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PSC welcomes the report submitted today by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, Michael Lynk, to the Human Rights Council.

His conclusions are stark.

“With the eyes of the international community wide open”, the report declares, “Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world.”

This landmark report follows on from detailed reports reaching the same conclusion by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem which all confirmed what Palestinian civil society has been stating for decades, that Israel is committing the crime against humanity of apartheid.

Michael Lynk’s report only addresses apartheid as practiced within the occupied Palestinian territories of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza because these are the extent of his remit. However, he references the conclusions of the reports cited above which concluded that Israel is practising a single regime of apartheid across the OPT and within state of Israel. As B’Tselem put it “in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians”.

PSC endorses the UN report, and its findings – which are clear as to the responsibilities of the international community, which begin with accepting and adopting “the findings by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations that apartheid is being practised by Israel in the occupied Palestinian territory and beyond. We endorse the finding that, with this acceptance, the international community should assemble “a diplomatic menu of accountability measures” and “support any references or applications to the International Criminal Court.”

The UK government must respond to the UN Special Rapporteur’s findings by ending all trade with illegal settlements and the two-way arms trade, and by ceasing all actions designed to defend Israel from a rising public desire for accountability – such as the recent amendment to the pensions bill designed to prevent public bodies from divesting from apartheid, and the forthcoming anti-BDS law.

Ben Jamal, PSC Director, says:

“The report from the UN special rapporteur is clear and builds on the message delivered by Palestinian civil society for decades, and reinforced over the last year by B’Tselem , Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Israel is practicing the crime of apartheid. The government must act now to end its complicit support for this crime against humanity. In its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it has made clear its view that serious breaches of international law require a sanctions-led response and that all public bodies have a duty to ensure they do not invest money in ways that support violations of international law. The same standards of accountability must be applied to Israel to bring its system of apartheid to an end.”