Human Rights Watch Denounces Israel’s Policies As Apartheid
Today, the human rights’ New-York based organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW), published a comprehensive report untitled “Separate and Unequal”, and it is a departure for an organization which is usually quite friendly towards Israel as opposed to Amnesty International. The report shows that Israel operates a two-tier system for the Israeli and Palestinian populations of the occupied territories of the West Bank and East-Jerusalem. Human Rights Watch is calling on “The US and the EU to avoid supporting Israeli settlements policies that are inherently discriminatory and that violate international law.”
“Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to road. Meanwhile, near by Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state provided benefits. While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians, under Israeli control, live in a time warp-not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes,” said Carroll Bogert from Human Rights Watch.
The HRW’s report takes even its assessment of the serious human rights abuse a step further by calling on the United States to significantly reduce military aid to Israel because of Israeli’s blatantly discriminatory policies stifling development of Palestinian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, when analyzing the situation in the West Bank, came up with similar conclusion than HRW.
“The forbidden roads regime (for Palestinians) is based on the principle of separation based on discrimination, and assumes that every Palestinian constitutes a security threat. This assumption is racist, and cannot justify a policy that indiscriminately harms the entire Palestinian population. Therefore, the policy violates human rights and international law,” according to B’Tselem website.
According to HRW, by making Palestinian communities virtually uninhabitable, Israel policies have had the effect of forcing residents to leave their communities. From 2000 to June 2009, in an area covering 60 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which is under exclusive Israeli control, more than 30 percent of Palestinian residents have been displaced.
“While Israeli policy makers are fighting for the ‘natural growth’ of their illegal settlements, they are strangling historic Palestinian communities, forbidding families from expanding their houses, and making life unlivable. The policies surrounding Israel’s settlements are an affront to equality,” said Carroll Bogert with Human Rights Watch.
To read Human Rights Watch’s report “Separate and Unequal” click here.
Note: All photographs by Yossi Gurvitz .