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The International Human Rights Organization accuses Israel of apartheid and persecution

JERUSALEM AL (AP) – One of the world’s most prominent human rights groups said on Tuesday that Israel was guilty of apartheid, international persecution, and discriminatory policies against Palestinians in its occupied territories.

In its 213-page report, New York-based Human Rights Watch joins a growing number of commentators and human rights groups who see the conflict not as a land dispute but as a regime in which about half of Palestinians live. The people of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza are systematically denied basic Jewish rights.

Israel categorically rejects this description, saying that its Arab minority enjoys full civil rights. It views Gaza, from which it recalled troops and settlers in 2005 as a hostile group led by the Islamic State militant group Hamas, and considers the Jordan River a disputed area of ​​peace talks that has collapsed. more than a decade ago.

Human Rights Watch focused its report on the definition of apartheid persecution used by the International Criminal Court, which last month launched an investigation into possible war crimes in Israel. Israel rejects the court as biased.

Citing official statements by Israeli leaders և official policy, HRW claims that Israel “pursues the goal of maintaining Jewish-Israeli supremacy over the Palestinians” in Israel, along the Jordan River, in Gaza, with “systematic pressure”.

“When these three elements come together, they constitute the crime of apartheid,” it said.

As for the allegations of persecution, the group cites “grave abuses” in the occupied territories, including the confiscation of land, the systematic denial of building permits, the demolition of houses, “restrictions on freedom of movement and basic human rights for decades.”

The preamble cites a number of policies he says are aimed at securing a Jewish majority in Israel – the lands he intends to preserve – while the Palestinians are largely confined to dispersed enclaves under Israeli-dominated control, encouraging Palestinians to leave.

Although such policies are much stricter in the Occupied Territories, HRW says they can be found in Israel, where Palestinians, who make up about 20% of the population, face widespread discrimination when it comes to housing. access to land և basic conditions. services

Omar Shakir, author of the Mar speech, said that from the early days of the peace process in the 1990s to the Obama years, “there was a lot of doubt as to whether there was any intention of permanent domination.”

Along with the destruction of the peace process. Israel’s plans to annex a third of the West Bank were suspended but never abandoned. Massive expansion of settlements և infrastructure that connects them to Israel. Adoption of a law on the disputed nation-state that favors the Jews. Many say that the current situation can no longer be considered temporary.

“Famous voices have been warning for years that Israeli behavior is turning into a risk of apartheid,” Shakir said. “This 213-page report shows that the threshold has been crossed.”

Israel rejected the report. The State Department “is aware that Human Rights Watch has a long-standing anti-Israel agenda.” “The imaginary allegations that HRW was made ‘useless’ are false.”

Proponents of Israel have denied the allegations in a statement issued Friday stating “Similar, baseless allegations concerning the Palestinian Authority have been made more than once.

Israel and the Palestinians have since held several rounds of peace talks, including discussions on Palestinian independence, but have failed to reach a final agreement.

Yevgeny Kontorovich, director of international law at the conservative Israeli Coalition Policy Forum, said the Palestinians were responsible for their own destiny. “They chose it, rejecting the alternatives,” he said.

HRW և Other human rights groups say that despite the existence of Palestinian Authority, Israel continues to dominate almost every aspect of Palestinian life, both on the West Bank and in Gaza.

Israel has exclusive control over the West Bank, 60% of its airspace, and places restrictions on movement and accommodation. Nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank have full Israeli citizenship, while 2.5 million Palestinians live under military rule in the area.

The discrepancy could be seen in Israel’s successful coronavirus vaccination campaign, in which residents freely offered staff but generally rejected their Palestinian neighbors.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza after the ouster of Hamas’s government has largely limited the 2 million Palestinians in the coastal zone and disrupted the economy. Israel imposes heavy restrictions on the movement of goods “outside the Gaza Strip” into the Gaza Strip, as neighboring Egypt does.

The agreements reached in the 1990s were intended to be temporary, pending a historic peace agreement that would establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank, most of Gaza and East Jerusalem, in areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. But such an agreement seems unattainable at any point in the last three decades.

Israel is dominated by right-wing parties opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state. No rival Palestinian government in the Jordan River or Gaza is leading a national movement that can make major concessions, even if Israel were willing to do the same.

Many have come to the conclusion that a two-state solution, which is widely regarded internationally as the only way to resolve the conflict, will never happen.

Instead of focusing on maps and borders, they call for equal rights for Jews, Palestinians, in a two-state state, an alliance, or any other arrangement.

Kontorovich voiced general criticism of Israel, accusing HRW of trying to unjustly separate Israel and legitimize it.

“Why say it’s apartheid?” “Why not just say that Israel has some discriminatory policies that we do not like?” he said. “Because what do you do for discriminatory policies, you change the policy … What do you do with the apartheid regime?” You have to replace it. ”

Human Rights Watch does not take a position on what the final agreement should look like, but says any attempt to resolve the conflict must recognize the reality on the ground.

“The underlying issue is structural repression and discrimination,” Shakir said. “You have to solve the abuse of rights, then create a context in which there can be a political solution that all parties can reach.”

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