UN Report Accusing Israel Of Apartheid Calls For Support Of BDS

For the first time, a report published by a division of the UN states that Israel is “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people.”

A new report released by the United Nations entitled claims that Israel has established "an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole."

The paper reviews Israeli practices toward Palestinians and urges governments around the world to "support boycott, divestment and sanctions [BDS] activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives."

Surprised? You shouldn't be. After all, this report comes amid the renewed debate concerning Israeli settlements.

By giving its back to the two-state solution, Al Jazeera reports, Israel has rejected Palestinian self-determination while creating a de facto one state in the region. This, the publication continues, constitutes “a form of apartheid.”

According to the report's publisher, the US Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the fragmentation of the Palestinian people brought about “war, annexation, and expulsions” lies “at the heart of the apartheid regime.” As a result, opposition to Israel's politics in the region are crippled.

When asked about the analysis, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that the report was published by the ESCWA without prior consultation with the UN Secretariat. He added that the document does not reflect the views of the secretary-general.

To John Reynolds, a law lecturer at the National University of Ireland, the report "breaks new ground in the context of the UN's analysis of the situation in Palestine."

Authored by Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University, the report suggests that "the expert consensus [is] that the prohibition of apartheid is universally applicable and was not rendered moot by the collapse of apartheid in South Africa." By arguing that Israel is "guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid," the report urges swift action to bring about justice.

Reviewing Israeli legislation governing both Israelis and Palestinians, the report indicates that Palestinians who are citizens of Israel are described as "subjected to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish."

Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, the report adds, experience "discrimination in access to education, healthcare, employment, residency and building rights."

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinians are governed by "military law" — even as Jewish settlers living in the same locations are "governed by Israeli civil law."

Palestinians who flee as refugees and exiles "constitute a 'demographic threat'" and "their return would alter the demographic character of Israel." As a result, they are "prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory."

Asking the UN to revive the United Nations Center Against Apartheid and the Special Committee against Apartheid, the report's authors also suggest that the International Court of Justice should also look into this matter. This could help them to determine whether "the means used by Israel to maintain control over the Palestinian people amount to the crime of apartheid."

This report is special because, unlike others, it attaches the apartheid label to the Israeli government and its practices. But will it change the situation for Palestinians?

As noted by Al Jazeera, this report is expected to add more fuel to the fire, helping to further deteriorate the relationship between the UN and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnyahu — which, in the end, could also help Palestinians.

President Donald Trump, who has attacked the UN in the past, may also end up siding with Israel on this issue, applying pressure to kill the report and the responses it produces.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Amir Cohen

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