Israel Has No Place Left to Hide
A new report by Human Rights Watch slams Israel as an apartheid state. What now?
One of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, Human Rights Watch (HRW), today issued a 213-page report entitled ‘ A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution ‘. The report examines Israel’s treatment of all Palestinians, regardless of where they may reside between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and beyond.
For such a mainstream organisation, it minces no words. The report starts by noting that ‘Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.’ In a press release announcing the report, HRW said, ‘The finding is based on an overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.’
This latest report digging into Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights comes after decades of the powers-that-be documenting the situation at length, but doing little more than issuing statements of condemnation. Examples of this failure to hold Israel accountable are noted throughout the report.
Referring to apartheid in relation to Israel is no longer taboo. Starting in January 2007 in the ‘ Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 ‘, John Dugard wrote to the UN’s Human Rights Council after visiting Israel and Palestine that ‘Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT [occupied Palestinian territory]. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law.’ Subsequent special rapporteurs were denied entry into Israel.
Later in 2007, former United States President Jimmy Carter published a book titled, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. The pushback he and others who dared to use the word ‘apartheid’ in relation to Israel was furious. This led President Carter and many others to tiptoe around using the word apartheid to relate to Israel proper and kept their focus solely on the occupied…