Former Israeli army Northern Command commander Amiram Levin stated that there has been “absolute apartheid” in the occupied West Bank for the past 57 years, during an interview with Kan Public Broadcasting Service radio on Sunday morning. Levin served in the IDF from 1965-1998, starting as a paratrooper and finishing as commander of Northern Command. Levin also served as deputy head of the Mossad.
“Bring home our soldiers from the [occupied] territories”, mothers of soldiers’ banner at the weekly pro-democracy protest in Kaplan Street at Tel Aviv, August 12, 2023 (Photo: Mothers against violence)
Speaking to Kan, Amiram Levin, former head of the Israeli army’s Northern Command, said that “there hasn’t been a democracy there in 57 years, there is total apartheid.” According to Levin, “the IDF, which is forced to exert sovereignty there, is rotting from the inside. It’s standing by, looking at the settler rioters and is beginning to be a partner to war crimes. These are deep processes.”
“[Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] is sharp and he has always been sharp, but he’s startled by the case against him and the too-long years in power have done their work. There is no one who stays in power that long and doesn’t fall to the sin of hubris, who isn’t surrounded by sycophants instead of serious people who would give him a real picture of things,” said Levin.
“A Messianic, criminal group who graduated from the hilltop youth took advantage of his weakness, people who do not even understand what democracy is. They came from the West Bank. For 57 years there has been no democracy there. There is absolute apartheid there. The IDF against its will has to enforce sovereignty there and is standing by and watching the rampant settlers and is beginning to be complicit in war crimes. Walk around Hebron and you will see streets where Arabs cannot walk, just like what happened in Germany.”
Levin’s comments come a day after a speech he made Saturday at the weekly pro-democracy protest in Kaplan Street at Tel Aviv, in which he called on to stand up against Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who “are trying to drag you into war crimes.” “If the terrible moment comes when you will be required to decide between the court and a government of criminals – Choose democracy! We will all stand behind you, fearlessly and unreservedly,” said Levin.
Protests against the Netanyahu government’s plan to overhaul the judicial system took place on Saturday night in multiple locations across Israel for the 32nd straight week. Thousands of protesters gathered in the southern town of Ashdod. Union of Social Workers’ chairperson Inbal Hermoni spoke and said that one of the coup’s main goals is to hurt labor unions. “The same people who lead the ‘judicial reform’ are the ones interested in weakening and taking away worker’s rights – which is all of us!”, Hermoni said, adding that “the judicial coup is preparing the ground for criminal legislation against workers.”
Hermoni also mentioned that during the last three decades different governments have privatized Israel’s social services to the lowest bidder. “Profit considerations replaced welfare considerations,” Hermoni said. “With the changing governments – we have discharged the values of mutual responsibility and social solidarity. We left the weak, poor and minorities on the side of the road. That’s the fertile ground for alienation, violence and eventually fascism,” She added. “This is why it is our responsibility not only to stop the judicial coup but to make sure that at the end of it we won’t be back at the point where we stood on October 30, 2022,” referring to the elections which brought the current government into power.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near the central town of Herzlyia municipal building, which has become the central location for protesters in the Sharon area. Einat Ovadia, head of the Zulat Institute for Equality and Human Rights spoke at the Herzlyia protest and said that the current Israeli government is a “racist government where Kahanists raise their head with pride, who embraces the hilltop youth and encourages Jewish terror.”