Israeli policies against Palestinians amount to apartheid, Amnesty International report says

There have been better replies to this nonsense than I can give but  think I should note that there IS a lot of apartheid in the Middle East.  Most Arab countries have official discriminatory policies against non-Muslims. That is where the real apartheid lurks.  All inhabitants of Israel, by contrast, have equal rights under Israeli law.

It is true that Arabs in Erez Israel suffer hardships in various ways but such problems are self-inflicted. Israel has to protect its people  from the actively hostile attitudes to Jewish Israelis that are common among Palestinians.  Israel has had to deal with murderous attacks from Israeli Arabs so wall-building and other measures have been imposed

Amnesty International has accused Israel of subjecting Palestinians to a system of apartheid founded on policies of "segregation, dispossession and exclusion".

The London-based rights group said its findings were based on research and legal analysis in a 211-page report into Israeli seizure of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer of people and denial of citizenship.

Amnesty argued those measures, as well as restrictions on Palestinian movement in Israeli-occupied territory, underinvestment in Palestinian communities in Israel, and preventing the return of Palestinian refugees, created a system of "oppression and domination" over Palestinians.

"We didn't come to this conclusion lightly," Amnesty's director for the Middle East and North Africa Heba Morayef said.

"What that means is that Palestinians are treated as an inferior racial group, and they are kept that way."

Mr Morayef said Amnesty International spent four years forensically researching the report based on Israeli policies, documents and directives.

The report is the second by an international rights group in less than a year to accuse Israel of pursuing a policy of apartheid, after Human Rights Watch came to a similar conclusion in April.

Previously Israel has been accused of apartheid in occupied Palestinian territory, but the scope of this report goes further and includes any Palestinian anywhere in Israel.

The report drew a swift and sharp rebuke from Israel, which said the report "consolidates and recycles lies" from hate groups and was designed to "pour fuel onto the fire of anti-Semitism".

"This report crosses the line because it undermines the existence of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people," Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel's foreign ministry, told the ABC.

"This is a pure anti-Semite report," he added.

In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said: "Israel is not perfect, but it is a democracy committed to international law and open to scrutiny." He added that the country had a free press and a strong Supreme Court.

"I hate to use the argument that if Israel were not a Jewish state, nobody in Amnesty would dare argue against it, but in this case, there is no other possibility," he said.

On the other hand, the report drew praise from Palestinians.

Bassam Al-Salhe, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said it "confirms and supports the long-standing Palestinian position towards the nature of the Israeli occupation measures. It reflects the real status on the ground."

Israel has cited security concerns in imposing travel restrictions on Palestinians, whose uprising in the early 2000s included suicide bombings in Israeli cities.

Palestinians seek a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital. Gaza, a tiny coastal strip that Israel also took in 1967 but left in 2005, is run by Hamas, considered by the West to be a terrorist group.

Israel and Egypt have imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza since 2007.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.

Amnesty said the UN Security Council should impose an arms embargo on Israel for killing scores of civilians during weekly protests on the border with Gaza in 2018-19.

Israel has said those protests included attempts by Palestinian militants to breach its border fence.

Amnesty also called on the International Criminal Court to consider the accusation of apartheid in its investigation into possible war crimes committed by both sides during several bouts of conflict in the Palestinian territories.

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