Israeli rights group calls Israel an 'apartheid regime' for first time
An Israeli human rights says Israel is not a democracy but an "apartheid regime" that systematically oppresses the Palestinians via military occupation and racist laws.
B’Tselem, which is based in Jerusalem al-Quds, said Palestinians live under Israeli control in the occupied territories and have fewer rights than Jews in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The rights group further said Israel was creating a system over all the occupied lands in which Jewish citizens have full rights while Palestinians are divided into four tiers with various levels of rights, but always below the Jews.
“One of the key points in our analysis is that this is a single geopolitical area ruled by Israel," said B'Tselem director Hagai El-Ad. “This is not democracy plus occupation. This is apartheid between the river and the sea.”
“The point is that there isn’t a single square inch between the river and the sea in which a Palestinian and a Jew are equal,” El-Ad said.
Israel has been described an "apartheid" regime for decades, evoking the system of white rule and racial segregation in South Africa that was brought to an end in 1994.
The International Criminal Court defines apartheid as an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.”
“There is no country in the world that is clearer in its apartheid policies than Israel,” said Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. “It is based on racist decisions aimed at confiscating land, expelling indigenous people, demolishing homes and establishing settlements.”
In recent years, many Israeli Jews, including former generals and politicians have increasingly adopted the term "apartheid".
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds during the Six-Day War in 1967. It later annexed East Jerusalem al-Quds in a move not recognized by the international community.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
But Israel’s aggressive settlement expansion and annexation plans have dealt a serious blow to any prospects of peace.
The Gaza Strip has also been under an inhumane Israeli land, air and sea siege since 2007 and witnessed three wars since 2008.
Elsewhere in its report, dubbed “A regime of Jewish supremacy exists from the Jordan river to the Mediterranean Sea. This is apartheid,” B’Tselem rejected the assumption that Israel operates two separate systems of rule concurrently, a democracy within the occupied territory and a military grip over the Palestinians.