None other than retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the UN report damning Israel for alleged war crimes, condemns “apartheid" charges against the Jewish state.
"The apartheid charges are “an unfair and inaccurate slander against Israel, calculated to retard rather than advance peace negotiations,” Goldstone wrote in an opinion article in The New York Times Monday morning.
Concerning the term “apartheid wall,” referring to the security barrier that straddles Judea and Samaria from the Jordan Valley to north of Be’er Sheva, Goldstone stated that the accusation is made by “those seeking to promote the myth of Israeli apartheid [and who] often point to clashes between heavily armed Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing Palestinians in the West Bank…"
“The security barrier was built to stop unrelenting terrorist attacks,” he noted.
Goldstone pointed out that being from South Africa, he knows full well what the term “apartheid” means.
“In Israel, there is no apartheid,” he wrote. “Nothing there comes close to the definition of apartheid under the 1998 Rome Statute: ‘Inhumane acts ... committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.’"
“Israeli Arabs — 20 percent of Israel’s population — vote, have political parties and representatives in the Knesset and occupy positions of acclaim, including on its Supreme Court. Arab patients lie alongside Jewish patients in Israeli hospitals, receiving identical treatment.”
He added that the separation of Arabs and Jews in communities in Israel is often self-imposed and is not a result of enforcement.
Goldstone was careful to write that he sees a different situation in Judea and Samaria, where he stated that the situation is more complex. “But here too there is no intent to maintain ‘an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.’” he added. “This is a critical distinction, even if Israel acts oppressively toward Palestinians there.”
He explained that while “South Africa’s enforced racial separation was intended to permanently benefit the white minority, to the detriment of other races,… Israel has agreed in concept to the existence of a Palestinian state in Gaza and almost all of the West Bank.”
Goldstone wrote his opinion in light of the defunct “peace process” and said that the slanderous apartheid charges are an obstacle to an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
“The need for reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians has never been greater,” he wrote. “So it is important to separate legitimate criticism of Israel from assaults that aim to isolate, demonize and delegitimize it."
Goldstone noted that a London-based organization is holding a "hearing” Saturday night to decide if Israel is guilty of apartheid.
“The ‘evidence’ is going to be one-sided and the members of the ‘jury’ are critics whose harsh views of Israel are well known,” Goldstone wrote.