While some prominent people like Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter have labeled Israel as an apartheid state, some human rights groups and progressives in the US have long shied away from criticizing Israel’s awful treatment of Palestinians, earning them the label of PEPs, standing for ‘progressive except for Palestine’. Hence I am glad that at least one prominent human rights group has finally come right out and stated that what is going on in Israel and the occupied territories is nothing less than apartheid.
Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that the policies and actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people amount to systematic “apartheid” and unlawful persecution that must be stopped.
The accusations related to Israel’s actions in the occupied territories (OPT) and within Israel are laid out in a new report entitled “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” The findings are based on over two years of research and documentation including official government statements, internal planning documents, and interviews.
“Human Rights Watch concludes that the Israeli government has demonstrated an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the OPT,” the report states. “In the OPT, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid.”
The specific label of apartheid, the group notes, is accurate based on the Apartheid Convention and Rome Statute’s definitions.
The accusation of persecution is based on “the widespread confiscation of privately owned land, the effective prohibition on building or living in many areas, the mass denial of residency rights, and sweeping, decades-long restrictions on the freedom of movement and basic civil rights,” the publication says.
Israel has got away with its abusive practices because of the protection and support afforded it by the US government that manifests itself in the massive amounts of aid that Israel gets.