Israel is on a knife-edge. Almost all fact-finding missions to the Occupied Territories have confirmed this. This new reality, which has dawned in Israel, and is the subject of heated and emotional discussions amongst Jewish settlers and Jewish immigrants alike, is further characterized by debates questioning the very existence of the Zionist regime, which hitherto was regarded as taboo.
The press in Israel, reluctantly perhaps, reflects this mood of bitter frustration mixed with acute anger. Public display of despair and despondency with an experiment gone wrong, has never before been so visible and blatant.
Tension and anxiety bred from 50 years of experimentation with the notion of an exclusive Jewish statehood is finally taking its toll. The most dreaded question which seems to linger on and on is the one dealing with uncertainty about the future of Israel.
Is there a future for Israel? Many of the former armed thugs who played roughshod over the lives and properties of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine by bulldozing them out to clear the way for the imperial designs of European Zionists, have always insisted so with an emphatic yes. As is the case now, many of these cold-blooded murderers like Ariel Sharon, have followed in the footsteps on Menachem Begin to don the hat of Premiers and to continue killing in order to hold on to their ill-gotten loot.
For decades the world was fooled into believing that Israel boasts the most vibrant form of democracy in the region. Even now, polling and voting exercises have kept the lid on the ugly side of Israeli politics, which bars non-Jews from participation. Despite their claims that a group quaintly referred to as ‘Israeli Arabs’ can cast a vote many commentators are aware that this so-called democracy is a hoax.
The Intifada, now in its seventh month and with no signs of letting up, has in its own unique way exposed all these and many other myths. In addition, the Intifada has served as a reminder to the world in general and to South Africa in particular, that Palestine yearns for freedom from oppression and occupation. This stark reality has also helped in refocusing people’s attention to the images of Soweto, Sharpville and Guguletho during the 70`s and 80`s.
The substantial number of South African Jewry in Israel, who by virtue of their race enjoy superior status over the original inhabitants cannot claim to be unaware of the evils of Zionist apartheid.
Racial divides and discrimination which existed under the Nationalist Party which allowed a free reign for white supremacists, is still the bitter experience of ordinary Palestinians. Just as Apartheid caused havoc to peoples lives and ruined their self esteem and dignity, so too has Zionism destroyed entire communities.
The good news is that like Apartheid, the racially exclusive political ideology known as Zionism, has reached a cul-de-sac. It faces no other choice but retreat, which is a polite term for defeat. This is also evidenced from the fact that external support for Israel is waning fast. Again, in the same way that the world opinion was horrified by exposures of the Apartheid state’s brutality, Israel is forced to come to terms with publicity which certainly has halted its tourist trade.
Indeed, the level of repression that Palestinians are subjected to has compelled many influential political groups and NGO`s in South Africa and around the globe to pledge their unconditional support for the Intifada. For instance, both the PAC and SACP in South Africa have sharply attacked Israeli atrocities committed against Palestinian civilians. By comparing the Intifada to Soweto 1976 and Sharpville 1960, the PAC has expressed the hope that just as these events marked a turning point in the history of the struggle, so too will the resistance deliver freedom in Palestine.
There can be no doubt that Israel is on a knife-edge. Its political experiments have brought nothing but disaster and devastated thousands of families. Now that it is on the edge of the cliff, the world must ensure that its inevitable fall must completely disintegrate into total oblivion – never to rise again!
(Mr. Iqbal Jasarat is Chairman of the Media Review Network, which is an advocacy group based in Pretoria, South Africa.)