A new Human Rights Watch report says Israel is committing the crime of apartheid


Beyond A “peace process” is almost dead Over the past few decades, the organization has pointed to the inevitable and unequal reality that defines the lives of every person who lives between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. “These are the most clear-cut findings Human Rights Watch has ever reached on the behavior of the Israeli authorities,” Omar Shaker, the organization’s director in Israel and Palestine and the author of the report, told Today’s WorldView. “For a long time, the international community failed to recognize the reality on the ground for what it is.”

Shaker added that Human Rights Watch is not alone in reaching this conclusion.

For years, Palestinians have used apartheid in discussing the status quo of the region: where the Israeli military occupation prevails over many aspects of their lives, where the security and political imperatives of the Israeli government restrict their rights, and where the expansion of Jewish settlements is relentlessly entailing further dispossession of Palestinians.

Discrimination also extends into Israel itself, where Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin enjoy “inferior status to Jewish citizens under the law,” Human Rights Watch noted. In the Palestinian territories, the The weakness and dysfunction of the Palestinian Authority – which was only supposed to be a transitional entity until Israel and Palestinian officials reach a more permanent settlement, but is now a bitterly unpopular institution that controls parts of the occupied territories – does not exempt the Israelis. A government that effectively summons all decisions.

Many Israelis see this, too. “If we continue to control the entire region from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, where about 13 million people live … if there was only one entity that controlled this entire region, and that is Israel,” former Prime Minister Ehud Barak He said in 2017, “It will definitely be … either non-Jewish or undemocratic.” In January, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem Published a position paper An argument that the prevailing system in the country was the system of “apartheid,” whose program of supremacy became “gradually more institutionalized and explicit.”

Human Rights Watch does not say Israel is an “apartheid state.” In her report, “Threshold crossed: Israeli authorities, apartheid crimes and persecution, “The organization eliminates the need to invoke direct parallels with South Africa, whose white apartheid regime has introduced“ apartheid ”into the world. Instead, it refers to the emergence of apartheid as a universal legal term codified in a number of international agreements, including Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998.

“Laws, policies, and statements issued by senior Israeli officials make clear that the goal of preserving Israeli-Jewish control over demographics, political power and land has guided government policy for a long time.” The organization noticed. In pursuit of this goal, the authorities have, with varying degrees of severity, expelled Palestinians from their property, imprisoned them, forcibly separated them, and subjected them to their identity. In certain areas … this deprivation is so severe that it amounts to crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution. “

In a statement to Today’s WorldView, the Israeli embassy in Washington described the report as “full of lies” and personally attacked Shakir, an American citizen who was expelled from Israel in 2019 after a legal battle that reached the country’s highest court. . “We strongly reject the false accusations that Human Rights Watch publishes regarding Israel,” she said. “This is a well-known organization with a longstanding anti-Israel agenda, and has been actively seeking for years to strengthen boycotts against Israel.”

Shaker was accused of supporting the boycott against Israel in a case in which the Israeli authorities witnessed his social media accounts being hacked to reveal activity during the college era for more than 15 years in which he called for divesting investments from companies Take advantage of the rule of Israel in the occupied territories. “at [Shakir’s] Four years as a Human Rights Watch employee, he said that neither he nor the organization called for a boycott of Israel or the companies doing business here, ” I inform my colleagues at the time. “They are calling on companies, including Airbnb, not to operate in Israeli settlements that they describe as violating international humanitarian law.”

Now, by invoking the crime of apartheid, Human Rights Watch hopes for tougher international oversight of Israel. The report calls, among other things, for the establishment of a United Nations commission to investigate systematic discrimination in Israel, the freezing of assets and penalties for some Israeli officials, and the requirement of military and security assistance to Israel on the basis of loosening its “racial discrimination” policies.

Such a measure seems unlikely. For everyone Partisan hatred increased in Washington Due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government and its close dealings with former President Donald Trump, there is little political will to destabilize the current Israeli-Palestinian situation. Three-quarters of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including a roughly equal mix of Republicans and Democrats, I recently signed a letter He denounced a proposed bill that would place additional regulations on US aid to Israel.

But it is clear that talk about Israel is changing, albeit slowly, in the United States. Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of J Street, a liberal pro-Israel organization in Washington, said it does not use the term “apartheid” to describe the Israeli context.

“The fact that the occupation inherently threatens the future of Israel as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people and includes the systematic denial of Palestinian rights, simply cannot be ignored,” he told Today World View.

“Early indications from the Biden administration show that this will not be a priority issue,” Shaker said. “But just reversing 50 percent of what the Trump administration did” is not enough. Some analysts argue that successive US administrations, including the Trump administration, have allowed the steady erosion of the Any possibility of a “two-state solution” By turning a blind eye to Israeli settlement expansion and the seizure of lands in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, Israeli politics has drifted further to the right. Several prominent politicians are calling for the explicit annexation of areas in the West Bank, while a party of far-right extremists is demanding Associated with a violent Jewish hate group It could join the country’s next ruling coalition government.

But the longer the equal rights of Palestinians are postponed, the greater the topic of apartheid.

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