B´Tselem: Israel is an apartheid state that applies a policy of Judaizing the place from the river to the sea

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories "B'Tselem" described, in a document published today Tuesday, Israel as an apartheid state.

In its document, the Center reviewed the way in which the Israeli regime operates in pursuit of its objectives in all the territories under its control, presenting the principles that guide the system, and providing examples of the application of these principles, while the Center also refers to the conclusion derived from that regarding the definition of this system and regarding human rights.

The B'Tselem document states, “The Israeli regime applies laws, procedures, and organized violence (state violence) in all the lands extending between the river and the sea, the purpose of which is to seek to achieve and maintain the supremacy of a group of people, that is, the Jews, over another group, the Palestinians. Of these two groups, one of the central tools the regime uses to achieve this goal. "

The document states: “Jewish citizens residing in the lands extending between the river and the sea manage their lives as if they were one space (except for the Gaza Strip). The Green Line means nothing for them and the issue of their residing in its west within the state’s sovereign borders or to the east in settlements that are not officially included by Israel. It has nothing to do with their rights or their status. On the other hand, we find that the place of residence is a fateful issue for the Palestinians. The Israeli regime has divided the lands extending between the river and the sea into different units that are distinct from each other in the way it controls them and defines the rights of their Palestinian residents. This division is relevant to the Palestinians only and so on. For the Jews, the continuous geographical space is for the Palestinians a fragmented mosaic space made up of different pieces.

According to the document, "Israel allocates to the residents in each of these isolated units a package of rights that differs from those allocated to residents of other units - and all of them are imperfect rights compared to the package of rights granted to Jewish citizens. As a result of this division, the principle of Jewish supremacy is applied in a different way in each unit, which results in a form." Different from the injustice inflicted on the Palestinians residing in it: The reality of Palestinian life in Gaza differs from the reality of Palestinian life in the West Bank, and this differs from the reality of life of a Palestinian with the status of permanent resident in Jerusalem or a Palestinian citizen within the Green Line. And the rights deficient compared to the Jews residing in the same area. "

The document provides a breakdown of four main methods through which the Israeli regime seeks to achieve Jewish supremacy, “two of which are applied similarly in all regions: restricting immigration to non-Jews and seizing Palestinian lands in order to build towns for Jews only, and in parallel for the establishment of Palestinian ghettos on small areas. As for the last two methods, they are applied especially in the occupied territories: severe restrictions on the freedom of movement and movement of non-citizen Palestinians, and the deprivation of millions of Palestinians of political rights. The river and the sea are the population registry, the land system, the right of movement or its prohibition, the right of entry and exit, and the registry of voters. "

According to B'Tselem, Israel makes it difficult “not only for Palestinians to migrate from other countries to the lands they control, but also for Palestinians to move between different ghettos if this transfer leads to an improvement in their status according to the perception of the regime. For example, a Palestinian who holds Israeli citizenship or A resident of East Jerusalem can move to live in the West Bank without difficulty (but thereby risking his rights and legal standing as a permanent resident). On the other hand, Palestinian citizens of the occupied territories cannot obtain Israeli citizenship and move to live within the sovereign borders of Israel except in very exceptional cases, and according to considerations Israeli authorities. "

Israel also makes it difficult for the Palestinians, according to the B'Tselem document, “not only to obtain a status in the territories under its control, but also to question the right of the residents of the occupied territories - including those of East Jerusalem that it annexed to its borders - to continue residing in the area that They were born and raised in it: Since 1967, Israel withdrew the status of about a quarter of a million Palestinians from the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip under various pretexts, including their stay outside the territories for more than three years, and among these tens of thousands of Jerusalemites who moved to live in the West Bank The West Bank, which was not annexed by Israel, in places only a few kilometers east of their homes, and all of these people had their right to return to their homes, families, and places where they were born and raised.

Judaization policy

On the other hand, B'Tselem says in his document: “Israel is implementing a policy of Judaizing the place in all the lands between the river and the sea, which is guided by a perception that considers the land a resource intended to serve the Jewish public almost exclusively. According to this perception, the land resources are managed for the purpose of developing and expanding the towns. Judaism and the establishment of new Jewish towns, and at the same time the dispossession of the Palestinians of the lands and their pushing them into cramped and overcrowded ghettos.Since 1948, this policy has been applied to the lands located within the sovereign borders of Israel and has been applied since 1967 in the occupied territories as well. Basis: Israel - the nation-state of the Jewish people, which states that "the state considers the development of Jewish settlement as a national value, and will work for the promotion, strengthening and consolidation of settlement."

The document adds that “after 1967, the Israeli regime followed the same organizing principle in the West Bank (including the lands that were formally annexed to the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality): more than two million dunams, including pastures and agricultural lands that Israel plundered from the Palestinian subjects, with various pretexts and used them for many purposes, including Establishing and expanding settlements - adding urban areas, agricultural lands and industrial areas. All settlements are closed military areas, from which Palestinians are prohibited from entering without a permit.Today, there are more than 280 settlements throughout the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in which more than 600,000 Jewish citizens reside, as well as The state plundered other lands from the Palestinians in order to construct hundreds of kilometers of bypass roads designated for settlers. "

Restricting the movement of Palestinians

The document refers to restricting the freedom of movement and movement of Palestinians, pointing out that Israel allows its citizens and residents - Jews and Palestinians - the freedom of movement between the various areas it controls with the exception of the Gaza Strip, which it defined as an "enemy entity", but it prevents its citizens from entering the areas whose administration has been formally transferred. To the Palestinian Authority “Areas A”, except in exceptional cases, Palestinian citizens and residents of Israel obtain entry permits to the Gaza Strip. In addition, every Israeli citizen has the right to leave the country and return to it whenever he wants, and in return, East Jerusalem residents do not have Israeli passports A long stay outside the country may expose them to losing their "permanent resident" status.

The document adds: As a routine practice, the Israeli regime restricts the movement of the Palestinian residents of the occupied territories, and generally forbids them from crossing between units of the areas under its control. Residents of the West Bank who want to enter Israel, East Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip are required to submit a permit application to the Israeli authorities. As for the Gaza Strip, Israel has imposed a blockade on it since 2007 and has imprisoned its residents inside it after preventing any exit or entry into it - except in a few cases, "humanitarian" cases according to the definition of Israel, and on the residents of the Gaza Strip who want to leave the Strip, and the Palestinians who live in other ghettos. They want to enter the sector to submit a special application for a permit.

It is worth noting that Israel is very limited in issuing and obtaining these permits, subject to a strict and arbitrary system of permits that lacks transparency and clear rules - this is how Israel considers every statement issued to a Palestinian a good that it prefers, not a right guaranteed to him.

B'Tselem says that “inside the West Bank, Israel controls all roads connecting the Palestinian ghettos, and this control allows the army to set up surprise checkpoints whenever it wants, block the entrances to villages, block the streets and prevent movement at checkpoints, and in addition to that, Israel has erected the separation wall. Within the West Bank as well, and then, the Palestinian lands to the east of the Wall were defined as a “contact area,” including agricultural lands, and then they restricted the entry of Palestinians to these lands and subjected it to the same permit system.

Political participation

Regarding political participation, the document says that “Palestinians residing in the occupied territories, who number about five million, do not participate in the political system that controls their lives and determines their future. In theory most of this group of Palestinians are entitled to participate in the elections of the Palestinian Authority, but the powers of this authority are limited. So that even if elections are held regularly (the last elections for the authority took place in 2006), the life of the Palestinian population remains subject to the decisions and desires of the Israeli regime, which holds the central joints of power in the occupied territories, including immigration, the population registry, land policy, planning, water resource distribution, communication network, import and export, and most importantly: control The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are in a middle position: as permanent residents of Israel, they are entitled to participate in the Jerusalem municipal elections and not in the Knesset elections.As for the right to participate in the elections for the Palestinian Authority, Israel makes it difficult for them with many obstacles.

B'Tselem affirms that “the denial of the right to political participation is reflected not only in the deprivation of the right to vote and run for office, but also in the denial of other political rights from the Palestinians, on top of which is freedom of expression and freedom of association, and these rights are guaranteed to people to enable them to criticize authority and protest against this policy. Or those, in order to allow them to organize themselves in frameworks through which they seek to realize the ideas they believe in, and generally so that they can carry out social and political change.

Constitutionally enshrining the principle of Jewish supremacy

In its document, the B'Tselem Center answers a question: If we are talking about a system that has been forming and has been in place for many years, then what is new? What has changed now? Why are we publishing this position paper now in 2021?

The center says in its response: “The main change in recent years lies in the willingness and motivation of representatives of the regime and official bodies to constitutionally enshrine the principle of Jewish supremacy, and to declare these intentions publicly and on the head of witnesses. To the Jewish people, "and upon announcing the intentions of the official annexation (de Yuri - by rule of law) parts of the West Bank after long years of de facto annexation (de facto - de facto) to drop the mask that Israel has been hiding behind for years."

He points out that “the logic of this system’s operation and the method of its application are similar to what was in the apartheid regime that South Africa followed in the past, whose aim was to maintain the supremacy of white citizens in the state by several means, including dividing the population into groups of different stature and granting different rights to each of them. There are, of course, differences between the two systems, including that segregation in South Africa relied on race and skin color, while Israel relied on national and ethnic origin, and among them is that segregation there was also manifested in the public sphere a separation between people on the basis of skin color, formal and public separation that is enforced and controlled by police work While Israel generally avoids such prominent manifestations, the definition of the apartheid regime in public discourse and in international law does not require nor presume conformity with the apartheid regime that prevailed in South Africa, because such a perfect congruence will never happen.A long time ago, it became an independent concept (a text is also enshrined in international charters), the essence of which is the organizing principle for the functioning of the system: the system that works systematically to achieve the supremacy of a particular group of people over another group, and to maintain this superiority.

The B'Tselem document affirms that it is correct to say that “the Israeli regime is a system of apartheid, although it has never publicly declared itself like this (on the contrary, the regime’s representatives state morning and evening that it is a democratic system), because such a public statement is not necessary to define the regime. As an apartheid regime, the decisive element in this is not the declaratory one but the factual one: that is, the regime’s practices. And to volunteer to declare itself an apartheid state. The most reasonable is that the international reaction by most of the world’s countries to the apartheid regime in South Africa prevents other countries from admitting that they are applying a similar system, and it is clear that what was possible in the world in 1948 is not possible today, Not at the public or judicial level. "

B'Tselem concluded his document by saying: “Correcting our gaze towards reality is painful, but what hurts more is living under the lines. The reality described in this document is serious and dangerous, but it is a reality that is likely to deteriorate and escalate further through the application of new practices - with their consolidation in the law or Without that, but those who established this system are human beings, and they are the ones who can impose further escalation - and they are also the ones who can change it. This is precisely the hope that led us to formulate this position paper, because how can we fight against injustice if we do not call it by its name? It is the organizing principle, but describing it and defining it with what it does does not mean giving up and raising the white flag, but rather the exact opposite: it is a call for change.


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