Israel commits apartheid crimes against Palestinians: HRW

HRW says Israel's repression crossed the threshold into apartheid, persecution.

Israel commits apartheid crimes against Palestinians: HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Tuesday accused Israel of committing apartheid crimes and persecution against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories.

In a report, the New York-based rights group said Israel's dual policies, codified in its laws, had privileged Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians.

"The finding is based on overarching Israeli government policy to maintain the domination by Jewish Israelis over Palestinians and grave abuses committed against Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem," HRW said.

The rights group said it based its documentation of Israel's abuses against the Palestinians after years of reviewing the Israeli government planning documents and statements.

"In Jerusalem, for example, the [Israeli] government's plan for the municipality, including both the west and occupied east parts of the city, sets the goal of 'maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city' and even specifies the demographic ratios it hopes to maintain."

Commenting on the report, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth said "denying millions of Palestinians their fundamental rights, without any legitimate security justification and solely because they are Palestinian and not Jewish, is not simply a matter of an abusive occupation.”

Roth said Israel's policy is meant "to privilege one people at the expense of another."

HRW concluded by urging countries to condition arms sales and military and security assistance to Israel "on Israeli authorities taking concrete and verifiable steps towards ending their commission of these crimes."

For its part, Israel rejected the report, accusing HRW of being led by BDS, in reference to the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions global movement.

Israel is also facing a war crimes investigation by the International Criminal Court's prosecutor over its military operation in Gaza in the summer of 2014 and Israel's settlement policy in occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.