What is Apartheid?
In 1973, the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, a crime against humanity. The word ‘Apartheid’ means separation.
‘Apartheid’ is defined by the UN as “…a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group … over another … and systematically oppressing them…” by creating ghettos, land confiscation, bans on freedom of movement, speech assemblies and mixed marriages, illegal arrest and detention.
* In the West Bank, Palestinians are prohibited from using the extensive network of settler-only highways that connect the illegal Israeli settlements to Israel. Israelis face no road restrictions.
* Palestinians are under military law and face a constant threat of detention without charge. Israelis are under civilian law.
* So Israeli settlements can expand, over 17,000 Palestinian houses have been demolished, creating thousands of homeless families. Israelis face no confiscation of land.
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In Israel, Jews and Palestinians are labeled from birth and treated differently throughout their lives. They have unequal access to social and economic privileges including land, education, employment and social welfare. 1, 43
Separate is Never Equal.
The descendants of Palestinians that remained in Israel after the 1948 war are now over 1 million people, approximately 20% of the population. These Palestinians face rampant discrimination. The discrimination is sometimes from individuals and other times, systemic and codified in law. 2, 44 Israel is a very segregated society. Most Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews live in separate communities, go to separate schools, and shop at separate stores. 3, 44 The state also categorizes them separately: The Population Registry Law (1965) requires all residents of Israel to register their ethnic group and religion with the population registry and to obtain identity cards, that usually indicate these differences. 48
This discriminatory policy fits the United Nations' definition of Apartheid.
Separate Unequal Application
of the Law to Jew and Non-Jew
- Beginning with the rights of residence
and citizenship, the Law of Return
grants immigrant and residency rights
to anyone who claims a Jewish identity
(defined as a child or grandchild of a
Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse
of a child of a Jew, and the spouse of
a grandchild of a Jew)but refuses the
right of return to Palestinians and
their descendants who were expelled
in 1948. 2, 3, 4, 44
-While Jews receive citizenship to Israel
for just being Jewish, even Palestinians
who marry Israelis are denied citizenship
and even the right to live with their
family in Israel under a 2003 law.
B’Tselem and other human rights
groups say the law is racist.2, 3, 4, 44
-70% of prisoners in Israel are
Palestinian. Under a 1979 emergency
power law, people in Israel may be arrested and held without charge for 6 months. This law is almost exclusively applied to Palestinians.37
- “A dual system of law discriminates between Jewish Israelis and indigenous Palestinians based on a constructed status of 'Jewish nationality'. This prejudicial application of law is apparent in all processes of the legal system, from the rights to information and fair trial to detention and prison treatment.” Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.5
Apartheid started with Ethnic Cleansing and Land Expropriation
Information on Ethnic Cleansing
Palestianins ethnically cleansed in 1948. 47
- Between 1947-49: At least 700,000
Arabs were displaced and ethnically
cleansed and their villages were destroyed.
More than 80 percent of the total
Palestinian population was expelled from
the country. “More than 530 Palestinian
villages were depopulated and completely
destroyed.” Many Jewish settlements were
then built on top of the destroyed villages.
Approximately 30% of the 150,000
Palestinians who remained in Israel were
expelled from their homes and became
internally displaced refugees. 10
-From 1948 until 1966, Palestinians inside Israel were subject to military law, while Jews lived under civilian law. During that time, 66 percent of Arab-owned land was confiscated. These lands were transferred for the exclusive use of Jewish citizens and new immigrants, and over 600 Jewish
settlements were built over former Arab towns.
-While military rule was lifted in 1966, Arab citizens of Israel continued to be subjected to state policies that restricted and marginalized them as a community. 12
-Land Expropriation: The Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights.
-The Absentee Property Law (adopted in 1950) declares that anyone who left the country in 1948 is an absentee, and that his/her property comes under the control of the state. This law was used only against Arabs. Arabs who remain in the country but who were compelled to leave their land are called "present absentees." 13 The land was eventually used for the purposes of Jewish only settlements. 14
- In 1945, Palestinians owned 85% of arable land. The U.N. Conciliation Commission estimated that about 80 percent of the land in what is today Israel is property formerly owned by Palestinians that was confiscated by Jewish organizations like the Jewish Agency. Until recently Palestinians were forbidden by Israeli law from owning it or leasing it. 15
- Today, Israeli Palestinians are largely landless -- they own about 3% of the land in Israel. Since 1948, the Arab population has increased by a factor of 6.6 but it has lost 84% of its land reserves. As of 1947, Jews in Palestine owned under 7% of the Palestinian lands, and after the 1948 war, 80% . 16
Palestinian Land Rights are Taken Away and Restricted
Unrecognized Villages: Today, 140,000 Palestinian Arabs live in over 100 so-called "unrecognized villages," mainly in Galilee and the Negev desert.
- The National Planning and Building Law (1965) retroactively re-zoned the lands on which many Arab villages sit as "non-residential." The consequence of this is that despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of the state, they have been afforded no official status.
- Unrecognized villages are not on any map, receive no running water, electricity, have no connection to sewer systems, no public support for school or health care. Residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages.
Housing Segregation and Discrimination in Funding for Arab Communities
- Palestinian Israelis have been ghettoized in a small section of Israel. Most land in Israel must be leased. It is not privately owned. Until recently, Israeli Arabs were not permitted to lease land from the Israeli Land Administration, which controls 93% of the arable land in Israel. This land is either state-owned (80%) or owned by the Jewish National Fund (13%). Much of it was expropriated from Arabs.While Jewish neighborhoods grow unchecked, segregated Palestinian communities have not been allowed to expand. No new Arab areas have been created while hundred’s of Jewish areas have been.
- Institutional discrimination is in community development plans, where Palestinian neighborhoods are held to existing land allocations. In the Arab city of Nazareth, for example, the population of 13,000 Palestinians in 1947 lived on 3,000 acres. In 2007, with a population of 70,000, the city occupies only 3,100 acres, with strict limitations on any expansion.
- Israel's planning authorities continue to disregard the development needs of Arab towns. Due to lack of official planning procedures, thousands of houses have been built without the necessary permit and face possible demolition. The families living in houses built without permits are deprived of basic services by the state such as water, and electricity, and face eviction and demolition, etc.
- Even in the present day, Palestinian homes are being taken or demolished. One example is 500 Palestinian families in Jaffa, an ancient Palestinian city, are facing eviction. The purpose is Judaization of the city. 2
- The development needs of Arab towns are continually disregarded by the Israeli government. Due to lack of official planning procedures, thousands of houses have been built without the necessary permit and face possible demolition. The families living in houses built without permits are deprived of basic services by the state such as water, electricity, and face eviction and demolition, etc. 27 Each year, the state demolishes dozens of houses belonging to Arab-Bedouin families in unrecognized villages in the Negev. Each time this happens, dozens of families, including children, are abandoned and left without shelter. This ongoing policy breaches the Bedouins’ right to dignity, privacy, and security. 28
Economic and Social Privilege Given to Jews
- Military service, which confers many social and economic benefits—including mortgages subsidies, partial exemptions from course fees, and preferences for public employment and housing-- is compulsory for Jewish Israelis. Ninety percent of Arabs are exempt from service and thus are denied these benefits. Orthodox Jews are also exempt but still receive benefits.
Segregation Allows for Unequal Funding Between Jew and Non-Jew Discrimination in funding for Arab towns
- Arab towns and villages are systematically given less funding than Jewish neighborhoods. Arabs are 20% of the population of Israel but between 2000 -- 2004, Arab citizens received less than 5% of the overall regular budget of Israel. An average of $1,415 is spent on each Jew and $310 on each Arab. As a result, in Arab communities in Israel, such vital services as garbage collection, water and sewers are often unavailable. 20
Segregation and discriminatory funding of schools
- Schools for Arab children are completely separate and inferior to schools for Jewish children.
- Figures from 2001, published by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2004, showed that students in Jewish schools received at least four times as much basic funding as students in Arab schools.
- Human Rights Watch states: ‘The funding disparities between the two systems are enormous….” Palestinian schools lack computers, science equipment, remedial programs for disabled children and kindergartens. Arab schools are in disrepair; the teacher: student ratio is 1:20 for Arab but 1:16 for Jewish children. The situation for Bedouin children is particularly appalling .”
- Teaching Arab History: Teachers are not
allowed to teach students in public schools
about Arab history. Israeli textbooks do not
show the “Green Line” or the internationally
recognized border between Israel and the
occupied territories. “Teachers for the Arab
schools have to be approved by the state
security service, the Shin Bet, and the
curriculum is designed to remove references
to Palestinian history and culture.”
Wide Spread Racial Profiling
- Arab citizens of Israel are often discriminated
against through denial of access to recreation
spaces, swimming pools, water parks and other
publicplaces frequented by its Jewish citizens.
- Arabs are frequently taken aside at Israel’s
airports and train stations and searched, often
invasively. They are more likely to be detained
or accompanied to the plane by security
* Other forms of State Sponsored Discriminations *
-Poisoning, Uprooting of Bedouin Israeli Citizens’ Crops
The government of Israel has sent planes to spread poison on Bedouin crops, poisoning livestock and causing health problems among the population. By some accounts, this practice was halted in 2006. More often now these crops are destroyed by Israeli authorities turning them under. 40
- Failure to Protect Arab Citizens During Wartime
Almost all Arab towns and villages in the northern part of Israel lack public bomb shelters or air raid sirens, even though they have been constructed in most Jewish communities. As a result, people in Arab villages died in the streets during the Lebanon war while most Jews waited out the war in shelters. 41
- Failure to Compensate Jewish and Arab Citizens Equally for War Damages
After the Lebanon war, Arab villages were denied compensation for damages, thoughmany Jewish neighborhoods received funds. Interest-free loans of up to $10,000 were available, but only to Jewish businessmen or those who had served in the Israeli army, which excludes almos
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