UN: Israel's Housing Policies Amount to Racial Segregation

Published May 5th, 2022 - 06:27 GMT
UN: Israel's Housing Policies Amount to Racial Segregation
Israeli security forces restrain a Palestinian man who was denied passage at a checkpoint to reach the city of Jerusalem to attend the last Friday prayers of Ramadan in the al-Aqsa mosque compound, on April 29, 2022 in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

The United Nations released a report at the end of April stating that Israel’s housing policies in East Jerusalem violate human rights and amount to racial segregation and discrimination against the Palestinian people.

These statements came after U.N. experts found that Palestinians have been subject to discriminatory zoning and planning practices that restrict access to housing, safe drinking water, sanitation and other essential services including healthcare and educational facilities.

According to the report, U.N. experts said, “The discriminatory zoning and planning regime in East Jerusalem, which prioritize zoning for Israeli settlements and limits housing options for Palestinians, clearly amounts to segregation on the basis of race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin.”

These findings follow a growing movement by international organizations to officially recognize that Israel is carrying out an apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Such organizations include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the United Nations. In March 2022, a U.N. human rights expert concluded in a report that Israel is practicing apartheid against Palestinians.

“Living in the same geographic space but separated by walls, checkpoints, roads and an entrenched military presence are more than three million Palestinians, who are without rights, living under an oppressive rule of institutional discrimination and without a path to a genuine Palestinian state that the world has long promised is their right,” the U.N. report to the Human Rights Council noted.

The March report added that, “Another two million Palestinians live in Gaza, described regularly as an ‘open-air prison,’ without adequate access to power, water or health, with a collapsing economy and with no ability to freely travel to the rest of Palestine or the outside world.”

The U.N. experts behind the report found that Israel’s actions met the international legal definition of apartheid of a political regime that intentionally and clearly prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another within the same geographic unit on the basis of one’s racial-national-ethnic identity.

“Apartheid is not, sadly, a phenomenon confined to the history books on southern Africa,” a U.N. expert wrote in the report.

And while the U.N. has said it is in communication with the Israeli government to address these issues and that it has called on the international community to implement accountability measures on Israel’s apartheid, there is no clear timeline as to when or if any change can be expected.

 


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