AS PEOPLE around the world mark Israeli Apartheid Week, MP Miki Zohar of Israel’s ruling party said the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “dead” — and that Israel must impose apartheid on the Palestinian people.
Following Mr Zohar’s comments in a Sunday TV interview, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday that the US had warned Tel Aviv against annexing the occupied West Bank.
He said he had received phone calls “from the entire world” demanding an explanation after Mr Zohar, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, called for a one-state solution in which Palestinians would have no parliamentary representation.
“We received a direct message — not an indirect message and not a hint — from the United States,” Mr Lieberman told the Knesset’s foreign affairs and defence committee.
“Imposing Israeli sovereignty on Judea and Samaria would mean an immediate crisis with the new administration,” he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank favoured by zionist parties.
On Sunday Mr Zohar told national TV channel i24News: “The two-state solution is dead.”
“What is left is a one-state solution with the Arabs here [not holding] full citizenship, because full citizenship can allow them to vote to the Knesset,” he said.
“They will get all of the rights like every citizen except voting for the Knesset.
“They will be able to vote and be elected in their city under administrative autonomy and under Israeli sovereignty and with complete security control.”
Mr Zohar qualified his plan by saying the 2.5 million residents of the West Bank could gain full voting rights by serving in the Israeli army or civil service.
When journalist Tami Molad, another guest on the programme, expressed scepticism that millions of Palestinians would enlist in the occupation forces, Mr Zohar agreed they would “let go” of the offer of full citizenship. “The Palestinians will have to choose if they want to be citizens with equal rights or not,” he said.
Mr Zohar lamented that Israel had not wrought more devastation on the besieged Gaza Strip during its last onslaught on the enclave in 2014.
“Maybe the next time, we’ll not finish only a third, maybe all of Gaza,” he boasted, insisting Israel had to prove it was stronger than Hamas, the Islamist movement that governs Gaza.
Last month US President Donald Trump said he was open to a one-state solution to the Israeli occupation, which the Palestine Liberation Organisation immediately condemned.
Britain’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign said Mr Zohar had been emboldened by Mr Trump’s vocal support for Israel.
PSC director Ben Jamal said: “Miki Zohar’s vision of a one-state solution in which Palestinians are denied basic citizenship rights is a straightforward call for an apartheid state.
“The message the international community sends to Israel must be clear: We will not permit you to privilege one group over another on the basis of ethnicity or cultural heritage.”
Mr Zohar’s comments came as South Africa, where apartheid was overthrown two decades ago, prepared to mark Israeli Apartheid Week. British student bodies held their own events last week.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) — allied to the ANC liberation movement — hosted the opening event at its Johannesburg headquarters.
Cosatu called for a renewed worldwide boycott of Israel, one of apartheid South Africa’s staunchest allies to the end.
The federation has been forced to defend itself in court over recent weeks against allegations of anti-semitism by the South African Board of Jewish Deputies and the South African Human Rights Commission.
Israeli Interior Ministry spokesman Barak Seri said the northern Israeli Arab village of Jatt had taken down the sign from a street recently named after late Palestinian Liberation Organisation leader and national hero Yasser Arafat.
On Sunday Mr Netanyahu said he would not allow streets to be “named after murderers of Israelis and Jews.”