Under international law, to qualify a regime as apartheid, three criteria must be established, an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination of one racial group by another, an intention to maintain this regime and one or more acts listed in the convention on the crime of apartheid, such as the forced transfer of populations, torture and murder, committed within the framework of this institutionalized regime.
Condemnation of the apartheid regime institutionalized by Israel against the Palestinian people.
This motion for a resolution seeks to condemn the establishment of an apartheid regime by Israel against the Palestinian people, both in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and in Israel, and calls for its immediate dismantling.
It is based on the aforementioned body of international human rights law and principles, the hundreds of United Nations (UN) Security Council and General Assembly resolutions condemning Israel’s settlement policy in the OPT, the resolutions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the detailed and circumstantial investigations and reports of Israeli, Palestinian, international and non-governmental organizations, which demonstrate that the laws, policies and the practices put in place by the Israeli authorities gradually created an apartheid regime against the Palestinian people.
All the criteria for qualifying the apartheid regime set up by the State of Israel are met.
Israel has established an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by a single racial group and Israel has made clear its intention to maintain such a regime. Several inhumane acts are commonly committed against Palestinians in the OPT and in Israel.
Israel has institutionalized a regime of oppression and systematic discrimination applied to the entire Palestinian population.
Since its creation in 1948, Israel has pursued a policy aimed at establishing and maintaining Jewish demographic hegemony and expanding its control over the territory for the benefit of Israeli Jews. In 1967, Israel extended this policy to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Currently, all territories under Israeli control remain administered with the aim of favoring Israeli Jews at the expense of the Palestinian population, while successive Israeli governments have continued to deny the right of return to Palestinian refugees for more than seventy years.
Successive Israeli governments have identified the Palestinian population as a demographic threat and have imposed measures to control and reduce their presence and access to land in Israel and the OPT. These demographic targets are visible in official plans to Judaize certain areas in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, plans that put thousands of Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer. Since 1967, the permanent residency of more than fourteen thousand Palestinians has been revoked at the discretion of the Interior Ministry, resulting in their forcible transfer out of the city. The expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem is pushing Palestinians out of their homes and confining the Palestinian population to ever smaller enclaves.
Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs in East Jerusalem and the West Bank live under a regime that differentiates the distribution of rights and benefits on the basis of national and ethnic identity and ensures the supremacy of one group over the other. Israeli authorities treat Palestinians as an inferior racial group defined by their non-Jewish Arab status. This racial discrimination is entrenched in laws that affect Palestinians throughout Israel and the OPT.
Differences in living conditions and citizenship rights are manifest, deeply discriminatory and maintained by systematic and institutionalized oppression. These include the Nationality Law, the Citizenship Law, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Planning and Building Law and the Settlement Law. There are also new Israeli regulations on foreigners traveling to the West Bank which took effect on July 5, 2022. Palestinians who hold foreign passports will be subject to restrictive regulations when it comes to entry and residence in the occupied West Bank. Legal experts point out that this would be for Israel to attempt to restrict and track the movement of foreign nationals in the OPT, to control the growth of the Palestinian population and to maintain data on the territorial claims of Palestinians with foreign nationalities.
We should also remember that the Palestinian refugees and their descendants, who were forcibly displaced during the conflicts of 1948 and 1967, remain deprived of the right to return to their former place of residence. This exclusion of refugees imposed by Israel is a flagrant violation of international law.
The dispossession and displacement of Palestinians from their homes is a central pillar of the Israeli apartheid system. Since its creation, the Israeli state has implemented large-scale land seizures against the Palestinian population and it continues to impose a large number of laws and policies to lock them into small enclaves. Since 1948, Israel has expropriated and demolished hundreds of thousands of Palestinian homes and buildings in all areas under its jurisdiction and effective control.
The Israeli Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) B’tselem reports an estimated number of six hundred and sixty-two thousand Israeli settlers in the West Bank at the end of 2020, including nearly two hundred and twenty thousand settlers in East Jerusalem. In the West Bank, settlers make up fourteen percent of the population. The growth rate of the settler population has increased by forty-two percent from the year 2010 and has more than quadrupled since the year 2000.
In the first eight months of 2021, Israeli authorities demolished six hundred and sixty-six Palestinian homes and other structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing nine hundred and fifty-eight Palestinians, an increase of thirty- eight percent compared to the same period of 2020, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Most of these buildings have been demolished for lack of building permits, while the authorities make it almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain such permits in these areas. In July 2022, Israeli authorities razed, for the sixth time in less than a year, the homes of most residents of the Palestinian community of Khirbet Humsah in the Jordan Valley, on the grounds that they were in an area designated as a firing zone, displacing seventy people, including thirty-five children.
Israel expresses a clear intention to maintain the apartheid regime. The regime of oppression and domination of the Israeli authorities against the Palestinians has lasted, at least, since the beginning of the Israeli occupation with regard to the OPT of 1967 and since 1948 for the Palestinians of Israel.
The duration of the oppression is a clear sign of the intention to maintain this regime.
The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, formalized in 1980, makes evident the intention of colonial domination, the de facto annexation of the rest of the West Bank as well, as well as the will for formal annexation officially declared by the Israeli Prime Minister in 2020 .
On April 22, 2020, Benny Gantz and Binyamin Netanyahu announced their emergency government agreement with the annexation of the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank at its heart, made possible from July 1, 2020.
The system of systematic oppression and discrimination was established with the intention of maintaining the dominance of one ethnic, national and racial group over another. Israeli political leaders, past and present, have repeatedly stated that they intend to retain control of all of the OPT in order to expand land blocks for current and future Jewish settlements, while confining Palestinians in population reserves. In this particular system, the freedoms of one group are inextricably linked to the continued subjugation of the other group.
Israel perpetrated numerous inhumane acts, listed in the convention on the crime of apartheid, against the Palestinian people.
This system of institutionalized discrimination with a view to permanent domination is built on the regular practice of inhuman acts, such as arbitrary and extrajudicial executions, acts of torture, the violent death of children or the denial of fundamental human rights.
The arbitrary arrests and administrative detentions of Palestinians, including many children, subjected to unfair trials and acts of violence against detainees, as well as the transfer of Palestinian detainees to Israeli prisons, constitute violations of international humanitarian law. and human rights. In this respect, the arbitrary detention of the French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender, Salah Hamouri, by the Israeli occupation forces is a perfect illustration of the functioning of the Israeli apartheid regime. Harassed for years by the Israeli government for his work in favor of human rights, he is the subject of repeated administrative detentions and he suffers ill-treatment inflicted by the Israeli authorities.
As Michael Lynk, former UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the OPT since 1967, points out, “the repetition of the aforementioned acts over long periods of time, as well as their endorsement by the Israeli parliament and by the Israeli judicial system, indicates that they are neither random nor isolated, but that they are an integral part of the Israeli system of domination”.
In the OPT, Israeli forces regularly use lethal force to suppress protest actions by Palestinians demanding respect for their rights.
In May 2021, during the intensive Israeli bombardments, against densely populated places where civilian populations live, two hundred and sixty Palestinians were killed, including sixty-six children, and two thousand two hundred Palestinians were injured, some of them being likely to suffer from long-term disabilities requiring rehabilitation, according to the UN OCHA.
In the occupied West Bank, seventy-seven people were killed by Israeli soldiers, the result of the Israeli army’s policy of allowing live ammunition to be fired at Palestinians.
Between June 21, 2021 and May 11, 2022, at least seventy-nine Palestinians, including fourteen children, were killed by Israeli armed forces in the OPT, according to UN OCHA and information collected by Amnesty International.
On May 11, 2022, Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh died after being shot in the head while covering an Israeli army raid in the city of Jenin in the occupied northern West Bank. The journalist wore a bulletproof jacket, on which was written the word “press” and a protective helmet. She was shot at by an Israeli soldier using a sniper rifle and she was hit just below the cut of her helmet. This is clearly a serious violation of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Security Council resolution on the protection of journalists, but also potentially a war crime that could be tried by the International Criminal Court. (ICC).
The assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh by the occupying forces and Israel’s refusal to open an international investigation testifies to the murderous system in which Israel locks up the Palestinian population.
This confinement is perfectly illustrated by the blockade of the Gaza Strip instituted since June 2007 by Israel, which is organizing an inhuman policy of isolation of an entire population. In fourteen years of blockade, the situation has deteriorated considerably; the population of Gaza does not have access to its airspace; its maritime space has been greatly amputated and the Israeli authorities prevent most of the population of Gaza from crossing the Erez checkpoint, the only crossing point between Gaza and Israel through which Palestinians can travel to the West Bank and abroad. This Israeli military blockade hinders access to water, sanitation and access to energy for the two million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.
The UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, already deplored in 2010, this persistent blockade as being at the origin of the ongoing deterioration of the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. It hinders the supply of medical equipment and the training of health personnel and prevents patients with serious illnesses from obtaining timely specialized treatment outside Gaza. The World Health Organization (WHO) also declared in 2011 that “the blockade compromises the exercise of the right to health of Palestinians in Gaza”.
The situation has deteriorated significantly since then. The movement of Palestinians is in fact now subject to unprecedented control.
Israeli authorities tightened the blockade during the coronavirus pandemic. In the first nine months of 2021, an average of eighty-six Palestinians from Gaza exited the territory each day through the Erez crossing, only seventeen percent of the daily average of five hundred Palestinians recorded in 2019 and less than one percent of the daily average of more than 24,000 Palestinians recorded in September 2000, according to Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization. This blockade constitutes a violation of fundamental human rights and a violation of humanitarian law.
The recognition of the reality of this apartheid regime by the entire international community is essential to allow a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For years, there has been a growing number of works, surveys, research by scholars, lawyers, experts, associations, organizations and international institutions that converge for the recognition of the fact that Israel instituted an apartheid regime against the Palestinian population.