This month, 5 UN Special Rapporteurs agreed that Israel is an apartheid state. The rapporteurs echoed the findings of Canadian Professor Michael Lynk, who presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2022 stating that the state of Israel conforms to the internationally understood legal definition of apartheid, as it was a “political regime which so intentionally and clearly prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another, within the same geographic unit on the basis of one’s racial-national-ethnic identity.”
Professor Lynk’s fellow Special Rapporteurs echoed his findings on apartheid, stating “Israel’s housing policies in East Jerusalem amount to racial segregation and discrimination against the Palestinian people, and a violation of their human rights.” The experts cover racism, housing as a human right, right to peaceful assembly and right to clean water.
The experts called on the international community to adopt accountability measures to swiftly end the occupation and enable Palestinian self-determination. These calls have been made repeatedly, but concrete actions have not taken place, in direct contrast to the sanctions imposed on Russia following its attacks on Ukraine.
Here in Ireland, the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael government have had a muted reaction to the charge of apartheid, saying the use of the term is “not helpful.” Opposition and independent politicians have demanded accountability and sanctions for Israel, including Senator Alice Mary Higgins who said “We can first apply the kinds of sanctions that have suddenly become possible. We know these are possible under the Rosneft ruling. In terms of the occupied territories, we should not be trading with settlements. That law is very clear.”
Episode 1 of the Palestine News and Views podcast covers this development and gauges Ireland’s political response to this damning indictment of an apartheid state.