Apartheid against the Palestinians. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia of the United Nations (ESCWA) published the report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid” last week. The subject of the report is to analyze the Palestinian’s conditions of life in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. The conclusion of the report is particularly severe against Israel: “This report concludes that Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”.
That is the first time that we can read in a official report published by a Commission of the United Nations that the problem that we can find in the behavior of Israel against the Palestinians is apartheid. That conclusion is so important that we can read that “The legal approach to the matter of apartheid adopted by this report should not be confused with usage of the term in popular discourse as an expression of opprobrium”. It’s a legal approach and the ESCWA recommend following the consequences of that qualification of the behavior of Israel.
What elements does the ESCWA take into account to reach that conclusion? When can we talk of any kind of apartheid? When it’s possible to find the presence of an “institutionalized regime” serving the “intention” of racial domination.
Accordingly, the report is focus in 4 mainly elements than can be a description of the real situation of the palestinian people in Jerusalem, West bank, Gaza and whose are in the exile. In comparison, there are 2 that are not known by the international community and the other 2 that are more usual in the media. However, the media don’t call that situation as apartheid.
Namely, the 4 elements to explain the apartheid against the Palestinians are the followings:
- Civil law, with special restrictions, governing Palestinians who live as citizens of Israel. 1.7 millions of Palestinians have inferior services, limitations of the areas for living, restrictions on jobs and professional opportunities and they have to live in segregated landscape.
- Permanent residency law governing Palestinians living in the city of Jerusalem, applied for the 300.000 Palestinians who live in Jerusalem. The are discriminated in access to public services, residency and building houses. They have also a limited electoral weight that prevent the possibility of changing the laws.
- Military law governing Palestinians, including those in refugee camps, living since 1967 under conditions of belligerent occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 4.6 millions, 2.7 of them live in the West Bank and 1.9 millions in Gaza Strip. Every single point of the definition of apartheid according to the Apartheid Convention (except of genocide) is routinely and systematically practiced by Israel.
- Israeli policy to preclude the return of Palestinians, whether refugees or exiles, living outside territory under Israel’s control. 3162062 refugees are prohibited from returning to their homes in Israel
Hence, the report develops these 4 points and justifies its conclusions. The authors have evidence about the crimes that according to it have been committed by Israel. Further, the report recommend, among other things, to revive the Special Committee against Apartheid and the United Nations Centre against Apartheid; to suit a procedure in the International Criminal Court “to investigate, as a matter of urgency, whether the State of Israel, its Governments and individuals, in implementing policies and practices with respect to the Palestinian people, are guilty of the crime of apartheid and, if so, to act accordingly” and to broaden support for the campaign BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel.
It is not possible to download the report from the ECSWA web site. The Secretary General of the UN declared that the report doesn’t represent his opinion about this subject. “This is not about content, this is about process,” said UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The fact is that the ESCWA leader Rima Khalaf had to resign after UN leaders forced her to withdraw the report accusing Israel of apartheid. But Ms. Khalaf’s resignation also reflected the pressure from the Trump administration on the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres
For me the problem isn’t if the process was adequate or not. It isn’t important if the Secretary General of the UN allowed to publish that document or not (it’s strange the every single document needs the allowance of the Secretary General in order to be published). Likewise, no one denied the facts and conclusions that are in the report about the situation of the Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank or the Gaza strip. Indeed, the evidences of the authors to achieve the conclusions of the report weren’t refuted. The only point is to know is if there is a problem of apartheid and what the UN should do against it.
In addition, every one knows the resilience of Israel to accomplish with the Resolutions of the United Nations about Palestina.
This report is a step forward to reveal the real situation of the Palestinians. It’s a “J’accuse” against the State of Israel. The situation won’t be reversed in the nearby future. It’s traditional the support of the American administration to Israel, with a lot of money for maintaining a high standards of living and help for the israelí army. Henceforth, President Trump strengthened that support to Israel.