Feb. 22, 2016
- I Went to Israel Expecting to See an Apartheid State – Lesiba Bapela
I recently took part in an educational tour to Israel and Palestine. I went to Israel expecting to witness an apartheid state, but I immediately understood that I had been misled. During the trip I observed a vast difference between Israeli and Palestinian cities. In Israeli communities and kibbutzim, people embrace respect, social norms and communal values, largely promoting peace and coexistence.
However, in Palestinian cities and the Kalandia refugee camp, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the modus operandi is completely different. Many people there do not practice what they preach in the media. They believe that the radical political influence of Hamas violence toward Israeli Jews is the defining factor for their liberation, according to their own right. As they openly expressed to us, they believe that the country should have Palestinians as first-class citizens and Israelis as second-class citizens.
I decided to write this article because I, personally, will no longer allow other people to use our tragedy, as the survivors of apartheid, for their own agenda. The problems between Israel and Palestine should never be compared to South African apartheid; the current conflict is completely different. The writer is chairperson of the University of the Witwatersrand Student Representative Council in South Africa. (Jerusalem Post)