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Hebrew University

Hebrew University - Dafna Golan (Dept of Law) denounces Israel for its "apartheid" and demands law breaking

I too refuse to obey illegal laws. In a country where spacious prisons were built under the protection of the law, in which people live in fear, it is not only our right but our duty to offer a space of hope. As long as we do not have agreed-upon borders, we are living in an occupying country that discriminates between the rights of different groups based on their ethnicity.

In such a country, just like in South Africa under apartheid, it is our right and our duty to challenge the legality of the law.

 

 

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/it-s-our-duty-to-challenge-israel-s-law-of-segregation-1.333144

It's our duty to challenge Israel's law of segregation
In a country in which people live in fear, it is not only our right but our duty to offer a space of hope.

By Daphna Golan
Published 27.12.10

Ilana Hammerman's articles challenge us to ask what the role of a citizen is in a country where the law is illegal. In this space known as Israel and the occupied territories, the space guarded by Israeli soldiers, there are six groups with different rights and different levels of freedom of movement, according to the law.

The first group consists of about 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, who have been under a prolonged closure for years, with only a small number of persons bearing special permits allowed to leave. The second group is the 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank, barred from entering Jerusalem or Israel proper unless they have special permits, which they can receive only in exceptional cases from the military authority known as the Civil Administration. The settlements, all of which are illegal by international law, have stolen 44 percent of West Bank land for Jewish settlers. They have been surrounded by patrol and access roads, on which Palestinians are not allowed to travel. The roads from one place to another inside the territories are also blocked by hundreds of checkpoints. The freedom of movement of almost all Palestinians in the West Bank is limited - to inside the West Bank only.

The third group is the quarter-million Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, who have blue identity cards and can travel in Israel, Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank, but whose travel outside of that space is controlled and restricted by Israel. Jerusalem Palestinians who leave the city to study abroad, or even in Bethlehem, lose their status of "permanent residents," which signifies their future temporary presence in the city.

The Palestinian citizens of Israel are the fourth group, and supposedly have the same freedom of movement as the fifth group: the Jewish citizens of Israel. Neither group is allowed to enter Gaza or the main cities in the West Bank. But the law allows Jews from the whole world and from Israel to settle in Israel and the territories, and to receive Israeli citizenship, while forbidding - with the endorsement of the Supreme Court - Palestinians from the first, second, third and fourth groups to intermarry and decide where to live together.

The sixth group is asylum seekers and migrant laborers, whose freedom of movement is restricted and who live in fear of being deported. While this group is new here, after 43 years of occupation, the regime that separates different groups of people with different rights is not temporary and resembles the apartheid regime.

In South Africa, too, the apartheid system was created thanks to detailed legislation that determined who had the right to vote, who had the right to live where, which persons had to carry passes to stay in white cities and which lived there by right, and which were considered strangers in the very cities in which they were born and grew up. Apartheid was not only a system of racial discrimination maintained by the military through the use of extreme force, but a system of discrimination regulated by legislation.

The State of Israel also emphasizes, both to its own citizens and the international community, that it is a state of law; the occupied territories are administered by a system of laws, orders and directives. The Supreme Court expanded its jurisdiction into the territories. Furthermore, Israel has signed most of the main international conventions on human rights (although with significant reservations), and invests considerable efforts in maintaining the rule of law. Like in South Africa, separation and discrimination are enforced by the law.

Like Ilana Hammerman, I too refuse to obey illegal laws. In a country where spacious prisons were built under the protection of the law, in which people live in fear, it is not only our right but our duty to offer a space of hope. As long as we do not have agreed-upon borders, we are living in an occupying country that discriminates between the rights of different groups based on their ethnicity.

In such a country, just like in South Africa under apartheid, it is our right and our duty to challenge the legality of the law.

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