Israel accused of apartheid by Human Rights Watch
However, after decades of warnings, the report says the “threshold” of a crime against humanity has already been crossed. “The Israeli government has demonstrated its intention to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” the report reads. “This intention has been accompanied by systematic oppression of the Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they constitute the crime of apartheid,” he concludes.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the report “fiction” and said the claims were “absurd and false”.
“Human Rights Watch is known to have a longstanding anti-Israel agenda, actively seeking for years to promote the boycott against Israel. This report is yet another part of the organization’s ongoing campaign … completely unrelated to the facts or reality on the ground. field, ”the ministry said in a statement.
HRW said the report aimed to compare Israeli law and government policy with legal standards governing the crimes of apartheid and persecution. The report’s release comes three months after a similar publication by Israel’s human rights organization B’Tselem, which also accused Israel of becoming an “apartheid regime” arguing that the traditional view Israel as a democracy living side by side with a temporary Israeli occupation of the territories “imposed on some five million Palestinian subjects … has strayed from reality.”
It also comes just weeks after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced that it was continuing an investigation into war crimes against Israel with a focus, among other things, on Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank. According to HRW, its findings mean that the ICC should move forward and “investigate and prosecute those credibly implicated” in apartheid and persecution.
Israel seized the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza during a war with its Arab neighbors in 1967. Most of the international community considers the three territories to be occupied Palestinian territory and any construction of settlements there is illegal there. under international law. Israel challenges these characterizations by citing biblical claims to the land and the ambiguous status it held under prior Jordanian and Egyptian control.
The Oslo Accords, signed in the 1990s, which granted limited autonomy to Palestinians in Gaza and parts of the West Bank, were intended to pave the way for a final resolution of the conflict before the turn of the century. More than 25 years later, there is no sign of the much-vaunted two-state solution, which would see an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel.
According to HRW, the peace process, a phrase it quotes in the report, is being used as a smokescreen by Israel and its supporters “to oppose efforts for international rights-based action or of accountability and as a cover for Israel’s entrenched discriminatory rule over Palestinians in the OPT. “
The term apartheid originated in South Africa, where it defined a system of racial segregation and “separate development” operating between 1948 and 1994, which aimed to confine non-whites to “autonomous Bantustans”, stripping them of their citizenship and placing them. under the administration of puppet regimes. Israel rejects comparisons with apartheid-era South Africa, arguing that it lacks the complexity of the situation with the Palestinians and ignores security threats.
“The purpose of this false report is in no way related to human rights, but to an ongoing attempt by HRW to undermine the right of the State of Israel to exist as a nation-state of Jewish people, ”Strategic Affairs Minister Michael Biton said.
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh welcomed the report and said it was time for the international community to shoulder its responsibilities.
“The traditional situation, where many countries around the world are announcing their position against the occupation without real sanctions and without revising their relations and agreements with Israel on various diplomatic, cultural and trade relations, can and must not continue,” he said. he said in a press release.