Human Rights Watch - a globally respected human rights organization - has published a new report that names the oppressive tactics, subjugation, incarceration, restrictions, land theft and suffering inflicted on Palestinians by the state of Israel as apartheid, one of two recognized crimes against humanity. The report follows on the heels of Israeli human rights organization B'tselem which also publicly named Israel's treatment of Palestinians as Apartheid a few months ago. Global awareness appears to be growing about the atrocities inflicted on Palestinians.
In addition to these two organizations taking such an important and honest step, the International Criminal Court also recently affirmed its jurisdiction to investigate potential war crimes in Israel and Palestine. The Human Rights Watch Report, entitled 'A Threshold Crossed', first lays out the history and definition of the word 'apartheid', describing the international conventions which govern the use of the word, namely the "Apartheid Convention" (1973) and the Rome Statute (1998). They explain that the world acknowledges two crimes against humanity, one is persecution and the other is apartheid. Both apply to the treatment of Palestinians by the State of Israel according to HRW. The full report can be read at https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution?emci=e7745629-a2a7-eb11-85aa-0050f237abef&emdi=2291565e-b7a7-eb11-85aa-0050f237abef&ceid=13243995#_ftn3. The recommendations at the end are especially worth reflection.
The conclusion of "A Threshold Crossed" is reprinted here:
Israeli authorities have deprived millions of people of their basic rights by virtue of their identity as Palestinians. These longstanding policies and systematic practices box in, dispossess, forcibly separate, marginalize, and otherwise inflict suffering on Palestinians.
In the OPT, movement restrictions, land expropriation, forcible transfer, denial of residency and nationality, and the mass suspension of civil rights constitute “inhuman[e] acts” set out under the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute. Under both legal standards, inhumane acts when carried out amid systematic oppression and with the intent to maintain domination make up the crime against humanity of apartheid.
Collectively, these policies and practices in the OPT severely deprive Palestinians of fundamental human rights, including to residency, private property, and access to land, services, and resources, on a widespread and systematic basis. When committed with discriminatory intent, on the basis of the victims’ identity as part of a group or collectivity, they amount to the crime against humanity of persecution under the Rome Statute and customary international law.
Separately from the inhumane acts carried out in the OPT, the Israeli government violates the rights of Palestinians inside Israel on account of their identity, including measures that have made it virtually impossible for tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins living in the Negev to live lawfully in the communities; the denial to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians of the ability to access or use land confiscated from them historically; the effective bar on citizens and residents obtaining long-term legal status to and thereby living permanently together in Israel with spouses from the West Bank and Gaza, which deprives them of the ability to live together permanently in Israel; and the denial of residency rights to Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the events around the establishment of the state.
These abuses continue and there is no indication that authorities have investigated, much less held accountable, anyone involved in their commission.