Amnesty Report Calls Israel An Apartheid State

Amnesty Report Calls Israel An Apartheid State
Israeli laws, policies and practices against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories amount to apartheid, Amnesty International says. A new report alleges that the Israeli state maintains "an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination of the Palestinian population for the benefit of Jewish Israelis".

Apartheid is considered a crime against humanity under international law. Israel says it "absolutely rejects all the false allegations" in the report.

A foreign ministry spokesperson accused Amnesty of recycling "lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organisations".  

"The report denies the State of Israel's right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people. Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonize Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of anti-Semitism," they said in a statement. 

The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the report, saying it was a "detailed affirmation of the cruel reality of entrenched racism, exclusion, oppression, colonialism, apartheid, and attempted erasure that the Palestinian people have endured".

Apartheid was a policy of racial segregation and discrimination that was enforced by the white minority government in South Africa against the country's black majority from 1948 until 1991. Three main international treaties prohibit apartheid, including the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

The convention defines apartheid as "inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them". 

  1. Introduced in South Africa in 1948 by the Afrikaner-led National Party government
  2. Black people regarded as inferior
  3. No vote for black people in national election
  4. Races segregated in all aspects of life
  5. Prevented black people from owning land in much of South Africa
  6. Reserved most skilled jobs for white people
  7. Scrapped in 1994 with the election of Nelson Mandela as first black president

Just over 20% of Israel's population of 9.45 million are Arabs, many of whom self-identify as Palestinians, while 2.9 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. Another 1.9 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which Israel pulled out of in 2005 but the UN still considers to also be occupied.

The vast majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are governed by the Palestinian Authority and all of those in Gaza by the Palestinian militant Hamas movement. More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Officially all Israeli citizens have equal rights, regardless of religion or race. But Amnesty's report concludes that Israel "considers and treats Palestinians as an inferior non-Jewish racial group". Continue...

James Koroma