Apartheid Israel’s Justice System in One Picture

Apartheid Israel's "Justice" System in one picture

Two Haaretz articles side-by-side, illustrating apartheid Israel’s “Justice” System in just one picture

This is the Israeli Justice System at work.

  • At the top, published in Haaretz on 12 August 2012: “IDF soldier sentenced to 45 days for death of mother, daughter in Gaza war. Military advocate general reaches plea bargain in the most significant event mentioned in UN Goldstone Report; Givati soldier was accused of shooting women who raised white flag.” (Sentenced “for ‘death’ of mother, daughter” is euphemistic doublespeak, plain and simple. This soldier was sentenced to 45 days for the murder of a Palestinian woman and her daughter after she raised a white flag of surrender—a form of terrorism in which the Israeli military regularly engages.)
  • At the bottom, published in Haaretz on 2 November 2014: “Netanyahu’s cabinet backs bill to jail stone-throwers up to 10-20 years. Amendment will make it possible to convict and punish the violators even if the state cannot prove they intended to damage cars or injure passengers; bill must still be brought to Knesset for approval.”

So, let’s get this straight: 45 days in jail for murdering a civilian Palestinian mother and her daughter; 20 years in prison for throwing stones. And, when Israel is criminalizing throwing stones, we all know what that really means. Israelis don’t need to throw stones; they aren’t unarmed and illegally militarily occupied by one of the most powerful militaries on the planet. And given the Israeli military regularly falsely accuses Palestinian children of throwing stones, imprisons them, and tortures and sexually abuses them, this law in essence simply gives Israel the right to throw a Palestinian in prison for decades whenever it wants (a “right” it has technically already practiced for decades anyway).

As is also the case in the US “Justice” System, in Israel’s “Justice” System, some citizens (read: Palestinians) are tried under a completely distinct set of laws. This is the legal definition of apartheid.

In the US, white police officers (and not even just police officers, in the case of George Zimmerman) murder innocent, unarmed black teens, and not only are they not punished, they are put on paid leave and get half a million dollars in donations from the KKK and fellow overtly white supremacist groups. Similarly, in Israel, in the words of another Haaretz article (all emphases mine), “Virtually all – 99.74%, to be exact – of cases heard by the military courts in the [illegally occupied Palestinian] territories end in a conviction, according to data in the military courts’ annual report.”

I repeat, this is called apartheid. In its 1973 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid, the United Nations General Assembly defined the crime of apartheid as

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.

and lists the following crimes as examples of apartheid in practice:

  • murder, torture, inhuman treatment and arbitrary arrest of members of a racial group;
  • deliberate imposition on a racial group of living conditions calculated to cause it physical destruction;
  • legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields;
  • measures that divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate residential areas for racial groups;
  • the prohibition of interracial marriages; and
  • the persecution of persons opposed to apartheid.

Israel does all of this to the Palestinians.

In Article 7, “Crimes against humanity,” section 2h of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the ICC arbitrated

‘The crime of apartheid’ means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized 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.

In the words of esteemed historian Robin D.G. Kelley,

That Israel and its colonial occupation meet the UN’s definition of an apartheid state is beyond dispute.

As I have written many times before, Israel is an apartheid state. Period. There is no contesting this basic, fundamental legal fact.

De jure bus segregation [in Israel] this reminds us that Israel is simply an apartheid state; there is no candy-coating this fact. In 2007, David A. Kirshbaum, of the Israel Law Resource Center, published a piece titled “Israeli Apartheid — A Basic Legal Perspective,” meticulously detailing the many ways in which Israel is an apartheid state, under its very own laws.

Once again, Israel’s most-read newspaper has published pieces confirming this fact, admitting that “Israeli Arabs have never been equal before the law.”


In 2012, in Haaretz, renowned journalist Gideon Levy published the results of a poll that found “Most Israeli Jews Would Support Apartheid Regime in Israel.” This study, “expos[ing] anti-Arab, ultra-nationalist views espoused by a majority of Israeli Jews,” was not based on an internet survey. It was conducted by Dialog and directed by professor Camil Fuchs, Haaretz’s polling expert and head of the Department of Statistics at Tel Aviv University’s School of Mathematical Science, and commissioned by the Yisraela Goldblum Fund.

The study revealed the following unsavory facts about Israeli society:

– 59% want preference for Jews over Arabs in admission to jobs in government ministries.

– 49% want the state to treat Jewish citizens better than Arab ones

– 42% don’t want to live in the same building with Arabs

– 42% don’t want their children in the same class with Arab children.

– c. 33% want a law barring Israeli Arabs from voting for the Knesset

– 69% object to giving 2.5 million Palestinians the right to vote if Israel annexes the West Bank.

– 74% majority are in favor of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians

– 24% believe separate roads are “a good situation”

– 50% believe separate roads are “a necessary situation”

– 47% want part of Israel’s Arab population to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority

– 36% support transferring some of the Arab towns from Israel to the PA, in exchange for keeping some of the West Bank settlements

– 38% want Israel to annex the territories with settlements on them

– 31% don’t admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs

– 58% do admit that Israel practices apartheid against Arabs

Given the parallel I drew attention to above, I should point out that, just like Israeli society, US society too satisfies the legal definition of apartheid. From another previous post:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who lived through apartheid in South Africa, has likened the brutal, racist police crackdown on the recent nonviolent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri to the violence she saw under the horrific white supremacist system in her home country.

“I condemn the excessive use of force by the police and call for the right of protest to be respected,” the official declared, in a 19 August 2014 interview.

She continued, noting that, “… coming from apartheid South Africa I have long experience of how racism and racial discrimination breeds conflict and violence. … These scenes are familiar to me and privately I was thinking that there are many parts of the United States where apartheid is flourishing.”

Shared values.”