Professor Falk: “Peaceful future will not arise until Israel dismantles apartheid”

A protestor carries a sign during a demonstration by Palestinian, Israeli and foreign protesters against the newly-opened Route 4370, on January 23, 2019, in the occupied West Bank. – The highway into Jerusalem divides Israeli and Palestinian drivers into separate lanes with a wall, leading Palestinians to label it an “apartheid road”. Its western side serves Palestinians, who cannot enter Jerusalem, whereas the roads eastern side serves settlers, who can now reach northern Jerusalem

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Richard Falk, international law expert at the US-based Princeton University, said that a “peaceful future” in the Palestinian issue “will not arise until Israel dismantles apartheid.”

“A peaceful future will not arise until Israel dismantles apartheid and agrees to treat Palestinians under human rights standards, including respect for the Palestinian right of self-determination.”

Recently, leading Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, has described ‘Israel’ as an ‘apartheid regime’.

The group said in a report that while Palestinians live under different forms of Israeli control in the occupied West Bank, blockaded Gaza, annexed east Jerusalem and within ‘Israel’ itself, they have fewer rights than Jews in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

“One of the key points in our analysis is that this is a single geopolitical area ruled by one government,” said B’Tselem director Hagai El-Ad. “This is not democracy plus occupation. This is apartheid between the river and the sea.”

B’Tselem argues that by dividing up the territories and using different means of control, ‘Israel’ masks the underlying reality — that roughly 7 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians live under a single system with vastly unequal rights.

“We are not saying that the degree of discrimination that a Palestinian has to endure is the same if one is a citizen of the state of ‘Israel’ or if one is besieged in Gaza,” El-Ad said. “The point is that there isn’t a single square inch between the river and the sea in which a Palestinian and a Jew are equal.”

Commenting on the organization’s describtion, Professor Falk said, “It is definitely an important development when Israel’s most respected human rights organization issues a report that confirms earlier UN reports and allegations that the Palestinians are victimized by an apartheid regime that seeks to impose policies and practices that ensure the supremacy of Jews by victimizing the Palestinian people throughout the whole of historic Palestine.”

He added, “a de facto one-state reality of unified Israeli control suggests that the internationally endorsed goal of a negotiated two-state solution superseded by Israeli ambitions to complete the Zionist project of establishing a Jewish exclusivist state on the entire ‘the promised land’.”

“These ambitions were implicitly acknowledged by Israel in 2018 when it enacted a Basic Law that asserted that only the Jewish people had a right to self-determination within the state of Israel, that the internationally unlawful settlement enterprise deserved national support, and that Hebrew was the only official language.”

The International Criminal Court defines apartheid as an “institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group.”

As “apartheid” is listed as a crime against humanity according to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Falk said, “The government of Israel, especially in international settings such as the UN, is outraged by allegations of apartheid that it repudiates as nothing other than a vicious form of anti-Semitism.”

However, ‘Israel’ rejects the term, claiming the restrictions it imposes in Gaza and the West Bank are temporary measures needed for security.

Falk noted that “one of the contributions of the report is to identify the elements of Israeli apartheid by reference to specific policies and practices that are relied upon to maintain Jewish supremacy over non-Jews within its sovereign territory.”

“Among these are discriminatory standards applicable to immigration, giving Jews worldwide an unrestricted ‘right of return’ while denying Palestinians any immigration rights even if parents or grandparents were born within its territory,” he added.

As the report dealing with “apartheid as control of territory rather than the control of people” is a weakness, Falk pointed out, “From 1948 to the present, Palestinians have suffered as a people, hundreds of thousands being displaced and dispossessed as integral to the Israeli overall plan to be a Jewish majority state.”

B’Tselem, as it describes itself, is an “Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories strives to end Israel’s occupation, recognizing that this is the only way to achieve a future that ensures human rights, democracy, liberty and equality to all people, Palestinian and Israeli alike, living on the bit of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.”

(Source / 03.02.2021)

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