‘Apartheid State’: UNHRC Condemns Israel for Human Rights Abuses

A Palestinian journalist faces angry Israeli occupation soldiers in the West Bank. (Photo: File)

Israel’s human rights record was put under the spotlight Tuesday during a major international review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva as part of the body’s regular examination of Israel’s actions in Palestine.

“Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state,” the South African delegate at the U.N. council said.

“We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed.”

The Human Rights Council’s regular examination of Israel’s record, the first since 2013, comes after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem last month as the capital of Israel, angering Palestinians, Middle East leaders and world powers.

Israel did not send any delegations to the last review claiming that the body is biased against it. The Universal Periodic Review, as it is known, is held every five years and is seen as a barometer of the state of human rights in a given country.

Meanwhile Iran, which does not recognize Israel as an official state, demanded that the country end its “continuous atrocities through the enormous destruction of civilian property in Gaza Strip” and the “forced displacement of civilians, arrest and detention of Palestinians”.

The Israeli delegation was angered by the fact that the Iran delegate referred to the country as “Israeli regime”.

The Palestinian delegation did not hold back either. Palestinian representative at the body Dima Asfour called on Israel to “end the illegal blockade of Gaza, investigate all allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during its military aggressions in Gaza and provide full reparation”.

Asfour added that Israel should also free political prisoners, end its policy of administrative detention and halt “the use of torture against Palestinians, including children in Israeli military detention”.

Israel’s administrative detention law allows authorities to imprison suspects for renewable six-month periods without trial or charge while investigators “gather evidence.” More than 700 Palestinians are under administrative detention.

Israel has also been accused of causing a major humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Gaza strip which has been under blockade for over a decade.

The enclave is home to 2 million people and have seen three different wars by Israel against the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas that rules the territory. The last one was in summer 2014 and claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people, most of them civilians.

Israel also continues to build illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, which is internationally recognized as an occupied Palestinian land and a main part of a future Palestinian state. International law prohibits an occupying power from moving its own population into lands it occupies. Israel disputes such claims against settlements and has been rapidly expanding the structures.

Israeli media reported Sunday that new Israeli statistics show that the number of Jewish settlers living in the occupied West Bank reached 435,708 living in 150 illegal settlements as of the start of 2018.

But despite all evidence of abuse against it, Israel responded to the review, which includes more than 100 nations, by attacking the council and the U.N. over “bias” saying that other countries are focusing on Israel in an attempt to shift the attention away from their own “abuses”.

(teleSUR, PC, Social Media)

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