Amnesty International Labels Israel ‘Apartheid’ State in Report
i24 News – Amnesty International on Tuesday labeled Israel an “apartheid” state that treats Palestinians as “an inferior racial group,” joining the assessment of other rights groups which the Jewish state vehemently rejects.
“Israel’s cruel policies of segregation, dispossession and exclusion across all territories under its control clearly amount to apartheid,” said Amnesty’s Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
“Whether they live in Gaza, east Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, or Israel itself, Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group and systematically deprived of their rights.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid strongly rejected the claims as “divorced from reality” and charged that “Amnesty quotes lies spread by terrorist organizations.’
A year ago, Israeli-based rights group B’Tselem drew fire when it asserted that Israeli policies had been designed to enforce “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea” and met the definition of “apartheid.”
New York-based Human Rights Watch in April last year became the first major international rights group to publicly level the controversial allegation.
The report by London-based Amnesty builds on those previous calls in asserting that Israeli-enforced apartheid exists in Palestinian territories and within Israel itself, where Arab citizens make up more than 20 percent of the population.
Amnesty stressed it was not comparing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with conditions in apartheid-era South Africa but said Israeli conduct and policies met the criteria for the crime of apartheid under international law.
Israel’s foreign ministry has called on Amnesty to “withdraw” the report.
“Amnesty was once an esteemed organization that we all respected,” said Lapid. “Today, it is the exact opposite.”