Israel is committing an “apartheid crime against the Palestinians” and must be held accountable for treating them as a “lower racial group,” Amnesty International said in a new report.
Published on Tuesday, a 25-page report by the leading human rights group described how Israeli authorities imposed a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinians.
His humiliating investigation lists a number of Israeli abuses, including extensive confiscations of Palestinian land and property, illegal killings, forced displacement, drastic restrictions on movement, administrative detention and the renunciation of Palestinian nationality and citizenship.
He describes them as components of a system that is equivalent to apartheid under international law.
“This system is supported by violations that Amnesty International has identified as apartheid as a crime against humanity,” the group said in a statement.
Since its inception in 1948, Israel has pursued a policy of establishing and maintaining a “Jewish demographic majority,” the report said. Israel also exercises full control over land and resources for the benefit of Israeli Jews, including those in illegal settlements.
After the 1967 war, during which Israeli forces occupied all of historic Palestine, Israel “extended this policy” to the occupied West Bank, as well as the Gaza Strip, which has been under crippling siege since 2007.
Today, all Israeli-controlled territories continue to be administered “in order to benefit Jewish Israelis to the detriment of the Palestinians, while Palestinian refugees continue to be excluded,” the London-based group said.
“Our report reveals the true extent of the Israeli apartheid regime. “Whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, or Israel itself, the Palestinians are treated as a lower racial group and are systematically deprived of their rights,” said Agnes Kalamar, Amnesty’s secretary general.
“We have found that Israel’s brutal policy of segregation, deprivation of property and exclusion in all territories under its control is clearly apartheid. The international community has an obligation to act, “Kalamar added.
Israel must “dismantle apartheid system”
Amnesty called on the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel, as well as “targeted sanctions, such as an asset freeze, against Israeli officials most involved in the apartheid crime.”
Israel has categorically rejected the label “apartheid” in the past.
But Amnesty’s report follows a similar conclusion from US-based Human Rights Watch, which released a report (PDF) last April that found Israel committing “crimes against apartheid humanity and persecution” of Palestinians.
Similarly, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem published a study in January 2021, which found that Palestinians – divided into four levels of inferiority – were denied the right to self-determination.
Amnesty said the illegal killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza was perhaps “the clearest illustration of how the Israeli authorities are using banned actions to maintain the status quo.”
He was referring to the period between 2018 and 2019, when Palestinians in Gaza held weekly demonstrations along the Israeli separation fence, calling for the right to return refugees and end the blockade.
Protests over the Great Return March were met with violence by Israeli forces, who fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition, mostly from snipers. By the end of the demonstrations at the end of 2019, Israeli forces had killed at least 214 Palestinians, including 46 children, according to the United Nations.
“The international response to apartheid should no longer be limited to meaningless condemnations and ambiguous words,” Kalamar said.
“Israel must dismantle the apartheid system and start treating the Palestinians as human beings with equal rights and dignity.