“‘Imprisonment Wall’ is more descriptive than ‘Security Fence.'”
— Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President, in writing about Israel’s notorious Apartheid Wall. 
Washington, D.C. – "The logic of both Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa can be found in their common origins as settler states," said Professor William Fletcher. On Dec. 1, 2006, he gave a talk at the Palestine Center, entitled, "Two Walled Cities: Jerusalem and Johannesburg, Apartheid and Palestine." Fletcher emphasized: "In both cases the settlers created myths, semi-religious or explicitly religious, including that God had provided the land for them and that the land was unoccupied upon arrival…In both cases, the settlers portrayed themselves to be victims against the natives, who were described as semi-barbaric and/or intolerant. Given the permanent state of siege, every settler state’s aggression came to be described as a defensive act." 
Fletcher, a native of New York City, was a former assistant to President John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO and the ex-CEO of the TransAfrica Forum. He is presently the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. A graduate of Harvard, in 1976, with a B.A. degree in Government, he now lives in Maryland with his family. In his youth, Fletcher dabbled in the politics of the Black Panther Party and helped to form a "Black Student Alliance" on his high school campus. 
Continuing, Fletcher said: "For the settler state, [Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa], there is a zero sum calculation when it comes to the natives. This does not necessarily mean that the natives necessarily must be annihilated, but it does mean the natives can never be allowed to prevail. In this context, one can look at Jerusalem and Apartheid-era Johannesburg as emblematic of settlers’ strategy and of the settler state as a whole. Though there are significant differences between Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa, e. g. the religious significance of Jerusalem, the settlers’ approach in both cases in these cities shares much in common. In the case of Jerusalem, the entire city has been seized by the settlers, who have no intention of sharing it with the Palestinians. The settler plan is one of driving out the Palestinians through a combination of intimidation and inconvenience, otherwise known as psychological warfare. That is the painful difficulty encountered by Palestinians living in occupied East Jerusalem. Johannesburg, however, was constructed to be for whites only." 
More tie-ins between the duo regimes: While Nelson Mandela, later the first President of a free South Africa, languished in a prison cell for close to 27 years, mostly on Robben Island, the Apartheid-era South African clique and the government of Zionist Israel were in bed together. The authors, Edward Herman and Gerry O’Sullivan, experts on state terrorism, wrote: "[They] had a de facto military alliance for many years, and Israel had given support to all of South Africa’s terrorist clients, including UNITA and RENAMO."  In 1979, there was even media speculation that Israel-South Africa had jointly tested "a nuclear weapon" in the Indian Ocean. Both governments denied that charge. 
Fletcher underscored: "Each settler state has handled its indigenous population somewhat differently…In South Africa…the premium was placed on the removal of the natives from the land and their sociopolitical marginalization. In the case of Palestine, I would argue a bit of both seems to be underway. Though the emphasis seems to be on the removal from land. In both the Occupied Territories and Apartheid-era South Africa, the settler state wishes to make the situation so inhospitable that the indigenous people leave on their own. It combines violent coercion with what can be described as…psychological warfare…Just as the Apartheid-era South African regime presented itself to the world as visonary…creating those fictitious Homelands…with limited resources…[for the natives]…so too, do the Israelis when it comes to their vision of a Palestinian state or statelet." 
A question was raised by an audience member about ex-President Jimmy Carter’s new book and about Rep. John Conyers’ (D-MI) criticism of the use of the word "Apartheid" in its title.  Fletcher responded: "I think [Conyers] should have just kept his mouth shut…I was very troubled by that. And, I have to say to some extent, I was surprised…He needs to hear from his friends…This was really off-the-wall. This was wrong."
Relevant to Fletcher’s theme, former President Jimmy Carter put the nub of the Israel-Palestine question this way in his latest best selling book: “The overriding problem is that, for more than a quarter century, the actions of some Israeli leaders have been in direct conflict with the official policies of the United States, the international community, and their own negotiated agreements. Israel’s continued control and colonization of Palestinian land have been the primary obstacles to a comprehensive peace agreement in the Holy Land. In order to perpetuate the occupation, Israeli forces have deprived their unwilling subjects of basic human rights. No objective person could personally observe existing conditions in the West Bank and dispute these statements.” 
If the above didn’t hit home hard enough, President Carter added this mega zinger: “The ‘Wall’ ravages many places along its devious route that are important to Christians. In addition to enclosing Bethlehem in one of its most notable intrusions, an especially heartbreaking division is on the southern slope of the Mount of Olives, a favorite place for Jesus and his disciples, and very near Bethany, where they often visited Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. There is a church named for one of the sisters, Santa Marta Monastery, where Israel’s thirty-foot concrete wall cuts through the property. The house of worship is now on the Jerusalem side, and its parishioners are separated from it because they cannot get permits to enter Jerusalem. Its priest, Father Claudio Ghilardi, says, ‘For nine hundred years we have lived here under Turkish, British, Jordanian, and Israeli governments, and no one has ever stopped people coming to pray. It is scandalous. This is not about a barrier. It is a border. Why don’t they speak the truth?’ Countering Israeli arguments that the wall is to keep Palestinian suicide bombers from Israel, Father Claudio adds a comment that describes the path of the entire barrier: ‘The Wall is not separating Palestinians from Jews; rather Palestinians from Palestinians.’ Nearby are three convents that will also be cut off from the people they serve. The 2,000 Palestinian Christians have lost their place of worship and their spiritual center.” 
Getting back to Fletcher. He said: "The Carter’s book offers a really great opportunity for people to say, ‘The guy is right.’ Even if that is all we say, it starts to have an impact. I’m convinced, particularly that when I look at the poll numbers in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon…that we actually can shift opinion." Throughout his talk, Fletcher also gave vivid examples of the evils of colonialism, with regard to the massive crimes of the British in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania and in Ireland. 
Fletcher mentioned, too, the defeat in the Democratic Primary of Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) in the last election and how she was targeted by the Zionists for daring to speak out for human rights for the Palestinians. He said, "Zionist elements wanted her out!" Fletcher said she was an "apparition that floated behind every member of the Congressional Black Caucus." He added, people who support a free and democratic Palestine need to learn how to organize and "to mobilize" politically around that issue. That can mean, he argued, giving candidates who are under attack, like McKinney, money for their campaign and volunteers. "There is no room for lethargy. Wishful thinking," the idea that if a candidate does the right thing, people will rush in to support the politico, "is the problem."
Finally, Fletcher made this chilling statement, with regard to Israel-Palestine, he said: "Clearly, there are economic objectives that are there in terms of seizing the land-getting the best land…But, the Israeli state is a rabid state. And, I don’t think that we should ever assume that they wouldn’t do something maniacal. You know, like unleashing a nuclear weapon, if they felt that they had to, regardless of the consequences. And, I think that they would do so with the assumption that the U.S. would support them."
. “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid” by Jimmy Carter.