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HomeWorldMiddle EastFormer Mossad chief: Israel is imposing apartheid on Palestinians

Former Mossad chief: Israel is imposing apartheid on Palestinians

A former chief of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has said the country is imposing an apartheid system against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to Aljazeera.

Tamir Pardo has become the latest former senior Israeli official to claim Israel’s treatment of Palestinians amounts to apartheid, a reference to the system of racial separation in South Africa that ended in 1994. Pardo said in an interview with the Associated Press news agency, published this Wednesday:

“There is an apartheid state here. In a territory where two people are judged under two legal systems, that is an apartheid state.”

Pardo claimed and joined a growing list of retired officials who support an idea that receives little attention of international diplomacy but gets growing acceptance within human rights circles.

Bearing in mind Pardo’s background, the comments carry particular weight in security-obsessed Israel. Pardo, who was the head of the Israeli spy agency from 2011 to 2016, did not answer the question if he held the same beliefs while heading the Mossad. The former spy chief said that he believed that the question of the Palestinians is among the country’s most pressing issues – above Iran’s nuclear programme, seen by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an existential threat.

Pardo said when he had been Mossad chief, he repeatedly warned Netanyahu that he had to decide what Israel’s borders were or risk the destruction of a state for the Jews. Pardo claimed:

“Israel needs to decide what it wants. A country that has no border has no boundaries.”

Replying to Pardo’s comments, Netanyahu’s Likud party said that the ex-Mossad chief “should be ashamed”. It gave a message:

“Instead of defending Israel and the Israeli military, Pardo slanders Israel.”

Pardo voiced criticism of the Netanyahu government’s efforts to review a judicial system this year. The government has progressed in implementation of plans, despite mass protests from the opposition. Rights groups indicates discriminatory policies within Israel and in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas group has stayed in power since 2007, and its occupation of the West Bank.

Israel has total control of the territory, supports a two-tier legal system and is building and expanding illegal Jewish settlements.

Last year the rights group Amnesty called for Israel to be held accountable for carrying out “the crime of apartheid against Palestinians”, adding that it was treating them as “an inferior racial group”. In its former investigation, the rights group told in details how Israeli authorities enforced a system of oppression and domination against the Palestinians. The group said in a statement:

“This system is maintained by violations which Amnesty International found to constitute apartheid as a crime against humanity.”

Israel denies any accusations of apartheid and says Palestinian citizens of Israel has equal rights while calling the treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank a necessity for security reasons.

In 2017, a United Nations report accused Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. Last year, South Africa called for Israel to be declared an “apartheid state”.


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