The 1917 Balfour Declaration: ‘Settler Colonialism’ 100 years on

“One nation promised a second nation the land of a third nation.”

From Balfour to the present day: a century of colonialism in Palestine

 

This year’s November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It signifies 100 years of suffering of the Palestinian people and the colonisation of their land.

In 1917 the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to the wealthy British banker and Zionist Lord Rothschild, in which he declared :

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

This short letter had no legal status, but was later incorporated within the terms of Britain’s Mandate for Palestine.

Thus it became one of the most significant documents leading eventually to the creation of the state of Israel and the on-going quagmire of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

From the outset the Declaration was controversial, and almost all the opposition came from within the Jewish community itself, because very few Arabs were even aware the existence of such a proposal.

The Declaration was seen largely as a means for diverting Jewish immigration from Britain to Palestine. The most prominent British Jewish politician of the day, Sir Edwin Montagu, opposed it vigorously.

Later, when the language of the Balfour Declaration was included in the Mandate for Palestine, the House of Lords voted to reject this in a motion passed by 60 to 29, on the ground that the Declaration was opposed to the “wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine”.

Balfour himself wrote in 1919

“in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country …. The Four Great Powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land.”

The Balfour Declaration of 1917, Colonial Settlement and Apartheid

“Neither the Balfour Declaration nor the Mandate ever specifically concede that Palestinians had political, as opposed to civil and religious, rights in Palestine. The idea of inequality between Jews and Arabs was, therefore, built into British – and, subsequently, Israeli and US – policy from the start.”

Professor Edward Said

Israel/Palestine, created as a consequence of British Colonialism, was formed in a similar to the South African state and both have segregation, ‘apartheid’ at their heart. Looking through this lens, Palestinians are learning lessons from the South African struggle.

In a commemorative lecture to the late Egyptian scholar and writer Abdelwahab Elmessiri, Ronnie Kasrils said:

In 1976 he (Elmesseri) wrote Israel and South Africa: The Progression of a Relationship, one of the earliest works to compare Zionism with Apartheid. (Abdelwahab M. Elmessiri (1976), Israel and South Africa: The Progression of a Relationship, (New Brunswick, NJ: North American).

He observed: “Despite differences between Israel and South Africa from the perspective of their initial formational period, subsequent historical developments ensured that the similarities between the two settlement enclaves outweighed the differences and gave them a higher explanatory power.”

He pointed out that both began from different origins as settlement enclaves. These were to serve Western interests on multiple functional levels in exchange for support and protection.

He compared Britain’s aims in creating the Union of South Africa in 1909 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917: “The Zionist state is a settler enclave like any other.

It is by no means a coincidence that the Balfour Declaration and the South Africa Act of Union of 1909 [was] affected in large part by the same handful of politicians (including) … and General Smuts.

In implanting and backing white settlers in South Africa and Zionist settlers in Palestine, the British Empire was founding two little pockets of settler-colonists who would owe allegiance to the imperial metropolis and would serve as bases of operations when the need arose.” (Elmessiri (2007), “From functional Jewish communities to the functional Zionist State,” p. 153.)

… Arthur Koestler summed up Balfour’s perfidious legacy as follows: “One nation promised a second nation the land of a third nation.” And that was grabbed with ferocious barbarity in 1947-48.

The year 1948 was one of the darkest for both the Palestinian and South African people; truly an annus horribilis. For South Africans May 1948 marked the election of the apartheid government and the prelude to a 46-year maelstrom for the African people.

For the Palestinians May 1948 marked the Nakbah – the catastrophic dispossession and ethnic cleansing at the hands of the rampant Zionist project. (Ilan Pappe (2007), The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, (Oxford: Oneworld).

Over 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully expelled from a land they had inhabited from antiquity; with some 500,000 managing to remain behind in spite of the terror unleashed by Zionism. Whilst apartheid South Africa has been replaced by a democratic unitary state, the suffering endured by the Palestinians worsens year by year.

The apartheid character of Israel was noted by Dr (Hendrik) Verwoerd in 1961: “The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel like South Africa is an apartheid state.” (Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg, November 23, 1961.)

Professor John Dugard, former Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian Territories, wrote

Of course, the regimes of apartheid and occupation are different. Apartheid South Africa was a state that practiced discrimination against its own people.

It sought to fragment the country into white South Africa and black Bantustans. Its security laws were used to brutally suppress opposition to apartheid.

Israel, on the other hand, is an occupying power that controls a foreign territory and its people under a regime recognised by international law – belligerent occupation.

However, in practice, there is little difference. Both regimes were/are characterised by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation (that is, land seizures).

Israel discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in favour of half a million Israeli settlers. Its restrictions on freedom of movement, manifested in countless humiliating checkpoints, resemble the “pass laws” of apartheid.

Its destruction of Palestinian homes resembles the destruction of homes belonging to blacks under apartheid’s Group Areas Act. The confiscation of Palestinian farms under the pretext of building a security wall brings back similar memories.

And so on. Indeed, Israel has gone beyond apartheid South Africa in constructing separate (and unequal) roads for Palestinians and settlers.

Apartheid’s security police practiced torture on a large scale. So do the Israeli security forces. There were many political prisoners on Robben Island but there are more Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails.

Apartheid South Africa seized the land of blacks for whites. Israel has seized the land of Palestinians for half a million settlers and for the purposes of constructing a security wall within Palestinian territory – both of which are contrary to international law.

Make Apartheid History

Starting by recognising that Israel, like the former South African state, is an apartheid state, it becomes clear there will not be a ‘solution’ to the Israel-Palestine conflict until the Apartheid ends.

The Anti-Apartheid Movement of the yesteryear was integral to the end of the South African apartheid.

The international BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel) movement is going from strength to strength.

Together, through international solidarity and pressure o n many inter-connected fronts (academic, cultural, economic) we can rise to the call by Palestinian civil society for BDS and, finally, Make Apartheid History once and for all.

Under the Spell of Israel

Zionist Gunzels Slaughter A Village

In Palestine, 60 years of carnage and invasion is still ongoing at the hands of some criminal and occupying Zionists.

They have forged a regime through collecting people from various parts of the world and bringing them to other people’s land by displacing, detaining, and killing the true owners of that land.

With advance notice, they invade, assassinate, and maintain food and medicine blockades, while some hegemonic and bullying powers support them.

The Security Council cannot do anything and sometimes, under pressure from a few bullying powers, even paves the way for supporting these Zionist murderers.

It is natural that some UN resolutions that have addressed the plight of the Palestinian people have been relegated to the archives unnoticed. –Ahmadinejad on Zionists

February 25, 2011

No Zionist news is old news!

As Israel carries out their illegal US funded attacks on civilian populations in Gaza, we look back at the origin of Israel, which is rooted in violence and racism; and the video, Who Were the First Terrorists in the Middle East?

When Gilad Atzmon sent this video across from London today I watched it and shook my head. For me the information isn’t all new but it is enlightening and equally suited for those of us in the know as well as people who are just opening their eyes to Israel’s insane, cruel and needless pattern of violence and cruelty and massive war crimes.

The west has been under a spell for decades, dismissing the real history, meaning and implications of Israel; blindly accepting and funding and protecting what truly is a rogue government without question or delay.

Israel, most unfortunately, is guided by a philosophy that they are more entitled. Israel’s approach to resolving real and perceived problems, as I have written before, is similar to gangland mentality where the biggest guns and sharpest knives, are used to decide the outcome of a situation.

Fortunately, everyone in Israel doesn’t believe in ‘Zionism’; the concept that Jewish people are allowed to take land from other human beings because ‘God gave it to them’.

This philosophy burdens not just Muslim and Christian people who live in occupied Palestine, but also Israeli citizens who speak out against the politicized, violent version of Judaism that Israel represents.

Today Israel is defined by its acts of state sponsored terrorism. As this video reveals, the story dates back to Israel’s very first days

We revealed in a recent report; Rahm Emanuel’s Father Specialized in Bus Bombings in Palestine Wayne Madsen Special to Salem-News.com, that Benjamin Emanue, father of Chicago’s newly elected mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was a Jewish terrorist who specialized in the bombings of buses carrying British troops and policemen during the British Mandate in Palestine.

Things are often not how they seem, and as Egypt’s quest for Revolutionary freedom glows, we receive word that an Israeli bomb has just injured 15 people in Gaza.

Israel is such a terrible player in the world political arena; they are deadly and murderous and prejudice and they cross national borders to conduct military action with impudence; as if beyond reproach.

Irgun, the army of Rahm Emanuel’s father, is short for Irgun Zvai Leumi- “National Military Organization” in Hebrew, was a terrorist Zionist group that operated in Palestine, killing innocent Palestinians and British soldiers; blowing up buildings

Rahm and pop- Chicago.. can only hope the apple landed far from the tree. The next Israeli President of the United States?

This is the same group that has been killing the people of Palestine in a cold blooded manner for over sixty years. They must be stopped.

We do wonder if the Israelis are targeting our friends in Gaza who are in the ground putting the news out in real time; people like Ken O’Keefe, our writer who Israel branded a ‘terrorist’ after the deadly incident involving the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara which was attacked by Israel in the dark with murderous intent.

Nine men were killed, one was American, they were all unarmed.

Ken O’Keefe and others overpowered Israeli commandos and disarmed them, taking them captive. To what end? Ken and the other unarmed peace activists protected the captured Israeli soldiers and gave them medical attention. Then they were released.

Ken O’Keefe is a former U.S. Marine who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was attacked by Israel during a recent attempt to break the siege of Gaza.

If only Israel played the same way. I am so sick and tired of hearing Muslim people referred to as terrorists when no place in modern history can even slightly compete with Israel’s record number of terrorism events.

This video shows how from the beginning, Israel has only represented death and violence to the world. Nobody denies the fact that Jewish people suffered during the Holocaust, but anyone who accepts their current behavior certainly should equally agree with Hitler’s quest, at least in concept.

There is no race or culture that is entitled to more than another. The world should not be governed by religious concepts or hate.

Salem News

The Terrorist Expatriation Act is new legislation that will strip all Americans of their right to due process, a trial by a jury of one’s peers and a speedy trial.

The bill would allow the Department of State to, entirely on its own, take away any American’s citizenship who is accused of having ties to a terrorist network. This would deprive the accused of all their rights as an American citizen, including their right to due process. Americans’ most basic rights are at risk!

Brought to you by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Scott Brown in the Senate and Representatives Jason Altmire and Charlie Dent in the House of Representatives.

Perhaps the most egregious example of such dual loyalty is that of Rahm Emanuel, currently serving as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama. He is both an American and Israeli citizen, a man who served in the Israeli Defense Force in 1991 but not in the U.S. military.

If anyone should be considered to have ties to terrorism it should be Lieberman and Emanuel.

The audacity to propose such a bill from someone who has no alliegance to the U.S. and serves a foreign terrorist government is definitely TREASON: treason, renouncing one’s nationality during a state of war, or serving in the military of a “foreign state.”

If this doesn’t violate essence of our government and policies, I don’t what does. We should exercise our rights in preventing this belligerent bill from passing.  A Bill should be introduced to demand that anyone who serves in this country’s (Senate or Congress) or the Executive Branch, must be a U.S. Citizen with Allegiance to the U.S. and ONLY the U.S.

Tell Congress to oppose this horrendous legislation, and any future attempts to restrict or remove American citizens’ fundamental rights!

Sample Letter

The Honorable [Your Rep]:I am outraged by the introduction of the Terrorist Expatriation Act by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Scott Brown in the Senate and Representatives Jason Altmire and Charlie Dent in the House of Representatives.

This legislation is an assault on my basic rights as an American. In one fell swoop, this bill will take away my right to due process and a speedy trial by a jury of my peers. These are bedrock rights that protect my freedom and are guaranteed by the U.S. constitution.
[Your comments will be inserted here.]

This bill comes following the effective and speedy arrest of Faisal Shahzad less than 72 hours after he attempted to set off a home-made car bomb in New York City. Lieberman and company are offended that the the FBI Agents arresting Shahzad — an American citizen — read him his Miranda rights.

This legislation is un-American and a completely inappropriate response to a well-handled law enforcement situation in New York. Please oppose this horrendous bill and any future attempt to deprive me of my rights as an American.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]
Complete Address

The Irvine 11, UCI and Michael Oren

UPDATE September 23, 2011:

Last week, the public saw the best and worst of Tony Rackauckas. On Wednesday, the Orange County district attorney concluded a thorough yet timely investigation into the death of a homeless man, which resulted in the unusual decision to file charges against two Fullerton police officers.

On Friday, in a case that never should have been filed, a jury delivered guilty verdicts against 10 of the 11 Muslim students who disrupted a UC Irvine speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States. After one stupid incident, those students will forever have to answer yes if they are asked by, say, potential employers whether they were ever convicted of a crime. Source

No doubt that should that tables have been turned, and should the 11 students had been Jews, UCI, the despicable Tony Rackauckas – who serves foreign interests, AIPAC and the illegitimate terrorist state of Israel, and possibly the media would have all bowed down and dismissed such a case,  citing, naturally that the Jewish students were allowed to object because they were.. the descendants of those who suffered during the Holocaust!

Then we have the surprising comment by Erwin (Hypocrite) Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine’s Law School, who said that although freedom of speech is not an absolute right, university sanctions were enough for the students. He also added that he believes criminal sanctions go too far.

Chemerinsky told The Times last week that “it makes no sense” to use such resources. “It’s so minor.”

This is the same hypocrite who told the students they FAILED THEIR EXAMS even before they had taken them!

♠♠♠

No doubt that many have heard of the Irvine 11 by now.

On February 8, 2010, Michael Oren, a representative of, and the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.,  was invited to UCI to speak on U.S.-Israeli relations. The speech by Oren was sponsored by the UCI Law School and the Political Science Department.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren was invited by several sponsors, including the law school (of which I am dean) and the political science department (of which I am a member) to speak at the university on Feb. 8.

Erwin Chemerinsky Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, UC-Irvine School of Law

Michael Oren: Israeli soldier!

Wikipedia presents Oren as follows: notice how certain points are worded to disguise the ugly truth that this person denounced his U.S. citizenship in favor of becoming an Israeli citizen!

Oren was born Michael Bornstein in upstate New York. His father was an officer in the U.S. Army who took part in the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944 and fought in the Korean War.  Oren grew up in New Jersey in a Conservative Jewish household. As the only Jewish boy in a Catholic neighborhood, he says he experienced anti-Semitism on a daily basis.

Of course, this the first line of defense such Zionists use any and every time! In his youth, he was an activist in Zionist youth groups such as USY  and a gold medal winning athlete in the Maccabiah Games.  At 15, Oren made his first trip to Israel with youth movement Habonim Dror, working on Kibbutz Gan Shmuel.

In 1977, Oren completed his undergraduate degree from Columbia University. He continued his studies at Columbia, receiving a Masters in International Affairs in 1978 from the School of International and Public Affairs.

After college, he spent a year as an adviser to the Israeli delegation to the United Nations headed by Yehuda Blum.  In 1979, Oren immigrated to Israel.  In 1979, Oren joined the Israel Defense Forces.

He served as a paratrooper in the 1982 Lebanon War.  His unit was caught in a Syrian ambush on the second day of the war. His commander was killed and nearly everyone was wounded. He then joined a unit stationed in Sidon. Oren married in the summer of 1982 and returned the next day to Beirut.

During the 1991 Gulf War he was Israeli liaison officer to the U.S. Sixth Fleet.  He served as an army spokesman in the IDF Reserves during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.  During the 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict, he was a media relations officer.

A few years later, Oren returned to the United States to continue his education, studying at Princeton University. In 1986, he earned a Ph.D. in Near East Studies.

On May 3, 2009, Oren was appointed as Ambassador of Israel to the United States by Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu,

How does a U.S. citizen become a foreign government’s Ambassador? Michael Oren renounced his US citizenship in favor of becoming an Israeli.

“..a solemn ritual that involves signing an oath of renunciation. He [Oren] said he got through it with the help of friends from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv who “stayed with me, and hugged me when it was over.” source

If anything, Oren should have never be allowed in the U.S. again or should have been immediately arrested for treason and for serving in a foreign army, representing a state accused of War Crimes and Genocide as proven by the Goldstone Report.

But that would have been antisemitism! [chuckle]

Michael Oren, born in the US and a dual citizen, is about to become Israel’s ambassador to the US which will require him to give up his US citizenship, the JPost reports. 

No problem, says Oren. Now, the question is: At what moment does a Jewish American who chooses to make aliyah cease being a patriotic American and come out of the closet,  so to speak, as a patriotic Israeli wannabe?

At what point does a Jewish American supporter of Israel become a potential security risk if that person is employed in an agency of the US government?

To say that it is the moment the person announces his or her decision to make aliyah to Israel or give up his American citizenship is ludicrous.

The person who makes that decision could understandably as well as logically be viewed as having been politically compromised at some point before that and therefore it is reasonable for US government officials, particularly in areas where intelligence in involved, to look at Jewish American employees with a degree of suspicion. But when they do, it elicits the predictable accusations of anti-Semitism. source

The act of renouncing US citizenship is a very serious action to take and should not be done lightly. Prior to this it is imperative that you understand what happens as a result. This is not something that can be reversed, revoked or changed once it is completed.

Treason:

1. Convicted For An Act Of Treason Against The United States

Treason is a serious crime, and the Constitution defines the requirements for convicting someone of treason.   Treason is waging a violent war against the United States in cooperation with a foreign country or any organized group.

It includes assisting or aiding any foreign country or organization in taking over or destroying this country including abolishing the Constitution.

Treason also consists of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the US government or of betraying our government into the hands of a foreign power. If you are caught and convicted of treason, you can pretty much count on losing your US citizenship as well as serving lots of jail time.

source

Now then, what about Rahm Emanuel?

Moskal also charged that Emanuel had dual citizenship with Israel and had served in the Israeli Army – Wikipedia

Whose interests are these people serving?

The Irvine 11

Since Michael Oren represents a country which engaged in war crimes and potential crimes against humanity as determined by Justice Richard Goldstone (a Jewish person) and the UN Human Rights Council, it is only natural to denounce and disrupt this terrorist’s speech and/or lies that would defend Nazism, Israeli style.

Israel continues to commit war crimes by maintaining a 3 year siege on Gaza, which is nothing less than collective punishment, in contravention to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel is also expanding settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, in direct opposition to U.S. policy!

The 11 students who peacefully left the room and did not resist arrest, are accused of disrupting this terrorist’s [Oren’s] speech! Erwin Chemerinsky threatened the students as they walked out with: “YOU ARE FAILING YOUR EXAMS!”

Erwin C You are failing your exams!

Video

The Audacity of this professor to retaliate with such threats! Is this not anti-Semitism? Will he simply select every Muslim sounding name from his class roster and simply FAIL them? This man is an education terrorist and should be banned from teaching! Period!

UCI: the Hypocrisy

Protection from Discrimination & Harassment

Harassment and discrimination is prohibited by University policies and procedures. Unwelcome, severe, and persistent behaviors that are unlawful and interfere with another person’s rights and educational opportunities will not be tolerated. Visit the OEOD website for more information on nondiscrimination and harassment policies.

Statement from Chancellor Michael Drake on Behalf of the UC Irvine Campus Community

Feb. 23, 2010

On numerous occasions during the past year, I have spoken and written about the manner in which we discuss and debate our differences, our values and how we use those values to guide our decision-making.

As you may have read, earlier this month I was very disappointed when some members of our community seemed more comfortable engaging in confrontation than collaboration, and in trying to close channels of communication rather than opening them.

As a brief frame of reference: Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren had been invited to speak on campus by a number of campus and community organizations (I bet it was Erwin and only Erwin and whoever he would threaten with anti-Semitism if they did not accept and agree with his invitation).

His speech was repeatedly and systematically interrupted by a group of students. The individuals involved were removed by campus police immediately, and are facing disciplinary proceedings.

Our primary goals are to ensure a UCI experience that delivers the highest standards of academic preparation, and an unparalleled richness of intellectual and cultural diversity. We are committed to growing our students as whole people. [but allow your professors to threaten students with failing them if they disagreed with his political views?]

All of our students learn that at UCI, whether we agree or disagree with someone’s views, we respect the right of everyone to share their experiences, insights and ideas. This is how we grow. This is among our greatest contributions as a learning community.

The 11 students have pending criminal charges and have been threatened with university disciplinary actions. Spokespersons of UCI have stated that the students may be dismissed or suspended for standing up in protest.

While the students’ speech was protected, the University seems to be sending a political message. The disproportionate response of the University and the Irvine police is undeniably due to outside pressures and lobbies!

UCI had a 30% fee hike and decrease in the quality of their education. This is due to the recession which has left California nearly bankrupt! Rather than funding our universities, the U.S. Government maintains approximately $4 billion a year of military aid to Israel: the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East!

US tax dollars must not support a state which commits war crimes, particularly when tax dollars would be better utilized paying for students’ classrooms and tuition!

Another War Criminal’s speech interrupted!

UN Official Resigns Under Pressure After Calling Israel ‘Apartheid Regime’

Is the Israel regime psycho?

Image result for I don't see anything animated gif

 

The document “concludes scientifically and according to international law that Israel has established an apartheid regime. But that’s not the point.

The head of the U.N. West Asia Commission has resigned under pressure, after refusing to withdraw a controversial report that said Israel has established an “apartheid regime” that discriminates against Palestinians.

Rima Khalaf, a Jordanian who heads the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), told reporters Friday in Beirut that she could not accept a demand by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for her to withdraw the report.

“I asked him to rethink his decision, he insisted, so I submitted my resignation from the U.N.,” she said.

The report titled “Israeli Practices Toward the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” was published earlier this week, and drew immediate criticism from U.N., U.S. and Israeli officials.

Image result for israel's apartheid

Khalaf, who is also a U.N. undersecretary-general, said the document “concludes scientifically and according to international law that Israel has established an apartheid regime.”

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was published without any prior consultations with the U.N. secretariat and that it does not reflect the views of the secretary-general. The 75-page report was deleted from the ESCWA website by U.N. officials, but copies are still circulating online.

Both Israel’s U.N. envoy, Danny Danon, and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, welcomed Khalaf’s departure.

“Anti-Israel activists do not belong in the U.N. It is time to put an end to the practice in which U.N. officials use their position to advance their anti-Israel agenda,” Danon said.

“When someone issues a false and defamatory report in the name of the U.N.,” Haley said, “it is appropriate that the person resign.”

 

The Road To Apartheid Is Paved With…License Plates?

Speaking of license plates, this reminds me of the case of the 3 Israeli teen kidnapping: Roy Tov, a former Israeli military-intelligence insider, has blown the whistle on them in his new article 3 Boys for the West Bank. Tov agrees that the official story of the kidnapping is riddled with holes. The criminals’ car had Jewish license plates, the killers spoke Hebrew, and the police had no valid excuse for writing off the emergency call from one of the victims as a prank and then doing nothing for five hours.

“Her exact words were something along the lines of, “never, ever get into a car with _____-colored license plates.”

Growing up, my family used to take a lot of road trips. Â During these journeys through America, my siblings and I would whittle away the hours by cataloging the various license plates we encountered along the highways and biways of our nation.

There was a points system that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say that Alaska and Hawaii each commanded a whopping 100. Â The other point values were doled out with great exasperation by my mother, whose road trip duties constantly shifted between navigator and ring referee to mine and my brother’s backseat brawls.

Since then, I never knew different colored license plates could spur that much acrimony until I landed in Israel, and my tour guide explained very matter-of-factly the hierarchy of Israeli license plates. Â Her exact words were something along the lines of, “never, ever get into a car with _____-colored license plates.”

Now, I don’t remember exactly what color I was supposed to avoid like the plague, but it wouldn’t matter anyhow. Â Outside of military, police or U.N. vehicles, every car I’ve seen – and every car in which I’ve ridden – has bright yellow plates. Â And best I can gather, these aren’t terrorists’ cars that take me to and from Kfar Hastudentim. Â In fact, I’m assuming my lovely tour guide would be very pleased with my choice of taxis.

The problem is, I’m not. Â It pains me to see this yellow monopoly on Israeli highways. Â These thoroughfares are almost universally restricted to citizens of Israel, while Palestinians are forced to endure checkpoint after checkpoint. Â A settler’s 15-minute commute becomes for a Palestinian a two-hour ordeal, complete oftentimes with harassment and mistreatment.

I don’t throw out the A-word lightly, but this discrimination brings about memories of Apartheid, with its bantustans and heavy restrictions on movement. Â Government policy has effectively isolated each Palestinian town, while ‘thinning out’ others in what one NGO worker has called “incremental displacement”.

And with settlements continuing to crop up between Arab outposts, the possibility of a viable separate state becomes more and more unlikely. Â As Jewish settlers zoom overhead along Route 60 or Highway 443, Palestinian minibuses rumble along winding dirt roads below, for all intents and purposes, trapped in their own hometowns.

And all this because their license plates aren’t yellow.

Sam Melamed is a Masa participant, participating in Career Israel, one of Masa Israel‘s 160 programs.