More than 200,000 people have signed a petition calling for putting an end to the demolition of Palestinian homes as a first step towards dismantling apartheid, Amnesty International said yesterday.
The rights group's petition, named Demolish Apartheid, Not Palestinian Homes, is addressed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has been signed by people in at least 174 countries.
The petition was submitted to the Israeli occupation authorities on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day commemorates the murder of 69 peaceful anti-apartheid protesters at the hands of South African police on 21 March 1960.
"Israel's discriminatory planning policies and systematic destruction of Palestinian homes exemplify the racism at the heart of its cruel system of apartheid," Heba Morayef, regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said.
"For decades, Israeli authorities have pursued their explicitly racist demographic aims by forcing Palestinians out of their homes and off their lands. Since the start of 2023 more than 400 Palestinians have been displaced as a result of demolitions and hundreds of thousands more are at risk," Morayef said.
Apartheid is a crime against humanity and a grave human rights violation. The ongoing failure to hold Israeli authorities accountable is a stain on the conscience of the international community.
"Today, Amnesty International's demand for an end to this injustice is backed by 203,410 people from countries all over the world. This solidarity is a reminder that the chorus of voices speaking out against Israel's apartheid is growing steadily louder."
Morayef stressed that Amnesty International "will not be silent until apartheid has been dismantled and Israeli authorities held to account."
Amnesty International reiterated its call on all states to pressure Israel to end home demolitions, forcible transfers and settlement expansion; lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip; and end impunity for unlawful attacks against Palestinians by the military and illegal settlers.
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