We have written a letter to Amnesty International in response to their extremely biased report against Israel titled “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity”.
Dear Amnesty International,
We, the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, an Israeli NGO fighting to promote human rights, defend democracy, and improve the overall quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians alike, find it of the utmost importance to address your recent report titled “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity”.
We believe the report’s attempt to allege that Israel has maintained “a system of oppression and domination” over the Palestinians that meets the international definition of apartheid is a preposterous and baseless claim. Israeli Arabs take an active part in Israeli life, as military and police commanders, as ministers, as diplomats, and as Supreme Court judges. In addition, there’s an Arab party in the current coalition and in June 2021 Israeli Arab Parliament Members held a conference in the parliament of the so called apartheid regime of Israel titled: “Between Occupation to Apartheid”. The report also accuses Israel’s “apartheid” of extending “over Palestinian refugees whose right of return to their homes remains controlled by Israel.” To claim that Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination on Palestinians that live in Lebanon, Jordan, or the United States is completely absurd.
We condemn the terminology used in the report referring to the terrorist organization “Hamas” as solely an “armed group”, whereas this organization clearly falls under the various definitions for terrorism. Furthermore, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all designated it as a terrorist organization. Hamas periodically violates International Humanitarian Law by firing rockets and mortars from densely populated areas, thus placing Gazan civilians in grave danger as “human shields.” In the most recent Israel-Gaza conflict, in May 2021, Hamas (the armed Palestinian groups that the report refers to) fired thousands of indiscriminate rockets towards Israeli towns, killing thirteen Israelis. Hamas also misfired hundreds of rockets that fell into the Gaza Strip, killing Palestinians and damaging Palestinian property, these acts are heinous war crimes, yet your report does not mention them even once. The report only mentions alleged war crimes committed by Israel.
Moreover, this report is above all a blatant means to delegitimize the State of Israel and criminalize Israeli laws and practices that are designed to safeguard Jewish identity, such as the Law of Return. The report infers that this law is a form of oppression of Palestinians: “This unequal and separate citizenship structure has resulted in stark discrimination against Palestinian citizens in several ways”. To propose that the law constitutes a form of discrimination towards Palestinians is outrageous, since its sole purpose is to safeguard Israel’s Jewish character. Furthermore, this law and others are enshrined under international law and parallel the practices of many nation-states.
Flavia Sevald, CEO,
Jerusalem Institute of Justice,