Israel is committing “crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against the Palestinians and the international community must reconsider its diplomatic relations with the state, a leading human rights group said in a report on Tuesday.
The 213-page report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) details how Israel seeks to maintain Jewish-Israeli domination over the Palestinian people from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Considering Israel’s half-century occupation around the world as a temporary situation that the decades-long ‘peace process’ will soon heal, the persecution of Palestinians there has reached a threshold and stability that meets the definitions of apartheid and persecution,” said Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director.
Those who are working for Israeli-Palestinian peace, whether it is a one-state solution or a two-state solution, must carry the various human rights tools needed to understand what this reality is in the meantime.
Israel rejected the organization’s report, calling it “propaganda”
The foreign ministry said in a statement that “Human Rights Watch has been known as a long-standing anti-Israel agenda and has been actively pursuing a boycott campaign against Israel for years.”
The HRW report follows a decision by Israeli rights group B’TSelem, which published a study last January that found that Palestinians, divided into four levels of substandard treatment, were denied the right to self-determination.
Ines Abdel Razek, an advocacy director at the Ramallah-based Palestinian Institute for Public Diplomacy, said the HRW report was a welcome development in shifting the focus of international engagement towards applying international law and human rights – rather than “sanctifying a two-state solution as an empty mantra that has only comforted Israel in its impunity”.
To ignore the urgent need to reject a political understanding between Palestine and Israel, it is clearly of major political importance, he told Al Jazeera. Spell what we are documenting, analyzing, saying and writing.
For decades, Palestinians and their supporters have been “tolerant” of racist existence, according to Mon Rabbani, co-editor of Jadaliyya, an independent research website.
“It’s not Israel but HRW that has crossed a door,” he said. “HRW is an industry leader in its field, and in the end it is a significant development in my view.
The significance of the report, he said, is that HRW “clearly condemns Israel as a racist government and calls for Israel to face” true and serious consequences “for calling it a “crime against humanity.”
Rabbani added, “Perhaps most surprisingly, based on a record of such issues, [HRW] is for once not ‘balancing’ its analysis of Israel with ritual denunciations of Palestinians.”