A group of former European ministers have acknowledged that Israel's policies and practices against the Palestinians amount to the crime of apartheid and called on the international community to hold the Occupation State to account.
"We must acknowledge that Israel's policies against Palestinians amount to the crime of apartheid," said the group in a letter published in the French daily Le Monde. The former ministers include Danish politician Mogens Lykketoft; Finnish politician Erkki Sakari Tuomioja; Slovenian lawmaker Ivo Vajgl; Hubert Védrine, a French Socialist politician and member of the British House of Lords Baroness Sayeeda Hussain Warsi.
"We see no alternative but to acknowledge that Israel's policies and practices against the Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza amount to the crime of apartheid," the letter stressed.
The group argued that the international community's reluctance to hold Israel to account over its crimes poses a grave threat to the rules-based order which it's claiming to defend in its opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"As the world is watching in horror events unfolding in Ukraine, conversation around the urgency of protecting a rules-based global order is dominating political and public discourse. The international community has rallied behind multilateralism and the need to adhere to international law and protect human rights. Indeed, it is the only way forward in an increasingly polarized global landscape," said the group.
"At the same time, we are reminded how the international community has too often remained silent and failed to act in the face of grave violations of international law and impunity for serious abuses in other contexts," the group added, referring to Israel's occupation of Palestine. They stressed that safeguarding the international legal order means applying principles uniformly and consistently.
"The same standards and commitment to protecting Ukrainian civilian population and demanding accountability for Russia's international law violations should be applied globally, including to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the group continued.
The letter slammed successive Western governments for failing to uphold the international community's consensus regarding the illegality and immorality of over five decades of occupation. Although this principal is said to form the backbone of European policy and governs its relationship with Israel, the Apartheid State has never faced any consequences for its many violations of international law.
The two-state solution is dead, they argued.
Successive Israeli governments, including the current one, have repeatedly made clear that they have no plan to take steps toward ending the prolonged occupation
the letter said.
The five former ministers are the latest to add their name to what is near universal consensus among human rights groups over Israel's practice of the crime of apartheid.