Israel and the Palestinian people

An institutionalised regime of domination and discrimination amounting to the crime of apartheid

Sir, – For decades Israel has subjected the Palestinian people to an institutionalised regime of domination and discrimination amounting to the crime of apartheid as defined in international law.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations Convention Against Apartheid.

The nature of this discrimination and oppression has been outlined in detail for years by Palestinian human rights organisations and has been more recently identified and described by Israeli and international human rights organisations, as well as by UN bodies and experts.

The strategic fragmentation, segregation and dispossession of the Palestinian people are the principal methods by which Israel imposes its regime of apartheid.

Some elements of this regime include different legal systems based on race, as well as the existence of a permit system with limited residency rights, denial of nationality and citizenship rights, forced removals and transfer, land seizures and home demolitions, drastic movement restrictions, limiting access to resources such as land and water, and control of economic opportunities, all based on race.

The recognised tests for the crime of apartheid are the creation of an institutionalised regime of systematic racial oppression and discrimination, which has been established with the intent to maintain the domination of one racial group over another, and which consists of inhumane acts as an integral part of the regime.

The existence of a regime of apartheid has profound legal implications for the international community. Third states have a duty not to recognise, aid or assist the apartheid regime and also have a duty to work to bring apartheid to an end.

Ireland has a proud history of challenging apartheid in South Africa. As the newly formed Irish Anti-Apartheid Campaign for Palestine, and with the support and endorsement of Palestinian civil society, we call on the Government to respect this history by now publicly recognising that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people and by committing to bringing it to an end. We also call on the Government to support efforts at the UN to re-establish the Special Committee Against Apartheid to investigate all practices of systematic discrimination and oppression which amount to apartheid anywhere in the world. – Yours, etc,

Senator FRANCES BLACK, (Independent);

JOHN REYNOLDS, Co-chair, Academics for Palestine;

KAROL BALFE, CEO, Action Aid Ireland;

JOE MURRAY, Director, Afri (Action from Ireland);

FIONA CROWLEY, Acting Director, Human Rights, Amnesty International Ireland;

STEPHEN McCLOSKEY, Director, Centre for Global Education;


DIARMUID O’BRIEN, on behalf of Comhlámh-Justice for Palestine;

Dr GEARÓID Ó CUINN, Director, Global Legal Action Network;

AISLING MICKLETHWAITE, Chair, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign;

OWEN REIDY, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions;

LIAM HERRICK, Executive Director, Irish Council for Civil Liberties;

RONIT LENTIN, on behalf of Jews for Palestine-Ireland;

JOHN PARKIN, Chair, Kairos Ireland;

MARIE CRAWLEY, Chair, Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance;

Yvonne O’ Callaghan, Head of Equality and Policy, Siptu;

CAOIMHE de BARRA, CEO, Trócaire, Maynooth, Co Kildare.