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From Oslo to Apartheid
Transcript of From Oslo to Apartheid
Settlements The Wall Military Presence Roadblocks
Demolitions While public attention has been focused on the issue of settlements, several positions taken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu represent significant obstacles to the creation of a Palestinian state: 1. No Right of Return for Palestinian refugees
2. No Palestinian control over its border with Jordan
3. No Palestinian control over its own airspace
4. No Palestinian control over its main water sources Rabin: "We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority....We will not return to the June 4th, 1967, lines." In his first term of office, 1996-1999, Netanyahu actively worked to sabotage the peace process that Rabin had begun: and he reneged on his commitment (at the Wye Memorandum) to withdraw from more Palestinian areas. And, as recently revealed by the Israeli press, Netanyahu admitted that he manipulated the Oslo Accords by using closed military zones to retain permanent Israeli control over Area C, which constitues 60% of the West Bank. Netanyahu timed announcements of settlement building to disrupt peace talks in 1997, The wall stretching through the West Bank runs through Palestinian towns and villages, annexing Palestinian property, cutting villages off from their lands, isolating communities and creating barriers to education, economic and medical care. The Israeli military enforces the occupation and is often the only interaction between Israelis and Palestinians in the occupied territories.
The Israeli military routinely raids villages and arrests civilians, who are often detained for months without charge. House demolitions have been used to:
arbitrarily punish Palestinians,
destroy families' economic livelihoods,
and push Palestinians out of areas Israel wishes to claim via settlement or military occupation. There are roughly 130 illegal settlements now covering the West Bank.
They cover 42% of the land in the West Bank, having grown 40-fold since 1967.
They house nearly half a million Israelis, having grown by 120,000 in the past ten years. Settlements, in black and blue on this map, primarily serve to:
1. Separate Palestinian areas from each other,
2. Capture the main water resources in the West Bank,
3. Consolidate Israeli control over occupied East Jerusalem. It is also important to note that the partial settlement freeze that occured last year neither encompassed all settlements, nor was fully enforced by the Israeli government.
As of August 2010, the Israeli group Peace Now documented nearly 500 violations of the freeze. The wall was ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2005 and has become a focal point for the non-violent resistance movement in Bil'in, Ni'lin, Budrus, and many other Palestinian villages. Most disturbingly, the occupation has fostered an attitude of dehumanization among Israeli soldiers, as seen by an August 2010 scandal involving an IDF soldier's photos with detained civilians. The Israeli government uses 541 roadblocks to disable roads connecting Palestinian towns to each other.
These roadblocks also channel traffic through a select set of roads that the Israeli military can monitor using its system of checkpoints. The Israeli government employs 60 permanent and 65 flying checkpoints to monitor, limit, and deny Palestinian freedom of movement at roads and access points between villages. This network of roadblocks and checkpoints creates isolation of Palestinian areas and prevents civilian access to health, education, and economic opportunities across the West Bank. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates that 24,813 houses have been destroyed by the Israeli military since 1967. House Demolitions in 2005 Red = in closed Military Zones (Area C)
Yellow = in the Jordan Valley and Settlement Areas
Small star = 1-10 demolitions
Large star = 10+ demolitions In July of 2010 alone, Israel destroyed 141 homes and buildings in the West Bank.
These policies have brought the Israeli occupation of the West Bank under heavy criticism as an apartheid system, designed to privilege one group of Israeli settlers over another group of occupied Palestinians.
Indeed, the most striking comparison that can be made is between the map of the West Bank today and the map of South Africa under apartheid. As a result of Israel's settlement and annexation policies, it now controls 85% of the water in the West Bank.
Palestinians are allowed an averge of 50 cubic meters of water per capita per year.
Settlers are allowed 2400 cubic meters of water per capita per year. (Speech to the Knesset on Oct 5, 1995) These conditions reflect the goals for the Oslo Process outlined by Yitzchak Rabin in 1995:
But the conditions he placed on this offer showed that he shared the same outlook on the process as his predecessors: After accounting for Barak's insistence on control of Israeli settlements and East Jerusalem (left), and the Palestinian border with Jordan (center), the resulting proposed state was simply too small for the Palestinians to accept (right): The unequal treatment of Palestinians governed by Israel is not limited to the Occupied Territories. Palestinian citizens of Israel, roughly 20% of the population, are treated as second class citizens, discriminated against through housing, employment and educational discrimination, and a lack of access to municipal services and government programs allocated to Jews only. The Israeli electoral system is designed to perpetually exclude Arab parties from any meaningful political participation. The persistence of the occupation and abuse of the peace process to acquire more Palestinian land should lead us to reconsider this approach to ending the occupation. Rather than a solution focused on political ends, a rights based approach is the most morally consistent way to understand what true justice will look like. Those rights include the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to be free from second-class status and discrmination, and the rights of refugees to return to their lands or be involved in selecting their compensation for the Nakba (expulsion of 1948). The Palestine Papers show that the Palestinian Authority has consistently negotiated away Palestinian rights without their democratic consent. Pressure exerted from the US and the Israeli continuation of policies articulated by Yitzchak Rabin at the start of the peace process, ensure that these negotiations will either be futile, or will result in an outcome that compromises Palsetinian rights. In my opinion, the most promising solution lies in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, a non-violent array of tactics designed to pressure Israel into ending the occupation.