A number one Israeli human rights group has for the primary time labelled Israel an “apartheid regime,” sparking a fierce controversy through the use of a time period that Israeli leaders have vehemently rejected.
“It is one regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid,” the group’s government director, Hagai El-Ad, mentioned in an announcement.
Palestinian laborers line as much as cross a checkpoint on the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, close to Jerusalem, in June. Oded Balilty / AP file
Some of Israel’s critics have used the time period “apartheid” to explain how Palestinians have fewer rights than Jews within the occupied West Bank, blockaded Gaza, annexed east Jerusalem and Israel itself.
Nevertheless, the time period, evoking the system of white rule and racial segregation in South Africa that resulted in 1994, has remained taboo for a lot of.
Ohad Zemet, the spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy within the U.Okay., slammed the group’s report saying it was nothing greater than a “propaganda tool.”
“Israel rejects the false claims in the so called report as it is not based on reality but on a distorted ideological view,” he said. “Israel is a strong and vibrant democracy that gives full rights to all of its citizens regardless of religion, race or gender.”
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Palestinian citizens make up around 20 percent of Israel’s population of 9.2 million, according to The Associated Press. Israel also exercises varying levels of control over Palestinian territories ever since it seized east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza strip from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, land Palestinians want for a future state.
Most of the worldwide group considers the Palestinian territories to be occupied. However, starting as early as 2017, U.S. officers started dropping public references to the West Bank as “occupied” and in 2019 the U.S. reversed its decadeslong position that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal.
In recent years, rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say Israeli authorities have sought to undermine the work of rights defenders, including by maligning Israeli rights advocates and arresting Palestinian activists.
In 2019, Israel expelled Omar Shakir, the local director of Human Rights Watch, for allegedly supporting an international boycott movement against the country. Human Rights Watch said neither it nor Shakir has called for an outright boycott of Israel.
In its report, B’Tselem said one organizing principle lay behind a whole array of Israeli policies: “Advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group — Jews — over another — Palestinians.”
The group mentioned Israel had used land,