Wednesday, May 28, 2014

FW de Klerk: "It is unfair to call Israel an Apartheid state"

Haifa University conferred its highest distinction on a number of dignitaries this year, including former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk.

The honorary degree was awarded in recognition of Mr FW de Klerk's leadership which has brought about the end of the policy of racial segregation in South Africa; for his actions to promote constitutionalism and a shared life; and for his promotion of pluralism and equality without prejudice.

The ceremony took place today, Tuesday 27th May, in Haifa.

He was then interviewed on Israel's Channel 2 News by Udi Segal. I have translated the Hebrew in the video for you to understand and have also provided a transcript of the video below:

John Kerry, threw the word Apartheid into the Middle East debate a few weeks ago, which is what the radical Left in Israel also claims, but the person who knows the word Apartheid very well, the person who ended this racist regime as the President of South Africa, FW De Klerk, he is now the one who said today in a special interview with Udi Segal that this comparison is unnecessary and not fair.

On the other hand he says to learn from his experience to initiate this and to walk in the enemies shoes in order to try solve the conflict. Tonight he is receiving his honorary doctorate from the Haifa University. Here are his words:

Udi Segal:
This man who made history when he brought down the Apartheid regime with Nelson Mandela, former South African president FW De Klerk, rejects the international comparisons and he states, as someone with experience, that Israel is not an Apartheid state, and as opposed to Kerry's comment, Israel is not on the way there.

FW de Klerk:
You have closed borders but America has closed borders, they dont allow every Mexican who wants to come in come in. You have Palestinians living in Israel with full political rights represented in the Knesset. You dont have discriminatory laws against them that they may not swim on certain beaches or anything like that. I think its unfair to call Israel an Apartheid state. If Kerry did so I think he made a mistake.

Udi Segal:
To be fair, Kerry said that Israel can be an Apartheid state if it will not go to the 2-state solution. Do you think it can be an Apartheid state?

FW de Klerk:
The test will be, does everybody living then in such a unitary state, will everybody have full political rights? Will everybody enjoy their full human rights? If they will, it's not an Apartheid state.

Udi Segal:
In other words this is not the situation and Israel might only get to this state in the case where 1 state has 2 Nationalities.
De Klerk claims that the situation is different between the 2 states (IL & SA), that the idea of separation couldn't have worked in South Africa but could be the most moral solution in Israel, however it may disappear.

FW de Klerk:
In the case of South Africa, we became economically totally integrated and it no longer made sense. We became an economic omelette and once you make an omelette out of eggs you can never separate the yellow and the white again. So no, in our case, the concept of separateness failed. Im not saying its the right solution for Israel but there will come in Israel a turning point where if the main obstacles at the moment which exist through a successful 2 state solution are not remove, the 2 state will become impossible. So, as an outsider I would say, believing that a 2 state solution might be the best one, you will have to move fast, see the window of opportunity, jump through it, it might close.

Udi Segal:
This evening De Klerk received the honorary doctorate from the Haifa University.
It's his 6th visit to Israel. He knows and loves Israel and he is careful not to give advice but give hints as to what the way is to get out of this deadlocks of the negotiations. In short, Netanyahu and Abu Mazzen are doing the opposite of this.

Its called trust.

FW de Klerk:
When we had deadlocks, our biggest success was when Mandela put himself in my position and went out of his way to understand my position and I at the same time put myself in Mandela's position and went out of my way to accommodate his core concerns and to break a deadlock you need initiatives. We sat down and said lets draw a list, what do we agree upon? ,and the list was longer than we expected and then slowly but surely we worked first on the easier things, where it was more easy through a give or take process to find each other and we reserved the most difficult ones for later and in the end we forced ourselves, we weren't forced by outside forces, we forced ourselves to say we have made such big progress, we must now resolve these difficult points.

Here is a short version with only his English comments

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