Jonathan Brun

Israeli occupation must end says Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak, Labour party defence minister, and former prime minister of Israel has publicly stated the occupation of Palestinian territories is not sustainable and must end. This adds to his previous claim that if Palestinians continue to be occupied without the right to vote, Israel will become an apartheid state, as Jimmy Carter clearly stated (and was crucified for in the US) (article).

Israel’s military occupation is dependant on US financial and military subsidies. Without US support, the system is not sustainable – let alone moral. Just as the US support of South African apartheid was the linchpin that eventually gave way, so too it will be with Israel. There is no question public opinion on Israel has moved dramatically in the last ten years.

Inside Israel, opinion has been polarized with more people at both extremes and more settlers than ever before and 10% of the population is part of the Hassidic Jewish community. It is hard to see how internal mouvements by Israelis will bring about change. Palestinian non-violence has the possibility to influence external influence which is likely to be the only thing that changes things.

Outside Israel, the major Jewish lobby, AIPAC, still claims to represent the jewish interest, but the reality is that university campuses are more and more agreed that the current situation of mass occupation is immoral and must stop. Before, you could not hold conferences on occupation and Palestinian oppression on campuses without inciting claims of antisemitism. Today, it is common practice for students to organize and demonstrate against the situation. The anti-apartheid week, started 6 years ago is growing steadily on university campuses around the world. Students don’t decide international politics, but once you lose the support of the young, it is only a matter of time before things change.

Published on April 20, 2010