Monday, December 20, 2010

New Human Rights Watch report: systematic discrimination in West Bank and East-Jerusalem

Cover of the Human Rights Watch report. The picture shows Bedouin children walking towards their homes outside the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim. Israel almost never recognizes the right of Bedouin property.

Well. sometimes it is good to hear it from other sources. Human Rights Watch has issued a new report about Israels policies in the West Bank, partcularly area C and East Jerusalem. It stipulates that Israeli policies in the West Bank harshly discriminate against Palestinian residents, depriving them of basic necessities while providing lavish amenities for Jewish settlements, and that without any security reason or other justification  Human Rights Watch said.

"Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits," said Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch. "While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp - not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes."
By making their communities virtually uninhabitable, Israel's discriminatory policies have frequently had the effect of forcing residents to leave their communities, Human Rights Watch said. According to a June 2009 survey of households in "Area C," the area covering 60 percent of the West Bank that is under exclusive Israeli control, and East Jerusalem, which Israel unilaterally annexed, some 31 percent of Palestinian residents had been displaced since 2000.

Human Rights Watch looked at both Area C and East Jerusalem and found that the two-tier system in effect in both areas provides generous financial benefits and infrastructure support to promote life in Jewish settlements, while deliberately withholding basic services, punishing growth, and imposing harsh conditions on Palestinian communities. Such different treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin that is not narrowly tailored to legitimate goals violates the fundamental prohibition against discrimination under human rights law.

The whole report,  Separate and Unequal, 166 pages, can be found here.  

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