Israeli Apartheid

The State of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has been compared by United Nations investigators, human rights groups and critics of Israeli policies to the Apartheid which was carried out in South Africa in its treatment of non-whites.

To quote former South African president and anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela, speaking in Pretoria, December 4, 1997:

The UN took a strong stand against apartheid, and over the years an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

The Israeli apartheid policy includes a system of control in the Israeli occupied West Bank that includes separate roads, Jews only settlements, military checkpoints, discriminatory marriage law, the West Bank barrier or separation wall and the use of Palestinians as a cheap labour force.

Things you need to know:


About the Palestinian disaster

Deir Yassin

Ethic cleansing of our land

Palestine Mandate

About the 1920s-40s

The 1948 War

The taking of Palestine

The Creation of Israel

Birth of a nation, loss of a people

Israeli Apartheid

The separation of the peoples

There are also inequalities in infrastructure, legal rights and access to land and resources. Israel’s occupation constitutes forms of apartheid which are contrary to international law.

In 1973 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA). This defines the crimes of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over another racial group and systematically oppressing them”.

The crime of apartheid was further defined in 2002 by article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as encompassing inhuman acts such as torture, murder, forcible transfer, imprisonment or persecution of an identifiable group on grounds of racial, political, cultural, religious or other grounds, “Committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.

In a 2007 report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine John Dugard stated that “Elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law” and suggested that the “legal consequences of a prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid” be put to the International Court of Justice.

The South African research agency, the Human Sciences Researches Council (HSRC) stated in its 2009 report that “The State of Israel exercises control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid”.

In 2010 United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard A Falk reported that criminal apartheid features of the Israeli occupation had been entrenched in the three years since the report of his predecessor, John Dugard.

Zahir Kolliah has written that “In South Africa and in Palestine the indigenous populations live under the apartheid regime’s ‘settler colonies’ as described by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid”.

The Israeli marriage law is an example of one aspect of their apartheid policy.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset on 31 July 2003, during the second Palestinian uprising. The law does not enable the acquisition of Israeli citizenship or residency by a Palestinian from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip by marriage. The law does allow children from such marriages to live in Israel until age 12, at which age they are required to emigrate. This applies equally to a Palestinian spouse of any Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jewish, but in practice more Israeli Arabs than Israeli Jews marry Palestinians.


( / 11.06.2011)

The law was renewed in 2008 when Amos Shocken, the publisher of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz wrote:

The law severely discriminates when comparing the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens to young Israeli Arab citizens who marry, and that its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state.

“Israel is not like any other country; it was founded on the idea that it will be home for all the Jews in the world”, Danny Danon, a Likud member of the Knesset said. “I don’t think it’s a racist law. But we have to make sure Israel stays a Jewish country.”

Opposition against the ongoing apartheid policies of Israel is building. Israeli Apartheid week is an annual event held in countries and campuses across the globe. The aim being to educate people about the Israeli apartheid system and to build support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. (BDS) In 2010 Israeli Apartheid week took place in 40 cities worldwide.

The BDS campaign was launched in July 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel. Momentum is gaining in this campaign in countries such as South Africa, Canada, the UK and the US.

The demands outlined in the July 2005 Statement are:

Full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands – including the Golan Heights, the occupied West Bank with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The dismantling of the apartheid wall and the protection of Palestinian refugees right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

The Palestinian liberation struggle has strong resonance with the South African anti-apartheid movement. Join in the call for justice, equality and peace in Palestine and an end to apartheid.

You can campaign in your local areas. Write to your MP’s and Congressmen and demand that the international community takes action to support the UN resolutions against Israel and to restore justice for the people of Palestine.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity and one which we should stand up against in calling for the perpetrators of that crime to be called to account.

We should not stand by and watch any state enact apartheid polices on its citizens, condemning them to a life as a second class human being. We are all born equal and in international law, we all have human rights. The right to dignity, equality and fairness.

Let us all stand as one in universally condemning the Israeli Apartheid and ensuring by putting pressure on our Governments that it is not allowed to continue to the next generation of Palestinians.

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