Israel rights group breaks taboo with ‘apartheid’ tag

An Israeli non-governmental organisation has accused the Jewish state of “apartheid” in its treatment of Palestinians — a taboo-breaking move that has seen its representatives banned from speaking in schools.

B’Tselem said it carefully weighed its decision to use the hugely emotive phrase but concluded that it was an accurate description of Israel’s attitude both to residents of the occupied Palestinian territories and to its own Arab citizens. “We cannot avoid the conclusion that it is a regime that is working to advance and cement the supremacy of one group of people — Jews — over Palestinians,” B’Tselem chief Hagai el-Ad said.

“That is the textbook definition of an apartheid regime,” he added. “I agree that it is a strong word but we are not using it lightly.”

Israel occupied the West Bank, including Arab east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War of 1967. Today it is home to at least five million Palestinians defined by the United Nations as living under Israeli occupation.

Arab Israelis — Palestinians who stayed on their land following the Jewish state's creation in 1948 and their descendants — make up about 20% of Israel’s roughly nine million people. By law they have rights equal to those of Jewish citizens, but they say that in practice they suffer discrimination in employment, housing, policing and other essentials.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 5:00:26 PM |

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