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Israel is not a democracy, it is an ‘apartheid regime’, says the rights group



B’Tselem, which until now has limited its work to controlling human rights issues in the Palestinian territories, has now also decided to look at what it calls Israel’s “regime” between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

“More than 14 million people, about half of them Jews and the other half of Palestinians, live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean under a single rule,” B’Tselem said in a new analysis entitled: “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean: This is apartheid. “

The human rights group says the traditional view of Israel as a democracy operating side by side with a temporary Israeli occupation of the territories “imposed on about five million Palestinian subjects … has been separated from reality.”

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“Most importantly, the difference obscures the fact that the entire area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: progress and cementation of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians,” B ‘said Tselem in his controversial analysis.

Years of injustice to Palestinians culminating in laws that have entrenched discrimination mean that “the bar for labeling the Israeli regime as apartheid has been met,” B’Tselem said.

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The claim that Israel is an “apartheid state” is often rejected by right-wing Israelis and their support groups as anti-Semitic. But this argument is getting harder to come up with now that Israel has been labeled in this way by such a respected Israeli institution, albeit one that only enjoys minority support in its home country.

The Israeli embassy in London rejected the report as “not based on reality, but on a distorted ideological point of view.”

“The fact that B’Tselem chose not to submit the report to the Israeli government for comment testifies that this is nothing more than a propaganda tool. Israel rejects the false allegations in the so-called report … Israel is a strong and living democracy that gives all rights to all its citizens regardless of religion, race or gender.The Arab citizens of Israel are represented in all branches of government – in the Israeli parliament, in the courts (including the Supreme Court), in the public service and even in the diplomatic corps , representing the State of Israel worldwide. ”

Over the past decade, there has been growing concern among Israel’s traditional allies, especially in Europe, that the relentless loss of Palestinian territory to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which is illegal under international law, not only undermined a long-term peace process but Israel’s moral status.

These concerns were brought into sharp focus with the 2018 adoption of the “Constitution: Israel – the Nation of the Jewish People” – which permanently enshrined Israel as a Jewish state in its constitution – and reinforced by promises from Israeli politicians, in particular Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for unilateral annexation of large areas in the West Bank.

Israel conquered and occupied the West Bank and Gaza in 1967. The Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the first of which was signed in 1993, were to lead to a “two-state solution” establishing an independent Palestinian state living alongside Israel.

Twenty-eight years later, there is no evidence of this result.

B’Tselem claims that Israel has rather anchored discrimination against non-Jews in the areas under control.

These include fewer rights for Palestinians living in Israel with Israeli citizenship (17% of the population). The most obvious example, B’Tselem says, is the fact that non-Jews cannot emigrate to Israel. Palestinians marrying an Israeli need Israeli official permission to move to Israel.

In the West Bank, Jewish settlements are under continuous construction, while building permits for Palestinians in areas officially under Israeli security control are almost impossible to obtain, and “illegal” structures are often bulldozed.

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The Human Rights Group also claims freedom of assembly and freedom of expression for Palestinians in the West Bank, while it is largely unlimited for Jews.

B’Tselem CEO Hagai El-Ad: “Israel is not a democracy with a temporary occupation attached to it: it is a regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, and we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is. : apartheid.This sober view of reality does not have to lead to despair, but rather the opposite.It is a call for change.After all, people created this regime and people can change it.

Between 1948 and 1994, South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation and “separate development” was designed to restrict non-whites to “autonomous Bantustans” who deprived them of their citizenship and placed them under the administration of puppet regimes resembling discontinuous inkblots on a map. .

The Palestinian Authority, established under Oslo, administers the majority of Palestinians in the West Bank, but they are largely confined to urban areas separated by Israeli-controlled territory and mostly prevented from traveling on roads predominantly devoted to Jewish settlers and other Israelis.

B’Tselem officials said they want the international community to “act” on Israel’s policy toward Palestinians.

But they refused to be drawn on whether “action” included calls for international economic and cultural sanctions of the kind imposed on apartheid South Africa before it was released with a series of steps leading to the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.


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