An Israeli human rights group warns that the Zionist state is now effectively operating an “apartheid” system of control.
The human rights organisation, B'Tselem, has accused Israel of running a “regime of Jewish supremacy” from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean in a stinging report on the country’s continuing occupation of Palestinian land.
B'Tselem, one of Israel's most renowned monitoring organisations, also accused the country of running an “apartheid” system of governance, which systematically discriminates against the roughly five million Palestinians under its rule.
The organisation said that Israel, within the 1967 borders, functions as a democracy; outside of those borders, however, and in the occupied territories, a prevailing “military occupation,” which has increasingly become “divorced from reality,” is now entrenched.
Rather than seeing it as the emergence of two separate regimes operating side by side, B’Tselem argues that the area from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River is run under one organising principle “cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians.”
When B’Tselem was founded in 1989 the mission was to monitor human right abuses inside the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Now the organisation says that the situation has changed.
Israel is no longer acting as if it wants a two-state solution. In 2018 Israel passed the controversial “Nation-State” law, which declared that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the land while relegating Palestinians within Israel to second-class status.
Again in 2020, Israel with the backing of the United States proposed the formal annexation of large swathes of the West Bank, considered illegal under international law.
“Taken together,” said B’Tselem “what happens in the occupied territories can no longer be treated as separate from the reality in the entire area under Israel’s control.”
B’Tselem now proposes different terms to accurately describe what is happening in Israel and the occupied territories. In the past, the organisation has referred to the situation in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza as “prolonged occupation” or “one-state reality.”
Terms it says “are no longer adequate.”
While Jewish citizens of Israel living in the occupied land operate as a single contiguous space with the rest of Israel proper, Palestinians are divided through a series of roads, enclaves and roadblocks preventing a semblance of unity amongst themselves.
The report calls this an act of “divide, separate, rule” and separates Israeli actions by outlining four other methods in which the regime fosters Jewish supremacy, including immigration – for Jews only. Taking over land for Jews while crowding Palestinians in enclaves, restriction of Palestinians’ freedom of movement, denial of Palestinians’ right to political participation are part of those methods.
In turning the West Bank and East Jerusalem into Palestinian bantustans with a different set of rights for Palestinians but “inferior to the rights of Jews,” the ultimate aim has been to forestall the “right to self-determination.”
“A regime that uses laws, practices and organized violence to cement the supremacy of one group over another is an apartheid regime,” the report states, which Israel has moved towards over a period of decades.
B’Tselem warns that now more than ever, policies and laws are being implemented that remove any doubt that the final intention of Israeli political leaders is to “promote Jewish supremacy in the entire area under Israeli control.”