak said people needed to stand with the Palestinians and show solidarity. “As long as we stand on the sideline, we are complicit… The oppressed Palestinian people are the moral choice of today, like apartheid was in the (20th century).”