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Palestine urges UNSC to take practical steps against Israeli apartheid

In this handout photo provided by the United Nations on February 23, 2022, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the UN, Riyad Mansour, addresses the Security Council meeting in New York City. (Via AFP)

Palestine's Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour has denounced the Israeli apartheid against his fellow countrymen, calling on the Security Council to take practical steps to stop the crime.

Speaking at a UNSC meeting on the so-called Middle East peace process on Wednesday, he described how the rights of Palestinians have been denied for 75 years, one generation after another, by the Tel Aviv regime.  

Wearing a mask printed with phrase “End Apartheid,” he complained that Palestinians are uprooted from their homes, displaced and unable to return. 

The envoy also cited examples of “settler colonialism” and said the Palestinians see their houses demolished as Israeli settlements expand in the occupied lands.  

While Israel proclaims the "right" to security, it denies Palestinian that very right, he continued. The regime’s authorities are withholding hundreds of bodies of Palestinian victims and have designated human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territories as terrorists.

“Apartheid is real. Everyone was against apartheid once it was defeated in South Africa. But history will remember that Israel was the ally of South Africa’s apartheid regime,” Mansour added.

Stressing the need for support from the UN, he appealed to Security Council members to “translate words into action in efforts to end Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid.”

He further took issue with the speech Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan delivered last month, in which he brought a stone brick into the Security Council to underscore the daily Palestinian attacks.

“I am terribly sorry, but the door of this chamber could not fit Israeli F-16s, tanks, warships, military jeeps, drones, bombs and missiles and all of their mighty military arsenal,” Mansour said, noting that Israeli cries of anti-semitism are just a ploy to distract public attention from its apartheid practices.

The remarks came weeks after Amnesty International issued a 280-page report charging Israel with the crime of apartheid and in advance of a report by a UN Human Rights Council open-ended Commission of Inquiry, which is expected to focus on the question of Israeli apartheid.

The Amnesty report listed a range of Israeli abuses, including extensive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, administrative detention and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians.

“Israel’s system of institutionalized segregation and discrimination against Palestinians, as a racial group, in all areas under its control amounts to a system of apartheid, and a serious violation of Israel's human rights obligations,” read the report, which was based upon research conducted from 2017 to 2021.

“The segregation is conducted in a systematic and highly institutionalized manner through laws, policies and practices, all of which are intended to prevent Palestinians from claiming and enjoying equal rights with Jewish Israelis." 

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