Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Haidar Eid, an associate professor at al-Aqsa University in Gaza, about Israel’s latest military onslaught on the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: At this point we’re looking at the number of Palestinians killed at the Gaza Strip. As of the recording of this program, 51 deaths in two days, 450 wounded. On the Israeli side, one Israeli soldier.
This is reminiscent of the 2012 war and 2008 war in terms of a disproportionate response, isn’t it?
Eid: Absolutely. Just to update you, as I was driving to your studio the number of those that have been killed by apartheid Israel has risen to 52 with the death of four people in the southern city of Rafah.
But you are right… in Gaza we have a sense of déjà vu. We’ve been there; we felt that in 2008, 2009 when Israel launched a massive massacre of 22 days, which massacred more than 1,400 people including 443 children – something that the UN Fact-finding Mission headed by the South African judge Richard Goldstone described as ‘war crimes and possible crimes against humanity’.
The same thing happened again in November 2012, Israel attacked Gaza for seven days during which it massacred 200 people including 64 children.
The same thing is happening right now where Israel for the last two days has been targeting houses of civilians. So far more than 55 houses have been targeted by Israeli air raids and more than 100 houses have been partially destroyed.
This reminds us of what the white South African apartheid used to do to the blacks of South Africa. But even in the hay day of black apartheid in South Africa in the late 1970s and 80s the South African apartheid never ever used F-16s from America or apache helicopters to attack black townships and civilian areas. This is happening right now in Gaza.
What is happening right now in Gaza is a continuation of the massacres that have been going on since 1967, but at a much larger scale.
Press TV: Your response to Frederick Petersen’s comments that certain Palestinian elements provoke reaction by initiating rocket strikes on Israeli territory and that you can’t lump all the blame on the Israeli side.
Eid: I see where your guest is coming from and when one hears that one gets the impression that the whole conflict started with the dubious kidnapping of the three Israeli settlers who were in the illegally occupied areas.
And what I’m saying is yes I think we need some quiet here in the Middle East and in Palestine in particular, we need compliance with international law. And I think the side that has been violating international law is apartheid Israel.
What I’m saying is if Israel withdraws from the land it occupied back in 1967 – the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem – in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolution 242; and if it implements United Nations resolution 194, which calls for the right of all Palestinian refugees, who were ethnically cleansed back in 1948; and if it actually ends it apartheid policies practiced against the indigenous population of Palestine – the second class Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel – then we will have quiet.
If Israel transforms itself into a secular democracy where you have civic democracy like civic democracies in the West in the United States of America and in South Africa; but what Israel has been practicing against the Palestinian people in general is a multi-tiered system of oppression including direct military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and medieval siege that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2006.
Israel has been building illegal settlements transforming the West Bank into three large Bantustans and actually has been adopting apartheid policies against the Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel.
… I think then I can understand where your guest is coming from.
Press TV: Our guest Frederick Petersen talks about how we should take the oxygen out of this – I’m assuming at this point he may be referring to the international community… The response has been not much when you look at how many children and women have been killed based on the latest stats that we have of which it amounts to… 54 Palestinians now dead?
Eid: The problem I have with that kind of language and discourse is that it deals with both parties as two equal parties.
I don’t think the international community towards the late 1980s dealt with the oppressed South Africans and the apartheid system as two equal parties. In fact the international community imposed sanctions against apartheid South Africa until it complied with intentional law.
Here in the Palestinian situation what you have is on the one hand you have the fourth strongest army equipped with American-made weapons including F16s, phosphorus bombs, nuclear warheads etc etc and on the other hand what do you have, what you refereed to homemade rockets and we have also stones.
Don’t forget in the mid 1980s the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher used to call Nelson Mandela a terrorist and they had diplomatic ties with apartheid South Africa under which they called it ‘constructive engagement ‘.
But towards the late 1980s the international community was fed up with apartheid South Africa and decided to impose sanctions against it until Nelson Mandela was released from jail in 1990 and was elected as the first black president of multi-racial South Africa.
My problem with the kind of language that your guest from America is using is that it is in fact in way racist that doesn’t take into consideration our right, the Palestinian right to life.
So far not a single Israeli citizen has been killed. And then you hear a kind of justification of massacres. When you have more than 55 houses being demolished and attacked directly by airstrikes, then you justify that by referring to something illusory about the safety of the state of Israel.
In fact it was Israel that violated the calm that we had when it two days ago attacked and killed six members of Hamas after which there were a barrage of rockets against the surrounding settlements of the Gaza Strip.
What I’m saying is that we need to be conscientious when we talk about equality, when we talk about oppression. The party that has been occupying Gaza and the West Bank is Israel not the other way round.
The party that has been implementing apartheid laws – and according to the United Nations that includes the United States of America it has recognized the fact that Israel is an apartheid state. And if you remember John Kerry last month when he had a slip of the tongue and talked about the ‘A’ word, describing Israel as apartheid.
So what we need to start seriously talking about is the end of the apartheid system in Palestine and the beginning of what Nelson Mandela used to call, ‘The long walk to freedom’- that is to say freedom and justice for all not only for an ethno-religious groups that has a strategic tie with the United States of America.