May 27, 2007
A former Israeli Knesset member Azmi Bishara has compared the Zionist regime to the former apartheid South Africa.
In interview with al-Manar Television Network on Saturday, the former parliamentarian said, "Israel isn't the only democracy in the Middle East, nor is it a liberal democracy. It is a colonialist democracy."
Bishara is currently under investigation for several alleged offenses, including money laundering.
"Just like the white people in South Africa went about their business in a democratic way, so does Israel. The settlers behave in a democratic fashion and the original residents have been made into a minority who can participate in the democratic process," said Bishara.
"I was recently asked' can you talk this way anywhere else? Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt - only Israel allows such freedom of speech.'," said Bishara. "Give us Palestine", I told them, "and take your democracy back".
He also criticized Arab overtures towards peace. "The Arab peace plan is aimed at the United States, as a response to the disintegrating image of its Arab allies," said Bishara.
"We have made a big mistake in our political, cultural life, in the way we took to the Arab peace initiative. Israel rejected the plan," added Bishara "which should have put an end to it all together. Why is it than, that we keep holding on to it?"
"…A peace initiative is the stronger side's privilege. A peace initiative presented by the lesser side can only be considered as weakness. Israel, in spite of the peace initiative, entered Ramallah," he explained. "The Arabs didn't wait, and immediately lowered their expectations by agreeing to the Road Map."
Bishara said Arab factions must form "a strategic unification of all resistance movements...which will allow us to meet our goal - freedom".
"The victory in 2000 was a victory not just for Lebanon, but for all Arab people," he said of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in that year. Lessons must be learned from this victory, he added.