Last year, Israeli authorities segregated public buses to prevent Palestinians and Jews traveling together upon the request of illegal settlers in the West Bank. Today, there are separate roads that exclusively serve illegal settlers in occupied territories, who also enjoy a better and separate electrical grid and water supply network.
Studies show that the average Palestinian is four times more likely than the average Israeli to be found guilty by Israeli courts. Palestinians populate 36 out of the 40 districts with the highest level of unemployment in the country.
Israeli nationals of Arab origin are paid 30 percent less than Jewish employees - which is why 61 percent of Palestinians live below the poverty line. Rabbis and various NGOs call upon Israelis to not rent their apartments to Palestinians and refrain from hiring Arabs.
In 2012, just 6.25 percent of the national budget was allocated to Israeli nationals of Arab origin. During the same period, the state of Israel spent $1,100 on the average Jewish child versus $192 for each Palestinian child. Public schools with Palestinian students receive 20 percent less government aid than Jewish schools. Palestinian villages in the south, home to a handful of elementary schools and no high school, receive almost no assistance for education.
Furthermore, the Palestinian community residing near illegal settlements also endures abuse from government officials and humiliation at check points on a daily basis.
The state of Israel is obsessed with population counts and ethnic demographics. In 2003, for instance, Shai Hermesh, the then-treasurer of the Jewish Agency, warned that the Arab population in the south was rapidly rising and called for the establishment of new settlements in order to meet the need for "a Zionist majority."
Similarly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to do everything in his power to prevent nearly 4 million Palestinian refugees, who have a right of return under international law, from coming back to their homeland.
A number of observers point out that Israel has been implementing policies akin to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Among them is John Dugard, a former U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, who wrote in 2007 that the conditions in the West Bank "certainly resemble[d] aspects of apartheid" and proceeded to ask: "Can it seriously be denied that the purpose [...] is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group [Jews] over another racial group [Palestinians] and systematically oppressing them?"
Israel is a colonialist apartheid regime that views itself as the sole and rightful owner of Palestine and refuses to identify its borders in order to facilitate further expansion. Nothing sets Gaza, a small piece of land under blockade, embargo and bombardment from the air, the sea and land, free from concentration camps. Ignoring these concrete facts would only amount to what Lawrence Weschler calls "an American delusion."
Today, Israel looks the world in the eye, flushes international law down the toilet and commits war crimes. The most recent developments in Gaza serve yet another clear reminder of Israel's credentials as a terrorist and colonialist apartheid regime.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.