According to the latest research by Amnesty International, Israel maintains a racist system and dominance over Palestinians in all regions under its jurisdiction to benefit Jewish Israelis. The regions include Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Palestinian refugees. This is apartheid, which is illegal under international law.
The report titled “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity” was published in January 2022. The survey looks at Palestinians in the disputed territories and those living within Israel’s borderline. It even mentions Israeli initiatives to impede Palestinian sovereignty in other nations.
The indications turn to the same conclusion: Israel is an apartheid state in international law.
The report by Amnesty International does not stand hollow. Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization and Palestinian organizations have conducted comparative investigations. The evidence indicates that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. Moreover, the nation is so overpowering that Israel and its sympathizers have stopped bothering to answer it.
Why do the largest and most potent imperial governments continue to adamantly reject charges of apartheid and continue to defend Israel to the utmost? Well, Amnesty’s report fails to answer this question.
Israel: A Strategic Partner
Israel is a settler-colonial state that is heavily armed. It continues to be the largest beneficiary of US military assistance, with an annual budget of $3.8 billion. As per the Campaign Against Arms Trade, during 2016 and 2020, the UK approved £387 million in Single Individual Export Licences for weapons deals to Israel. The figure shows a roughly six-fold surge over the past half-decade.
Read more about the UK-Israel arms trade here!
In their attempts to control the flow of trade and commerce through the Gulf Region, the US, the UK, and the EU recognize Israel as a strategic partner. The United States has become more reliant than ever on Israel to control the volatile Arab states that border it. This came about after the former failed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, the failure to stop Russian and Iranian participation in Syria to defend the Assad government caused the accelerated reliance.
In a statement released on January 31st, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned the report. “Another radical organization that replicates propaganda with no significant proofs,” he remarked of Amnesty International. Rather than finding the truth, Amnesty International refers to terrorist organizations’ misinformation.” He described Israel’s charges as “a hallucination disconnected from reality.”
He further noted that Amnesty International does not call Syria an “apartheid state”. Syria’s administration brutally killed half a million of its people. Similar is the case with Iran or any other corrupt and murderous regime in Africa or Latin America. “I hate to use the argument that if Israel were not a Jewish state, no one in Amnesty would dare to advocate against it, but there is no other option in this instance,” he added.
As the nation-state law underlines, Amnesty International and the larger human rights community currently debate the full consequences of Israel’s apartheid character. The right to “national self-determination in the State of Israel is peculiar to the Jewish people.”
That right belongs to all Jews across the globe, not only those who live in Israel. They all have more rights to historic Palestinian territories than any Palestinian. Even a so-called Palestinian “citizen” of Israel holds this right, whether they support Israel or not, and whether or not they have ever lived in the region.
Third parties can pursue “legal remedies” and recommendations outlined in the study. Apartheid is already recognized as a crime against humanity under international law. It lays the path for several other legal remedies. Amnesty International particularly urges nations with close relations to the Israeli government, such as the United Kingdom, to take steps. This includes banning arms shipments and exercising universal jurisdiction for people within their jurisdiction who have perpetrated crimes against humanity.
Amnesty’s report is likely to be valuable in exposing the Israeli system for what it is. However, fundamental transformations in world political structures, along with the UK, are still required in order for us to move closer to Palestinian liberation. The primary measure to reach such changes is a widespread grassroots mobilization. Such a measure can condemn institutional racism and apartheid in all forms and advocates for individual freedom along with fair treatment and democratization.
About the Author
Being an avid reader, Akhilesh loves to explore new developments in Defence Research & Development. He is a voyager and loves writing poetry. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Defence and Strategic Studies. He is an inquisitive and diligent soul hoping to make a change to reckon with. He is also affiliated with the Centre for Security Studies at Jindal School of International Studies as a Centre Associate. His main interests lie in Security Studies, Defence Technology, International Relations & World Politics