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UN Human Rights Council report accuses Israel of apartheid

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Illustrative: Delegates arrive on the assembly hall of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)
Illustrative: Delegates arrive on the assembly hall of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

United Nations Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk accuses Israel of apartheid in a report submitted Tuesday to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“With the eyes of the international community wide open, Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world,” writes Lynk, whose full title is “Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”

Lynk is slated to formally release his report on Thursday ahead of the debate on Agenda Item 7, the permanent HRC item reserved for Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians and other Arabs.

“The political system of entrenched rule in the occupied Palestinian territory which endows one racial-national-ethnic group with substantial rights, benefits and privileges while intentionally subjecting another group to live behind walls, checkpoints and under a permanent military rule… satisfies the prevailing evidentiary standard for the existence of apartheid,” writes Lynk.

The issuing of thousands of work permits to Palestinian laborers in the West Bank and Gaza to work in Israel amounts to the “exploitation of labour of a racial group,” according to the report.

The report, the main body of which does not mention terrorist groups Hamas or Islamic Jihad, says Israel “must cooperate in good faith with the Palestinian leadership to completely end the occupation and realize a genuine two-state solution.”

Israel and Jewish organizations blast Lynk as hostile to Israel and the report as baseless.

“The author of this report is well known for his blatant and disturbing anti-Israel views,” writes Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva in a statement. “This report is no different.”

The statement added that no report on Israel can be taken seriously “if the security challenges and threats faced daily by all Israelis — including the 20% non-Jewish minority — is not considered.”

“This report recycles baseless and outrageous libels previously published by NGOs that share the same goal as the author of this report: to delegitimize and criminalize the State of Israel for what it is: the nation-state of the Jewish People, with equal rights for all its citizens, irrespective of religion, race or sex,” says Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations and international organizations in Geneva.

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