A former head of the Mossad intelligence agency tells The Associated Press that he believes Israel is enforcing an “apartheid” system in the West Bank.
Tamir Pardo says he’s concluded that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank amounts to apartheid, a reference to the system of racial separation in South Africa that ended in 1994.
Rights groups in Israel and abroad and Palestinians have accused Israel and its 56-year military rule of the West Bank of morphing into an apartheid system that they claim gives Palestinians second-class status and is designed to maintain Jewish hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
A handful of former Israeli leaders, diplomats and security officials have warned that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state, but Pardo’s language is even more blunt.
“There is an apartheid state here,” Tamir Pardo says in an interview. “In a territory where two people are judged under two legal systems, that is an apartheid state.”
Pardo, who served as head of Israel’s clandestine spy agency from 2011-2016, refuses to say if he held the same beliefs while heading the Mossad.
Pardo says that as Mossad chief, he repeatedly warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he needed to decide what Israel’s borders are, or risk the destruction of a state for the Jews.
In the past year, Pardo has become an outspoken critic against Netanyahu and his government’s push to reshape the judicial system, slamming his old boss for steps he said would lead Israel to become a dictatorship.
In a previous interview with Channel 12 news, he said apartheid “is in the interest” of the far-right coalition parties Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit.