The New York based Human Rights Watch accuses Israel of pursuing policies of apartheid and persecution against Palestinians that amount to crimes against humanity.
Human Rights Watch published a 213-page report which, it said, was not aimed at comparing Israel with apartheid-era South Africa but rather at assessing “whether specific acts and policies” constitute apartheid as defined under international law.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it would investigate war crimes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas named as possible perpetrators.
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said in March that she would formally investigate war crimes in the Palestinian territories, after ICC judges ruled that the court had jurisdiction there.
Israel expels HRW Director
Israel fiercely object to apartheid accusations. “The purpose of this spurious report is in no way related to human rights, but to an ongoing attempt by HRW to undermine the State of Israel’s right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people,” Strategic Affairs Minister Michael Biton said.
Omar Shakir the director of the report was expelled from Israel in 2019 over accusations he backs Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS).
Shakir told Reuters that HRW would send its report to the ICC prosecutor’s office, “as we normally do when we reach conclusions about the commissions of crimes that fall within the Court’s jurisdiction.”
Palestinian Authority welcomed the ruling
The Palestinian Authority welcomed the ruling but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced it as anti-Semitism and said Israel does not recognize the court’s authority.
HRW called on the ICC prosecutor to “investigate and prosecute individuals credibly implicated” in apartheid and persecution.
Under interim peace deals with Israel, Palestinians have limited self-rule in the West Bank; Hamas runs Gaza.