International Law and the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Movement

The Unity Intifada of Could 2021 emphasised the centrality of Palestinian well known mobilization in the struggle in opposition to Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid routine. It is vital that discussions of an anti-apartheid movement in Palestine stay 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 folks as a tool of domination. 

This plan memo examines decolonization in the context of worldwide regulation and raising recognition of Israeli apartheid. It provides recommendations for how Palestinians and allies should really strategize an effective anti-apartheid movement by way of lawful avenues and posits that an anti-apartheid movement throughout colonized Palestine and in exile can support Palestinians get back their political agency and reassert their unity.

Strategizing Anti-Apartheid through Global Law 

Any efficient anti-apartheid motion in Palestine will have to be premised on the extensive-standing Palestinian rejection of Zionism as a racist and settler-colonial task. For a long time, Palestinians have been centering decolonization in their struggle for liberation. Without a doubt, with out a eyesight for decolonization, students have warned that an anti-apartheid struggle can, at greatest, achieve a “restructuring” of the regime fairly than its dismantlement.

With no a eyesight for decolonization … an anti-apartheid battle can, at finest, achieve a “restructuring” of the routine somewhat than its dismantlement Simply click To Tweet

Even so, recent human legal rights studies by worldwide and Israeli groups mainly disregard the legacy of Palestinians’ decolonial battle. As a final result, they progress liberal conceptions of equality at the expenditure of strategizing decolonization as a result of lawful avenues. And when intercontinental law prohibits apartheid as racial discrimination, a crime against humanity, and a critical breach offering increase to third-condition duty, it does not criminalize colonialism for every se.

Though global law is constrained in its confrontation of colonialism, it remains a precious device that really should not be ignored. Specifically, worldwide law prohibits crucial things of the Zionist settler-colonial venture, which include population transfer, apartheid, annexation, and the acquisition of territory by force it even further enshrines the correct of the Palestinian folks to self-willpower and Palestinian refugees’ ideal of return. A Palestinian anti-apartheid movement need to strategically deploy these lawful norms to confront Israel’s state criminality and its violations of international legislation.

Palestinian civil society campaigns have reached a developing recognition of Israeli apartheid within the UN human legal rights method, such as by member states of the Human Legal rights Council. In addition, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has uncovered that Israeli procedures concentrating on Palestinians across colonized Palestine violate the prohibition on racial segregation and apartheid, as submitted by a Palestinian-led civil modern society coalition.

On Could 27, 2021, versus the backdrop of the Unity Intifada, the Human Legal rights Council proven its first at any time Commission of Inquiry into “all underlying root causes” of Palestinian oppression, which includes “systematic discrimination and repression primarily based on national, ethnic, racial or spiritual identification.” This investigatory human body is unprecedented in its mandate and scope it addresses all of colonized Palestine and constitutes one of the most important avenues for campaigning and advocacy towards Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime. The Commission of Inquiry is predicted to post its initial report to the Human Rights Council in June 2022, and at existing, welcomes submissions on the root brings about of systematic discrimination across historic Palestine.

On top of that, the Intercontinental Legal Court docket (ICC) has jurisdiction about the criminal offense of apartheid as component of its ongoing investigation into the circumstance in Palestine. The criminal offense of apartheid has in no way been prosecuted internationally or at the domestic amount. And while the ICC’s jurisdiction in Palestine is constrained geographically and temporally, there is strategic price in pursuing accountability for Israel’s crime of apartheid at the ICC.

Whilst common mobilization by Palestinians throughout colonized Palestine and in exile will finally be critical to Palestinian liberation, worldwide regulation can help to progress this work by building exterior stress and creating tangible repercussions for Israel’s ongoing crimes. The apartheid framework offers an avenue for accountability and permits Palestinians to obstacle Israel’s fragmentation and establish a united struggle. 


To strategize a Palestinian anti-apartheid movement and maintain Israeli perpetrators accountable for the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people today, Palestinians and allies should:

  • Assistance and broaden civil society campaigns calling for powerful actions to counter Israel’s settler-colonial apartheid regime, including as a result of divestment and sanctions.
  • Urge the UN General Assembly to restore anti-apartheid mechanisms, notably the Unique Committee in opposition to Apartheid, to deal with Israel’s crime of apartheid.
  • Expand the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestine to involve the Palestinian people as a entire, comprising human legal rights violations on both of those sides of the Inexperienced Line and against Palestinians in exile.
  • Pursue Israeli perpetrators for war crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity at the ICC, which include for the crimes of apartheid and populace transfer.
  • Phone on 3rd states to activate common jurisdiction mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of the crime of apartheid in their courts. 
  • Demand from customers that the newest UN Fee of Inquiry acknowledge Israeli apartheid and Zionist settler-colonialism as the root results in of Palestinian oppression.