Eight Palestinian, regional and international NGOs have submitted a substantial report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), ahead of the committee's upcoming review of Israel's next month.
According to a statement published this week, the NGOs in question were Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq, BADIL, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Addameer, the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Habitat International Coalition – Housing and Land Rights Network.
The report "details Israel's creation of an institutionalised regime of systematic domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole, including Palestinian citizens of Israel, Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and Palestinian refugees and exiles abroad."
The NGOs argue that Israel has violated its obligations under Article 3 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), namely the prohibition of "racial segregation and apartheid" and obligation "to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction".
After detailing the ways in which Israel has discriminated against Palestinians since 1948, policies conducted with impunity, the NGOs urged the UN Committee "to recognise and to declare that Israel's policies have created,…an institutionalised regime of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as a whole, which amounts to the crime of apartheid under Article 3".
The human rights groups also "recommended that the Committee demand that Israel cease all measures and policies that contribute to the fragmentation of the Palestinian people and repeal all legislation enshrining racial discrimination, domination, and oppression."
"Only by examining Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people as a whole can we begin to undo the political, legal, and geographic fragmentation imposed on the Palestinian people that underpins Israel's apartheid regime," the NGOs affirmed.