UN rights expert says Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory is ‘apartheid’
An independent UN human rights expert said in a report published on Friday that “apartheid is being practiced by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory”.
The report by Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, echoes recent findings by Palestinian and international human rights organizations who have analyzed Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The report complained about “a deeply discriminatory dual legal and political system” that privileges 700,000 Israeli settlers in occupied East al-Quds and the West Bank.
“With the eyes of the international community wide open, Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world,” he wrote.
“The Special Rapporteur recommends that the international community accepts and adopts the findings … that apartheid is being practiced by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and beyond.”
The word apartheid is often associated with South Africa, where a system of institutionalized racial segregation existed from 1948 until the early 1990s.
The brutal apartheid regime in South Africa oppressed the country’s Black majority for generations and ensured that the country was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the minority white population.
Israel is a “political regime which so intentionally and clearly prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another, within the same geographic unit on the basis of one’s racial-national-ethnic identity,” the UN Special Rapporteur wrote.
“Apartheid is not, sadly, a phenomenon confined to the history books on southern Africa.”
He further noted that international figures – including former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, and former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair – have all described Israel’s occupation as apartheid.
Additionally, the Canadian academic said Israel is pursuing a strategy of “strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian territory into separate areas of population control, with Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem (al-Quds) physically divided from one another.”