Knesset Member Ofer Shelah (Yesh Atid
) slammed the Israeli policy in the territories and asserted Israel
is on its way to become South Africa.
Shelah said the West Bank settlements pose an obstacle to a peace agreement. "The occupation corrupts Israeli society, the IDF
, Israeli justice, Israeli media, Israeli psyche and Israeli mode of speech," he claimed.
"Thinking the world will get used to this situation is similar to what white people used to say in South Africa."
MK Shelah's frank statements were delivered in a convention arranged by the Molad Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, which discussed the Arab League's peace initiative.
The convention, held in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was also attended by MKs Yoni Chetboun (Habayit Hayehudi
), Eitan Cabel (Labor
) and Tzipi Hotovely (Likud
Shelah lobbed his bomb after MK Hotovely, his partner in the coalition, claimed the settlements do not obstruct peace.
"Israel should honestly say that despite its leaders' true intentions to reach an agreement, the disparity between the sides, especially regarding the issues of right of return, Jerusalem and borders don't really
allow an agreement to be achieved," the deputy transport minister said.
Shelah answered that the preservation of the occupation will lead to disaster. "The settlements are an obstacle that just keeps growing. Israel is rapidly reaching the status of a South Africa," he warned.
"It (Israel) is on the verge of a products boycott
– first of those produced in the settlements, then those coming from anywhere in Israel.
"Its international standing keeps deteriorating. Of course, we'll always have Micronesia," he quipped. "but we've reached a stage where in a United Nations vote against the Palestinians only nine countries voted for us. The world has informed us that our being an occupying country is no longer tolerated."
The Yesh Atid MK added that the IDF was not spared from the effect he described. "The IDF is doing its best to conduct itself morally, I have no doubt about that," he said. "But it used to be that the words 'Israeli Defense Force' were self-evident because that's what the IDF did.
"It (the occupation) hurts the IDF on the operational level as well. The IDF of the Second Lebanon War
is a product of this situation, a product of operational corruption. When the military sits in a Palestinian family's living room for years, it becomes a less able force."
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