Dora McPhee (VIC) responds to Peter Wertheim’s letter in the SMH 21Jul11 July 21, 2011

The Sydney Morning Herald:  Letter by Peter Wertheim “Israel a home for both Jews and Arabs” 21 July 2011

In answer to Peter Wertheim (21/7/11) by the very definition of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state”, Israel excludes one fifth of its non-Jewish indigenous Palestinian inhabitants as unequal citizens. This makes Israel’s self-definition an oxymoron.  Just because there are no overt signs of apartheid, does not mean that apartheid does not exist in the very real effects on Palestinian lives of Israel’s policies and practices. There are some twenty laws that openly discriminate against Palestinians that are so-called “citizens” of Israel.

Contrary to Wertheim’s assertion that the Israel/Palestine conflict is a “real world struggle of two nations”, implying a symmetrical conflict, this is an asymmetrical struggle where one side, the Palestinians, have been denied their right to have a nation. Not only have they been denied their inalienable human rights but some 3.5 million live under occupation without any rights afforded by a state that would protect them – subject instead to Israel’s military law, while Jewish settlers are treated differentially under Israel’s state laws. A further 4.5 million remain in exile as refugees denied their right to return home. This is systematic and sustained apartheid against a people that have been denied their most basic human rights for the last 63 years of Israel’s existence.

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