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Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Uri Strauss (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) defines Israel as an Apartheid Regime


Human Rights
Defining Apartheid: Israel's Record
Compiled by Uri Strauss, LAW/Al-Haq/EI, 19 September 2002

 

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The following do'cument was compiled by Uri Strauss* for the Electronic Intifada, from a UN docu'ment and from a report by Palestinian human rights organisations LAW. The documen't presents the internationally-accepted definition of 'Apartheid' alongside relevant examples of Israel's human rights record in the occupied territories.

The definition of apartheid is taken from the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, ratified by United Nations General Assembly resolution 3068 (XXVIII) of 30 November 1973 [http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/11.htm].

Israel's human rights record appears in the form of excerpts from Israel's Brand of Apartheid: The Nakba Continues, a report by LAW [http://www.lawsociety.org/Apartheid/dibook.html].

From the Convention:

"For the purpose of the present Convention, the term "the crime of apartheid", which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:

...Article II(a)(ii): "By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" Article II(a)(iii): "By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups"

From Israel's record:

"In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, cruel methods are employed to 'exhaust' the communities, exploit and subjugate them, make life so unbearable that Palestinians will leave or communities be destroyed, including evidence of ethnic cleansing methods, and evidence of intention to destroy the population at least in part (i.e. genocide)."

"(Israel practices) mass arbitrary arrests, systematic ill treatment and return to torture methods prohibited by the 1999 Israeli High Court decision."

From the Convention, Article II(b):

"Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part"

From Israel's record:

"In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, cruel methods are employed to 'exhaust' the communities, exploit and subjugate them, make life so unbearable that Palestinians will leave or communities be destroyed, including evidence of ethnic cleansing methods, and evidence of intention to destroy the population at least in part (i.e. genocide)."

"(Israel practices) strangulation of the Palestinian economy with forced dependency upon the colonial Israeli State and Israeli economy (with no independent Palestinian economy), border controls of imports and exports, exploitation of natural resources, de-development of Palestinian industries and businesses, violation of the full range of employment/workforce rights - including through closures."

"(There are) Israeli policies and methods designed to impoverish the Palestinians (more than 1 million under poverty line) and strangulate their economy; through movement restrictions denying or hindering access to humanitarian aid and assistance, food and water, medical supplies and aid, hospitals, work and education. Concerns as to starvation in some areas; illegal control and exploitation of Palestinian natural resources (including water) and tourism. Women and children have been particularly affected by lack of access to humanitarian aid, including prevention of access to pre natal, and post natal care; and access to immunisation/health services for children."

"(Israel conducts) military attacks on civilians, including those amounting to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention (namely war crimes) and systematic gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Evidence of systematic ethnic cleansing methods and the intention to destroy at least in part the population (i.e. genocide). Heavy weaponry normally used in full combat warfare is being used against a Palestinian civilian population in situations where there is no military or security need (including civilians in homes, schools, workplaces, hospitals, field clinics, ambulances). A disproportionate number of women and children have been killed and injured, as have clearly-marked medical personnel, human rights defenders and journalists have also been attacked. Crimes perpetrated by Israelis against Palestinians are usually inadequately investigated or prosecuted, and there is a bias in sentencing of Palestinians. Military courts apply the 'justice' in the OPTs and do not comply with fair trial standards."

"(There is) virtual impunity for those who commit crimes, with failure to investigate or properly and impartially investigate or prosecute those Israelis committing crimes against Palestinians; denial of any remedy for the victims including denial of compensation; bias in sentencing of Palestinians. Israeli courts and laws are applied to Israeli citizens whilst military orders and military courts, which fail to reach fair trial standards, apply to Palestinians inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

"(There is) ongoing dispossession and destruction of Palestinian land, agriculture, homes (continuous land expropriation and home demolitions to make way for settlements and as a form of collective punishment), denial of residency rights, and erosion of sense of separate identity."

"(There is a) war of attrition on civilians, including: . Restrictions on movement with besiegement and now imprisonment of communities, . Deliberately-induced humanitarian crisis; . Military attacks against civilians"

From the Convention, Article II(c):

"Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association"

From Israel's record:

"Inside Israel, the State of Israel has maintained a policy of continually establishing new settlements for Jews only that also serve to isolate and cut off Palestinian communities. In addition, there have been massive restrictions on Palestinian construction and minimal investment in Palestinian infrastructure." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Methods have been designed to obliterate the separate Palestinian identity and replace it with that of another group - a Jewish Israeli identity. These methods have also involved the displacement/forced exile and attempts to 'clear out' Palestinians, or remove them from their homeland." (Right to a nationality; right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since the illegal annexation by Israel in 1967, all Israeli successive governments have made great efforts to reduce significantly the number of Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem, to assure Israeli sovereignty, a Jewish majority. Those efforts include restrictions on Palestinian construction in the Eastern part of the city, restrictive planning and zoning restrictions (as part of a building restriction), a rigid policy on family unification, and minimal investment in infrastructure. Furthermore, a 'centre of life' policy has aimed at depriving Palestinians of residency rights. Palestinians are issued annual permits. If a person has been out of Jerusalem overseas for more than 7 years for whatever reason (including their forcible deportation) or moves from Jerusalem to another part of the West Bank for any reason they lose their residency rights and social benefits (and accordingly lose their right to live in Jerusalem forever). In addition the municipality tax system has led to the dispossession and loss of Palestinian houses and businesses for those who cannot pay, with Palestinians receiving only a small percentage of their tax money back in services. Unlike the rest of the Occupied Territories, Israeli laws apply to East Jerusalem" (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since 1967, Israel has been responsible for establishing, financing and protecting illegal Jewish colonies (settlements) in the West Bank and Gaza. Initially the program of creeping illegal annexation was pursued by means of requisitioning and Israel justified occupation of Palestinian land on security grounds. Settlements have expanded considerably since the start of the Oslo peace process, and have continued to expand since the start of the Second Intifada. Israel has built in the Occupied Territories a vast road system, which by-passes Palestinian population centres and enables Colonial 'settlers' and military forces protecting them to move freely and speedily, as opposed to Palestinians, through the West Bank. To achieve this, 160,000 dunums of land were requisitioned, much of it under cultivation by Palestinian farmers. Moreover, Palestinian homes continue to be demolished without compensation for the purpose of constructing this network of bypass roads. These roads prevent the expansion of Palestinian villages and undermine the economic development of Palestinians by restricting Palestinian movement and impeding the flow of commerce and workers from one Palestinian area to another." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"93% of the land within Israel was designated State land and through practical policies Palestinians are denied access to this land, which is for the exclusive access and use of Jewish Israelis. Access to the remaining 7% in private ownership is shared by both Palestinians and Jewish residents of Israel, so that Palestinians as 20% of the population in Israel have access to less than 7% of the land. The result of this is confining Palestinians into restricted, deliberately under-developed enclaves with reduced access to necessary resources, services and facilities. Israel has no laws to prevent discrimination in issues of land ownership, leasing, and residency issues. Israel's use of quasi-governmental agencies and zoning or planning laws continue to confine Palestinians and particular areas and prevent natural growth. 34% of East Jerusalem is expropriated for 'public use' - and most of that is used for settlement construction. In occupied East Jerusalem (66%) is not accessible for Palestinians because of Israeli zoning, planning and building restrictions (for e.g. 40% is zoned 'Green area')" (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"since 1967 the Israeli colonising/occupying power has expropriated about 79% of the West Bank and Gaza Territories. Of these areas, about 44% was taken for so-called "military" purposes, 20% for "security reasons", 12% for "public use", and 12% because the owners were forced "absentees". Likewise Palestinians have been confined to Bantustan-style enclaves, again with reduced access to necessary resources (including water supplies), services and facilities." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Communities and immediate families, such as parents and children, or spouses are brutally cut off from each other." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since 1948, Palestinian communities inside Israel have been cut off from wider Arab communities in neighbouring Arab States." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since 1967, with the illegal occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza, families inside East Jerusalem have been cut off from their families inside the rest of the West Bank and Gaza, including members of their immediate family. Some have been only allowed through Israeli permits to visit, but it is prohibited to move there. Since this date communities inside the Occupied Palestinian Territories, other than Jerusalemites, have been cut off from family inside Israel. In most cases these cut off individuals have been denied their rights of reunification with their family members." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"From 1989, residents in Gaza have been cut off from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and to outside neighbouring countries. Since 1993, those within the West Bank have been forbidden to access those in Gaza, inside Jerusalem, or Israel. Curfews, partial and total closures have been used on an ad hoc basis since this period." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since 1995, with the Oslo Interim Agreement Palestinian areas within the West Bank and Gaza have been splintered further and made discontiguous. The demographic engineering has intensified with increasing numbers of checkpoints and strategically placed settlements controlling passage of residents internally inside the West Bank, and inside Gaza. Settlements and by-pass roads have been strategically placed to isolate, encircle and cut off communities - dividing the West Bank and Gaza into tiny areas and creating 'cantons'." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since 1996, those seeking to move to other parts of the West Bank from Jerusalem, including to be unified with their families have had their residency rights revoked. Palestinian women born in Jerusalem are not entitled to pass on their residency rights to their children." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since September 2000, the restrictions on movement and access of Palestinian civilian populations has intensified further with longer and more comprehensive total closures on movement including from village to village and village to city. Israelis, including Jewish Israelis, are often being denied access into the West Bank and routinely denied access into Gaza." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since March 2001, a number of trenches have been dug into main roads cutting off all movement for villagers to any other areas, including urban centres upon which they rely for work, education, humanitarian aid and assistance including medicines, field clinics and hospitals, and crucial supplies including food and water supplies. The use of trenches instead of checkpoints in certain points prevents civilians from negotiating passage with soldiers or settlers including for humanitarian reasons." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Since June 2001, further trenches have been installed and gates are starting to be erected closing off villages and cities with keys held by the Israeli military." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"(Israel practices) restrictions on movement/imprisonment including closures, besiegement and curfews and, more recently, imprisonment through the use of trenches and iron gates with keys held by Israeli soldiers" (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"(Palestinians face) deliberately -induced humanitarian crisis, with impoverishment of the Palestinian civilians and starvation policies: Israeli policies and methods designed to impoverish the Palestinians (more than 1 million under poverty line) and strangulate their economy; through movement restrictions denying or hindering access to humanitarian aid and assistance, food and water, medical supplies and aid, hospitals, work and education." (Right to freedom of movement and residence)

"Palestinians political participation inside Israel is expressly conditional upon the acceptance of the Jewish Exclusivity of the State. These preconditions are expressed explicitly in the 1992 Law of Political Party, and in particular, the amendment of Section 7A(1) of the Basic law: the Knesset, which prevents candidates from participation if their platform suggests ""expressly or by implication,... (1) denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the State of the Jewish people" (Prevention of full participation in political life)

"A basic method used by Israel to racially discriminate against Palestinians inside Israel in the allocation of resources and governmental benefits is by making these rights conditional upon performing a military service. Under law, military service is compulsory for all its citizens and permanent residents. Muslim and Christian Palestinians are exempted automatically as a group according to the discretion given by law to the Minister of Defense. Druze men are called to serve because the exemption of Palestinians did not include the Druze. This is part of Israel's policy to divide the Palestinians into religious minorities. Orthodox Jews have to apply for individual exemption, for which there are rules that guide this process, which are also under Minister's discretion." (Prevention of full participation in economic life)

"Palestinians inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories suffer from discrimination in every aspect of resource allocation, including in the allocation of the financial budget for Palestinians inside Israel, to resources (water, electricity, municipal funding for services; etc)." (Prevention of full participation in economic life)

From the Convention, Article II(d):

"Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof"

From Israel's record:

"Inside Israel, the State of Israel has maintained a policy of continually establishing new settlements for Jews only that also serve to isolate and cut off Palestinian communities".

"(There has been) dispossession and loss to Palestinians: of their land, homes and sense of separate identity. Displacement and 'clearing out' of Palestinian communities. Land expropriations/destruction, destruction of crops and agricultural land, and home demolitions have continued since 1948 to date inside Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Methods have been designed to obliterate the separate Palestinian identity and replace it with that of another group - a Jewish Israeli identity. These methods have also involved the displacement/forced exile and attempts to 'clear out' Palestinians, or remove them from their homeland."

"Prior to 1948, the Jewish community in Palestine owned only 6-7% of the land, whereas today, 93% of all land in Israel is under direct state control by means of expropriation laws that were passed after the establishment of the state for the specific purpose of expropriation, or facilitating expropriation of land from Palestinians. The state land was, and is being, transferred to the Jewish National Fund and to other quasi-governmental agencies which, by the terms of their constitutions, can be used only by Jewish Israelis. The process of land expropriation has continued within Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories."

"Since the illegal annexation by Israel in 1967, all Israeli successive governments have made great efforts to reduce significantly the number of Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem, to assure Israeli sovereignty, a Jewish majority. Those efforts include restrictions on Palestinian construction in the Eastern part of the city, restrictive planning and zoning restrictions (as part of a building restriction), a rigid policy on family unification, and minimal investment in infrastructure. Furthermore, a 'centre of life' policy has aimed at depriving Palestinians of residency rights. Palestinians are issued annual permits. If a person has been out of Jerusalem overseas for more than 7 years for whatever reason (including their forcible deportation) or moves from Jerusalem to another part of the West Bank for any reason they lose their residency rights and social benefits (and accordingly lose their right to live in Jerusalem forever). In addition the municipality tax system has led to the dispossession and loss of Palestinian houses and businesses for those who cannot pay, with Palestinians receiving only a small percentage of their tax money back in services. Unlike the rest of the Occupied Territories, Israeli laws apply to East Jerusalem."

"Since 1967, Israel has been responsible for establishing, financing and protecting illegal Jewish colonies (settlements) in the West Bank and Gaza. Initially the program of creeping illegal annexation was pursued by means of requisitioning and Israel justified occupation of Palestinian land on security grounds. Settlements have expanded considerably since the start of the Oslo peace process, and have continued to expand since the start of the Second Intifada. Israel has built in the Occupied Territories a vast road system, which by-passes Palestinian population centres and enables Colonial 'settlers' and military forces protecting them to move freely and speedily, as opposed to Palestinians, through the West Bank. To achieve this, 160,000 dunums of land were requisitioned, much of it under cultivation by Palestinian farmers. Moreover, Palestinian homes continue to be demolished without compensation for the purpose of constructing this network of bypass roads. These roads prevent the expansion of Palestinian villages and undermine the economic development of Palestinians by restricting Palestinian movement and impeding the flow of commerce and workers from one Palestinian area to another"

"93% of the land within Israel was designated State land and through practical policies Palestinians are denied access to this land, which is for the exclusive access and use of Jewish Israelis. Access to the remaining 7% in private ownership is shared by both Palestinians and Jewish residents of Israel, so that Palestinians as 20% of the population in Israel have access to less than 7% of the land. The result of this is confining Palestinians into restricted, deliberately under-developed enclaves with reduced access to necessary resources, services and facilities. Israel has no laws to prevent discrimination in issues of land ownership, leasing, and residency issues. Israel's use of quasi-governmental agencies and zoning or planning laws continue to confine Palestinians and particular areas and prevent natural growth. 34% of East Jerusalem is expropriated for 'public use' - and most of that is used for settlement construction. In occupied East Jerusalem (66%) is not accessible for Palestinians because of Israeli zoning, planning and building restrictions (for e.g. 40% is zoned 'Green area')."

"Since 1967 the Israeli colonising/occupying power has expropriated about 79% of the West Bank and Gaza Territories. Of these areas, about 44% was taken for so-called "military" purposes, 20% for "security reasons", 12% for "public use", and 12% because the owners were forced "absentees". Likewise Palestinians have been confined to Bantustan-style enclaves, again with reduced access to necessary resources (including water supplies), services and facilities"

"Inside Israel, marriage is regulated under the personal status religious law, that effectively prohibits mixed marriages between Jews and non-Jews. The State of Israel only recognizes mixed marriages which took place in other countries. There is no law that allows civil marriages which would enable mixed marriage ceremonies to be performed inside Israel."

*Uri Strauss is a doctoral candidate in the linguistics program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a member of the Western Massachusetts Palestine Action Coalition.

 

 

 
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