Israeli Embassy slams Human Rights Watch report accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’ against Palestinians

UPDATED

Weeks after the International Criminal Court disclosed that it would investigate war crimes in Palestinian territories, Human Rights Watch published a 200+ page report that accused Israel of persecuting Palestinians. The report claims that some of Israel’s policies constitute apartheid.

“Across Israel and the (Palestinian territories), Israeli authorities have pursued an intent to maintain domination over Palestinians by exercising control over land and demographics for the benefit of Jewish Israelis,” the report reads.

“On this basis, the report concludes that Israeli officials have committed the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution,” as defined under the 1973 Apartheid Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute.

But the Embassy of Israel to the United States denies all the claims in the report.

“We strongly reject the false accusations that Human Rights Watch is spreading about Israel,” the embassy said in a comment to this reporter. “Their decision not to share this report for review or seek comment with any Israeli authority is a clear indication that it is a propaganda pamphlet lacking all credibility. This report is filled with lies that have no connection to facts or the reality on the ground and as such we do not intend to address it.”

The embassy also discredited the report because of Omar Shakir’s involvement. Shakir is the Israel and Palestine Director for the HRW and they say he is “a well-known BDS supporter, whose working visa in Israel was not extended after he was found to be involved in promoting anti-Israel boycotts.”

In 2017, Israel denied Shakir’s visa. Then, in 2019 Israel High Court of Justice threw out Shakir’s appeal over the matter.

In response to the Embassy’s statement, Human Rights Watch told this reporter after this story was first published, that while it is true Shakir was denied a visa, he and the organization do not support BDS.

“It is true that Israel deported Omar Shakir, our Israel-Palestine director. They claim he supported BDS, which he did not, and neither does Human Rights Watch. So in short, he does not have a visa, that is true. But he did not promote BDS.”

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