On the International Racial Discrimination Day, the Ramallah-based Al-Haq human rights organization yesterday welcomed in a press release a number of key reports that have been produced by Palestinian and international human rights defenders on the continuing Israeli Apartheid against the Palestinian People, including the work of Al Mezan, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Diakonia, and others (B’Tselem “A regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid” (2021); Yesh Din “The Occupation of the West Bank and the Crime of Apartheid: Legal Opinion” (2020).)
It said all emphasized the ongoing system of Israeli oppression and domination against the Palestinian people on both sides of the Green Line, as well Palestinian refugees and exiles in the diaspora denied their right to self-determination and return.
Each report provides a unique perspective on the ongoing apartheid regime imposed on the Palestinian people as a whole, said Al-Haq.
Al Mezan’s “The Gaza Bantustan, Israeli Apartheid in the Gaza Strip” examines the apartheid regime imposed specifically on the Gaza Strip, considering how the restrictions make Gaza effectively a large open-air prison, a “bantustan”.
AI’s, Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity concentrates on how “the segregation is conducted in a systematic and highly institutionalized manner through laws, policies and practices” imposed by Israel whilst denying Palestinians their basic human rights.
In “A Threshold Crossed – Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” Human Rights Watch, investigates Israeli apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people and Israel’s systematic policy of fragmentation of the Palestinian people by which it maintains its apartheid regime.
Further, Diakonia’s “Expert Opinion: Occupation and the Prohibition of Apartheid” provides a study on the interplay between international humanitarian law of occupation and the prohibition of apartheid.
“All these reports indicate that Israel maintains a system of oppression, violating international law and amounting to the commission of the crime of apartheid as defined in both the Rome Statute and the Apartheid Convention,” said Al-Haq. Given these conclusions, many of the reports have further called for the International Criminal Court to consider the crime of apartheid during its current investigation into the occupied Palestinian territory as well as requesting states to exercise universal jurisdiction to bring perpetrators of the apartheid to justice.
These efforts have been made by Palestinian and international human rights defenders who continue to challenge Israel’s apartheid against the Palestinian people, despite various baseless attacks against them by the Israeli authorities, including amongst others, smears, the outlawing of human rights organizations under counterterrorism legislation, arbitrary arrests and detention, residency revocations, said the Palestinian human rights organization.
Israel remains committed to trying to silence these voices that recognize the widespread and systematic violations against the Palestinian people. These actions are but one of the many tools that Israeli authorities use to maintain Israel’s unlawful apartheid regime and, as such, constitutes an inhumane act of apartheid. The latest effort was the decision of the Israeli “Defense” Minister Benny Gantz to designate six eminent Palestinian human rights organizations as “terrorist” organizations, following their efforts to bring Israeli authorities before the International Criminal Court.
Given these actions, Al-Haq echoed the continued call by human rights defenders for investigations and international accountability for the crime of apartheid perpetrated by individual Israeli policymakers and military personnel who have created and maintain the discriminatory apartheid regime.
Al-Haq emphasized the importance of solidarity and the mounting recognition of the Israeli apartheid regime over the Palestinian people in the collective efforts and strategy to dismantle Israel’s institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination over the Palestinian people as a whole.
It recalled the constant effort of civil society organizations, international organizations, UN treaty bodies and experts, and academics in acknowledging and denouncing Israel’s apartheid. This includes a call for States who have not already done so, to ratify the Apartheid Convention, and for Third States to reconvene the UN Special Committee on Apartheid and the UN Centre Against Apartheid, and the UN Human Rights Council to renew, without any further delay, the annual update of the database of companies operating in illegal settlements under the administration of Israel’s apartheid regime.
Al-Haq also called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing and systematic apartheid. Recognizing that the institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination imposed by Israel over the Palestinian people as a whole amount to apartheid is the first step in bringing justice, liberation and decolonization for the Palestinian people, it said.