Human Rights Israel is an apartheid state: Human Rights Watch

Israel is an apartheid state: Human Rights Watch

Photo: Ashraf Amra/Instagram

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Human Rights Watch (HRW), on Wednesday, released a landmark report accusing Israel of apartheid crimes against humanity in its conduct towards Palestinians.

The group called on the international community to pursue investigations and prosecutions of Israeli officials in order to end Israeli abuses.

The HRW said that the Israeli government is the “single authority” with primary control “over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea”.

That area includes the occupied West Bank, the blockaded Gaza Strip, annexed east Jerusalem as well as all the territory within Israel’s 1948 borders.

Within that territory, there is “an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians,” HRW said.

The group pointed to Israeli policies targeting Palestinians that include movement restrictions, land confiscation, forcible population transfer, denial of residency rights and suspension of civil rights.

“While much of the world treats Israel’s half-century occupation as a temporary situation that a decades-long ‘peace process’ will soon cure, the oppression of Palestinians there has reached a threshold and a permanence that meets the definitions of the crimes of apartheid and persecution,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, said.

“Those who strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace, whether a one or two-state solution or a confederation, should in the meantime recognise this reality for what it is and bring to bear the sorts of human rights tools needed to end it.”

Israel, however, dismissed the report as ‘propaganda’.

“Human Rights Watch is known to have a long-standing anti-Israel agenda, actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Their decision not to share this report for review or comment with any Israeli authority is clear indication that it is a propaganda pamphlet, which lacks all credibility.”

Palestinian Authority prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has welcomed the “remarkable” HRW report and said that he hoped it might lead the international community to “bear its responsibilities” and hold Israel “accountable for its crimes.”

The report comes as Israel faces an investigation by the International Criminal Court, primarily expected to focus on alleged war crimes committed during the 2014 war against Hamas in Gaza.

Israel has said that it will not cooperate with the investigation.

HRW has called on nations to “impose individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on officials responsible for committing these crimes.”

(with inputs from AFP)

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