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International Law and the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Movement

International Law and the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Movement

The Unity Intifada of May 2021 emphasised the centrality of Palestinian popular mobilization in the battle versus Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid routine. It is vital that conversations of an anti-apartheid motion in Palestine continue being genuine to the Unity Intifada’s decolonial praxis: to confront Zionism’s “racist settler colonialism in all of Palestine” and to problem Israel’s fragmentation of the Palestinian individuals as a instrument of domination. 

This coverage memo examines decolonization in the context of international regulation and escalating recognition of Israeli apartheid. It provides suggestions for how Palestinians and allies need to strategize an successful anti-apartheid movement by means of legal avenues and posits that an anti-apartheid motion across colonized Palestine and in exile can assist Palestinians regain their political agency and reassert their unity.

Strategizing Anti-Apartheid by Worldwide Law 

Any helpful anti-apartheid movement in Palestine will have to be premised on the very long-standing Palestinian rejection of Zionism as a racist and settler-colonial undertaking. For decades, Palestinians have been centering decolonization in their wrestle for liberation. In truth, without the need of a eyesight for decolonization, students have warned that an anti-apartheid battle can, at ideal, reach a “restructuring” of the regime alternatively than its dismantlement.

Without having a eyesight for decolonization … an anti-apartheid wrestle can, at ideal, achieve a “restructuring” of the regime somewhat than its dismantlement Click To Tweet

However, new human legal rights reports by international and Israeli groups mainly disregard the legacy of Palestinians’ decolonial wrestle. As a end result, they advance liberal conceptions of equality at the cost of strategizing decolonization via authorized avenues. And even though worldwide law prohibits apartheid as racial discrimination, a criminal offense versus humanity, and a severe breach giving rise to 3rd-condition accountability, it does not criminalize colonialism per se.

When intercontinental law is restricted in its confrontation of colonialism, it remains a precious tool that should really not be forgotten. Namely, global law prohibits essential factors of the Zionist settler-colonial undertaking, like population transfer, apartheid, annexation, and the acquisition of territory by power it even further enshrines the proper of the Palestinian individuals to self-dedication and Palestinian refugees’ correct of return. A Palestinian anti-apartheid motion must strategically deploy these legal norms to confront Israel’s point out criminality and its violations of worldwide law.

Palestinian civil society campaigns have reached a increasing recognition of Israeli apartheid inside the UN human rights system, such as by member states of the Human Rights Council. Additionally, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has discovered that Israeli procedures concentrating on Palestinians throughout colonized Palestine violate the prohibition on racial segregation and apartheid, as submitted by a Palestinian-led civil society coalition.

On Might 27, 2021, against the backdrop of the Unity Intifada, the Human Legal rights Council proven its very first ever Commission of Inquiry into “all underlying root causes” of Palestinian oppression, which includes “systematic discrimination and repression centered on countrywide, ethnic, racial or spiritual identity.” This investigatory human body is unparalleled in its mandate and scope it addresses all of colonized Palestine and constitutes 1 of the most important avenues for campaigning and advocacy in opposition to Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid routine. The Commission of Inquiry is envisioned to post its very first report to the Human Legal rights Council in June 2022, and at present, welcomes submissions on the root brings about of systematic discrimination across historic Palestine.

In addition, the Intercontinental Legal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction in excess of the crime of apartheid as part of its ongoing investigation into the problem in Palestine. The crime of apartheid has never been prosecuted internationally or at the domestic stage. And even though the ICC’s jurisdiction in Palestine is limited geographically and temporally, there is strategic price in pursuing accountability for Israel’s criminal offense of apartheid at the ICC.

Even though common mobilization by Palestinians across colonized Palestine and in exile will finally be key to Palestinian liberation, worldwide legislation can assistance to progress this energy by making exterior strain and producing tangible outcomes for Israel’s ongoing crimes. The apartheid framework offers an avenue for accountability and permits Palestinians to challenge Israel’s fragmentation and create a united wrestle. 


To strategize a Palestinian anti-apartheid movement and hold Israeli perpetrators accountable for the criminal offense of apartheid towards the Palestinian persons, Palestinians and allies must:

  • Assistance and increase civil society campaigns contacting for productive steps to counter Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime, including as a result of divestment and sanctions.
  • Urge the UN Normal Assembly to restore anti-apartheid mechanisms, especially the Unique Committee from Apartheid, to deal with Israel’s criminal offense of apartheid.
  • Develop the mandate of the UN Particular Rapporteur on Palestine to consist of the Palestinian people as a total, comprising human rights violations on each sides of the Environmentally friendly Line and towards Palestinians in exile.
  • Pursue Israeli perpetrators for war crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity at the ICC, including for the crimes of apartheid and inhabitants transfer.
  • Simply call on 3rd states to activate common jurisdiction mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of the criminal offense of apartheid in their courts. 
  • Need that the newest UN Fee of Inquiry understand Israeli apartheid and Zionist settler-colonialism as the root brings about of Palestinian oppression.