Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2790

Amnesty is right—Israel is an apartheid state

Ending Israeli apartheid requires a single, democratic state from the river to the sea
Issue 2790
A protest against Israel People hold placards demanding a free Palestine

Protesters outside the Israeli embassy last month (Guy Smallman)

Amnesty International is only the latest mainstream organisation to level the charge of apartheid at Israel. Before that it was Human Rights Watch. 
 
And before that, it was Israel’s own largest human rights watchdog, B’Tselem. For all three, the conclusion is the same.
 
Israel operates a regime that discriminates, dispossesses and brutalises Palestinians that, as Amnesty says, “is designed to privilege Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.”
 
Significantly, all three organisations also say that abuses happen in every area Israel controls—inside its official borders and in the so-called “occupied territories.”
That is, in the words of B’Tselem, “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
 
Yet if you demand freedom for Palestine “from the river to the sea” then Tory education minister Nadhim Zahawi thinks you should be reported to the police.
 
But “From the river to the sea” does not mean driving out Jewish people from Palestine. It means recognising that Israeli apartheid began with its foundation in 1948—as Amnesty pointed to this week.
 
So ending Israeli apartheid means replacing the Israeli state with a fairer one—a single, secular state with equal democratic rights for all its citizens. That’s what really upsets Israel and its supporters. But it’s the only way that Palestine can be free—from the river to the sea.

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