- Written by Allison Deger Allison Deger
- Published: 16 March 2017 16 March 2017
A United Nations agency today labeled Israel an “apartheid regime,” in a report that found the country guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the “grave charge” of operating systematic discrimination and oppression against the Palestinian people.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published the document, “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian, People and the Question of Apartheid,”[PDF]. ESCWA is mandated to review Israeli aggressions.
The findings of the report are non-binding and reflect contributions from professor of political science at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale Virginia Tilley and former UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk. It concluded UN organs should sanction Israel and coordinate with civil society groups in boycott campaigns. Apartheid, the report described, is “a crime against humanity” and defined as:
Apartheid, the report described, is “a crime against humanity” and defined as:
“[I]nhuman acts…committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial groups or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
While neither Jews or Palestinians are racial groups, the report stated, the apartheid standard was met because ESCWA found a “racial character” to the policies of the Israeli government enacted toward both Jews and Palestinians. This is expressed inside of Israel through separate categories for a citizen’s “nationality” (Jewish or Arab) and in the occupied territories by the absence of citizenship for Palestinians.
Israel was said to have divided Palestinians into different spheres of governance, each with fewer rights than Jewish-Israelis. Sub-sections of the report outline Palestinians citizens of Israel, West Bank and Gaza residents, Jerusalem residents, and external refugees, all of whom have unequal rights in comparison to Jewish-Israeli citizens.
“Strategic fragmentation of the Palestinian people is the principal method by which Israel imposes an apartheid regime,” ESCWA said. Individual treatment to each group may not meet the apartheid definition, when taken together the report said, it does.
The UN body regarded Israel as producing “one comprehensive regime developed for the purpose of ensuring the enduring dominion over non-Jews in all land exclusively under Israeli control in whatever category.”