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Israel is an apartheid state – Middle East Monitor


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On April 27, Human Rights Watch, one of the largest and most credible human rights organizations in the world, concluded in a comprehensive 213-page report that Israel is an apartheid state.

“Across these territories and in most aspects of life, the Israeli authorities grant systematic privilege to Israeli Jews and discriminate against Palestinians. Laws, policies, and statements by senior Israeli officials make clear that the goal of preserving Israeli Jewish control over demographics, political power and land is a long-directed government policy.” Report A part of it was read under the title “Threshold Crossed: The Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution”.

More specifically, Human Rights Watch wrote that “the Israeli authorities have expelled Palestinians from their property, imprisoned them, forcibly separated them, and subjected them to the rule of their identity to varying degrees of severity.” This has led to the unequivocal conclusion that “these deprivations are so severe that they amount to crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.”

While Human Rights Watch’s conclusions, on their own, carry significant legal and possibly political weight, the report is not an isolated incident. Just a few months ago, in January, a leading Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, reached a similar conclusion.

“Throughout the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime applies laws, practices and state violence designed to establish the sovereignty of one group – the Jews – over another – the Palestinians”, B’Tselem Report, Entitled “The System of Jewish Sovereignty from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean: This is Apartheid,” read.

The above are two important, if not disturbing, additions to the burgeoning legal literature referring to racial discrimination and outright apartheid in Israel. All of this points to a greatly changed discourse regarding illegal Israeli practices in occupied Palestine.

In fact, both reports are published against an unprecedented background on an equal footing a study Conducted by the United Nations itself. In 2017, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) issued its special report entitled “Israeli practices towards the Palestinian people and the question of apartheid.” The UN report was authored by two leading thinkers, Professor Richard Falk of international law, and political professor Virginia Tilly. His language represented a radical departure from the UN’s always cautious approach to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, often the result of fear of American retaliation.

But what makes the latest Human Rights Watch report more important than any previous legal arguments regarding racism and apartheid in Israel is its timing, as it was published shortly after the International Criminal Court (ICC). EstablishedDespite intense Israeli and American pressure, to open an investigation into the alleged war crimes committed in occupied Palestine.

Although the ICC investigation does not yet include the crime of apartheid, future results, especially taking into account the Human Rights Watch report, could change the course of the investigation. Indeed, the comprehensive Human Rights Watch report certainly provides ample evidence that the crime of apartheid is, in fact, being committed and widespread, not only in occupied Palestine but also within historic Palestine, Israel today.

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With this in mind, it is important that the reports of Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, and ESCWA are placed in an appropriate context, a context that examines the evolution of the apartheid narrative, especially in Western discourse, in relation to Palestine and Israel. This understanding is important in the sense that it can help illuminate a potential direction, as well as the political and legal implications of describing Israel as an apartheid system.

Frankly, it was Africa, not the West, that first started coining the current terminology regarding racism and apartheid in Israel. In 1975, the Organization of African Unity passed Resolution 77 (S-12)Denounced the foundational thought of Israel, Zionism, considering it “a threat to world peace.” Then it launched a global campaign aimed at exposing “the racist and aggressive nature of the Zionist entity.” This condemnation came in the broader context of the condemnation of apartheid regimes in South Africa and elsewhere.

It is historically important to point out that this ethically motivated African stance towards Palestine and against racism in all its forms served as the basis for the United Nations General Assembly. Resolution 3379 From 1975 it was based. UN resolution, which was Cancellation – annulment In 1991, under intense American pressure, he recognized Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination.”

The famous 1997 year Advertising By the anti-apartheid South African icon and the first post-apartheid president, Nelson Mandela, that “we know very well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”, was not an isolated moral stand against injustice. Instead, it was fully consistent with statements and other declarations made by many other African liberation leaders throughout the anti-colonial struggle on the continent.

Over time, the direct relationship between apartheid in South Africa and Israeli apartheid became more and more apparent. “I witnessed the systematic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces,” He said Anti-apartheid leader, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, after a trip to Palestine in 2014.

Referring to the Palestinians, Tutu added that “their humiliation,” is familiar to all black South Africans who have been hunted, harassed, insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.

In a 2014 interview with the US TV show “Democracy Now,” MIT professor Noam Chomsky went even further. Suggestion That “what Israel is doing in the occupied territories is much worse than apartheid.” He explained:

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“To call this apartheid a gift to Israel, at least if you mean by” apartheid “similar to apartheid in South Africa. What is happening in the occupied territories is much worse. There is a crucial difference. South African nationalists needed the black population. It was. This is their workforce … The Israeli relationship with the Palestinians in the occupied territories is completely different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison. “

Even before radical intellectual voices openly used the word “apartheid”, the term was slowly emerging in Western societies and mainstream intellectual circles. In defense of his 2006 book Peace Not Apartheid in an interview with NPR, former US President Jimmy Carter Insisted on “Apartheid is a word for an accurate description of what is going on in the West Bank, and it is based on the desire or greed of a minority of Israelis in the Palestinian land.”

Over time, references to the term “apartheid” were used by mainstream leaders, thinkers, and celebrities. A recent example is the interview of famous American actor Mark Ruffalo on Mehdi Hassan’s NBC show last October. Ruffalo Bravely Wire On the Israeli violence and the “unequal war” against the Palestinian people, describing the system of separation created by Israel as “a kind of apartheid.”

These are just a few examples of the many similar references to Israeli apartheid that are increasingly appearing in academic research, in social media, and in the statements of prominent individuals. Fearing that the designation of apartheid may be on its way to an accepted designation of Israel, the Israeli government and its supporters are working to mute the conversation completely, by equating criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism.

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Yet, as reports by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations have indicated, Israel is clearly losing the battle for public opinion.

Anti-Semitism, or supposed hatred of Israel, has nothing to do with any of this. As the Human Rights Watch report and the previous report of the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem make clear, the use of the word “apartheid” is based on a legal framework drawn up by the United Nations itself.

According to the 1976 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the crime of apartheid is Described As follows:

The crime of apartheid, which must include policies and practices similar to racial segregation and discrimination practiced in Southern Africa, applies to (…) inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the control of one ethnic group of persons over any other ethnic group of persons and suppressing them in a form. Methodical ..

None of the previously mentioned reports came out of this description. For example, Human Rights Watch wrote:

The stated goal of the Israeli government is to ensure that Israeli Jews retain control over Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). (…) Other steps are being taken to ensure Jewish domination, including the state policy of “separating” Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, preventing the movement of people and goods within the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and “Judaizing” areas where there are a large number. From the Palestinians. Population, including Jerusalem as well as the Galilee and Negev in Israel.

Earlier, B’Tselem issued similar assurances.

Rejecting a legally justified outcome – which itself rests on the appalling reality under which Palestinians have been forced to live for decades – as if another form of “anti-Semitism” is a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable. The apartheid situation in Israel will ultimately become the global classification for Israel’s practices in Palestine, as it was the case in South Africa.

In fact, cracks in the wall of the Israeli narrative have always been there. Among the critics of Israel’s racist and violent policies against the Palestinians are many intellectuals and courageous movements, some of whom paid a heavy price for that courage. But a combination of factors, including the absence of Palestinian voices in academia and the mainstream media, as well as the intimidation and defamation tactics used by Israel and its supporters, kept criticism of Israeli apartheid to a minimum.

However, the genie is finally out of the bottle and soon builds a colossal edifice of intellectual, historical and legal discourse an indisputable case against the Israeli apartheid regime. No amount of Israeli propaganda and defamation campaigns can turn the tide in Israel’s favor. While it may be too early to speak of a major paradigm shift, it certainly is no longer out of reach to imagine that such a possibility is finally at hand.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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