The Crimes Against Humanity in the Israeli Apartheid System

The Israeli authorities systematically restrict Palestinians’ basic rights, including citizenship, movement, and residence, resulting in widespread discrimination. These measures, grounded in ethnic identity, limit political, social, economic, and cultural participation, and violate fundamental freedoms. Such policies amount to crimes against humanity, particularly ‘persecution’ and ‘deprivation of human freedoms,’ as defined by the Rome Statute and Apartheid Convention.

Systematic Dispossession, Discrimination, and the Pursuit of Demographic Dominance

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has consistently pursued policies that favor Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinian rights. This intentional dispossession involves territorial control, demographic manipulation, and discriminatory laws. Israel’s expansion beyond the Green Line to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, coupled with the exclusion of Palestinian refugees, reflects a systematic effort to establish and maintain Jewish demographic dominance. Israeli laws grant privileged status to Jewish citizens, while Palestinians face discrimination based on ethnocentric views. The classification of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship as “Arab citizens of Israel” further perpetuates inequality. The Nation State Law of 2018 solidifies Israel as a Jewish state, limiting the right to self-determination to the Jewish people.

The Israeli government, through statements and actions, reveals its intent to dominate and control Palestinians. Discriminatory policies on land, housing, and planning, along with restrictions on economic and social rights, aim to force Palestinians out of their territories. The persistent denial of the right of return to Palestinian refugees’ underscores Israel’s long-standing policy of intentional oppression. The result is an apartheid system, characterized by demographic engineering, discriminatory laws, and systematic deprivation of Palestinian rights. This intentional oppression, amounting to a crime against humanity, reflects a consistent pattern of domination and discrimination by the Israeli government.

Land Dispossession

Upon its establishment in 1948, Israel engaged in mass deportations and the destruction of Palestinian villages, constituting ethnic cleansing. Palestinians were initially isolated within Israel, later confined to the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the 1967 military occupation. Israel seized Palestinian lands, implemented discriminatory laws, and favored Jewish citizens, exacerbating poverty and insecurity for Palestinians. Expansion of Jewish settlements in occupied territories further violated international law.

In 1948, Palestinians comprised 70% of Palestine, owning 90% of privately held land. Displacement during the 1947-1949 conflict and the 1967 war increased Palestinian fragmentation. Legal systems, including the Oslo Accords, perpetuated discrimination, hindering Palestinian rights. Israeli policies restrict Palestinian movement, control territories, and deny refugees the right of return. Palestinians with Israeli citizenship face discriminatory laws, while those in the West Bank and Gaza are subject to military rule. The apartheid-like system includes unequal treatment based on legal status and geographic location.

Palestinians with Israeli citizenship experience limited rights compared to Israeli Jews, while those in East Jerusalem have residency but not citizenship. West Bank residents are under military rule, and Gazans are subject to Palestinian laws. This discriminatory regime, amounting to a crime against humanity, persists, denying millions of Palestinian refugees their right to return.

Restrictions on Movements

Since the mid-1990s, Israeli authorities have enforced a closure regime, severely limiting movement for millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and between the territories and Israel. This, coupled with restrictions on travel abroad, aims to isolate Palestinians, fostering Israeli dominance. Israel exerts control over all entry and exit points in the West Bank and governs travel routes to and from Gaza. Palestinians, except those in East Jerusalem with permanent residence rights, face obstacles traveling abroad through Israeli airports. Military forces can bar West Bank Palestinians from international travel based on undisclosed information, affecting activists and human rights defenders.

Gazans encounter significant hurdles traveling abroad due to Israeli and Egyptian restrictions at the Rafah crossing. Erezcrossing, controlled by Israel, demands permits rarely issued. Palestinians of Israeli nationality and East Jerusalem residents face discriminatory checks at Israeli airports. Movement within the Palestinian territories is challenging, dictated by Israeli considerations favoring settlements. A comprehensive closure system involves dirt roads, military barriers, and a lengthy wall/fence, isolating towns and villages. This wall, illegally built on Palestinian land, segregates communities in the West Bank, subjecting them to permits for daily activities.

Palestinians aged over fifty can generally move within the West Bank without permits, but the Israeli military “separation policy” hinders travel between the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians must navigate a complex, arbitrary permit system, in contrast to the freedom enjoyed by Jewish settlers, Israeli citizens, and foreign nationals. This discriminatory regime perpetuates a sense of powerlessness and submission among Palestinians, impacting their daily lives.

Land and Property Confiscation

In 1948, Palestinians owned approximately 90 percent of Mandate Palestine’s privately owned land, while Jewish individuals and institutions held about 6.5 percent. Over the years, the State of Israel systematically seized land through discriminatory laws, aiming to dispossess and segregate Palestinians, particularly in strategic regions. This land acquisition policy, rooted in Judaization, targeted areas with significant Palestinian populations. Ongoing efforts focus on expelling Palestinians from the Negev, East Jerusalem, and Area C in the West Bank. Discriminatory planning and building regulations serve as tools for this strategy, reinforcing Judaization and control.

Key legislation facilitating land expropriation includes the Absentee Property Law (1950), the Land Acquisition Law (1953), and the British Lands (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Act (1943). Despite the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, these laws persist, enabling the transformation of Palestinian lands into state-owned property. The Absentee Property Law granted the state authority over lands, regardless of whether Palestinians became refugees or were internally displaced. A notable case is the destruction of Iqrit village in 1948, where residents were never allowed to return, showcasing the enforcement of this policy.

Post-1948, pre-existing Jewish property in East Jerusalem, under the Legal and Administrative Affairs Law amendment (1970), was transferred to the Israeli Public Custodian, favoring Jewish owners in compensation claims over Palestinian ones.Confiscation has also supported settlement expansion in Jerusalem. Jewish organizations, leveraging legal frameworks, file eviction claims against Palestinians, facilitating settler expansion into neighborhoods with Palestinian majorities.

This land expropriation has lasting consequences, denying Palestinians access to ancestral lands, perpetuating their isolation, and marking those with Israeli citizenship as a group with permanently diminished rights. The ongoing discriminatory legal apparatus continues to shape the land ownership landscape, reinforcing the systematic oppression and domination against Palestinians.

The Israeli Apartheid System: A Systematic Mechanism of Oppression and Discrimination

The Israeli apartheid system systematically oppresses and dominates Palestinians, both within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. This institutionalized system employs discriminatory laws, policies, and practices, violating the human rights of Palestinians and controlling virtually every aspect of their lives.

Established by successive Israeli governments since 1948 and intensified after the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, this apartheid system differentiates between various Palestinian groups. Regardless of the political party in power, Israel applies discriminatory laws to oppress and exclude Palestinians while favoring Jewish Israelis.

While the system manifests differently in various areas under Israeli control, its overarching purpose remains consistent: to maintain a privileged status for Jewish Israelis, ensuring access to acquired or controlled territories and lands. Palestinians face restrictions challenging land expropriation and property rights, reflecting in Israel’s discourse from its inception to the present day.

The application of international law differs between situations inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Palestinians in Israel are governed by international human rights law, while those in the occupied territories are subject to international humanitarian law related to military occupation. However, occupation law prohibits discrimination aimed at establishing or perpetuating a racist system of oppression.

Israeli actions, such as forced displacement, deportation, restricted movement, denial of citizenship rights, and discriminatory resource allocation, obstruct Palestinians’ current enjoyment of rights, including livelihoods, healthcare, food security, water access, and education. The apartheid system ensures unequal legal status, perpetuating an unjust reality for Palestinians in both individual and communal contexts.

Crimes Against Humanity

In the course of establishing and maintaining a regime of oppression and domination over Palestinians, Israel, and those acting on its behalf, have committed acts that contravene the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute. These acts, characterized by inhumanity and brutality, include forcible transfer, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killing, serious injury, deprivation of fundamental freedoms, and persecution, systematically executed against the Palestinian population in both Israel and the occupied territories.

Amnesty International’s examination focuses on acts associated with the regime’s laws, policies, and practices marked by unfair discrimination. The organization asserts that the patterns of prohibited acts by Israel constitute a systematic and widespread attack against the Palestinian population, amounting to crimes against humanity, specifically the crime of racial segregation under the Apartheid Convention and the Rome Statute.

Forced Transfers

Israel employs laws and policies to compel Palestinians into Israel and specific territories, restricting them to confined areas or forcing them to leave completely. In regions like the Negev, East Jerusalem, and Area C in the West Bank, Israel enforces planning and building regulations resulting in the widespread demolition of Palestinian homes and property, often connected to their livelihoods, under the pretext of lacking building permits. This coercive environment aims to push Palestinians out of their homes.

Israel’s requirement for building permits, coupled with restrictions on obtaining them, pushes Palestinians to build without permits. Consequently, Israeli forces demolish these structures, creating a cycle of forced displacement and dispossession. Since 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes, including more than 500 villages, have been demolished, leaving affected communities, often among the poorest and marginalized, dependent on humanitarian aid for shelter and livelihood.

The cancellation of permanent residency rights in East Jerusalem, deliberate destruction during military operations, and actions leading to tens of thousands of displaced and homeless individuals all contribute to violations of international humanitarian law. When viewed in the context of an oppressive regime, these acts further uphold the apartheid system, perpetuating a situation of injustice.

About Admin

Youth's poetry ignites my quest, Against oppression, I protest. In Palestine's struggle, voices rise, For freedom, peace, justice, my cries.
This entry was posted in News from the apartheid and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *