The crime of apartheid as outlined in the Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973) is described as a crime against humanity and includes “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002) defines apartheid as “inhumane acts…committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
The 2021 UCC General Synod Resolution, “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel” states that “We affirm that all people living in Palestine and Israel are created in the image of God and that this bestows ultimate dignity and sacredness to all; Therefore, we reject any laws and legal procedures which are used by one race or religion or political entity to enshrine one people in a privileged legal position at the expense of another, including Israel’s apartheid system of laws and legal procedures.”
The 2022 Disciples Pastoral Letter, “Compelled to Witness” states “Israeli policies and practices that discriminate against Palestinians – Christians and Muslims alike – are consistent with the international legal definition of the crime of apartheid as defined in the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA, 1973) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002).”
Since the year 2000, our Palestinian partners have been saying that the State of Israel has an apartheid system in place against Palestinians. Beginning in 2020, other human rights organizations within Israel and globally have called Israeli government policies and practices apartheid.
Israeli and Global Human Rights Organizations Reports:
- Yesh Din legal opinion (Dec. 2020)
- In January 2021, B’Tselem, “A regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is Apartheid.”
- In February 2021, Human Rights Watch issued a 220-page report entitled, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crime of Apartheid and Persecution.”
- In February, 2022, Amnesty International issued a landmark report entitled “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians.” The 280-page report documents and demonstrates how Israel systematically discriminates against Palestinians. Amnesty’s report was welcomed by partners in Israel/Palestine, including the Middle East Council of Churches’ Department of Service for Palestinian Refugees, Kairos Palestine, and B’Tselem.
- UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk report (2022)
Palestinian Christian partners statements:
- The Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem spoke of the comparison between South Africa’s system of apartheid and Israeli systems against Palestinians in its “Jerusalem Document: Principles for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel” (2000).
- The YWCA of Palestine spoke of apartheid in Palestine in its conference report (Oct. 2014)
- The Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YWCA and YMCA of Palestine (in its Keep Hope Alive campaign)
- The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine, which includes some of our partners like the YWCA of Palestine, the East Jerusalem YMCA, Sabeel, and the MECC’s DSPR, state that position clearly in a collective letter (June 2017).
- The Kairos Palestine “Cry for Hope” letter (July 2020)
- The Middle East Council of Churches (in the context of a COVID vaccinations statement, in Jan. 2021)
A collection of resources and writings can be found in the “Apartheid Dossier” from Kairos Palestine