Human Rights Group Condemns Israel's 'Discriminatory' Policies


Expropriating land, unequal access to electricity and basic services and a number of other ""discriminatory"" Israeli policies are making Palestinian communities ""virtually uninhabitable"" and forcing residents to flee as a result, according to a report released yesterday by Human Rights Watch.

In its report, the New York-based advocacy group concludes that Palestinians living in areas of the West Bank that fall under Israel's exclusive control face extensive discrimination.

It compares their circumstances to Israel's settlements, whose Jewish residents receive from the Israeli government ""generous financial benefits and infrastructure support to promote life in Jewish settlements"". Neighbouring Palestinian communities, on the other hand, face a deliberate strategy of punishment that withholds ""basic services, punishing growth, and imposing harsh conditions on Palestinian communities"".

Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesperson, dismissed the report, citing what he described as Human Rights Watch's historic bias against Israel.

""Unfortunately, over the last few years, there have been a series of documented cases where Human Rights Watch has allowed an anti-Israel agenda to pollute its reporting,"" he said.