Roadmap to Apartheid (2012) Movie Script

This is the beautiful land
of Israel and Palestine.
The worlds three
most prominent religions
Islam, Christianity and
Judaism, consider it holy land.
Each year, millions of
people from around the world
Come here to pray for
peace and prosperity.
Yet this land is
also a major center
of conflict in the world today.
For Jewish Israelis,
the conflict
centers on protecting a homeland
Created for the Jewish
people in 1948.
For Palestinians, it is about
resisting decades
of colonialism,
expulsion, occupation,
and apartheid.
Most people identify
apartheid with the
grotesque system of
control that existed
in South Africa
from 1948 to 1994,
in which the white minority
ruled over the black
majority, stole their
land, and deprived
them of basic rights.
It was a system reviled
by the whole world,
and it eventually
crumbled under the
combined pressure of internal
resistance and
international sanctions.
Today the word is
back, and with it too
is a growing global
movement to end the
Israeli form of apartheid.
(music fades out)
Time, October, 1948.
A new leadership.
It denies the morality
of economic free
for all. Its slogan:
To each his own.
Its belief: parallel
separate identity. Apartheid.
The word Apartheid,
is an Afrikaans word,
Which simply means separateness,
Being apart.
So we had the wonderful
term called separate
development, but it was
never intended to be equal.
One could talk about the
petty Apartheid. That
was about the fact
that almost from birth
your life was separated
from people of other races.
Youd have to stand
if the bus was
full. If you went to the beach,
there were some beaches
you could not walk on.
Those were the sorts of petty
But you had the real Apartheid,
which for me was about
the structural systems and
policies of Apartheid,
the way in which land was
taken away from people.
In the first post-war
election, the
white electorate
voted into power
a group of men dedicated
to the complete
separation of the races
in South Africa.
The vision was to
create a demographic
white majority, at
least of citizens,
even though you were going to
have the others in your midst.
The entire nationalistic
existence was
at stake. It was
going to be swamped
by the black majority, so they
evolved the concept
of Apartheid.
Ultimately the driving
force behind it all
was to create the
white Afrikaner-led
nation so that Afrikanerdom
could sustain its
permanent existence
as a national entity.
Now united, the folk would
decide South Africas destiny.
The years of division,
of second-class citizenship,
had conditioned
Afrikaners to thinking
of themselves as a
people besieged.
Afrikaner history formed a sort
of self-contained
moral universe.
Whereas the rest of
the world saw them as
oppressors, as
colonizers, as racists,
they saw themselves primarily
as victims, settlers
who were escaping religious
persecution in Europe.
They saw themselves as fighting
for self-determination.
In 1836, in an
extraordinary gesture
of self-reliance and courage,
2,000 Afrikaners crossed
the Orange River into the
wilderness, out of the
bondage of British rule.
The first time in
history that the
term concentration camp appears,
is in Afrikaner history.
About 10% of the
population died in British
concentration camps.
So for them, Apartheid
was about survival,
about self-determination,
about redemption,
about preserving a way of life.
You see
a very similar
pattern in Zionism.
Despite that Palestinians
experienced it as
a very aggressive
colonizing movement that
has dispossessed them
Israelis are capable of
seeing themselves as
victims, as survivors
of drawing on Jewish history in
order to justify
their status quo.
Its important to address that.
important to address
them with empathy
and to say, I dont
accept what you do,
but I understand what
the motivation is,
and to be able to
talk about that.
(ambient sounds)
We feel that the
concept of Apartheid
is really crucial
for understanding
whats happening here,
and where Israel
is going, because
its the only term
that accurately
defines the system
that Israel is
trying to develop.
It isnt just a policy. Its
not just discrimination.
Its the way the
system is structured.
Its separation of
populations in which one
group permanently and
dominates another group.
Its getting to the
point where there
isnt going to be a
Jewish majority.
If you take the
entirety of Israel and
the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip,
were at the point now where
its roughly 50/50.
And thats before any
Palestinian refugees return.
Palestinians are
broadly categorized
into three main groups.
The majority of
Palestinians are refugees
who were forced out of
the land that became
Israel in 1948. Today
they number over 6
million people and still
live in refugee camps
in places like Syria,
Lebanon, and Jordan.
A second group are
the Palestinians
who managed to
stay inside Israel
during the 1948 war and became
Israeli citizens.
And lastly, there are the
5 million Palestinians
living in the
occupied territories:
the West Bank, East Jerusalem,
and the Gaza Strip.
This territory is defined by
what is known as the green line.
This is land that
Israel occupied in the
1967 war, and still
controls to this day.
Palestinians in these
areas do not have Israeli
citizenship, nor do they
have a state of their own.
(children shouting)
What you have in the West
Bank is two entirely
separate and unequal
geographies that are
super-imposed on each other,
but exist separately.
You have the Palestinians
who are cut off
into dozens of ghettos,
literally surrounded
by walls and physical
barriers, with
little access to
work, to education.
Even the basic means
of survival; food
and water is often
difficult to come by.
And then super-imposed on
that you have the settlers,
who live in what look
like American-style
suburbs, very spacious,
very luxurious homes
with swimming pools,
with access to water.
Immediately after the
1967 occupation, Israel
began building
Jewish-only settlements
in the occupied
territories and started
moving its population
into these settlements,
a practice that is illegal
under international law.
There are approximately
220 Jewish-only
settlements scattered
throughout the West Bank.
Their territorial jurisdiction
includes not only
the Palestinian land upon
which theyre built,
but often the land that
surrounds the settlements
which is reserved for their
so-called natural growth.
Each of those settlements,
every single one of
them, is only allocated
to Jewish Israelis.
Roughly 60% of the West
Bank is allocated to,
or controlled by the
settlements, or the
military installations.
What we see in the
last 40 years is
vast Israeli government efforts
and vast amounts of public money
spent and poured into allocating
land in the territories,
building settlements on it, and
encouraging Israelis to move out
of Israel and into
these settlements.
Gilo is, I think, a neighborhood
where everybody is living.
Because if you cant afford
to live in the center
of the city, you move out
to the new neighborhoods,
and youre going to
find you have everybody
living over here, religious
and not religious;
more people to the left,
people to the right,
because most people look at
Gilo as part of Jerusalem.
This is Gilo
settlement, which was
annexed in the 80s
and early 90s.
They started building
it in the mid-80s,
and they started bringing in
caravans, then it started being
built up and built
up until it became
a very big neighborhood
of Jerusalem,
accommodating thousands of
settlers families.
On Palestinian land.
The people there
didnt sell the land.
They stole it.
There was a decision
taken by Israel in 1967
that Jerusalem should
be reunited as one city
and part of that political
agenda was to build and
establish on the hills
surrounding Jerusalem,
new Jewish
neighborhoods in a way
that would make
it very difficult
to, again, divide the city
into two parts.
The settlements were not
built for security.
They were built out of a
proactive claim to the country.
The words mislead.
They're not a couple of little
trailers on the hillside.
These are cities of 40, 50, 60,
70,000 people.
Theyre built over
water aquifers.
Theyre built at key junctions.
Theyre built on
certain hilltops.
Theyre built to
control movement.
Theyre built to
control the border.
Every settlement
has its rationale.
We can see from here the village
extended toward the
settlement of Ariel,
which is located above
the hill over there.
Ariel, located in the
heart of the West Bank,
25 kilometers to the
east of the green line.
Theres a very important aquifer
located underground,
under this area, which
the Israelis are
stealing. They are
enjoying the water.
They are irrigating their
gardens, washing their cars
and playing with their
dogs with water, and
here we are suffering
a shortage of water.
Per capita Israelis
use about six
or seven times the
amount of water
that Palestinians use,
and many times in the
summer months Palestinians
do not get water,
even though its their
water thats being pumped
out by the Israelis and
sold back to them,
they dont get
sufficient supplies.
They cut off water in summer,
meaning that we will be
without water for three or
four months of the year,
so we try to compensate for that
by collecting the rain
in the cisterns and the wells,
which is not healthy.
But we are forced to use this
water, which causes
many diseases
for the children and for the
inhabitants in the village.
And my daughter was one case of
that; she got a
very bad infection
because of the water,
and she got kidney failure.
Apartheid was the attempt
to separate people
and allow resources and
privilege and rights
to flow to people on the
basis of the separate
groups in which they
were categorized.
And so the settlements are very
strategic; its not
just real estate.
They were built out of
aproactive claim to the country.
Nowhere is the
governments separation
principal shown so
starkly as in the city
of Hebron, a city
deep in the heart
of the West Bank
with a population
of about 160,000 Palestinians.
In the middle of
Hebron, in Palestinian
homes, often vacated
under severe
pressure, live 600
Jewish settlers
cordoned off and protected by
thousands of soldiers.
Although neighbors, these
two populations live
under two separate and
unequal sets of laws.
Jewish settlers in the West Bank
live under Israeli civil law,
while Palestinians live
under Israeli military law.
The settler population
in the West Bank
is roughly 500,000.
The Palestinian
population in that same area
is roughly 2.5 million.
So we have a classic situation
of an ethnic minority claiming
the entire country,
a large territory,
and then, now, what
do with the natives?
What do you do with
the non-whoever
you are? in this
case, the non-Jews.
In South Africa, the
architecture was
amazing. First, you give
people an identity.
Then, of course, you
give people pass laws,
so you define how
they can move freely,
and you construct blockages
for the movement of people.
Control was exerted
through a complicated
pass system that
determined when and where
an African could move.
These passes
became one of the most detested
symbols of apartheid.
The issue of the pass
was much more than a
question of identity or
an identity document.
It was a mechanism to
ensure the control over
peoples movement and
where people lived.
Today in occupied Palestine,
Palestinians must carry
IDs at all times
that essentially dictate where
they can live, work and move.
A complex system of
movement restrictions
requires special permits
to enter certain areas.
There are over 600
manned checkpoints and
physical roadblocks
in the West Bank
that restrict the
freedom of movement of
Palestinians. Only
36 of these separate
Israel and the West Bank.
The rest separate
Palestinian towns
from other Palestinian towns.
Abuse, beatings, humiliation
at the checkpoints
is a routine part
of the experience.
Its part of the systematic
disempowerment of Palestinians,
placing an entire
population at the mercy of
18, 19-year-old soldiers
who have absolute
power over the lives
of Palestinians.
How many? Is it over
60 women who have
given birth at
checkpoints because some
silly kid wont let
them through, or taking
20 minutes to let an
ambulance through?
I have been able to
visit Israel and
Palestine, on more
than two occasions.
And what I experienced there was
such a crude reminder of a
painful past in
Apartheid South Africa.
We were largely controlled
in the same way.
The continuous checking
at the roadblocks,
and to see these
young men and young
women standing at the roadblock,
having to perform the
duties of a military junta.
These parallels with Israel
pained me severely while
I was travelling through
that lovely country.
The settlements are
linked by modern
superhighways, which
are Jewish-only roads.
Palestinians are not
allowed to use them,
and these super
highways crisscross
across Palestinian land, linking
the settlements together,
and linking them with Israeli
cities inside the 1948 borders.
The separate roads
that you find, that
kind of settlement
that you find in the
West Bank, you know, in
South Africa, we didnt
dream that wed have
roads that would be
only for whites.
In 2008 there were
800 kilometers of
Jewish-only roads
in the West Bank,
or as the Israeli
military prefers
to call them, "Sterile roads".
Settlers are issued
yellow license plates
so that the military
can distinguish
them from Palestinian drivers.
The other part of
this system is the
Palestinian roads,
which is linking the
Palestinian villages and cities
together, but with
tunnels and bridges
under the main network
of roads that
they are creating
for themselves.
And these bridges
and tunnels have gates,
and the gates have
locks, and the keys
are in the hands
of the soldiers.
So if they want to impose a
curfew all over the West Bank,
they can do it in two hours.
The Jewish-only roads serving
the settlement of Avne Hefez,
are but one of the many examples
of the segregated road
system in the West Bank.
Because of the settlement,
Israel declared the
roads between the
Palestinian towns of
Shufa and Izbat Shufa
a sterile road for
Jews only, erecting
dirt roadblocks for
Palestinians at every
exit of the town.
Recently, Israel allowed
Palestinian pedestrian
but not vehicular
traffic on the road.
Due to these
conditions, one out of
every four families
has left Shufa.
(quiet music and road noise)
A deeply religious
people, the white
Afrikaners of South
Africa believed they
had a god-given right
to a land that
they considered
mostly uninhabited.
In what is known as
the great trek, what
Afrikaners consider their
equivalent of the Exodus
thousands trekked
into the wilderness
in search of the Promised Land.
The Afrikaners pushed
into land the Africans
considered theirs, and
many battles ensued.
Armed with guns and
protected by a circle
of covered wagons,
known as a laager,
the Afrikaners
easily beat back the
indigenous masses that
outnumbered them.
This image of the heroic
settlers in their
laager fending off
the savage masses
became the dominant mythology in
Afrikaner history, morphing into
the philosophy of
Apartheid in 1948.
Under apartheid law,
the one standard
against which
everything was judged
was the security of
the state, and the
state meant the
Afrikaner people.
With every law
enacted, the freedoms
of the majority
were whittled away
in order to protect the
privileges of a white minority.
In Pretoria today stands
a monument to the Great
Trek, a shrine to this
history and philosophy.
A concrete "laager";
that iconic image of
the Afrikaners military
defense tactic,
completely surrounds
the monument.
A physical representation
of a state of mind
that sees enemies
everywhere and will
do anything to protect
against them.
What I experienced
there was made even
more painful by the
existence of the wall
of separation, what
we from South Africa
prefer to call the
Apartheid wall.
We didnt have that type of
division in South Africa.
In 2002, under the
guise of a temporary
security measure, Israel
began construction
of the separation
barrier to completely
seal off the West
Bank from Israel.
In urban areas it is a concrete
wall eight meters tall.
In rural areas it
is a smart fence
averaging 60 meters
wide, with motion,
heat and vibration
sensors, cameras,
trenches, patrol
roads, and razor wire.
To many however, the
wall is not about security.
Its snake-like
route through the
West Bank annexes
large Jewish-only
agricultural land and
important water resources,
clearly marking
it as a tool for
massive land grabs.
Only 15% of the wall
follows the green line.
Instead, the wall
twists and turns deep
into the West Bank,
making it more than
twice as long as the
green line itself.
It separates Palestinian
villages from
Palestinian villages,
farmers from their land and
income, parents from children,
and severely restricts
Palestinian freedom of movement.
It encircles many
towns from all sides
creating isolated
ghettos surrounded
by walls, checkpoints and
Israeli-only roads.
When you put people
behind the wall, in
all of these ghettos,
because almost
everywhere it is creating ghetto
communities with one road or one
checkpoint or one tunnel with
a gate on it.
Then at a certain
point there is going
to be, when there's
not enough work
and not enough food, more
and more pressure built up.
Obviously a lot of
people will leave, and
I think thats part
of the intention.
Now in the South
African context, the
attempt by the
Apartheid government
was to take away
citizenship from more
than 80% of the South
African population,
and then give them
new citizenship
in some kind of a
fantasy entity:
Bophuthatswana, Transkei, etc.
the South African
state could say,
You have no claims here. Youre
a citizen of Bophuthatswana.
Social benefits,
etcetera, are what
you should be
looking for there.
The godfather of the system was
Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd.
- "In South Africa
you can only achieve
peace by separating
the nations."
And he spelled out the whole
Bantustan concept.
He said: The black
people have got
to be given their
own countries.
They embarked upon
this remarkable
experiment of trying
to cut up the country
into Bantustans, and
these were created,
at least on paper,
ten of them, and the
move began to advance them
towards independence.
My government would
like to continue as we
are, an autonomous and
independent country,
preferably with
extended borders,
continued friendly and cordial
relations with our
neighbors and, if
possible, international
Most of them were
stooges and really
puppets of the Apartheid state.
To give some veneer of
reality to the fantasy
of the Bantustans, the
Afrikaner government
threw money at them,
built elaborate
parliaments, housing
for ministers,
built airports, sports stadiums.
It was to create
separate states.
It was not so much a two-state
solution as a
multi-state solution.
When I look at Israel, when I
traveled through the West Bank,
I was looking at
Bantustans, totally
unviable, impossible states.
In many respects, it
struck me as being
significantly worse
than Apartheid.
Bantustans, as much as
we abhorred them in
South Africa, Bantustan
leaders actually
had more power and more control
than the Palestinian
Authority has.
What the Oslo did was create an
authority,which allowed
Israel to still
control the occupied
Palestinian territory, but
control it through a
Palestinian authority.
Ostensibly, theres some
kind of Palestinian
authority thats
controlling, thats in power
of the occupied territory.
But in
fact, Israel controls
the borders.
Israel controls taxes.
Israel controls all kinds
of things, access in
and out of that area.
To me, the big analogy
was that South
Africa, in taking
these two choices
where youve got two
or more nationalisms
laying claim to
the same country,
youve either got to find
a way to live together,
or youve got to have
a fair partition.
The big similarity
between Apartheid
South Africa and the
situation is that both
decided to have a
partition solution,
and, in both cases,
it was a grotesquely
unfair partition.
And this is why Israel says,
Well, Gaza is not our problem,
Gaza is a foreign country.
Its not a state.
Its not part of any other
country. Its just not us.
Just like South
Africa, its the same
logic. We need a
Palestinian state,
because we cant digest
the Palestinians.
We cant give them citizenship,
because then it wouldnt
be a Jewish state.
We have to create a
Palestinian state,
because thats the
only way we can
get them off our
hands, but it has
to be a minimized
state on as little
territory as possible
that leaves us
in control of the
entire country.
In South Africa,
they left 13% of
South Africa for the non-whites.
In cantons, locking
them inside cantons.
Here, when you look
at the map, what
they have created
is leaving to the
Palestinians about 12% of our
historical land.
This is the ghetto
state, ghetto system
that they are creating,
and it's totally
disconnected from each other.
We have
one, two, three, and
the fourth is Gaza.
(explosions and drums)
(drums and ambient sounds)
Since 2006, Israel
has imposed a deadly
siege on the Gaza
Strip, prohibiting
most goods and people from
entering or leaving the enclave.
The siege has caused an
economic standstill in
Gaza. The unemployment
rate hovers around 40%.
On the more ridiculous end
of spectrum of goods not
allowed into Gaza are things
like pasta and chocolate.
Recently obtained Israeli
government documents
show this to be a
deliberate policy.
Mathematic formulas were
created which defined
the minimum caloric needs
of the 1.5 million
people in Gaza. As well
as the upper limit, so
that food items cannot
become too plentiful.
In 2009 Israel
bombed Gazas sewage
treatment facilities
and electricity plants
and now wont allow
the necessary
parts in to repair them.
Restrictions on fuel
imports further limit the
ability of critical
infrastructure to function.
while also causing daily,
prolonged blackouts.
Blackouts can be deadly for
patients in hospitals.
But more so is the
lack of medicine,
specialized care,
and clean water.
In the worst times
of Apartheid in
South Africa, we
never had in any of
our townships
helicopter gunships
flying overhead or
F-16 type bombers
flying over townships and firing
or dropping bombs
into a township.
It didnt happen.
The problem is we dont have
other examples to look at now.
You could look at
perhaps the Warsaw
ghetto as one example
of that kind of
walled-in and then attacking a
walled-in community like that.
Maybe a better example
is hundreds and
hundreds of years
ago where you had
walled city-states that were
completely besieged by armies
where no one could
get out and food was
denied, and if there
wasnt a spring within
the city, no one had
water, and people died.
Just like in Gaza,
people died from
insufficient access to medicine,
to insufficient water, all those
reasons, as well
as by air strikes.
There are a number of people and
some governments who claim that
because Israel
withdrew its settlers
and soldiers from the Gaza Strip
unilaterally in 2005,
that its no longer
the occupying power,
but that is actually
not the case. In
international law,
occupation refers to the control
of territory by
another government,
not the indigenous
government there.
Thats precisely
what exists with
Israel and the Gaza
Strip right now.
Israel still
controls the land of
the Gaza Strip,
which, many people
dont know, is completely
surrounded by a
wall very similar to
the wall that snakes
through the West Bank. It
is completely surrounded.
The Israeli Navy controls
the seas off the coast of Gaza.
The airspace is
controlled by Israel,
which has prohibited
the Palestinians
from reopening their airport.
So Gaza is completely under the
control of the Israelis.
The Palestinian
Authority cant issue
identity documents,
passports, permission
for people to come
and go, independent
of the Israeli
Interior Ministry.
If you dont exist in
the Israeli Interior
Ministry database, you
don't exist period.
If you look at a
blueprint of a prison,
it looks like the
prisoners own the place.
They have 95% of the
territory, right?
They have the living areas,
they have the exercise yard,
they have the cafeteria,
they have the work
areas. It all belongs
to the prisoners.
All the prison authorities have
is maybe 5%. And you know what?
If its a minimal
security prison, maybe
they have 1%. Thats
all you need.
You need the walls
around, cell bars,
you have some
corridors, you have
a few locked doors, and thats
it. With 1% of the territory,
you can absolutely
control the inmates,
and that helps you
make the switch.
The issue here isnt how much
territory the prisoners have.
The issue is, can they get out
of the prison?
When the majority
of world leaders
and people who have the power
to change things talk about a
two-state solution, nowadays
what they talk about
is a Palestinian
state that is made of Bantustans
separated from each
other, a state that has
no sovereignty, no
independent policies,
and has a very much
similar economic
infrastructure to
the ones that the
Bantustans had in South Africa.
The main thing for
the world and for
the Israelis is to
get this issue off
the plate, and
thats where Israel
thinks it can get away with a
Bantustan in the way
that South Africa
couldnt. You know,
you can push a
two-state solution that's
If it doesnt have
borders, it doesnt
have water, doesnt
have access to its
greater economic resource,
which is Jerusalem.
Its carved into little islands.
Theres no freedom of movement
there's no freedom of commerce.
Its a prison state.
Therefore, the essential idea
of a two-state solution
has to be not only the state
itself, but a viable state.
The Israelis have
rendered the West Bank
and Gaza unviable,
hopelessly unviable.
Im saying Israel no longer has
that solution as an option.
It has made a two-state
solution impossible.
Physically, morally impossible.
- It is time for us to go
ahead and move forward
on a two-state solution,
so thank you very much.
You hear all this talk
about the two-state
solution. You see opinion
polls that say a
majority of Israelis are
willing to accept it,
and a majority of
Palestinians are willing to
accept it, but that
consensus disappears the
moment you try to actually
flesh it out in detail.
Thats why all the
two-state solution
proposals are extremely vague,
because Palestinians
say, The West Bank and
Gaza are only a fifth
of historic Palestine.
Why should we give up
anymore? Israelis
say, Well, theres
450,000 settlers
in those areas,
several generations.
Why should they leave?
The only thing more difficult
than trying to live together,
would be trying to
force a separation.
Israels overall goal
has been to create
a Jewish state. In
1948, 75% of the
population, the
non-Jewish population,
Christians and
Muslims, were expelled
from their homeland and never
allowed to return.
For one reason, and
only one reason,
which is that
theyre not Jewish.
The 5 to 6 million
refugees living in Lebanon
and Syria and Jordan, etc.
those are people
that should be Israeli
citizens, that Israel
has kicked out and
refused citizenship.
Over a million
Palestinians became
refugees in the
1948 and 1967 wars.
By natural population
growth, they
now number over 5 million people
who still await their
right to return.
Some Palestinians
managed to stay
inside what became
Israel in 1948,
and today make up 20%
of Israeli citizens.
So in the Israeli state,
what kind of rights
and privileges and
resources are allocated
to you are entirely dependent on
which ethnic group
you come from.
Youre either Jewish
or youre Palestinian,
or Arab, as they
prefer to call them.
And so you have a
situation where welfare
benefits for people,
for example,
are dependent on whether
theyre Jewish or not.
You have a situation where
a Jew cant marry a
non-Jew in Israel. For
us South Africans, we
remember the Mixed
Marriages Act, for
example. You have a
situation where people
from one ethnic group,
Palestinians, are not
able to freely live in
areas that are majority
Jewish, similar to
old Group Areas Act.
Now one of the criticisms
people make when
you start accusing
Israel of being an
Apartheid state inside its own
borders is that theyll say,
Well, Palestinians
can sit next to Jews
inside restaurants.
They sit on the same
buses. They go to the same
cinemas, and thats true,
but thats not really the
significance of Apartheid.
The idea of Apartheid
isnt really about
the fact that people
can't sit on the same
park bench. It was
about controlling
resources, making
sure that one ethnic
group had control of resources
and the other didn't.
And, in that sense,
Israel has been
very, very effective
at doing this,
what we might call
grand Apartheid
rather than petty Apartheid.
In the key areas of
peoples lives, their
education, their
employment, owning land,
Palestinian citizens
are treated entirely
differently from
Jewish citizens,
and I think thats one
of the reasons why
this Apartheid
comparison can be made.
By far, the most
fundamental element of
Apartheid with both
South Africa and Israel
is control of the land.
In apartheid South
Africa, a slew of
laws were enacted
that designated 87% of
the land for whites only.
This introduced the
oxymoronic term
"Foreign Natives"
into the language
of parliament to
describe blacks given
permission to live
in white areas.
Israels complex and
creative web of
apartheid laws
introduced equally
oxymoronic terms such
as "Present Absentee"
into its parliamentary language.
This was used to
describe Palestinians
who are actually
present inside Israel,
but legally declared absent in
order to confiscate their land.
Through these colonial
and apartheid style
laws, over 90% of
the land of Israel
is effectively reserved
for Jews only.
Aside from the few mixed
cities like Haifa
and Akko, most of
Israels communities are
segregated along ethnic lines.
1.3 million Palestinian
citizens are
restricted to 120
communities that existed
before the creation
of Israel in 1948,
and which have been unable to
expand since.
By contrast, Israel
has created and
developed more than
700 exclusively
Jewish towns since
1948, but not one
new town for
Palestinian citizens.
Land laws in Israel
are very clearly
Apartheid kind of laws.
You can belong
in the state of
Israel, you can be a
Palestinian, or you
can be a Jew, but
if you want to have
rights in the state,
really you need to be
a Jew to have rights.
I have no doubt its
a Jewish state, but
I do question very
strongly whether
its a democratic state.
If we talked
about an Afrikaner and
democratic state,
I think most of us
would find that
rather an oxymoronic
phrase to use.
So why is Jewish and democratic
not equally troubling to us?
There are more than a
million Palestinians
inside Israel today,
and that's a major
concern for Israel. Its
very concerned about
the demographic growth,
as it calls it,
the demographic time bomb, of
the Palestinians inside Israel.
I came to realize
that when they talk
about the elimination of Israel,
its a demographic thing.
That Israel will
cease to exist when
it no longer has a
Jewish majority.
In other words, your
nationhood depends
upon your having
either an ethnic or
a specifically
religious majority,
permanently entrenched.
Because of the
experience Ive gone
through in this
country, where I saw
terrible injustice
committed in the name
of the Afrikaners
need to survive,
I became ashamed of my country,
grievously ashamed of it.
The reason Israel has
a Jewish majority
is through entirely
artificial means.
The whole framework of
Israeli law is designed to
prevent the growth of the
non-Jewish population
and maintain Jewish
numerical and political
supremacy, and thats
the framework in which
we can understand
everything we see inside
Israel, as well as in
the West Bank and Gaza.
(rain and ambient sounds)
In Occupied East Jerusalem,
the battle for control
of territory is happening
on a house-by-house basis.
(shouting and arguing)
Israel goes to
incredible lengths
to manipulate demography,
as can be seen in the
stark but complicated
case of the city of Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem differs
from the rest of
occupied Palestinian
territory in that Israel
unilaterally declared it
a part of the state of
Israel after the 1967
occupation of the city.
No country in the world
has ever recognized
that annexation, and
it is still considered
occupied territory
by the Palestinians
and by international law.
But by building the wall and the
vast settlement
blocks around it,
Israel has illegally
severed it from the
West Bank. Over
250,000 Palestinians
now find themselves on the
Israel side of the wall.
Palestinians of East
Jerusalem are not
citizens of the
country, cannot vote
in national elections and cannot
live in Jewish West Jerusalem.
A Palestinian can have
lived in Jerusalem
all his life, been
born here, his father,
grandfather, and generations
before, but he will
be a resident.
A Jew from Russia can
come today to Israel,
not even knowing one
word of Hebrew,
and in the same day,
he becomes a citizen.
There are many,
many conditions to
be a resident. If
you, for example,
live in Jerusalem but
you work in Ramallah,
Bethlehem or elsewhere
in the occupied
terriroties they say
the center of your
life is there, and
we can take your ID.
This is one of the
strategies to make
the number of
Palestinians smaller.
This is an official booklet,
from the municipality
of Jerusalem, from the
Department of Planning.
I mean, from the first
point here, They
say: "Is to keep
the ratio between
Jews and Palestinians as
it was in 1967 at..." Look
at this: "70 to 30" As
the government decided.
You must understand,
if in any democratic
country in the world,
someone says that
the Jews will be no more than
40 percent of the population,
we would say that this
is anti-Semitism.
It's clear that it would
be anti-Semitism.
So why is it
anti-Semitism in Europe
or America if someone does this,
and in Israel, it's permitted.
The politicians are
hysterical over
this issue, and they
try to implement
a policy of segregation,
in order to make
the lives of the
Palestinians so bad,
that they will decide to
voluntarily leave the city.
One of the harshest
methods used to
force Palestinians
to leave Jerusalem
is Israels house
demolition policy.
(machinery and crumbling rubble)
This policy affects
all Palestinians
living within Israels
stated borders,
and even within the
rest of the West
Bank, but it is
starkest in Jerusalem.
House demolitions are
part of a system
of discrimination
that does not enable
Palestinians to
actually build legally.
Its fair to say
that its virtually
impossible to receive
a building permit,
a legal permit to build a house
in East Jerusalem if
youre a Palestinian.
Wednesday, July 22nd 1962, The
Afrikaners are breaking
down our house.
Two bulldozers,
and of course the
house crumbled. I felt the pain.
It was my blood, my bones, our
flesh that was
being broken down.
No book can describe,
no poem can describe
the horror, because
our houses were not
houses, they were human beings.
I saw bone and blood
and veins and brains.
And, of course,
when the demolition
finally happens, I
can't even begin to
convey to you the
trauma, you know,
and the home is
your sacred space;
your whole intimate
sphere is in the house.
Men, women, and
children react very
differently. To the
men it's humiliating;
they cant protect
their families.
Its an entire financial loss.
For women, most
Palestinian women
dont work outside the house.
Domestic space is their world,
so when a woman loses that,
Ive seen women
go into states of
mourning. The trauma
is tremendous.
The demolition of
a home is really
the demolition of the family.
We estimate that
in East Jerusalem
there are at least 10,000
demolition orders outstanding.
that can be demolished
at any time.
That doesnt include
thousands that
have been demolished
inside Israel.
Inside Israel theres still
a campaign of demolition.
There are about 40,000
homes of Israeli citizens
who are Arabs that are
slated for demolition
in the next few years,
and this is on the
background of 1948
when more than
half the villages of Palestine,
more than 400 villages, were
systematically destroyed.
After the state was
created, Israel
continued to forcibly
remove thousands
of its Palestinian
citizens off of their
lands onto small
concentrated areas.
Their villages were bulldozed to
make way for Jewish-only towns.
This policy still
continues inside Israel
today, with over 45
Palestinian villages
that the government
refuses to recognize,
and which are slated
to be forcibly
removed in order to construct
new Jewish-only towns.
The Apartheid authorities
had what they
called black spots.
Incidents where
black people were
occupying land where the
white people actually
wanted to occupy.
And what they,
therefore, did was to
send in the police,
send in the military
with heavy trucks to
demolish people's
homes, and then would
remove families
that have been staying
on land for decades
and remove them, and
just dump them.
It was nice in
Sophiatown until the
Afrikaners started harassing us.
They said we are staying too
near to town. We are blacks.
We are not supposed
to stay there, so
they started moving
us to Meadowlands.
Because they said we
couldnt stay near the
white people, so they
must separate us;
we mustnt be together.
So they take the
place, and they give
it to the whites.
They gave us only
one days notice.
Tomorrow you are moving.
The truck will wait
outside, and then the
soldiers will go into
the house, and remove
the furniture into the truck.
(airplane noise and
radio chatter)
Then take the children
and put you in
the truck, and the
mother and father.
They just bulldoze
it to the ground.
They take the family out and
the bulldozer comes.
(crushing noises)
Land is more than
just a possession.
Land is something
integrally bound with
your identity. Its
about your ancestors.
Its about a sense
of knowing who and
where you are from,
and in South Africa
thats where the biggest
damage has been done.
The removal of
people off the land
and theyre put in these god
forsaken places with nothing,
and they have to start
all over again.
You can shave off my hair.
New hair will grow.
You can spit in my face. I
will find water to wash it.
You can take away my
clothes and leave
me naked. I will find a blanket.
But if you take
away my house, and
my dignity, where can I go?
There is no pain
quite like being
unloved, unwanted in
one's own land among
ones own kind.
The Jewish people
come from that experience.
Jews will always have the right,
and I would support that right
for memory and
perpetuation, but now
I feel it for the Palestinians.
I feel it for them,
because they are
stateless, homeless,
vanquished, exiled.
You take away my house;
you take away my dignity.
You take away my love,
and you replace
it with bitterness,
anger, and revenge.
There have been at least 100,000
Palestinians, if not more, that
have gone through
house demolitions.
Theres a psychologist
in Gaza in the
Palestinian mental health center
whos done research that says
that 55% of the suicide bombers
are kids whose houses
have been demolished.
The house demolition
issue is one of the
most painful parts
of the occupation.
If you deny Palestinians
a home, and
connected to that is a
concept of homeland,
on two levels youre
denying them a home, on
the individual level and
the collective level.
The term we use
in Hebrew for our
form of Apartheid is "nishul".
Nishul means displacement
or dispossession.
Thats the Israeli
form of Apartheid.
The escalation of
Israeli measures in how
they treated the
Palestinians before the
first Intifada, make
it difficult for
the people to accept oppression.
In 1987, as the occupation
rolled into its third decade,
the first Intifada or
uprising erupted.
People protested,
went on strike,
threw stones,
organized themselves
into groups, and challenged the
Israeli occupation
in different ways.
Things came from
the ground up in
the first Intifada
where everyone,
no matter who you are, man or
woman, young or old,
you are connected to certain
groups, working
in this Intifada.
It was amazing how the people
were organized.
The people took a stand.
They had a slogan:
No taxation without
The Israeli occupation
closed down
all the education institutions
from the universities to the
kindergartens for two
and a half years.
(kids shouting)
They were very strong
in their reaction.
The number of the
people that were
killed, children, youth, women,
thousands of people were killed.
This was the Israeli reaction.
If you visit any
family in Palestine,
West Bank, and Gaza Strip,
you will find at
least one person
that experienced jail.
To go to jail,
I dont want to say its
normal, but just being
Palestinian is reason
enough to be put in jail.
Its part of daily
life in Palestine.
Over 700,000 Palestinians have
experienced jail since 1967.
Proportionately there
are more political
prisoners there than
existed in South Africa.
In South Africa
we had a campaign
against child detainees.
In Palestine you have over 350
children who are
political prisoners.
They would take very many of our
children away from
parents and try
to use that to coerce parents to
appear at police
stations to deport.
I remember in 1988 you
see prisoners coming
in like crazy. In a
few months we became
6,000 political prisoners
in one jail. And 95%
of them were under
administrative detention.
Administrative detention
is the detention of
people, usually for six
months, but you can
extend it, based on no
legal procedure aside
from issuing an
administrative order.
People are arrested without
knowing what they are
in for. They've never been
charged with anything.
The way its been done
by Israel is absolutely
in contravention of
international law.
I remember a famous
Palestinian political
prisoner in the 70s.
He spent around
seven years under administrative
detention. Its
really scary, because
you dont know
anything, and they
use it as part of the torture.
For example its the day
after six months or
one year in jail, and
this is your last day,
the day you are released.
They come to the jail,
they call your name. you
collect all your stuff.
You are released.
You say bye-bye to
the prisoners, and
you move outside,
and the officer comes,
Sorry, another
six months and you
go back to jail.
Administrative detention,
very similar to the
detention without trial
in South Africa.
When you are about
to be released,
they will release you
and let you walk
a few steps and re-arrest you.
Which is,
by the way, is another
form of torture,
because you never
actually are sure as
to whether you will
be totally released.
I was arrested in 1985,
and there was nothing
illegal about what it
was that I was doing,
and they knew that they could,
therefore, not take me to court
and charge me with anything.
They basically
detained us because
they could do it.
Why did Mandela become the hero
of the political
prisoners issue?
He spent 27 years
in the Apartheid
system jail. Right now
we have prisoners
that have spent
more than 30 years
in jail, more than Mandela.
Why doesnt the international
community pay attention to that?
Within one year of each
other, both Israel and
South Africa launched
Operation Iron Fist,
brutal and overwhelming
campaigns to crush
opposition to their
respective polices.
With the Iron Fist
policy, they used
to open the handcuffs
and take people's
arms like this and break the
bone in this way.
I still remember the sound of my
friend when they broke his arm.
The sound is still in my ear.
I will never ever forget that.
They went as far as killing very
many of our comrades brutally,
acts that you can never imagine.
The South African
Defense Forces, as they
were called, their army
and navy was almost
totally outfitted by
Israel, because South
Africa couldn't get
weapons from other
countries. Israel
was one of the only
countries willing to
break the arms embargo.
Well, the alliance
started in earnest
in 1973. By 1979, 35%
of Israel's arms
exports were going to
South Africa, so they
became a crucial
client, and a crucial
source for export revenue that
Israel couldnt give up easily.
It involved everything
from tanks to
aircraft to ammunition
and you name it.
After 1977 theres
a mandatory U.N.
arms embargo.
Israel violated the
U.N. arms embargo openly,
and many Israeli
officials are happy
to admit that.
If you talk to South
African defense
officials, especially
people from the
air force, they tell you that
Israel was an
absolutely vital link
and was a lifeline for them
during the 1980s.
After 1977, the ideological
component becomes much stronger.
The top brass of the
two militaries really
felt that they were in
a similar predicament
and that they faced a
common enemy. They also
had a very similar
conception of minority
survival. They felt
that Afrikaner
nationalists were
similar to Israelis,
minorities surrounded
by a hostile majority.
If you look at the
documents from the South
African defense archive,
you see dozens of
South Africans were
going to Israel on a
regular basis to attend
a variety of courses
that involved submarine
operation, anti-tank
technology, counterinsurgency
you name it. They
really see the PLO
and the ANC as one in the same.
The reaction of the government
ordering a general mobilization,
arming the white
community, arresting
tens of thousands of Africans,
a show of force
throughout the country,
closed a chapter as
far as our methods
of political struggle
are concerned.
There are many people
who feel that it
is useless and futile
for us to continue
talking peace and
nonviolence against
a government whose reply is only
savage attacks on an unarmed
and defenseless people.
"Bombs have exploded
almost daily
in the run-up to
Wednesdays poll,
the latest a huge
car bomb, which
devastated shops in
the central town
of Witbank. The blasts
have been officially
blamed on the African
National Congress".
After decades of
non-violent struggle,
Nelson Mandela formed
the armed wing
of the African
National Congress.
They turned first
to sabotage, then
to civilian bombings
in order to have
their political
aspirations recognized.
"If this was the work
of the ANC, its their
boldest attack to date,
and demonstrates the
organizations determination
to carry the guerilla
war to South Africa's
major city centers."
"The explosion
tore apart the bus
in the very heart of Jerusalem,
killing many of those on board.
It was the
mirror image of last
weeks suicide bomb."
I am pained when I
read the story of a
65-year-old Palestinian
woman who became
the carrier of a
suicide bomb, and in a
note she indicated that
she had to do that
because she was
trying to save her
grandchildren from being killed,
and were saying what unfair
choices to put before people.
Security and terrorism
are important issues,
but theyre symptoms.
Theyre not independent
variables. Israel is
the strong party. Once
you bring the occupation
into the picture,
there isnt any more symmetry.
Theres no
more both sidesus
and themthe balance
that everybody loves.
arent occupying Tel Aviv.
We are pleading that we do not
wait for more people
to be killed.
It is quite apparent
that the political
authorities will on
their own not act.
We need to pressurize them.
Despite all this
repressive machinery,
theres a general kind
of agreement that
it was the international
dimension and the
internal resistance,
the South African
Intifada, if you
like, that really
brought an end to Apartheid.
You had a mass of
people, peoples
movements, and resistance
organizations etc.
that were in terms
of numbers of people
quite large, but
weak, taking on very
sophisticated structures
of repression.
So, a really
powerful opponent on
one hand, and a weak
one on the other.
It was the international
isolation campaign
that brought a sense of balance
between the two.
At that point, the South
Africans actually
seek out advice
from the Israelis
on how to sell themselves in the
West and how to
improve their image.
The South Africans
looked to Israel as a
sort of beacon, and
they didn't understand
why Israel had
managed to withstand
criticism for decades
and survive,
and why South
Africa was failing.
A lot of Israelis fear
that they may one
day be delegitimized
in the same way
South Africa was.
(hip-hop music)
What we would like
is for the public
to realize that they
actually have a
real positive role to play. They
can actually boycott
these goods,
and were only individuals, but
together when we
act holistically
such as the protest
today, and even
on an individual
day-to-day basis,
we can have a real
impact in challenging
the occupation on a
long-term level.
The global call came in
2005 from Palestinian
civil society
organizations, and the idea
was to craft a strategy
that would be a
non-violent means of
pressuring Israel
to abide by international law
using economic pressure.
These campaigns are taking root.
gaining new
supporters every day.
The churches have taken
the lead in saying,
We want socially
responsible investment,
and that means we
want to be sure that
none of the companies
we invest in
are profiting from occupation.
There are many, many,
many initiatives going
around the world for
boycotting Israeli goods
boycotting Israeli
institutions and so on,
so its growing, in the
cultural, academic,
medical, even trade unions.
In South
Africa COSATU, the
main trade union
body in South Africa,
which has about 2
million members,
supported the boycott.
There are so many.
Theyre mushrooming
really in the last two years.
This is happening more and more.
In North
America you have
the Canadian union
of postal workers.
Prior to that, the
Canadian union of
public employees.
The incredible growing
movement, I mean, Ive
traveled to literally
dozens of campuses
around the United
States, and there
are active divestment groups.
There are church
divestment movements that
are starting and really
gaining strength,
and facing incredible
resistance, but
theyre not being
deterred by it.
As our South African
comrades and
colleagues remind us,
their first call for
boycott was issued
in the late 1950s.
Europe and the West
started listening
in the 70s, early
80s, so it took them
30 years to get anybody
to listen to them.
So were doing much
better they tell us.
Youre going much
faster than we did.
(hip-hop music)
The idea of a one-state solution
begins with the notion that
no matter how they
got there, no matter
the competing
historical narratives,
the country belongs to all who
live in it.
Let 100% of the people
live in 100% of the land,
Since nobody can agree
on how to divide it.
Israels going to
have to stop being a
Jewish state. It can't
be an ethnocracy,
and it has to become
a democracy, whether
its a one-state or
a confederation,
or whatever the
arrangement is, thats
whats going to have to happen.
And it doesnt mean,
I try to tell
Israelis, that
everythings lost.
In South Africa, people
still talk Afrikaans.
They still have an
Afrikaner university.
You know, nobodys going to stop
speaking Hebrew here.
Youre restructuring.
Itll be in a
different, healthier
That's the challange, Thats why
I like this one-state idea.
You know, it wasnt
only blacks who
were freed when Apartheid ended.
I was freed. We all were freed.
We were
liberated from this
terrible corrosive
vision of trying to build an
ethnically pure state.
And decades of Apartheid regime
propaganda, like decades of
Zionist propaganda,
said to the people: If
you give up control,
you will be devoured.
You will be thrown into the sea.
You will be killed.
And so it was very
important for the
movement to offer to
ordinary white citizens
a credible alternative
message. To say: You
will not be devoured.
You give up the system, and you
will have a place in the future,
and its an inclusive future.
Theres already a one-state.
Its already
one state, but its
a one-state living
under Apartheid. Its
how to transform it
from Apartheid to
democracy where people
get equal rights based
on citizenship, not on
ethnicity, religion, gender,
or any other identity.
In South Africa saying
that the country
belongs to all who
live in it doesn't
magically solve the problems.
There are
still massive political
struggles in South
Africa over resource
allocation, over
the speed of land
reform, the speed of
economic reform, over
affirmative action.
Those struggles for
social justice
continue, but they have to start
from the premise that everyone
is entitled to equal rights.
But you know the world
doesnt stand still.
There are people I meet
today in South Africa
who dont understand
what Apartheid
was about. They've come into a
whole new world, so
its not impossible
to think of other generations.
We must have the ability
to think beyond our
own generation, to
think into the future.
What does it matter
if a man is white
or black? What does
it matter if hes
a Jew or hes an Arab?
It is possible.
Israel, it is possible.
It is possible to have peace
with Jews and Arabs
if the heart is ready,
if the soul is ready,
if we can transcend these petty
foibles of power and pomposity,
and we say to this world: It
is possible.
It is possible.