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South Africa activist warns Israel will be an 'apartheid state' if annexation goes ahead

Palestinians take part in a rally against apartheid in the West Bank town of Hebron on 14 September 2012 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]
Palestinians take part in a rally against apartheid in the West Bank town of Hebron on 14 September 2012 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Apaimages]

Israel will become an apartheid state if it moves ahead with the planned annexation of the West Bank, warned Benjamin Pogrund, an ally of Nelson Mandela, who for decades had fought the accusation that the Zionist state was similar in its practice of racism as white South Africa.

Pogrund was among the first Jews to fight the South African apartheid regime. Though many of his compatriots in the anti-apartheid movement within the Jewish community in South Africa believe that Israel is guilty of practicing a system of apartheid, Cape Town born Pogrund rejected this accusation in the years after he moved to Israel in the 1990s.

"Come July 1, if we [Israel] annex the Jordan Valley and the settlement areas, we are apartheid. Full stop. There's no question about it," Pogrund is reported saying in the Times of Israel.

READ: Canada joins Western governments in condemnation of Israel annexation

Explaining that any further take-over of Palestinian territory would make it impossible for him to deny the depiction of Israel as an apartheid state, Pogrund said: "I have argued, uphill and down dale, and lectured about it in a dozen countries and books and articles, that this is not apartheid. There is discrimination against the Arab minority and there's an occupation in the West Bank — but it's not apartheid."

In his criticism of the idea of placing Palestinian within enclaves within sovereign Israel, reminiscent of the bantustans during White South African rule, Pogrund argued that "the bantustans were simply a more refined form of apartheid to mask what it really was."

Warning of the ramifications Pogrund argued that Israel would become even more of a pariah and completely isolated in the world. "The consequences of this will obviously be extremely grave," said Pogrund. "Friends of ours in the world will not be able to defend us", explaining that apartheid was the "scourge word" of the last millennium coming after Nazism.

Pogrund predicted that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which Israel has tried desperately to contain, going as far as to spread a false narrative that it is anti-Sematic, will become an unstoppable force. Suggesting that Israel, like South Africa, would have no answer to the BDS movement, he said: "They [BDS] will now be wholly correct in using it as a weapon against us. And it's a tough weapon, it's an emotional weapon that gets to people very simply."

The stark prediction that Israel would become an apartheid state was echoed by a retired Israeli army general who also warned of the dangers of unilateral annexation of the West Bank; empowering religious extremists within the Zionist state.

READ: Elections, a new leadership and BDS are pivotal for Palestine

Speaking on the 103FM radio station yesterday, former head of the National Security Council Yaakov Amidror said that annexation of more Palestinian land would reinforce the fantasises of Israelis that see Zionism as a tool to recreate greater Israel; a 3,000-year-old biblical reference that would require ethnic cleansing and genocide for its modern recreation.

According to Amidror, "those who believe in the concept of Greater Israel are in favour of annexation, and those who oppose the concept and support a two-state solution are against annexation," explaining that the issue is no longer a "practical discussion" but a conversation between two "opposing sides that don't meet".

The former military official criticised US President Donald Trump's "peace plan" known as "the deal of the century", arguing that it would "tear apart the Israeli society".

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