In a first of its kind, a U.N. agency has published a report on Wednesday accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the the Palestinian people as a whole”
The report was commissioned by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and written by Richard Falk, a Human rights expert, and Virginia Tilley, a professor of political science.
The report said it had established on the “basis of scholarly inquiry and overwhelming evidence, that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid.”
ESCWA Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said the report was the “first of its type” from a U.N body that “clearly and frankly concludes that Israel is a racist state that has established an apartheid system that persecutes the Palestinian people.”
The report features a detailed analysis of Israeli legislation, policies and practices; and highlights how Israel operates as an apartheid state, which includes demographic engineering.
The report mentions Palestinian citizens of Israel (also known as Palestinians of 48) as subjects to oppression on the basis of not being Jewish, and the report highlights how Palestinians in East Jerusalem share similar experiences of discrimination in access to education, healthcare, employment, residency and building rights.
The reports mentions expulsions and home demolitions, which are often perpetrated by Israel as a form of collective punishment.
Also, the report distinguishes how Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are governed by “military law: alongside Jewish settlers governed by Israeli “civil law”, while Palestinian refugees and exiles are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel and to the occupied Palestinian territories on the basis that they would “constitute a ‘demographic threat’ and that their return would alter the demographic character of Israel”.
Israel has responded and accused the authors of the report of bias, and had condemned the report and called it an attempt to “falsely label the only true democracy in the Middle East.”