UN Report: « apartheid exists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories »

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights has accused the international community of complicity in Israeli settlement policies and says Israel is implementing an apartheid system.

Richard Falk UN Report
Richard Falk made the remarks during a press conference after addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday and delivering a report. 

« The international community is conspiring — maybe unwittingly — in a process that has no way of bringing justice to the people involved in this conflict, » Falk said about the Israeli settlements. 

He noted that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are offered no protection in Israeli law, adding that their treatment is akin to apartheid. 

« I think one has to begin to call the reality by a name, » he said, likening the « discriminatory dualistic legal system » in the West Bank to the former system in South Africa. 

Falk criticized the work of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the region as the so-called Middle East Quartet’s peace envoy, calling the process “a trick rather than a way to find a solution to the problem.” 

In his report, Falk also expressed concern about Israel’s use of administrative detention, the expansion of settlements, and violence by settlers. 

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time. 

Talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis stalled in September 2010 after Israel declined to renew a 10-month freeze on its illegal settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. 

The international community regards all the Israeli settlements across the West Bank as illegal under international law. 

Nearly 500,000 Israelis live in more than 100 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem)

In his final report as UN Special Rapporteur he detailed the accusation that Israel was practicing a policy of apartheid in the Palestinian territories:

« It is this general structure of apartheid that exists in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that makes the allegation increasingly credible despite the differences between the specific characteristics of South African apartheid and that of the Occupied Palestinian Territories regime. There is a question of definition as to whether Jews and Palestinians are “racial groups” within the meaning of these legal instruments. Some salient apartheid characteristics will be listed, although owing to limitations of space it is not possible to provide detailed accounts of these features of the occupation. For details on the apartheid character of the Israeli occupation, there exists an expert study that is both reliable and convincing. 13 Among the salient apartheid features of the Israeli occupation are the following: preferential citizenship, visitation and residence laws and practices that prevent Palestinians who reside in the West Bank or Gaza from reclaiming their property or from acquiring Israeli citizenship, as contrasted to a Jewish right of return that entitles Jews anywhere in the world with no prior tie to Israel to visit, reside and become Israeli citizens; differential laws in the West Bank and East Jerusalem favouring Jewish settlers who are subject to Israeli civilian law and constitutional protection, as opposed to Palestinian residents, who are governed by military administration; dual and discriminatory arrangements for movement in the West Bank and to and from Jerusalem; discriminatory policies on land ownership, tenure and use; extensive burdening of Palestinian movement, including checkpoints applying differential limitations on Palestinians and on Israeli settlers, and onerous permit and identification requirements imposed only on Palestinians; punitive house demolitions, expulsions and restrictions on entry and exit from all three parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. »