On April 27, the main international non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 213-page report entitled “Crossing the Threshold” condemning Israel for “committing crimes against humanity and persecution of Palestinians” (OPT) in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel itself. .
The report certainly indicates that it has exceeded a threshold of the rights group that ignores the long-standing and widespread criticism of the Israeli people in the face of the frustration of Palestinian and Palestinian rights defenders.
But the threshold apparently mentioned in the name of the report is legal, which Israel has finally surpassed in its HRW study. “While much of the world sees the mid-century occupation of Israel as a temporary situation that will soon heal the decade-long ‘peace process’, there Palestinian oppression has reached the threshold and endurance that meets the definitions of apartheid crimes. And persecution,” said HRW Director Kenneth Roth executives.
So, according to the group, Israel’s crime against the Palestinians has become so serious that it can now be said to be a crime against humanity – the international community believes it is one of the most serious, which could be the most severe punishment.
But naming Israel’s colonial-colonial effort as a form of apartheid is not new. The legal term “apartheid” has long been used to characterize Israel’s actions against Palestinians.
The 1973 Apartheid Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court define apartheid as racial domination and repression of one group by another through systematic and institutional “inhumane actions”. These actions include: “arbitrary arrest and unlawful imprisonment of members of a racial group”; measures “designed to divide the population into racial lines by creating separate reserves and ghettos for members of racial or group groups”; “Forced transfer”; “Expropriation of Land Property”; and “denying the right to return and return to their country, [and] the right to nationality ”. All of these have been part of Israel’s Palestinian settlement project from the beginning. And UN diplomats, legal scholars and activists have applied the concept of apartheid to Israel since at least the 1970s.
In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 3379, which stated that Zionism was racism, which was later suspended due to pressure from the Israelis. Although Israel was not defined as an apartheid state, the Resolution made that association explicit. His equation with the racism of Zionism was based on previous resolutions, including Resolution 1963 of 1904 (XVIII), which affirmed that “any doctrine of racial segregation or domination is scientifically false, morally reprehensible, socially unjust, and dangerous.” Resolution 3379 also drew on Israel as being “linked to racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa”, “organically linked to politics aimed at repressing human dignity and integrity”. Other UN debates during this period also acknowledged the “collusion” of Israel, Zionism, and the apartheid regime in South Africa, as in Resolution 3151 of 1973.
After visiting the Holy Land in 2002, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu reminded him of what he had seen in Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians because of their “moral conscience in South Africa” and “a lot of what happened to us blacks in South Africa”. an observation that has since been repeated. Since 2005, entrepreneurial students from campuses around the world have been organizing educational events during “Israel Apartheid Week”. These events are organized to report on the Palestinian liberation struggle and to reveal the similarities between the Palestinian efforts and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. And in 2017, the UN body ESCWA published a report on Israeli apartheid practices against Palestinians.
The HRW report cites several other applications of the concept of apartheid to define Israel’s actions against Palestinians, focusing on presenting a “detailed legal analysis based on apartheid or international crimes of persecution”. More than a legal category, however, the notion of apartheid is a moral and political designation, and that is so controversial and powerful. Announcing the report’s hashtag # Courage2FightApartheid, HRW acknowledged what that policy legal analysis really is, perhaps why it has taken the team so long to publicly acknowledge the reality that many around the world have recognized for decades.
It remains to be seen whether HRW’s decision to recognize Israel as an apartheid state will lead to decades-long Palestinian struggle and political change. Recent events – such as the decision of the International Criminal Court on 5 February, confirming territorial jurisdiction over the OPT, the Israeli NGO B’Tselem’s January report also called Israel an “apartheid state” and fought against the definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance . -Semitism that seeks to silence criticism of Israel – already suggests that a point can be approached.
In fact, as the supremacism of Israeli Jews has become more explicit in recent years, it is more difficult to argue against its classification as an apartheid state. How can rights organizations or anyone else continue to deny that Israel is an apartheid state after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proudly stated that “Israel is not a state of all its citizens … Israel is a nation of Jewish states and the people themselves”?
How to deny that Israel is committing a crime against humanity apartheid after the Israeli parliament passed the basic law of the Jewish nation-state, which denies the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20% of the country’s population?
The HRW report is certainly a positive development and a step in the right direction. The question before us today is not whether Israel is an apartheid state. The question is, when will the international community act to end its overt and, of course, reprehensible system of oppression?
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the attitude of the Al Jazeera editorial.