Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A Palestinain looks through a gap between the blocks of Israel's controversial barrier that is still under construction January 9, 2004 in the Palestinian neighborhood of Abu Dis in the West Bank. (Photo: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

At UN Hearing, South African Delegate Decries Israel as World's Last Functioning "Apartheid State"

"We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people," said delegate at a hearing in Geneva, "in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed."

Jon Queally

During a United Nations hearing on its human rights record in Geneva on Tuesday, the Israeli government was accused of ongoing abuses and anti-democratic policies as it was called out as the world's last functioning "apartheid state" by a delegate from South Africa—a nation with a unique vantage from which to judge.

"Israel is the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state," the South African delegate said to UN members during the Human Rights Council hearing at the Palais du Nations in Geneva. "We remain deeply concerned at the denial of the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people, in the absence of which no other human right can be exercised or enjoyed."

According to Al-Jazeera, the delegate who made the remarks was "echoing the recommendations of several member states that called, above all, for an end of the 50-year-long occupation of Palestinian territory."

In its reporting, the Middle East Monitor cited a pair of tweets from Human Rights Watch staff, Omar Shakir and John Fisher, both of whom were monitoring the hearing:

While Israel continues to accuse the HRC of bias and denies responsibility for the crimes that correspond to the illegal occcupation of the Palestinian Territories, the independent review by Human Rights Watch found that the Israeli government continues a pattern of systemic human rights violations—many of which have recurred consistently over the past 50 years of the occupation and some that have intensified significantly in recent years.

According to HRW's review, those violations include: (1) unlawful killings and war crimes without accountability; (2) illegal settlements and institutional discrimination; (3) forced displacement; (4) prolonged closure of Gaza and unjustified movement restrictions in the West Bank; and (5) abusive detention.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Biden Urged to Sign Executive Order Guaranteeing Rail Workers Paid Sick Leave

After the president brokered a compulsory contract without a single paid day off for illness, one labor advocate implored him to "put up or shut up about how you really want them to have sick leave!"

Brett Wilkins ·


Campaigners Demand Deep Cuts to Plastic Production as Global Treaty Negotiations Ramp Up

"The scale of the problem is mind-boggling," said one advocate. "Plastic is in our blood. It's in fetuses. It's really encroaching on every aspect of human existence."

Julia Conley ·


Putting 'Profits Over People', Senate Rejects Paid Sick Leave for Rail Workers

"Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin have yet AGAIN failed working Americans by voting down seven days of paid sick leave for rail workers," lamented Rep. Jamaal Bowman.

Brett Wilkins ·


'We Must Cancel Student Debt,' Activists Argue as SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Case in February

"The right-tilted Supreme Court now holds in the balance relief for millions of hardworking Americans," said one campaigner. "It would be a giant loss for the economy if justices rule in favor of the special interests."

Jessica Corbett ·


A Labor Revolt Is Brewing... Inside the National Labor Relations Board

"From Congress, we demand funds, not furloughs," says the NLRB union. "From NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo, we demand collaboration, not coercion."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo