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Re: Reply to List of Themes in relation to the combined seventeenth to nineteenth periodic reports of Israel

This report, which was published by Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) on November 3, 2019, provides insight into Israel’s complete failure to acknowledge, let alone uphold, two important recommendations on the elimination of racial discrimination. These recommendations were issued to the State of Israel by the UN committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 2 October 2019. The report focuses in particular on Theme 7 (which demands the eradication of all forms of segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities) and Theme 8 (which concerns the incitement of racism and the membership and support of racist organizations). And it observes how Israel’s ongoing failure to address both themes breaches Article 4 of the the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), which obliges it to eradicate racial incitement.

Adalah observes that in Israel, ICERD primarily relates to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and therefore obliges Israel to eradicate all forms of segregation between Jewish and non-Jewish communities and also criminalize the incitement of racism by drafting and implementing relevant legislation.

But segregation is actually promoted by the Israeli state, and has been actively inflicted on Palestinians since 1948.  This is perhaps most clearly demonstrated by the land laws that have enabled Israel to systematically confiscate Palestinian-owned land and transfer it to the state and Zionist institutions. These laws prevent Palestinian citizens from purchasing or leasing around 80 percent of the land in Israel, and also uphold an arrangement in which the vast majority of state land consists of segregated, Jewish-only areas.

The State of Israel has established approximately 600 Jewish municipalities since 1948, but has not built a single new Arab village, town or city. Instead, it has committed its attentions to demolishing or threatening to demolish around 40 villages in the Naqab, on the grounds that they are ‘illegal clusters’ it does not recognise. The jurisdictions of Palestinian localities are not expanding to cope with natural population growth but are instead actually shrinking, and this is due to the massive expropriation of Palestinian-owned lands and their reallocation.

The report discusses land-related forms of racial discrimination by referring to Theme 7 of the CERD.  Its discussion of Theme 8 focuses on criminal legislation on incitement to racism, and notes how members of Israel’s political establishment, including members of the government, seek to exploit social tensions for political purposes. Israel’s openly racist political discourse and discriminatory laws and policies clearly breach Article 4 of the Convention, which obliges it to eradicate racial incitement.