Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Not Apartheid, It's Security

“The basis of separation is not ethnic since Israeli Arabs and Jerusalem residents with Israeli ID cards can use the road,” argues Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, a conservative research organization. "The basis of the separation is to keep out of secure areas people living in chaotic areas."

Israel's increasingly malignant 40 year occupation of Palestine provides an ongoing mirror for the consequences of governing through crime. For most of those years, the Israeli governments have insisted on treating an apparently insolvable political conflict as a manageable security problem (with some moments of insight like early Oslo). But as security increasingly demands the destruction of democratic ideals that have been central to Israel's state building project, the slow deformation of institutions is becoming apparent. The Supreme Court, long a check on the power over the military and state to govern autocratically in the name of security, has with increasing frequency accepted practices of gross categoric inequality as necessary accommodation to the permanent state of tensions that followed the second intifada and the breakdown of the Oslo process.

The most recent decision, reported by Ethan Bronner in this morning's Times, upholds the exclusion of West Bank Palestinians from a highway running through the area on land taken from private Palestinian land owners.

White Americans have also increasingly accepted a state of defacto hyper-segregation, even while celebrating Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday, all in the name of necessity of separating the orderly from the chaotic and dangerous.

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