Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said that ‘Israel’ is guilty of the international crimes of apartheid and persecution because of discriminatory policies toward native Palestinians in the 1948-occupied and in 1967-occupied territories.
The leading human rights group issued a 213-page report, in which it joined a growing number of commentators and rights groups who view the conflict not primarily as a land dispute but as a single occupation regime in which native Palestinians — who make up roughly half the population of the 1948-occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza — are systematically denied basic rights granted to zionist colonizers.
‘Israel’ has been claiming that native Palestinians in the 1948-occupied territories enjoy full civil rights. It views Gaza, from which it withdrew soldiers and settlers in 2005 under the fire of the Palestinian resistance, as a hostile entity ruled by the Islamic resistance group Hamas, and it considers the West Bank to be disputed territory subject to peace negotiations — which collapsed more than a decade ago.
Human Rights Watch focused its report on the definitions of apartheid and persecution used by the International Criminal Court, which launched a probe into possible Israeli war crimes last month.
Citing public statements by Israeli leaders and official policies, HRW said that ‘Israel’ has “demonstrated an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians” in the 1948-occupied territories, the West Bank and Gaza, coupled with “systematic oppression” and “inhumane acts.”
“When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid,” it said.
The group also cited “grave abuses” in the occupied territories, including land confiscation, the systematic denial of building permits, home demolitions and “sweeping, decades-long restrictions on freedom of movement and basic human rights”, proving the charge of persecution.
It cites a range of policies that aimed at ensuring a zionist majority in 1948-occupied territories and lands it intends to keep, while largely confining Palestinians to scattered enclaves under overarching Israeli control, with policies that encourage native Palestinians to leave.
Human Rights Watch said Israeli authorities “systematically discriminate against Palestinians”. This was most extreme in the occupied territories, it said, including the West Bank, which ‘Israel’ captured in the six-day war in 1967. Several hundred thousand Israeli settlers now live there as citizens while about 2.7 million Palestinians are not and live under military rule.
Human Rights Watch’s executive director, Kenneth Roth, said this was not simply “an abusive occupation”. “These policies, which grant Jewish Israelis the same rights and privileges wherever they live and discriminate against Palestinians to varying degrees wherever they live, reflect a policy to privilege one people at the expense of another,” Roth said.
Last year the same rights group found that abuses by the Myanmar government against Rohingya Muslims also amounted to the crimes of apartheid and persecution.