Yet another shame for the apartheid regime

February 3, 2022 - 2:2

TEHRAN — A four-year study by the Amnesty International has partly revealed the true color of the Zionist regime and called on the international organizations to bring the Israeli officials to justice. Will the world listen?

Apartheid is a system of organized oppression and dominance of one racial group over another. It is a major breach of human rights that is outlawed under international law.

Amnesty International's rigorous study and legal analysis, conducted in cooperation with other experts, shows that Israel implements such a system against Palestinians through laws, policies, and practices that ensure their continued and harsh discrimination.

Specific unlawful acts performed under a totalitarian ideology and supremacy with the goal of preserving it constitute the crime against humanity of apartheid, according to international criminal law. The Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute define these crimes as unlawful killing, torture, forcible transfer, and denial of basic rights and freedoms.

Acts prohibited under the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute have been reported by Amnesty International in all of the territories under Israel's authority, however they occur more frequently and violently in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) than in Israel. Multiple actions are taken by Israeli authorities to deprive Palestinians of their basic rights and freedoms, including draconian movement restrictions in the OPT, chronic discriminatory underinvestment in Palestinian neighborhoods in Israel, and denial of refugees' right to return. In both Israel and the OPT, the report details coercive transfers, administrative imprisonment, torture, and unlawful killings.

Massive seizure of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, severe movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system that amounts to apartheid under international law, according to the comprehensive report titled “Israel's Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime against Humanity.” This system is upheld by transgressions that Amnesty International determined to be apartheid as a crime against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute and the Apartheid Convention.

Amnesty International has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to include apartheid as a crime in its ongoing investigation in the OPT, and all governments to use universal jurisdiction to prosecute perpetrators of apartheid crimes.

For committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians, Israeli authorities must be held accountable.
 
“There is no possible justification for a system built around the institutionalized and prolonged racist oppression of millions of people. Apartheid has no place in our world, and states which choose to make allowances for Israel will find themselves on the wrong side of history. Governments who continue to supply Israel with arms and shield it from accountability at the UN are supporting a system of apartheid, undermining the international legal order, and exacerbating the suffering of the Palestinian people. The international community must face up to the reality of Israel’s apartheid, and pursue the many avenues to justice which remain shamefully unexplored.”

After conducting a comprehensive report, Amnesty International has also pressed the UN Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel in light of the persistent unlawful deaths of Palestinians. Given the killings of thousands of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces over decades, this should include all weapons and munitions as well as law enforcement equipment. Targeted measures, like asset freezes should be imposed by the Security Council against Israeli officials most implicated in the apartheid crime.

Israel has followed a policy of establishing and then maintaining a Jewish demographic majority, as well as maximizing control over land and resources to benefit Jewish Israelis, since its founding in 1948. Israel expanded its policy to annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967. Today, all of Israel's occupied areas are administered with the goal of enriching Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians, with Palestinian refugees remaining disenfranchised.

According to Amnesty International, Israeli authorities classify Palestinians as a second-class racial group defined by their non-Jewish Arab identity. This racial discrimination is codified in legislation that apply to Palestinians in Israel and the OPT.

Palestinian refugees and their descendants who were uprooted during the battles of 1947-49 and 1967 are still denied the right to return to their previous homes. The exclusion of refugees by Israel is a gross violation of international law that has forced millions of people to live in limbo.

Instead of citizenship, Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem are awarded permanent residence — but this is only in name. More than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residence cancelled at the Ministry of the Interior's discretion since 1967, resulting in their forcible removal from the city.

Since 1948, Israeli authorities have pursued a variety of tactics to "Judaize" the Negev, including the designation of significant portions as nature reserves or military shooting zones, as well as the establishment of numerical targets for growing the Jewish population. The tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins who reside in the region have suffered as a result.

Thirty-five Bedouin villages, with a population of roughly 68,000 people, are currently "unrecognized" by Israel, which means they are cut off from the national electricity and water supply and are targeted for demolition on a regular basis. Residents of the villages face limits on political engagement and are barred from the healthcare and education systems due to their lack of formal status. Many people have been forced to leave their homes and towns as a result of these situations.

Palestinian citizens of Israel have been economically disadvantaged in comparison to Jewish Israelis for decades due to deliberate uneven treatment. This is aggravated by the government's overtly biased allocation of state resources, such as the Covid-19 recovery package, of which just 1.7 percent was provided to Palestinian local councils.

Settler organizations routinely target Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, working with the full support of the Israeli government to evict Palestinian families and pass their homes over to settlers. Since May 2021, one such neighborhood, Sheikh Jarrah, has seen a slew of rallies as residents fight to maintain their homes despite the possibility of a settler lawsuit.

Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said, “Our report reveals the true extent of Israel’s apartheid regime. Whether they live in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights. We found that Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion across all territories under its control clearly amount to apartheid. The international community has an obligation to act.”

What Amnesty International has highlighted is only a small fraction of the larger, more accurate picture in the occupied areas. What's intriguing is that such a comprehensive report was published by an international organization with a good reputation. Self-proclaimed human rights "defendants" like the U.S. and the EU frequently utilize the organization to condemn countries they don't like. This is the true question. 

Will international organizations, the United States, and the European Union take action? Will the International Criminal Court (ICC) bring the Israeli government to justice? We are awaiting the decision.

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