Photo Credit: GPO
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the UN Gilad Erdan, April 7, 2021

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan has issued a fiery response to a 213-page report by the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch organization, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” published Tuesday.

“Israeli authorities are committing the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution,” Human Rights Watch said in its report, claiming that Israel has committed “grave abuses” against “Palestinians living in the occupied territory, including East Jerusalem.”

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“Lies and Fabrications Bordering on Anti-Semitic”
“This report is a collection of lies and fabrications, bordering on anti-Semitic, which is part of the organization’s ongoing campaign against Israel,” said Erdan.

“When the authors of the report cynically and falsely use the term apartheid, they nullify the legal and social status of millions of Israeli citizens, including Arab citizens, who are an integral part of the State of Israel,” he said.

Written by Well-Known BDS Activist
The report refers to post-1967 areas of Israel as the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” including Jerusalem as well as Gaza and the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, where it claims the Israeli government is “ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.”

The report profoundly ignores the “privilege” equally exercised by several million Arab Israelis, including those who serve as legislators in Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset.

It also ignores the legal reality that Israel has no authority in Area A of the Palestinian Authority as designated by the internationally recognized Oslo Accords, and shared security control in Area B with Palestinian Authority police and security forces.

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The constant illegal operations by the Palestinian Authority with the financial, technical and practical assistance of the European Union creating concrete facts on the ground in Area C — solely under the administrative and security control of the State of Israel under the Oslo Accords — are not even addressed.

The report was written by Omar Shakir, “a well-known BDS activist who has made his hateful views and feelings towards Israel very clear,” noted Erdan.

“He has continually acted against Israel and his numerous ‘reports’ are not worth the paper on which they are written. That is why as Minister of Strategic Affairs, I worked together with Israel’s Interior Ministry to end his stay in Israel. This step, in accordance with Israeli law, was approved by Israel’s High Court, which viewed Shakir’s activities as an attempt to bring about a boycott against Israel,” Erdan said.

“The Fictional Claims. . .Are Both Preposterous and False”
“Human Rights Watch is known to have a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda, actively seeking for years to promote boycotts against Israel,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Havat in a statement to media.

“Their decision not to share this report for review or comment with any Israeli authority, is a clear indication that it is a propaganda pamphlet, which lacks all credibility.

“HRW’s founder, Mr. Robert Bernstein, criticized his organization in 2009 for ‘issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state’.

“This report is yet another part of the organization’s ongoing campaign, led by a known BDS supporter, with no connection to facts or reality on the ground. The fictional claims that HRW concocted are both preposterous and false,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson added.

Concerted Campaign to Interject the Term ‘Apartheid’ into Discourse on Israel
The NGO Monitor, which received advance copies of the report, said it is “not merely a critique of Israeli policy in the West Bank, but an attack on the very foundations of Israel and a rejection of the legitimacy of a Jewish state, regardless of borders.”

HRW to Release ‘Apartheid Report’ on Israel

The report is also “part of a concerted campaign over the past 18 months to interject the term ‘apartheid’ into discourse about Israel.” NGO Monitor added that the report “is the culmination of decades of obsessive attacks against Israel,” NGO Monitor added.

“Human Rights Watch should be ashamed that such a liar represents them in the most vibrant democracy in the Middle East, which has demonstrated this year, once again, how it strives for peace,” Erdan said.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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