Opinion

Israeli Coverage of the Incident at Umm al-Hiran Is Proof That Apartheid Exists

In the so-Orwellian Israeli animal farm, pigs live in Amona and rats live in Umm al-Hiran.

Bedouin women react to the destruction of houses on January 18, 2017 in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, near the Negev desert city of Beersheba.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

In the so-Orwellian Israeli animal farm, “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” as Orwell put it. Take, for example, the pigs from the settlement of Amona. The greedy pigs, lords of the land, who blocked the land of other animals, Palestinians who are less equal than they, who deserve less equality. When the court declared that the pigs must be removed from Amona, the media screamed out the settlers’ desperate cry. The poor victims. For months the media screamed out their cry. Just like the loyal pig from the book, Squealer, the aide and spokesman of the racist pig Napoleon.

For months the public heard about the distress of Amona’s settlers and the supreme efforts the government was making to satisfy and appease them and prevent their evacuation. In contrast, the police raided Umm al-Hiran without any prior notice. Negotiations have been underway for months over evacuation of the Bedouin from there. But Squealer didn’t squeal. The squealing media doesn’t care about the Bedouin. In Israel, Bedouin are less equal animals. They deserve less equality.

Considering the media silence over talks on the evacuation of Umm al-Hiran, the debate over whether there is or is not apartheid can be silenced in the Israeli media, which of course reflects apartheid in society. There can be no doubt that the Bedouin residents of Umm al-Hiran were discriminated against, methodically so, in the media coverage following the court order to evacuate them. The resemblance between their story and that of Amona is so great that it is almost the exact negative.

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The public did not hear a word about Umm al-Hiran, which means the community does not exist. Like the residents of Amona, the intention was to move the residents of Umm al-Hiran a short distance away to an alternative site, by the name of Hura. Squealer did not say a word about this. Squealer never heard of a hole named Hura, while next to Umm al-Hiran a Jewish community by the name of Hiran is going up. A community of animals who are more equal.

Why did the flock of sheep at home, grazing in front of the television, hear endlessly about the distress of Amona yet heard not a word about the distress of Umm al-Hiran? The answer is: apartheid. There is no other answer. The only difference between the stories is that pigs live in Amona and rats live in Umm al-Hiran.

There was a time, in a different place, where the pigs had suffered terribly, much more than the rats, when they lived on Mr. Jones’ farm. But then they rebelled and established their own farm. Slowly but surely they started to look more like Mr. Jones.

The pigs are not wrong. Anything they do is right. And so, of course, they were not wrong when a large police force entered Umm al-Hiran before dawn. Only the rats who lived there were wrong. It’s all their fault. They are wrong all the time. They are worth nothing.