Israeli laws, policies and practices against Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories amount to apartheid, Amnesty International says.
A new report alleges that the Israeli state maintains “an institutionalized regime of oppression and domination of the Palestinian population for the benefit of Jewish Israelis”.
Apartheid is considered a crime against humanity under international law.
Israel says it “absolutely rejects all the false allegations” in the report.
A foreign ministry spokesperson accused Amnesty of recycling “lies, inconsistencies, and unfounded assertions that originate from well-known anti-Israeli hate organisations”.
“The report denies the State of Israel’s right to exist as the nation state of the Jewish people. Its extremist language and distortion of historical context were designed to demonize Israel and pour fuel onto the fire of anti-Semitism,” they said in a statement.
The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the report, saying it was a “detailed affirmation of the cruel reality of entrenched racism, exclusion, oppression, colonialism, apartheid, and attempted erasure that the Palestinian people have endured”.
Apartheid was a policy of racial segregation and discrimination that was enforced by the white minority government in South Africa against the country’s black majority from 1948 until 1991.
Three main international treaties prohibit apartheid, including the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.