NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Ratner on Israeli apartheid Pt.1


    Michael Ratner reports on his recent visit to the West Bank -   February 15, 2010
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter




    Understanding info is a powerful thing. Thank you to all of your reporters for making a significant difference. - Nancy SmithEaken
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include "Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America," and “ Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder.” NOTE: Mr. Ratner speaks on his own behalf and not for any organization with which he is affiliated.


    Transcript

    Ratner on Israeli apartheid Pt.1PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in New York City, and joining us now is Michael Ratner. He's the president for the Center for Constitutional Rights. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

    MICHAEL RATNER, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Good to be with you, Paul.

    JAY: So you just got back from the Middle East. You were part of the Gaza Freedom March delegation. Tell us about your experiences.

    RATNER: Well, we went on roughly Christmas Day. We flew to Cairo. We had hoped to get into Gaza, which, as is well known, I think, to everyone, is under a siege right now, a blockade. We spent five days in Cairo really demonstrating with 1,400 other people in an attempt to push the Egyptian government and who's ever behind the blockade, the Israelis and the United States, to let the 1,400 of us into Gaza. We didn't make it. I was there with my wife and my two children, and we decided, well, we're not going to be able to go to Gaza, to see Gaza. Why don't we go to the occupied territories of the West Bank? And so that's what we did. We flew to Tel Aviv, took a car into East Jerusalem, and then began a series of visits to East Jerusalem, Hebron, Jenin, and the West Bank.

    JAY: Now, who'd you go with?

    RATNER: I went with my wife and my two children, who are 19 and 21. None of us had been to the Middle East.

    JAY: On your own.

    RATNER: Right. We went on our own.

    JAY: Okay, now, a family of American Jews in the West Bank—was there any issue? Did you ever feel uncomfortable?

    RATNER: We generally had a Palestinian with us who was a guide, and that worked out quite well. I mean, I think Jenin is a place that was probably in many ways where you just didn't see anybody else who was not a Palestinian. I mean, Jenin is completely controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Jenin is where, of course, the well-known refugee camp is where the US decimated much of it, you know, a few years ago. But we didn't feel uncomfortable at all. We went through checkpoints—because, obviously, there's Israeli checkpoints—not obviously, but there are, everywhere you go in the West Bank—leaving Jerusalem, going into the various towns. In the towns there's checkpoints. Jenin is one place where there are no checkpoints inside. Getting into Jenin, yes, there is.

    JAY: So what did you see and how did it affect you?

    RATNER: We were appalled by what we saw, and it was much worse than I expected. I mean, I had been, you know, very sympathetic to the plight of Palestinians, to what I've heard about how they're treated, to what—the term "apartheid" is thrown around a lot, and, sadly, what I saw was much worse than I expected. You can begin with, really, in East Jerusalem. You go to East Jerusalem, which, of course was captured in 1967 by Israel, and slowly, ever so slowly, and maybe more rapidly, Palestinians are being pushed out of East Jerusalem. Their houses are being demolished. We visited the houses of people who had—we visited the homes of people who had had their houses demolished. They were rebuilt, demolished again and again. That goes on in East Jerusalem. We then went to what's, quote, a "settlement". It's called Ma'ale Adumim, which is about 2 or 3 kilometers to the east. You look across from the hill in East Jerusalem to the settlement. "Settlement" is a strange word. It's one you see in the media all the time. This is not a settlement. This was a suburb of 50,000 people, what they call a "dormitory community", what we would call in the US a "bedroom community", completely green and utterly parched land with a swimming pool as big as I've ever seen being constructed. This is a settlement. And, of course, no Palestinians can live in that settlement. And when you realize what's going on in East Jerusalem, they're not only clearing East Jerusalem of many Palestinians; they're going out many kilometers, building these settlements, and then they're going to incorporate them into what they call the "Jerusalem envelope"—completely illegal, of course. It's an occupied territory. You're not allowed [to do that] under the Geneva Conventions. But, of course, look what it's doing to Palestinians. So my children and I and my wife saw it; we just couldn't believe it. I mean, it's unclear to me how anybody can accept this going on in the world today, that you occupy territory, push people out, and then increase your own territory at the expense of the occupants. So that was just the beginning. We then went—again, a similar experience in Hebron, but really, really moving and tense and difficult. Hebron is a place of 160,000 Palestinians. Six hundred or so settler Israelis have moved into the middle of Hebron and various places. There's more outside of it, but in the middle. And what they've done is they've gone into a block in Hebron, 100, let's say, at a time. They've taken over an area that's 30 blocks wide, filled with Palestinians. They're living right in the middle of that in a couple of apartment houses. As a result, there are guard points, Israeli guards all around that 40 blocks, not just around the settlers. And for a Palestinian to get in, they have to walk in and take groceries on their back or they have to take a mule or donkey [inaudible]

    JAY: 'Cause they are not allowed [inaudible] car there.

    RATNER: No Palestinians can drive into their entire 20-square-block, lets say, area. And you go in there where the Israelis are living in the middle of that village, and they have cars. They drive in. We saw them drive in. They have an ambulance, given by somebody from Palm Beach with a Magen David, a Jewish star on it, and that ambulance can only take the settlers in and out of the village; it can't touch the Palestinians.

    JAY: So what happens if there's a Palestinian that needs an ambulance?

    RATNER: They have to get a special permission from various authorities, including, of course, obviously, the guards that they show their permission to, and that can take one, two, three days. In fact, when we were in another city in the West Bank, in Jenin, the director of the place we were seeing was trying to get an ambulance to get a kid into a good hospital, and that was taking him time. It was a nine-month-old kid that was going to die unless they got him. So Hebron was really intense, I mean, in the sense that what you saw was happening to Palestinians was terrible. And what you also saw was the teaching of hate and the empowerment, sadly, of small Jewish kids, when one occasion we were on the roof of a Palestinian house overlooking some of the settlement, and these young kids felt empowered to throw stones at us, which is remarkable. And our host actually had a number of scars on top of his head where he had stones thrown at him.

    JAY: What's the presence of the army in this situation?

    RATNER: Well, the army's everywhere in Hebron. The army is on every corner. It doesn't stop people from throwing stones.

    JAY: Is that part of the empowerment [inaudible]

    RATNER: Yes, that is. And there is an army sort of—you wouldn't call it a "base", 'cause it's much too small, but a army contingent within each of these little settlements. This one maybe had 12 or 20 all behind, like, that wire mesh and everything, watching everything that goes on. And to go into these communities, the Palestinians not only can't drive; they have to go through checkpoints to get in. So this is—I mean, you just can't believe. Hebron. And then, of course, there's an entire street in Hebron that on both sides of the street was part of the old market metal doors, which had been sealed shut by the Israelis with metal bars. They've closed the market entirely, because there's settlers living in and around that market. And on each of those market doors a Jewish star has been painted, as if to say this is now Jewish property, Jews own this. And so you see that in that market. Another part of the market that's under where the settlers live is covered with wire mesh, and the top of the market is roofed by wire mesh, and it's filled with bottles and garbage because settlers throw that stuff down onto the market. So Hebron was a place that—if you want to talk about a system of apartheid (and past systems) that reflects really what many have said South Africa was like, if not worse, go to Hebron.

    JAY: Where'd you go after Hebron?

    RATNER: Then we went to the northern part of what you call the occupied territories of the West Bank. One of those northern cities is Jenin. Jenin was the site of the famous US incursion into the Jenin refugee camp. And I should say there are refugee camps everywhere, and those refugees that we've met, many of them were pushed out of Israel in '47-'48 during the first war, and then, after the second war in '67, had to be pushed out again into different camps. So we met Palestinians who've been displaced twice and are still living in refugee camps. Jenin is run by the Palestinian Authority. In Jenin we went to a place called the Jenin Freedom Theater, which is a really special place. It's run by someone who's working with Palestinians, young people from the camps, who have so much tremendous anger over seeing what has happened in their town, which is the Israeli incursions, their fathers or their parents injured, killed, or jailed. Thousands were jailed during the second intifada. And it deals with them to try and bring that out during acting in plays. And it also is very critical of the Palestinian Authority; it's not just critical of the Israelis; it's critical of, really, the fact that the Palestinian Authority is seen by many people in the West Bank as a corrupt group. So our overall impression of the West Bank was that Israel's—first, it's grabbing as much land as it can. It's creating a series of roads that will only go from one sort of Palestinian area to another Palestinian area, with the settlers surrounding them in different areas. The roads we saw were—a lot of them were divided roads in two ways. One is some roads only Palestinians can drive on, and only Israelis on a different road. And other roads actually have a division down the middle, where Palestinians drive on one side, or Israelis drive on the other. So here's what you have. You have villages and areas that Palestinians can't live in. You have guards and security where Palestinians, to go through, need various colored passes. Some from East Jerusalem have a certain kind; some from Israel have another kind; some from the West Bank have another kind. Similarly with license plates. Then you have a set of roads, some for Palestinians, some for Israelis. When you hear the word "apartheid", it's not misused about the West Bank and Israel or about Israel itself.

    JAY: Well, in the next segment of our interview, let's talk about the Geneva conventions and international law, 'cause you said this is a violation of international law. So what, if anything, is being done about it, and what are the consequences of this on US policy? So please join us for the next segment our interview with Michael Ratner.

    DISCLAIMER:

    Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee complete accuracy.


    More Info


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting