Why Human Rights Watch designating Israel’s crimes as apartheid is a very big deal

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A Palestinian boy sits on a chair with a national flag as Israeli authorities demolish a school site in the village of Yatta, south of the West Bank city of Hebron on July 11, 2018. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP via Getty Images)
The report reflects the power of decades of work in defense of Palestinian rights.

By Phyllis Bennis | Common Dreams | May 5, 2021

Human Rights Watch now acknowledges that Israel’s policies are designed to maintain Jewish domination over Palestinians across all the territory it controls, from the river to the sea.

Human Rights Watch is the best-known and arguably the most influential among Washington elites of any of the many human rights organizations in the United States. So when HRW issues an unsparing, 200-plus page legal and factual report concluding that Israeli government authorities are guilty of the crime of apartheid, it is a very big deal.

The key findings are that it is Israel’s “intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In the OPT, including East Jerusalem, that intent has been coupled with systematic oppression of Palestinians and inhumane acts committed against them. When these three elements occur together, they amount to the crime of apartheid.”

The language is legalistic and at times seems designed to deliberately muddle the actual charge HRW is making. But stripping away the obfuscation, the take-away is this: Human Rights Watch now acknowledges that Israel’s policies are designed to maintain Jewish domination over Palestinians across all the territory it controls, from the river to the sea. And Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.

Read the full article here →

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