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Israel’s actions in West Bank like Nazi Germany, says retired general

Amiram Levin, who served as commander of the army’s northern forces, said there was 'total apartheid' in the occupied territory

Amiram Levin said there was ‘total apartheid’ in the occupied West Bank CREDIT: Eyal Warshavsky/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A retired Israeli general and former Mossad spy accused his country’s government of “total apartheid” as he appeared to compare the occupied West Bank to Nazi Germany.

Amiram Levin, who served as commander of the Israeli army’s northern forces and deputy director of Mossad, made the remarks during an interview with the Israeli broadcaster Kan.

“There hasn’t been a democracy there in 57 years. There is total apartheid,” Mr Levin said, referring to the ongoing Israeli military occupation of the West Bank.

“It [the army] is standing by, looking at the settler rioters and is beginning to be a partner to war crimes. These are deep processes,” he added.

Israel increasingly faces accusations from human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, of imposing apartheid on Palestinians in the West Bank. But such criticism from former military commanders or other senior officials is rare.

Later in the interview, the former Mossad deputy drew an apparent comparison between Nazi Germany and the situation in the West Bank, which this year has suffered some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in two decades.

“Walk around Hebron and you will see streets where Arabs cannot walk, just like what happened in Germany,” the Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying, referring to the southern West Bank city where Palestinians live in close quarters with a Jewish settler minority backed by the army.

Change of heart

Mr Levin’s comments suggest he has had a profound change of heart on the issue since 2017, when he claimed Palestinians “deserved” to be occupied.

Danny Danon, a senior figure in Israel’s ruling Likud party, rejected the claims. “Those who compare us to Germany or the Nazi regime should be examined,” he said.

Israel’s government vehemently denies the charge of apartheid and has suggested that applying the label to Israel is anti-Semitic. Apartheid was the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by South Africa’s white minority government against black people from 1948 to 1991.

In recent years a number of human rights groups, including Israeli organisations, have started using the word in the context of the West Bank occupation.

In January 2021, the leading Israeli rights groups B’Tselem levelled the charge against Israel for the first time. This was followed by an April 2021 report by Human Rights Watch accusing Israel of “committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution”.

The following January, Amnesty International published its own report accusing Israel of apartheid on the grounds that it “considers and treats Palestinians as an inferior non-Jewish racial group”.

It is not the first time a former senior Israeli official has issued the apartheid charge. In 2015, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “On the Palestinian matter, his policies are leading to either a binational state or an apartheid state.”


(c) 2023, The Telegraph


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