E. Costello : I believe in what does not need to believe in me.──J. M. Coetzee








I came to Palestine to see and listen and learn.  In the course of the past week I have seen and heard and learned a great deal. I come away with an enduring impression of the courage and resilience of the Palestinian people at this difficult time in their history. Also, of the grace and humour with which they respond to the frustrations and the humiliations of the occupation.

I was born and brought up in South Africa and so naturally people ask me what I see of South Africa in the present situation in Palestine. Using the word 'apartheid' to describe the way things are here I have never found to be a productive step. Like using the word 'genocide' to describe what happened in Turkey in the 1920s, using the word 'apartheid' diverts one into an inflamed semantic wrangle, which cuts short opportunities of analysis. 

Apartheid was a system of enforced segregation, based on race or ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive, self-defined group in order to consolidate colonial conquest and in particular to cement its hold on the land and natural resources. 

In Jerusalem and the West Bank, to speak only of Jerusalem and the West Bank, we see a system of enforced segregation, based on religion and ethnicity, put in place by an exclusive, self-defining group to consolidate a colonial conquest, in particular to maintain and indeed extend its hold on the land and its natural resources. Draw your own conclusions.