Washington, DC – Amnesty International is today publishing a damning report on Israel's violation of the human and civil rights of Palestinians in the territories Israel occupied in 1967, and of Israel's Palestinian citizens.
We at Americans for Peace Now are looking forward to reading the report, all 280 pages of it. We take it very seriously. We hope that the government of Israel and our fellow American Jewish organizations will also thoroughly scrutinize the report and the reality it underscores. Unfortunately, several Israeli political leaders and American Jewish organizations chose to dismiss the report even before it was published, focusing on its title, which includes the word apartheid.
APN's President and CEO Hadar Susskind said: "If you're spending your time and energy attacking the use of the word 'apartheid' while completely ignoring the content of the report, you're doing it wrong. Do you think the Sallehiya family cares whether or not you call what is happening apartheid? I think they care about where they will live after Israeli authorities demolished their home. Do the victims of settler violence care what you call it, or are they more concerned with the safety of their families? Does delegitimizing those who dare to say 'apartheid' change the horrific circumstances that led Israeli soldiers to leave an elderly Palestinian-American man, handcuffed and gagged, to die on a cold West Bank night?
"It doesn't. This manufactured outrage is a calculated effort to deflect from the real issue - fifty-four years of occupation.
"The truth on the ground is that successive Israeli governments – including the current one – have perpetuated a military occupation of another people, turning it from a temporary evil during the few short years that followed 1967 into an endemic, oppressive regime, in which the collective national rights and the individual human rights of millions of Palestinians are ruthlessly violated. Israeli political leaders have all but ceased to work to bring this shameful reality to an end, and the Israeli public is largely complicit in perpetuating this disgrace. Instead of acting to end the occupation, Israeli governments have been accelerating a process of de-facto annexation, blurring the distinction between Israel and the occupied West Bank.
"In such circumstances, one should not be shocked when international human rights organizations and the international community treat all the territories under Israeli rule – on both sides of the Green Line – as a single political unit. The Amnesty International report should serve as yet another alarm bell and a call to action."